Total population
392,420 (2016 census)
Including Atikamekw and Innu
Regions with significant populations
Canada, United States
Alberta 95,300
Saskatchewan 89,990
Manitoba 66,895
Quebec 58,640
Ontario 36,750
British Columbia 35,885
Montana 3,323
Newfoundland and Labrador 3,255
Northwest Territories 2,195
Nova Scotia 1,780

Cree, Cree Sign Language, English, French


Anglicanism, Pentecostalism, Roman Catholicism

Related ethnic groups

Métis, Oji-Cree, Ojibwe, Innu

The Cree (Template:Lang-cr, Néhiyaw, etc; French: Cri) are one of the largest groups of First Nations in North America.

In Canada, over 350,000 people are Cree or have Cree ancestry.[1] The major proportion of Cree in Canada live north and west of Lake Superior, in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.[2] About 27,000 live in Quebec.[3]

In the United States, Cree people historically lived from Lake Superior westward. Today, they live mostly in Montana, where they share the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation with Ojibwe (Chippewa) people.[4]

The documented westward migration over time has been strongly associated with their roles as traders and hunters in the North American fur trade.[5]

Sub-groups / Geography[]

The Cree are generally divided into eight groups based on dialect and region. These divisions do not necessarily represent ethnic sub-divisions within the larger ethnic group:

  • Naskapi and Montagnais (together known as the Innu) are inhabitants of an area they refer to as Nitassinan. Their territories comprise most of the present-day political jurisdictions of eastern Quebec and Labrador. Their cultures are differentiated, as some of the Naskapi are still caribou hunters and more nomadic than many of the Montagnais. The Montagnais have more settlements. The total population of the two groups in 2003 was about 18,000 people, of which 15,000 lived in Quebec. Their dialects and languages are the most distinct from the Cree spoken by the groups west of Lake Superior.
  • Atikamekw are inhabitants of the area they refer to as Nitaskinan (Our Land), in the upper St. Maurice River valley of Quebec (about 300 km north of Montreal). Their population is around 4,500.
  • East CreeGrand Council of the Crees; approximately 18,000 Cree (Iyyu in Coastal Dialect / Iynu in Inland Dialect) of Eeyou Istchee and Nunavik regions of Northern Quebec.[6]
  • Moose CreeMoose Factory[7] in the Cochrane District, Ontario; this group lives on Moose Factory Island, near the mouth of the Moose River, at the southern end of James Bay. ("Factory" used to refer to a trading post.)[8]
  • Swampy Cree – this group lives in northern Manitoba along the Hudson Bay coast and adjacent inland areas to the south and west, and in Ontario along the coast of Hudson Bay and James Bay. Some also live in eastern Saskatchewan around Cumberland House. It has 4,500 speakers.
  • Woods Cree – a group in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
  • Plains Cree – a total of 34,000 people in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Montana.

Due to the many dialects of the Cree language, the people have no modern collective autonym. The Plains Cree and Attikamekw refer to themselves using modern forms of the historical nêhiraw, namely nêhiyaw and nêhirawisiw, respectively. Moose Cree, East Cree, Naskapi, and Montagnais all refer to themselves using modern dialectal forms of the historical iriniw, meaning 'man.' Moose Cree use the form ililiw, coastal East Cree and Naskapi use iyiyiw (variously spelled iiyiyiu, iiyiyuu, and eeyou), inland East Cree use iyiniw (variously spelled iinuu and eenou), and Montagnais use ilnu and innu, depending on dialect. The Cree use "Cree," "cri," "Naskapi, or "montagnais" to refer to their people only when speaking French or English.[9]

Political aboriginal organization[]


Nēhiyaw camp near Vermilion, Alberta, in 1871

As hunter-gatherers, the basic unit of organization for Cree peoples was the lodge, a group of perhaps eight or a dozen people, usually the families of two separate but related married couples, who lived together in the same wigwam (domed tent) or tipi (conical tent), and the band, a group of lodges who moved and hunted together. In the case of disagreement lodges could leave bands, and bands could be formed and dissolved with relative ease, but as there is safety in numbers, all families would want to be part of some band, and banishment was considered a very serious punishment. Bands would usually have strong ties to their neighbours through intermarriage and would assemble together at different parts of the year to hunt and socialize together. Besides these regional gatherings, there was no higher-level formal structure, and decisions of war and peace were made by consensus with allied bands meeting together in council. People could be identified by their clan, which is a group of people claiming descent from the same common ancestor; each clan would have a representative and a vote in all important councils held by the band (compare: Anishinaabe clan system).[10]

Each band remained independent of each other. However, Cree-speaking bands tended to work together and with their neighbours against outside enemies. Those Cree who moved onto the Great Plains and adopted bison hunting, called the Plains Cree, were allied with the Assiniboine and the Saulteaux in what was known as the "Iron Confederacy", which was a major force in the North American fur trade from the 1730s to the 1870s. The Cree and the Assiniboine were important intermediaries in the Indian trading networks on the northern plains.[2]

When a band went to war, they would nominate a temporary military commander, called a okimahkan. loosely translated as "war chief". This office was different from that of the "peace chief", a leader who had a role more like that of diplomat. In the run-up to the 1885 North-West Rebellion, Big Bear was the leader of his band, but once the fighting started Wandering Spirit became war leader.


