12th Annual General Assembly in Nemaska

CNACA will be holding the 12th Annual General Assembly starting Oct 24 – 25, 2018 at the Nemaska Sports Complex in Nemaska. If you are interested in being a delegate for your community or if you’re an artist that would like to present your artwork,  crafts and musical works at the assembly, please contact your local Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association representative.



The Cree Native Arts and Crafts association announces 3rd Eeyou Istchee achievement awards ceremony to recognize Cree artists and artisans in Eeyou Istchee.

Ouje-Bougoumou, Qc; September 25, 2018 – The Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association is proud to announce its’ 3rd Eeyou Istchee Achievement Awards.  The event will take place at the Nemaska Sports Complex in the Cree community of Nemaska on October 24, 2018 commencing at 6 o’clock in the evening.

The CNACA Eeyou Istchee Achievement Awards is a way to present, promote, and bring recognition to our Cree artists and artisans for their outstanding contribution and exemplary dedication to the arts in Eeyou Istchee.

This year’s ceremony will highlight five awards to individuals for their hard work and dedication in keeping our traditions alive and thriving.

What:    3rd Eeyou Istchee Achievement Awards (hosted by Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association)

When:    Wednesday, October 24, 2018 from 6:00 P.M to 10:00 P.M (EDT)

Where:   Sports Complex, 25 Rd Lake Shore, Nemaska, QC

This event is held in conjunction with the Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association’s Annual General Assembly, October 24 & 25, 2018.   This year’s theme for the Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association is: “Chiiyaanuu: Focus on Eeyou Arts and Crafts.” For the past few years, the Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association has made progress in the attempt to provide the services and programs required by the artistic communities of Eeyou Istchee. This years’ theme is to promote additional support for our artists and artisans while encouraging the Cree leadership and communities to create partnership to increase the production of works of art done by our people.  Our goal is to give the opportunity to our artists and artisans to flourish and continue to create the beautiful works of art in Eeyou Istchee. As leaders, we can make a difference in the lives of artists and artisans.

Awards to be presented:


Originally from Mistissini, Buckley Petawabano is seen as an icon of Cree influence in the media. This award is given to a person who is driven and pushed themselves to excellence in order to make a substantial contribution in the area of journalism, film, radio, television, video, storytelling, writer, theater and/or acting


This award honors an individual who has achieved a high level of success over his or her lifetime. The individual’s contribution may be in any one of the various art forms; music, literature, visual arts, crafts or media.


There are many artists in Eeyou Istchee who are committed to bringing their art to a professional level. This award acknowledges these individuals hard work and dedication and shines a light on those who are forging their way to become a full-time artist.


This award not only celebrates artists who have taken a traditional art form and re-created it to make it their own, but who have also taken the initiative to promote their art either locally and/or regionally. These artists may have discovered a way to use traditional music in a new way, use unique materials to exhibit their creativity or development a new spin on exercising media or literature.


Every great fiddler group needs a great fiddler. For all the new dancing groups, fresh fiddlers have been working their way towards the stage. The best fiddler award will be bestowed upon an individual who has become “the fiddler to call”, when a dance is to be held.

For more information:

Roxanne Mianscum
Communication & Marketing Officer
(418) 745-2444 x 3693

Orchestre Symponique de Montreal presents “Chaakapesh”

Orchestre Symponique de Montreal presents “Chaakapesh” Maestro, Kent Nagano and special guest performance by cellist Kelly Cooper. September 17, 2018 in Ouje-Bougoumou.

Traditional Christmas tree ornaments workshop with Christmas sale. 

In collaboration with CNG & ACCI, CNACA presents workshop with Christmas sale.

Workshop of traditional ornaments (Mini mittens, mini tipis, mini grease spoons, etc) *Limited to 30 people.

Tables available for artists to sell artwork for Christmas. Please note, limited spots available. We encourage you to keep in mind, no copyright material accepted for sell. (hockey logos, etc etc)

Please contact Special Projects & Events Coordinator Sarah Dow-Imrie to reserve a spot for both workshop and Christmas sale.

When reserving a spot for Christmas sale, please notify Sarah on what products you will be displaying. *Crucially important*

Deadline for reservations: December 8,2017


418-745-2444 x.3222

Tamarack Bird Making Course

January 6, 2016 – We the Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association (CNACA) will be hosting a Regional Tamarack Bird Making Course to be held in Ouje-­bougoumou, QC. The training is scheduled to begin on March 7, 2016 and completed on March 18, 2016 for a total of ten (10) working days. It will start at 9:00AM each day and end at 5:00PM, a total of seven (7) hours per day. Lunch will be provided daily.

