History

Wemindji, from wiimin uchii meaning "red ochre mountain" in Cree formerly known as Old Factory, a little island 25 kilometres south of the current location. Wemindji has been relocated since 1958 and sits at the mouth of the Maquatua River on the east coast of James Bay, in northern Quebec, Canada. Wemindji's nearest major city is Montreal and we are approximately 1400 kilometres north of it.

Old Factory Band was first established in 1951 on an Island of Paakumshumwashtikw meaning "Old Factory Bay" now known as the Cree Nation of Wemindji.

 Old Factory  Old Factory 

In some ways Wemindji is not much different from any small town. Visitors will find various sporting facilities, a school, a community center, cultural villages, a shopping center/mini-mall, its own hydro-electric plant, a full equipped fire station and police station, a clinic, numerous business ventures such as a gas station, a motel, a bed and breakfast, outfitting and adventure tourism, an arts and crafts shop, just to name a few.

The Cree people who live here, who also call themselves Iyiyuuch in our own language, meaning "the people" have a deep attachment to our past and to keeping our traditions alive. The Iyiyuuch continue to practice the ancient hunting, fishing and trapping way of life that sustained our ancestors for many generations. Today within our community a third of our population still live year-round in the bush, while others go back to their family traplines' on weekends or when they have free time.

Traditional activities and events such as the spring and fall goose hunt, the walking out ceremonies are just some of them that remain to be a vital part of our community life. It has been said that Wemindji becomes like a ghost town when the hunt for geese is at its prime.

 Walking Out Ceremony  Geese Ciijubg in Tipi  Goose for Walking Out Ceremony 

Our elders are the bedrock of Iyiyuu/Cree society, keeping traditions alive through stories and legends is what makes our nation so unique and strong as a people. Most lakes, rivers and mountains have a name and a story associated with them (sometimes many stories), knowledge of which has been passed down through the generations.

Historians also tells us that, following a mutiny, Mr. Henry Hudson and some loyal crew members were cast adrift in a small boat in 1611 in James Bay and the Old Factory/Wemindji area could be one of the areas in which may hold the key to finally unlocking the puzzle.