There have been several attempts to create a national political organization that would represent all Cree peoples, at least as far back as a 1994 gathering at the Opaskwayak Cree First Nation reserve.[11]


The name "Cree" is derived from the Algonkian-language exonym Kirištino˙, which the Ojibwa used for tribes around Hudson Bay. The French colonists and explorers, who spelled the term Kilistinon, Kiristinon, Knisteneaux,[12][13] Cristenaux, and Cristinaux, used the term for numerous tribes which they encountered north of Lake Superior, in Manitoba, and west of there.[14] The French used these terms to refer to various groups of peoples in Canada, some of which are now better distinguished as Severn Anishinaabe (Ojibwa), who speak dialects different from the Algonquin.[15]

Depending on the community, the Cree may call themselves by the following names: the nēhiyawak, nīhithaw, nēhilaw, and nēhinaw; or ininiw, ililiw, iynu (innu), or iyyu. These names are derived from the historical autonym nēhiraw (of uncertain meaning) or from the historical autonym iriniw (meaning "person"). Cree using the latter autonym tend to be those living in the territories of Quebec and Labrador.[9]


Cree language.

The Cree language (also known in the most broad classification as Cree-Montagnais, Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi, to show the groups included within it) is the name for a group of closely related Algonquian languages[2] spoken by approximately 117,000 people across Canada, from the Northwest Territories to Labrador. It is the most widely spoken aboriginal language in Canada.[16] The only region where Cree has official status is in the Northwest Territories, together with eight other aboriginal languages.[17][18]

The two major groups: Nehiyaw and Innu, speak a mutually intelligible Cree dialect continuum, which can be divided by many criteria. In a dialect continuum, "It is not so much a language, as a chain of dialects, where speakers from one community can very easily understand their neighbours, but a Plains Cree speaker from Alberta would find a Quebec Cree speaker difficult to speak to without practice."[19]

One major division between the groups is that the Eastern group palatalizes the sound /k/ to either /ts/ (c) or to /tʃ/ (č) when it precedes front vowels. There is also a major difference in grammatical vocabulary (particles) between the groups. Within both groups, another set of variations has arisen around the pronunciation of the Proto-Algonquian phoneme *l, which can be realized as /l/, /r/, /y/, /n/, or /ð/ (th) by different groups. Yet in other dialects, the distinction between /eː/ (ē) and /iː/ (ī) has been lost, merging to the latter. In more western dialects, the distinction between /s/ and /ʃ/ (š) has been lost, both merging to the former. "Cree is a not a typologically harmonic language. Cree has both prefixes and suffixes, both prepositions and postpositions, and both prenominal and postnominal modifiers (e.g. demonstratives can appear in both positions)."[20]

Golla lists Cree as one of 55 North American languages that have more than 1,000 speakers and which are being actively acquired by children.[21]

Illustration of a Snake woman (left) and a Nehiyaw woman (right), c. 1840–1843, Karl Bodmer

Identity and ethnicity[]

In Canada[]

Cree Indian, taken by G. E. Fleming, 1903

The Cree are the largest group of First Nations in Canada, with 220,000 members and 135 registered bands.[22] Together, their reserve lands are the largest of any First Nations group in the country.[22] The largest Cree band and the second largest First Nations Band in Canada after the Six Nations Iroquois is the Lac La Ronge Band in northern Saskatchewan.

Given the traditional Cree acceptance of mixed marriages, it is acknowledged by academics that all bands are ultimately of mixed heritage and multilingualism and multiculturalism was the norm. In the West, mixed bands of Cree, Saulteaux and Assiniboine, all partners in the Iron Confederacy, are the norm. However, in recent years, as indigenous languages have declined across western Canada where there were once three languages spoken on a given reserve, there may now only be one. This has led to a simplification of identity, and it has become "fashionable" for bands in many parts of Saskatchewan to identify as "Plains Cree" at the expense of a mixed Cree-Salteaux history. There is also a tendency for bands to recategorize themselves as "Plains Cree" instead of Woods Cree or Swampy Cree. Neal McLeod argues this is partly due to the dominant culture's fascination with Plains Indian culture as well as the greater degree of written standardization and prestige Plains Cree enjoys over other Cree dialects.[11]

The Métis[23] (from the French, Métis - of mixed ancestry) are people of mixed ancestry, such as Nehiyaw (or Anishinaabe) and French, English, or Scottish heritage. According to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Métis were historically the children of French fur traders and Nehiyaw women or, from unions of English or Scottish traders and northern Dene women (Anglo-Métis). Generally in academic circles, the term Métis can be used to refer to any combination of persons of mixed Native American and European heritage, although historical definitions for Métis remain. Canada's Indian and Northern Affairs broadly define Métis as those persons of mixed First Nation and European ancestry, while The Métis National Council defines a Métis as "a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation".[24]