Fifteen (15) Cree participants from Eeyou Istchee will be selected to participate in this unique opportunity to learn the art of making a Tamarack Bird. Space is limited and youth will be given a priority! Applications are available or submit a letter/resume to apply to the email provided below. Deadline is on February 26, 2016 at 5:00PM.

The objective of the training is to pass knowledge from one generation to another, to share know-how, to increase quality and productivity, to raise the interest of youngsters in arts and crafts and to perpetuate Cree culture, traditions and values. Training is aimed at newcomers as well as experienced artists and artisans and is offered by masters in their respective discipline. The Elder & Youth Project: Honouring our elders – Regional Tamarack Bird Making is made possible with the help and financial support from our partners: Niskamoon and Cree Nation Youth Council (FRIJ).

For more information please contact:   Darryl S. Hester, Special Projects/Events Coordinator
Telephone:1-888-745-2444 Ext. 3222  Email: d_hester@cnaca.ca

To request for an application, please visit or contact Aanischaaukamikw (Cree Cultural Institute) front desk at 1-418-745­2444.

Traditional Survival Tools Making Course

traditional-tools-newsOctober 19, 2015 – We the Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association (CNACA) will be hosting a Regional Traditional Survival Tools Making Course to be held at the Aanischaaukamikw (Cree Cultural Institute).  The training has been postponed to November 9, 2015 and completed on November 20, 2015 with a total duration of ten (10) working days.  It will start at 9:00AM each day and end at 5:00PM with a total of seven (7) hours per day.

Fifteen (15) Cree participants from Eeyou Istchee will be selected to participate in this unique opportunity to learn the Cree traditional way of making Survival Tools.   Space is limited and youth will be given a priority!  Applications are available or submit a letter/resume to apply to the email provided below.  Deadline is on November 2, 2015 at 1:00PM.

The objective of the training is to pass knowledge from one generation to another, to share know-how, to increase quality and productivity, to raise the interest of youngsters in arts and crafts and to perpetuate Cree culture, traditions and values.   Training is aimed at newcomers as well as experienced artists and artisans and is offered by masters in their respective discipline.

The Elder & Youth Project:  Honouring our elders – Regional Traditional Survival Tools Making is made possible with the help and financial support from our partners: Niskamoon and Cree Nation Youth Council (FRIJ).

For more information please contact;  Darryl S. Hester, Special Projects/Events Coordinator
Office:1-418-745-2444 (ext. 3222)
Cell:  1-418-770-4967
Email: d_hester@cnaca.ca

To request for an application, please visit or contact Aanischaaukamikw (Cree Cultural Institute) front desk at

10th Annual General Assembly

cnaca-logo-for-newsOctober 7, 2015 – The Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association (CNACA) announces its 10th Annual General Assembly to be held on November 24, 25, 2015 at the Kanio Kashee Lodge Conference Room in Waskaganish, QC.

It is with honour, respect and gratitude that we extend an invitation to all members of the association as well as the general public to join us as we present the activities of CNACA.
Our theme: Eeyou-Eenou Arts & Crafts Industry: New Beginnings, New Partnerships

If you are interested in participating, please contact your local CNACA representative.

Ouje-Bougoumou Gaston Cooper
Mistissini Peter Shecpaio (418) 999-2293
Waswanipi Diane J. Cooper (819) 753-2111
Nemaska Deborah Wapachee (819) 865-7656
Waskaganish Jimmy Tim Whiskeychan (819) 895-8163
Eastmain Kenneth Gilpin (819) 856-3174
Wemindji Edward Georgekish (819) 978-7718
Chisasibi Roger House (819) 855-2473
Whapmaagoostui Natazia Mukash (819) 929-3088
Washaw Sibi Gloria Polson (819) 442-1932

On behalf of the members and Board of Directors of CNACA, we look forward in meeting you at the Annual General Assembly.

For more information please contact:   Darryl S. Hester, Special Projects/Events Coordinator
Telephone:1-888-745-2444 Ext. 3222  Email: d_hester@cnaca.ca


CNACA Achievement Awards Winners 2013

OUJÉ-­BOUGOUMOU, April 10, 2013 – The Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association (CNACA) is proud to announce the winners of the CNACA Achievement Awards 2013. This event took place in Val-d’Or, QC on March 16, 2013. The CNACA Achievement Awards honours Cree Traditional and Contemporary talent. The awards are given to the individuals that through their work, they have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to preserve traditional and contemporary art in Eeyou Istchee.


