History & Geography

ᑎᐹᒋᒧᐧᐃᓐ ᐅᑏᔨᔨᒻᐦ

The present site upon which the community of Chisasibi is located is relatively new. The beginnings of the community, however, goes back several centuries, at which time, the then nomadic Crees used a nearby island for summertime assemblies. This island, later known as Fort George, eventually became the permanent site of the Chisasibi Crees. The establishment of a trading post by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1803 reinforced the island as a permanent site. In 1852, an Anglican mission was established, followed by an Anglican school in 1907 and a Catholic mission in 1927. The population of the community grew from an estimated 750 in 1940 to almost 2,000 in 1980, at which time it was relocated to its present site.

Fort George between past and present

Fort George 1979

During relocation, over 200 houses were physically moved and renovated on the new site. In addition, almost 100 new houses were built and many more houses since relocation. Many other community buildings have been built, community services established and economic enterprises set up in this rapidly-growing community.

The Fort George Relocation Corporation, an entity formed as a result of negotiations between the Crees and the Québec Government over the James Bay Power Project, was responsible for the relocation and the construction of the present town site. The relocation became necessary because of the possible erosion expected due to scheduled changes in the flow regime of the La Grande River and the desire of the Chisasibi Crees to be located on the mainland.

Chisasibi 1979
Chisasibi coming alive after the relocation from Fort George

Fort George Island now hosts the annual summer gathering “Mamoweedow” every July. Where family and friends gather for a week of feasting, games, dances and a return to more simpler times.

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