In the United States[]

At one time the Cree lived in northern Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. Today American Cree are enrolled in the federally recognized Chippewa Cree tribe, located on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, and in minority as "Landless Cree" on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and as "Landless Cree" and "Rocky Boy Cree" on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, all in Montana. The Chippewa Cree share the reservation with the Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians, who form the "Chippewa" (Ojibwa) half of the Chippewa Cree tribe. On the other Reservations, the Cree minority share the Reservation with the Assiniboine, Gros Ventre and Sioux tribes. Traditionally, the southern limits of the Cree territory in Montana were the Missouri River and the Milk River.[25]

First contact[]

The Cree were first contacted by Europeans in 1682, at the mouth of the Nelson and Hayes rivers in what is now northern Manitoba, by a Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) party traveling about 100 miles (160 km) inland. In the south, contact was later. In 1732 in what is now northwestern Ontario, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, met with an assembled group of 200 Cree warriors near present-day Fort Frances, as well as with the Monsoni,[26] (a branch of the Ojibwe). Both groups had donned war paint in preparation to an attack on the Dakota and another group of Ojibwe.[27]

After acquiring firearms from the HBC, the Cree moved as traders into the plains, acting as middlemen with the HBC.

First Nation communities[]

[lower-alpha 1]


[[file:Template:Location map Canada Newfoundland and Labrador|240px|Kawawachikamach is located in Template:Location map Canada Newfoundland and Labrador]]
Naskapi communities

The Naskapi are the Innu First Nations inhabiting a region of northeastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada. The Naskapi are traditionally nomadic peoples, in contrast with the territorial Montagnais, the other segment of Innu. The Naskapi language and culture is quite different from the Montagnais, in which the dialect changes from y to n as in "Iiyuu" versus "Innu". Iyuw Iyimuun is the Innu dialect spoken by the Naskapi.[28] Today, the Naskapi are settled into two communities:

  • Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach is located in the Naskapi village of Kawawachikamach, Quebec, 15 km (9.3 mi) northeast of Schefferville, Quebec. The village is in the reserve of the same name.[29][30] Schefferville is less than 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Quebec/Labrador border and is not connected to the North American road network but its airport is 715 miles (1,151 km) northeast of Montreal.[31]


Eastern Montagnais[]

[[file:Template:Location map Canada Newfoundland and Labrador|240px|Mingan is located in Template:Location map Canada Newfoundland and Labrador]]
Eastern Montagnais communities

Innus of Ekuanitshit live on their reserve of Mingan, Quebec, at the mouth of the Mingan River of the Saint Lawrence River in the Côte-Nord (north shore) region.[35] The community is 182 km (113 mi) by road east of Sept-Îles, Quebec.

Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam based in Sept-Îles, Quebec, in the Côte-Nord region on the Saint Lawrence River.[36] They own two reserves: Maliotenam 27A and Uashat 27 located at both ends of Sept-Îles.[37]

Innu Nation of Matimekush-Lac John is based out of Schefferville, Quebec.[38] One reserve, Matimekosh, is an enclave of Schefferville. The other, Lac-John, is 2 km (1.2 mi) outside the town.[39]

Première Nation des Innus de Nutashkuan based on their reserve of Natashquan 1 or Nutashkuan. The reserve is located on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence at the mouth of the Natashquan River, 336 km (209 mi) by road east of Sept-Îles, Quebec.[40] Natashquan Airport is 643 mi (1,035 km) northeast of Montreal and 448 mi (721 km) northwest of St. John's.[41]

fr (Montagnais de Pakua Shipi) located in the community of Pakuashipi, Quebec, on the western shore of the mouth of the Saint-Augustin River on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the Côte-Nord region.[42] The community is adjacent to the settlement of Saint-Augustin and not connected by the North American road network. Saint-Augustin Airport is 798 mi (1,284 km) east of Montreal and 364 mi (586 km) northwest of St. John's.[43]

fr (Montagnais de Unamen Shipu) are located at La Romaine, Quebec at the mouth of the Olomane River on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. They have one reserve; Romaine 2.[44] The community is 467 km (290 mi) by road east of Sept-Îles.[45]

Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation located in the community of Sheshatshiu in Labrador and is located approximately 45 km (28 mi) north of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.[32] Sheshatshiu is located adjacent to the Inuit community of North West River. The Sheshatshiu Nation has one reserve, Sheshatshiu 3.[46]

Western Montagnais[]

Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation is located on the reserve of Mashteuiatsh in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region, 8 km (5.0 mi) north of Roberval, Quebec, on the western shore of Lac Saint-Jean.[47] The reserve is 265 km (165 mi) north of Quebec City.