Born in Jack River near Eastmain, Daisy was raised by her grandparents. Since 1978, Daisy has dedicated a lot of time ensuring our Cree culture and language is kept strong today. Although retired in 2007, Daisy still takes time to do Cree translations. She even provides Cree singing training. For Daisy, our Cree language is very important to pass on to young people, but sewing is just as important to Daisy. Daisy first learned to sew when she got married in 1958 at the age of 16. Having only learned how to speak in Cree growing up, that same year, she also learned to read and write in Cree. After marrying, Daisy mostly lived on the land with her husband. It was there, under the guidance of Kitty Moar and others; Daisy began to learn to sew. After decades of practice, it is now Daisy who teachers others to sew. After a CNACA sewing course, Daisy’s students did not wish for the course to end, they wanted to keep learning from her. Daisy hopes what she passes on, with her sewing, will be passed on in generations to come, and it is
because of this hope and her ongoing dedication, she is presented with this award tonight.



Born in Nooskan, at the mouth of Broadback river out on Rupert Bay, Sanders Weistche grew up to excel in the art of snowshoe making. At age 14, he began to try, to learn because he saw the challenge to create something unique, and the opportunity as there was a lot of demand.

He saw many needed snowshoes to go hunting and trapping. With help and drawing inspiration
from his elder brother Johnny, he excelled in this tradition long before he married.

Today, at 69 years of age, he has learned that to create a good pair of snowshoes, you need to use the right type of wood, and also a little help from someone in shaping the snowshoe. Sanders still practices this tradition during the evenings, and he dreams that someday there will be a center for youth so that elders like himself can teach young people how to make snowshoes, to ensure that this tradition is not lost, and to encourage people to use these tools, because Sanders believes it’s where we came from.

ART TRADITION AWARD (COUPLE), Bertie and Mary-­‐Ann Longchap

Bertie and Mary-­‐Ann live in Mistissini, QC. They spend most of their time out on the land. Bertie and Mary Ann have both been committed and demonstrated the passing of knowledge from one generation to the other in the Traditional Art. They were featured at the most recent Vancouver Olympics to demonstrate the art of making Snow Shoes and Moose hide sewing.

ART VISUAL AWARD, Jimmy (Tim) Whiskeychan

On a cold night in February in 1968, a baby boy was born in Chibougamou. The child was sick and had to be sent to Montreal where he spent months in and out of the hospital. At 18 months, he was placed in the home of late Harry and Laura Whiskeychan in Chapais where he grew to be healthier and stronger. Later they settled in Waskaganish. Unable to have children of their own, Laura and Harry welcomed this little boy with loving arms and came to name him Timmy. Eventually, with the approval of Timmy’s late grandfather, Charlie Mattawashish from Mistissini, Timmy was adopted by his new parents.

As Timmy grew, his parents noticed him to be artistic at an early age. The little boy drew a lot with his beloved Crayola crayons, even until he would fall asleep. Nurtured and encouraged by his parents, Timmy was free to do what he chose. Early on, he was exposed to many different aspects of Cree cultural life, in all manners of arts and crafts well into adulthood. He discovered painting at seventeen, but didn’t pursue it full time until he was in his 20’s. For most of his life, Timmy was self-taught, but at 28, he studied fine arts at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario. For him, it was a time of self-­discovery and learning. Timmy works in all mediums but still prefers to painting in Acrylic, and still maintains his love of drawing.

Today, Timmy is as busy as ever. He has created countless works, produced many murals and numerous logos for companies throughout the Cree Nation. His works of art have been placed in schools, in all the Head Offices of the Grand Councils and haven been commissioned as gifts to important dignitaries. Each project is important to Tim and hopes through his art, he expresses the message, in his words, “to live free and be open minded, because no one holds all the answers and that’s how we learn, listen well, and respect all walks of life”. Each project holds a special place in his heart. For Tim, inspiration comes from the land. It comes from his late father, Harry Whiskeychan, who was a fine craftsman himself. It comes from what’s all around him. Timmy has truly been blessed by this wonderful gift and we are fortunate that Timmy still continues his art today.


Growing up with music at home, it was pretty obvious Celina Wapachee would find a passion for music as well. Born in Matagami and raised in Nemaska, she found support from her parents, and began singing and writing at the age of 12, and started to sing for the public at 15.

Celina has been singing for most of her life now, and due to the many hours of practice, she has become a well-­‐known singer in the Cree Nation, having released two albums since 2010. And she’s not slowing down, she is planning to record another album in the spring in Nashville.

It is in the studio Celina feels at home, learning from professional musicians, writing songs and growing in her music. Many who have pursued their musical dreams in the Cree Nation have inspired Celina, and now today she has become an inspiration for others. Through her singing, she hopes to express the message to not be afraid to chase your dreams, to not let your dreams go, because they will come to pass if you don’t give up. Celina Wapachee has become an example of her own message.