Bande des Innus de Pessamit based in Pessamit, Quebec, is located about 58 km (36 mi) southwest of Baie-Comeau along the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River at the mouth of the Betsiamites River. It is across the river directly north of Rimouski, Quebec. Pessamit is 358 km (222 mi) northeast of Quebec City.[48]

Innue Essipit are based in their reserve of Essipit, adjacent to the village of Les Escoumins, Quebec. The community is on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River at the mouth of the Escoumins River in the Côte-Nord region, 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Tadoussac and 250 km (160 mi) northeast of Québec.[49]

Atikamekw (Nehiraw)[]

Map of Nitaskinan

Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw, officially named Atikamekw Sipi - Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw, is a tribal council in Quebec, Canada. It is composed of three Atikamekw First Nations. The council is based in La Tuque, Quebec. The Atikamekw are inhabitants of the area they refer to as Nitaskinan ("Our Land"), in the upper Saint-Maurice River valley.[50][51] The First Nations:

  • Atikamekw d'Opitciwan live in Obedjiwan, Quebec on the north shore of Gouin Reservoir in the Mauricie region. Their reserve, Obedjiwan 28, contains the community. It is located approximately 375 km (233 mi) by road west of Saguenay and 375 km (233 mi) east of Val-d'Or.[52]
  • Atikamekw of Manawan are based in Manawan, Quebec, on the south-western shores of Lake Métabeskéga in the Lanaudière region. The reserve is located 165 km (103 mi) by road northeast of Mont-Laurier or 250 km (160 mi) north of Montreal.[53]
  • Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci in Wemotaci, Quebec on the north shore of the Saint-Maurice River at the mouth of the Manouane River in the Mauricie region approximately 165 km (103 mi) north of Trois-Rivières.[54] The Nation owns two reserves; the first is around Wemotaci while the second is Coucoucache 24 on the north shore of Reservoir Blanc on the Saint-Maurice River.[55] Coucoucache 24 is not inhabited and is only accessible by boat.

James Bay Cree[]

Eeyou Istchee is a territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) of Nord-du-Québec represented by the Grand Council of the Crees.[56] On 24 July 2012, the Quebec government signed an accord with the Cree Nation that resulted in the abolition of the neighbouring municipality of Baie-James and the creation of the new Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government, providing for the residents of surrounding Jamésie TE and Eeyou Istchee to jointly govern the territory formerly governed by the municipality of Baie-James. Eeyou Istchee is a territory of eight enclaves within Jamésie plus one enclave (Whapmagoostui) within Kativik TE. Each enclave is a combination of a Cree reserved land (TC) and a Cree village municipality (VC), both with the same name.

Location of Eeyou Istchee within Québec

  • Cree Nation of Chisasibi is at the Cree village of Chisasibi on the south shore of La Grande River on the eastern shore of James Bay. The Nation's reserve is Chisasibi TC.[57] Chisasibi is accessible via road and its airport. It is 768 km (477 mi) northwest of Chibougamau via the Route du Nord and the James Bay Road. The road to Chisasibi starts at Km 600 of the James Bay Road.[58] (Chibougamau is 700 km (430 mi) by road north of Montreal). Chisasibi Airport is 621 mi (999 km) north of Montreal.[59]
  • Eastmain (Cree Nation) is located at Eastmain VC and Eastmain TC is the reserve. The Nation is located on the east coast of James Bay at the mouth of the Eastmain River.[60] Eastmain is 619 km (385 mi) northwest of Chibougamau via the Route du Nord and the James Bay Road.[61] Eastmain River Airport is 515 mi (829 km) north of Montreal.[59]
  • Cree Nation of Mistissini is based in the Cree village of Mistissini, located in the south-east corner of the largest natural lake in Quebec, Lake Mistassini. The associated reserve is Mistissini TC.[62] Mistissini is 90 km (56 mi) northeast of Chibougamau on Route 167. Chibougamau/Chapais Airport, 20 km (12 mi) southwest of the Town of Chibougamau, is 299 mi (481 km) north of Montreal.[59]
  • Cree Nation of Nemaska is headquartered at Nemaska VC and its reserve is Nemaska TC located on the western shores of Lake Champion.[63] The village is the seat of the Grand Council of the Crees.[64] Nemaska is 333 km (207 mi) northwest of Chibougamau, at Km 300 of the Route du Nord.[65] Nemiscau Airport is 444 mi (715 km) north of Montreal.[59]
  • fr (Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation) is located in the Cree village of Oujé-Bougoumou on the shores of Opémisca Lake. Oujé-Bougoumou is unique from the other Nations of Eeyou Istchee in that it doesn't have an associated reserve.[66] The village is 60 km (37 mi) due west of Chibougamau.
  • fr (The Crees of the Waskaganish First Nation) is located at Waskaganish VC at the mouth of the Rupert River on the south-east shore of James Bay. The associated reserve is Waskaganish TC, located at the site of the old Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Rupert.[67] The quickest but longest route from Chibougamau is 685 km (426 mi) via Route 113 and the James Bay Road. The airport is 475 mi (764 km) northwest of Montreal.[59]
  • Cree First Nation of Waswanipi is located in the Cree village of Waswanipi and the reserve is Waswanipi TC.[68] The Nation is located near the confluence of the Chibougamau and Waswanipi Rivers.[69] The village is 137 km (85 mi) due west of Chibougamau via Route 113.
  • Cree Nation of Wemindji is headquartered at Wemindji VC and its reserve is Wemindji TC.[70] The village is on the east coast of James Bay at the mouth of the fr (Maquatua River) and is 696 km (432 mi) north of Chibougamau via the Route du Nord. The airport is 569 mi (916 km) north of Montreal.[59]
  • fr (First Nation of Whapmagoostui) located at Whapmagoostui VC, is the northernmost Cree village, located at the mouth of the Great Whale River on the coast of Hudson Bay in Kativik TE. The village is just south of the river while the Inuit village of Kuujjuarapik.[71] Kuujjuarapik Airport is 701 mi (1,128 km) north of Montreal.[59]
  • Cree Nation of Washaw Sibi was recognized as the tenth Cree Nation Community at the 2003 Annual General Assembly of the Cree Nation.[72][73] The Nation does not yet have a community or reserve recognized by either the Canadian or Quebec governments but the Nation has chosen an area about 40 minutes' drive south of Matagami.[74]