For Mariame Hasni, a passion for music developed early on in childhood. She remembers listening to the radio with her father and they would sing together. Following that passion, she learned by listening to other musicians and the Latin artist Selena significantly inspired as a child. Mariame has been singing all her life but she didn’t start performing publicly until she was 13.

Born and raised in Montreal, her mother is Cree from Chisasibi and her father is Arabic from Algeria. She also has two young children of her own, a boy and a girl. She spends time up north in Chisasibi during the summer and winter.

Mariame sings whenever she can and feels it is a very natural part of her life. As for the future, she hopes to write and produce her own music and be successful in her pursuits. We are eager to see her future grow as well, as she is awarded here this evening.

CREE LEGEND AWARD, Buckley Petawabano

To the general public, Buckley is best known for his acting career. For the Cree Nation, he is known for so much more than that.

In the late 60’s, Buckley acted in a Canadian television series called ‘Adventures in Rainbow Country’. His character called Pete Gawa was one of the first regular First Nations characters to appear in a Canadian television series. He also acted in ‘Cold Journey’ in 1976, and worked as a cinematographer in ‘Amisk’ and ‘Cree Way’ in 1977. Buckley also appeared on stage in the Ecstasy of Rita Joe in Montreal in 1972.

From acting and cinematography, Buckley also played a role in communications. Beginning in 1971, he presented a proposal to the CRTC to encourage Aboriginal broadcasting and Cree Radio Network, now called James Bay Cree Communications society. In 1976, he also proposed to the CRTC to exempt status to radio stations on reserves. All of his proposals were adopted. In 1998, he presented to the Grand Council of the Crees the creation of an alternate telecommunications service, now known today as the Eeyou Communications Network, where he is also a member in the committee.

Buckley now runs his own production company in Mistissini, Nesk productions. For the early inspiration of portraying one of the first Native American characters in a television series, for his work as a cinematographer, for the longtime service in communications, we honor Buckley with this award.

The Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association is very proud of all Cree winners of the CNACA Achievement Awards. Congratulations!

CNACA Festival 2013

poster2013_smallIn those times of great upheavals where the First Nations of the world claim their rights and the acknowledgment of their specificity, when the Cree political approach is rooted in the uniqueness of his identity, when the new type of Cree governance offers numerous advantages, in those times when creativity is considered as a key strategic advantage of any successful collectivity, CNACA, as the association in charge of this powerful asset, can only play a growing role of leadership within its Nation and more largely.

The Cultural Festival project is designed to lay the foundation for a stronger leadership in the artistic and crafts sector. It will also network key players in the domains of culture, tourism and traditional Cree living. It will fill the gap between generations and knowledge as well by reuniting elders and youth. Bringing together all stakeholders concerned with the expression of the Cree’s culture through art and crafts, traditional or contemporary, it will benefit the whole Nation. It will necessarily generate pride and a strong sense of identity, key aspects of a healthy society. This project aims to gather, promote and empower one of the most strategic economical and social assets of the Cree community: its unique and highly creative culture.

making_mocassinsArts and crafts are the beating heart of a community’s cultural identity. Arts and crafts are the expression of the culture through object’s symbols, values, meaning and direction. They evolve and grow, as remembrance of the past or windows on the future, but these rich means of expression are always threatened by decline, and First Nations are the most aware of these challenges.

In a globalized world where the multiculturalism and the aggressive promotion of a dominant culture threaten the diversity, it is crucial for the Cree Nation to establish ways to preserve its own cultural identity and its ways to express it, so it can continue to shine and evolve. CNACA has been working thoroughly on this aspect since its creation. In a study conducted for the Quebec Arts and Literature Council (Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, CALQ), CNACA found a great need amongst artists to meet other artists to network and to learn about their legal rights as they pertain to copyrights, publishing rights, intellectual property rights, royalties, etc. In an effort to serve its members and respond to their needs, CNACA is organizing the Cree Cultural Festival, which will take place on March 15, 16 & 17 in the two locations of the Université du Québec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) campus and the Forestel hotel in Val d’Or.

kids_symposiumThe festival would be the first of a series of many similar festivals, all aiming to support, in a more extensive way and in a more visible way, these efforts to protect, promote and sustain the Cree’s art, crafts, symbols, meaning, traditions and skills and to encourage traditional and contemporary means of expression through education on legal rights, traditional skills and communications.

2013 will be the first edition, and it is an opportunity for CNACA to build a template for the next editions, to build partnerships and create relationships, etc.