Moose Cree[]

Constance Lake First Nation in Constance Lake, Ontario is the only Cree member of Matawa First Nations.[75]

Mushkegowuk Council, based in Moose Factory, Ontario, represents chiefs from six First Nations across Ontario. Moose Cree members are: Chapleau Cree First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation, and Taykwa Tagamou Nation.[76]

Wabun Tribal Council is a regional chief's council based in Timmins, Ontario representing Ojibway and Cree First Nations in northern Ontario. Moose Cree members are: Brunswick House First Nation and Matachewan First Nation.[77]

Swampy Cree[]

Fort Severn First Nation on Hudson Bay, is the most northern community in Ontario. It is a member of Keewaytinook Okimakanak Council.[78]

Keewatin Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Thompson, Manitoba that represents eleven First Nations across northern Manitoba. The Swampy Cree members are: Fox Lake Cree Nation, Shamattawa First Nation, Tataskweyak Cree Nation (also Rocky Cree), War Lake First Nation, York Factory First Nation.[79]

Mushkegowuk Council, based in Moose Factory, Ontario, represents chiefs from six First Nations across Ontario. Swampy Cree members are: Fort Albany First Nation and Attawapiskat First Nation.[76]

Prince Albert Development Corporation is based in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and is owned by twelve First Nations. Swampy Cree members include: Cumberland House Cree Nation, Red Earth First Nation, and Shoal Lake Cree Nation.[80]

Swampy Cree Tribal Council is, as the name suggests, a Tribal Council of Swampy Cree First Nations across northern Manitoba. The eight members include: Chemawawin Cree Nation (also Rocky Cree), Marcel Colomb First Nation (also Rocky Cree), Mathias Colomb First Nation (also Rocky Cree), Misipawistik Cree Nation (formerly known as Grand Rapids First Nation) (also Rocky Cree), Mosakahiken Cree Nation (Also 'Cree' name for Moose Lake First Nation), Opaskwayak Cree Nation (also Rocky Cree), Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, and Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation.[81]

Not affiliated with any Tribal Council: Fisher River Cree Nation,[82] Norway House Cree Nation,[83] and Weenusk First Nation.[84]

Woodland Cree[]

Rocky Cree[]

Keewatin Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Thompson, Manitoba that represents eleven First Nations across northern Manitoba. The Rocky Cree members are: Barren Lands First Nation, Bunibonibee Cree Nation, God's Lake First Nation, and Manto Sipi Cree Nation.[85]

Prince Albert Development Corporation is based in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and is owned by twelve First Nations. Rocky Cree members include: Lac La Ronge First Nation, Montreal Lake First Nation, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, and Sturgeon Lake First Nation.[80]

Swampy Cree Tribal Council is also owned by several First Nations with Rocky Cree populations: Chemawawin Cree Nation, Marcel Colomb First Nation, Mathias Colomb First Nation, Misipawistik Cree Nation (formerly known as Grand Rapids First Nation), Mosakahiken Cree Nation, Opaskwayak Cree Nation.[81]

Black Sturgeon First Nation

Not affiliated with any Tribal Council are Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation,[86] O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation,[87] and Cross Lake First Nation.[88]

Woods Cree[]

Athabasca Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The two Cree member Nations are Fort McMurray First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation, The Tribal Council has three other non-Cree members.[89]

Bigstone Cree Nation is not associated with a Tribal Council.[90] The Bigstone Cree Nation was divided into two bands in 2010, with one group continuing under the former name, and the other becoming the Peerless Trout First Nation.

Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council is based in Atikameg, Alberta with five members: Loon River First Nation, Lubicon Lake Band, Peerless Trout First Nation, Whitefish Lake First Nation, and Woodland Cree First Nation.[91]

Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council is, as the name suggests, a Tribal Council of First Nations surrounding Lesser Slave Lake. Member Nations include: Driftpile First Nation, Kapawe'no First Nation, Sawridge First Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, and Swan River First Nation.[92]

Meadow Lake Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan with nine member First Nations. The members with a Woods Cree populations is Canoe Lake Cree First Nation[93]

North Peace Tribal Council is a Tribal Council of five First Nations based out of High Level, Alberta. The only Cree member is Little Red River Cree Nation[94]

Western Cree Tribal Council is based out of Valleyview, Alberta. Cree member Nations are: Duncan's First Nation, Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation.[95]

Plains Cree[]

Downstream people[]

Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs is a Tribal Council located in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Members are: Ahtahkakoop First Nation, Moosomin First Nation, Mosquito-Grizzly Bear's Head-Lean Man, Red Pheasant First Nation, Saulteaux First Nation, and Sweetgrass First Nation.[96]

File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan. Cree member Nations are: Little Black Bear First Nation, Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation, Nekaneet Cree Nation, Okanese First Nation, Pasqua First Nation, Peepeekisis Cree Nation, Piapot Cree Nation, and Star Blanket Cree Nation[97]

Meadow Lake Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan with nine member First Nations. The members with Plains Cree populations are Flying Dust First Nation, Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, and Waterhen Lake First Nation[93]

Saskatoon Tribal Council is, as the name suggests, a Tribal Council based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Cree member Nations are: Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Muskoday First Nation, and One Arrow First Nation.[98]

Touchwood Agency Tribal Council, based in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, is a Tribal Council of four First Nations, collectively known as the Touchwood Hills Cree. The Cree Nations are: Day Star First Nation, George Gordon First Nation, Kawacatoose First Nation, and Muskowekwan First Nation.[99]

Yorkton Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Cree members are: Kahkewistahaw First Nation and Ocean Man First Nation.[100]

Without affiliation with any Tribal Council: Beardy's and Okemasis' Cree Nation,[101] Cowessess First Nation,[102] Ochapowace Nation,[103] Onion Lake Cree Nation,[104] Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation,[105] White Bear First Nations.[106]

Upstream people[]

Agency Chiefs Tribal Council is a Tribal Council located in Spiritwood, Saskatchewan representing three First Nations: Pelican Lake First Nation, Big River First Nation, and Witchekan Lake First Nation.[107]

Battlefords Tribal Council is based in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, The three member Nations are Lucky Man Cree Nation, Little Pine First Nation, and Poundmaker First Nation.[108]

Interlake Reserves Tribal Council is a Tribal Council based in Fairford, Manitoba. The only Cree member is Peguis First Nation.[109]

Without affiliation with any Tribal Council: Big Island Lake Cree Nation,[110] Thunderchild First Nation.[111]

Tribal Chiefs Ventures is a Tribal council based in Edmonton with the following Cree members: Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Heart Lake First Nation, Frog Lake First Nation, and Kehewin Cree Nation.

Beaver Hills Cree (Amiskwacīwiyiniwak)

Maskwacis Cree Tribal Council is based in the unincorporated community of Maskwacis, (formerly Hobbema) Alberta. The members are: Ermineskin Cree Nation (formerly: Ermineskin's Band of Cree)(also Nakoda), Louis Bull Tribe (formerly: Louis Bull's Band of Cree), Montana First Nation, and Samson Cree Nation (formerly: Samson's Band of Cree).[112]

Yellowhead Tribal Council is based in Morinville, Alberta. Member nations are: Alexander First Nation, Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation, O'Chiese First Nation, and Sunchild First Nation.[113]

Not affiliated with any Tribal Council: Enoch Cree Nation (formerly: Enoch's Band of Cree) – Winterburn, Alberta,[114] Paul First Nation (formerly: Paul's Band of Cree),[115] Saddle Lake Cree Nation[116]

United States[]

Montana Indian Reservations

Fort Peck Indian Reservation located near Fort Peck, Montana

Chippewa Cree on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation in northern Montana

Fort Belknap Indian Reservation located at Fort Belknap Agency, Montana

Other First Nations[]

Papaschase First Nation, removed from land that now makes up southeast Edmonton, were a party to Treaty 6 but are not recognized by the Canadian government.


The Hudson Bay Cree use a decoction of the leaves of Kalmia latifolia for diarrhea, but they consider the plant to be poisonous.[117]

Hudson Bay Cree use decoction.

Woods Cree subgroup[]

The Woods Cree make use of Ribes glandulosum using a decoction of the stem, either by itself or mixed with wild red raspberry, to prevent clotting after birth, eat the berries as food, and use the stem to make a bitter tea.[118] They make use of Vaccinium myrtilloides, using a decoction of leafy stems used to bring menstruation and prevent pregnancy, to make a person sweat, to slow excessive menstrual bleeding, to bring blood after childbirth, and to prevent miscarriage. They also use the berries to dye porcupine quills, eat the berries raw, make them into jam and eat it with fish and bannock, and boil or pound the sun-dried berries into pemmican.[119] They use the berries of the minus subspecies of Vaccinium myrtilloides to colour porcupine quills, and put the firm, ripe berries on a string to wear as a necklace.[120] They also incorporate the berries the minus subspecies of Vaccinium myrtilloides into their cuisine. They store the berries by freezing them outside during the winter, mix the berries with boiled fish eggs, livers, air bladders and fat and eat them, eat the berries raw as a snack food, and stew them with fish or meat.[120]

Notable Cree people[]

Mähsette Kuiuab, chief of the Cree, 1840–1843, Karl Bodmer.