Imagine March 2013

workshop1For three days, CNACA’S members, institutional and regional actors and the Cree community come together around a single issue: a sustainable arts, crafts and cultural economy in Eeyou Istchee.

Three days when participants are invited to discover the wonderful achievements of the Cree’s great creativity and meet its artists and artisans in an arts symposium.

workshop2Three days when participants are challenged through conferences and workshops to discuss about the legal issues they face, learn about their rights as creators and producers from experts and explore ways to improve their work through communications and professional development.

Three days spent learning about each other, enriching everyone’s practice, reinforcing the CNACA’s capacity to support and last but not the least, having a lot of fun.

This succeeding event, keen at bringing together community’s political, cultural and organizational actors, would finally lead the way to a greater gathering of Nations and countries, in years to come.

Festival Activities

Festival activities are divided in four parts: workshops and training sessions, an Arts Symposium, the Eeyou Itschee Achievement Awards and CNACA’s general assembly.


workshop3Three types of workshops will be held. The first type relates to the topics of creators’ and producers’ rights. CNACA has observed that there is much demand on legal knowledge from the artistic community in Eeyou Itschee, and there is nothing in place to address these needs. Artists are not informed of how the law protects their intellectual property, and what actions they can take should their copyrights be infringed. There is also a need for more information on contracting with artists’ agents, royalty fees, publishing rights, etc. Legal experts have already been identified and will give conferences and distribute pamphlets on issues of interest to artists. Workshops on traditional skills will also be offered for youth to reconnect with traditional lifestyle and stimulate their interest in traditional Cree culture. Finally, because of the often expressed need for support in marketing, some media & communications skills workshops will also be provided for artists to learn more about how to promote themselves.

Arts Symposium

tim_art_symposiumAbout thirty artists from across Eeyou Itschee will participate in the Arts Symposium. They will promote their work in a tradeshow. This will be an ideal opportunity to build commercial linkages with the Val d’Or business community. There will also be demonstrations of traditional crafts making during the fair, for the enjoyment and education of festival participants. Artists need opportunities to promote themselves and sell their work.

Eeyou Itschee Achievement Awards

fort_george_rockersCNACA has the mandate to promote Cree artists and uses awards nights as ways to valorize their work. This is the second awards night organized by CNACA, and it is a privileged occasion to recognize artists’ contribution to the nation.

CNACA’s general assembly

CNACA will take advantage of having its membership gathered in Val d’Or to hold a general assembly and hold the elections of Board of Directors. On March 15th, all participants will be given the opportunity to become CNACA members and participate in the general assembly.


Major Sponsors




Festival objectives

  1. Fill the need for a meaningful event at the regional level that will reunite the artistic and cultural economy of Eeyou Itched to create an event where Crees will share, think and network around the issue of sustainable arts, crafts and cultural economy amongst themselves and with non Cree business partners. To reach this, we believe the event must contain four kinds of activities: 1) artistic and crafts fair, 2) training, informative and interactive platform (conference and workshops), 3) awards night and 4) a festive and entertaining gathering.
  2. Gather and network interested stakeholders concerned with the expressions of the Cree culture. Participants will be able to network, get to know each other, exchange knowledge and experience, transmit their skills to the younger generation, all this in an entertaining two days program. This event will also allow to some artists and artisans to step out of their isolation, and strengthened their capacities.
  3. Empower and educate participants through various conferences, workshops and training sessions. The event will be a unique event where we will share global and practical issues as well as exchanging innovative solutions to our common problems. The workshops would focus on legal rights; practical workshops would also teach traditional skills. The education aspect of the event should necessarily reinforce the sense of the community within the Cree artists and artisans and the rest of the Nation.
  4. Enhance the promotion of the Cree creativity, skills and knowledge, and by the same extent, CNACA’s mission and actions, within the Cree community inside and outside of Eeyou Itschee, as well as with the non Cree community of Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The community and the public inside and outside Eeyou Istchee will come to know the talent of our artists and power of our culture.

Target audience

The audience targeted by the activities are firstly the CNACA’S members and prospective members. It is fundamental that these artists and artisans be given to gather, network and exchange good practices. It would be highly important also that they have access to training activities on their legal rights, so that their creation can be duly protected. Second, regional and institutional entities would be invited to participate. CNACA’s mission and action have to be known by its local actors and this event would be exceptional in achieving this goal. Finally, the Eeyou Itschee and Abitibi-Témiscamingue public will be invited with a specific focus on the younger generation, such as Cree students studying at the UQAT campus in Val d’Or will be invited to visit and exchange on the issue. The support from partners will be requested to help spread the word.