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cree singer-songwriter, performing in Norway, 2012.

  • Janice Acoose, author, of Sakimay (Saulteaux) and Ninankawe Marival Métis ancestry
  • Nathaniel Arcand, actor
  • Irene Bedard, actress
  • Robyn Bourgeois, author and academic
  • Ashley Callingbull-Burnham, 2015 Mrs. Universe winner, actress and first nations activist
  • Mary Katherine Campbell, former Miss America pageant titleholder
  • Harold Cardinal, writer, political leader, teacher, and lawyer
  • Lorne Cardinal, actor
  • Tantoo Cardinal, actor
  • Jonathan Cheechoo, NHL and KHL hockey player
  • Billy Diamond, political leader, first Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
  • Neil Diamond, filmmaker
  • Angela DeMontigny, fashion designer
  • Michael Eklund, actor
  • Connie Fife, poet
  • Theoren Fleury, retired NHL hockey player, humanitarian, spokesperson, and author
  • Ralph Garvin Steinhauer, tenth Lieutenant Governor of Alberta and first Aboriginal to hold that post.
  • Edward Gamblin, musician
  • Mary Greyeyes (1920 – 2011), the first First Nations woman to join the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Michael Greyeyes, actor
  • Tomson Highway, playwright, librettist of the first Cree-language opera
  • Tyson Houseman, actor
  • Helen Knott, activist and author
  • Cody Lightning, actor
  • Ovide Mercredi, National chief of the Assembly of First Nations
  • Delia Opekokew, lawyer and activist
  • Bronson Pelletier, actor
  • Romeo Saganash, Member of Parliament for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, Quebec
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer[121]
  • Paul Seesequasis, writer and journalist
  • Cree Summer, singer/actress
  • Roseanne Supernault, actress
  • Richard Throssel (1882–1933), photographer
  • Michelle Thrush, actor
  • Gordon Tootoosis, actor[122]
  • Shane Yellowbird, country singer
  • Alfred Young Man (b. 1948), educator, writer, curator, artist

See also[]

  • Cree syllabics
  • Wahkohtowin (Cree law)
  • James Bay Cree hydroelectric conflict
  • Michif
  • Okichitaw


  1. ^ Main references used for the Cree First Nation communities:
    First Nation Profile:"Welcome to First Nation Detail". Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. 26 September 2019. 


  1. ^ "2016 Canadian Census". Statistics Canada. 21 June 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c "Cree". Historica Canada. 9 October 2018. 
  3. ^ "2016 Canada Census". Statistics Canada. 21 June 2018. 
  4. ^ "Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage". Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. 
  5. ^ Mackenzie, Alexander (1903). Voyages from Montreal Through the Continent of North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans in 1789 and 1793. New York: A. S. Barnes & Company at Project Gutenberg
  6. ^ "Les Amérindiens du Canada" (in French). Authentik Canada. 
  7. ^ "Moose Cree First Nation community profile". 
  8. ^ Government of Ontario. First Nations (Map). 
  9. ^ a b Honigmann, John J. (1981). "West Main Cree". Handbook of North American Indians. Volume 6: Subarctic. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian. ISBN 978-0-16-004578-3. "David H. Pentland, "Synonymy"" 
  10. ^ Dorian, Jon (30 October 2012). "Traditional Cree Nation Custom Council". 
  11. ^ a b Maclead, Neal (2000). "Plains Cree Identity: Borderlands, Ambiguous Genealogies and Narratives Irony". Canadian Journal of Native Studies 20 (2): 437–454. 
  12. ^ McLeod, Neal. "Cree". University of Saskatchewan. 
  13. ^ Mackenzie, Alexander (1931). Milo Quaife. ed. Alexander Mackenzie's voyage to the Pacific ocean in 1793. The Lakeside Press, R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. 
  14. ^ Thompson, David (1971). "Life with the Nahathaways". Travels in western North America, 1784-1812. Macmillan of Canada. p. 109. "The French them 'Krees', a name which none of the Indians can pronounce ..." 
  15. ^ (1982) "Group Identities in the Boreal Forest: The Origin of the Northern Ojibwa". Ethnohistory 29 (2): 75–102. DOI:10.2307/481370. 
  16. ^ "Canada: 2006 Census". Statistics Canada. 
  17. ^ "Languages Overview". Government of Northwest Territories. 
  18. ^ "Languages of Canada".  Note: The western group of languages includes Swampy Cree, Woods Cree and Plains Cree. The eastern language is called Moose Cree.
  19. ^ "Cree". 
  20. ^ Bakker, Peter (2013). "Diachrony and typology in the history of Cree (Algonquian, Algic)". Diachronic and Typological Perspectives on Verbs. Studies in Language Companion Series. 134. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 223. ISBN 978-90-272-7181-5. 
  21. ^ Golla, Victor (2007). "North America". In Christopher Moseley. Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. Routledge. pp. 1–96. ISBN 978-0-7007-1197-0. 
  22. ^ a b "Source". Canadian Geographic. 
  23. ^ "The Métis". 
  24. ^ "Métis Nation Citizenship". Métis National Council. 
  25. ^ "Cree". 
  26. ^ Theresa, Schenck (1994). "Identifying The Ojibwe". Algonquian Papers 25. 
  27. ^ Hlady, Walter M. (1960). "Indian Migrations in Manitoba and the West". MHS Transactions 17. 
  28. ^ Tanner, Adrian (16 October 2018). "Innu (Montagnais-Naskapi)". The Canadian Encyclopedia (online ed.). Historica Canada. 
  29. ^ "Our Community". Retrieved 31 October 2019. 
  30. ^ "Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach". 3 November 2008. 
  31. ^ "YUL-YKL". 
  32. ^ a b "Welcome". 
  33. ^ "Mushuau Innu First Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  34. ^ "YUL- YNP, YYT-YNP".,+YYT-YNP. 
  35. ^ "Les Innus de Ekuanitshit". 3 November 2008. 
  36. ^ "Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam". 3 November 2008. 
  37. ^ "Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam". 3 November 2008. 
  38. ^ "La Nation Innu Matimekush-Lac John". 3 November 2008. 
  39. ^ "La Nation Innu Matimekush-Lac John". 3 November 2008. 
  40. ^ "Première Nation des Innus de Nutashkuan". 3 November 2008. 
  41. ^ "YUL–YNA, YYT–YNA".,+YYT-+YNA. 
  42. ^ "Montagnais de Pakua Shipi". 3 November 2008. 
  43. ^ "YUL–YIF, YYT–YIF".,+YYT-YIF. 
  44. ^ "Montagnais de Unamen Shipu". 3 November 2008. 
  45. ^ "Bienvenue!". Retrieved 1 November 2019. 
  46. ^ "Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  47. ^ "Première Nation des Pekuakamiulnuatsh". 3 November 2008. 
  48. ^ "Bande des Innus de Pessamit". 3 November 2008. 
  49. ^ "Innue Essipit". 3 November 2008. 
  50. ^ "Atikamekw Sipi - Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw". 3 November 2008. 
  51. ^ "Les conseils de bande atikamekw" (in fr). 
  52. ^ "Atikamekw d'Opitciwan". 3 November 2008. 
  53. ^ "Les Atikamekw de Manawan". 3 November 2008. 
  54. ^ "Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci". 3 November 2008. 
  55. ^ "Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci". 3 November 2008. 
  56. ^ "The Eeyou of Eeyou Istchee". Grand Council of the Crees. 2019. 
  57. ^ "Cree Nation of Chisasibi". 3 November 2008. 
  58. ^ "Chisasibi & LG-1 Road". Retrieved 7 November 2019. 
  60. ^ "Eastmain". 3 November 2008. 
  61. ^ "Eastmain". Retrieved 7 November 2019. 
  62. ^ "Cree Nation of Mistissini". 3 November 2008. 
  63. ^ "Cree Nation of Nemaska". 3 November 2008. 
  64. ^ "Contact". Grand Council of the Crees. 2019. 
  65. ^ "Nemaska (Nemiscau)". Retrieved 7 November 2019. 
  66. ^ "Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  67. ^ "The Crees of the Waskaganish First Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  68. ^ "Waswanipi". 3 November 2008. 
  69. ^ "About Waswanipi". Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. 
  70. ^ "Cree Nation of Wemindji". 3 November 2008. 
  71. ^ "Première nation de Whapmagoostui". 3 November 2008. 
  72. ^ "Washaw Sibi". Grand Council of the Crees. 2019. 
  73. ^ Bonspiel, Steve (14 May 2004). "The Lost Cree of Washaw Sibi: The Tenth Cree Community of Eeyou Istchee finds its Identity". Nation 11 (13). 
  74. ^ Loon, Joshua (28 February 2014). "Washaw Sibi Cree Nation finds home, after decades scattered". CBC News. 
  75. ^ "Constance Lake". 3 November 2008. 
  76. ^ a b "Mushkegowuk Council". 3 November 2008. 
  77. ^ "Wabun Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  78. ^ "Fort Severn". 
  79. ^ "Keewatin Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  80. ^ a b "PADC Management Company Ltd.". 3 November 2008. 
  81. ^ a b "Swampy Cree Tribal Council Incorporated". 3 November 2008. 
  82. ^ "Fisher River". 
  83. ^ "Norway House Cree Nation". 
  84. ^ "Weenusk". 
  85. ^ "Keewatin Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  86. ^ "Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  87. ^ "O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  88. ^ "Cross Lake Band of Indians". 3 November 2008. 
  89. ^ "Athabasca Tribal Council Limited". 3 November 2008. 
  90. ^ "Bigstone Cree Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  91. ^ "Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  92. ^ "Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council". 3 November 2008. 
  93. ^ a b "MLTC Program Services Inc". 3 November 2008. 
  94. ^ "North Peace Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  95. ^ "Western Cree Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  96. ^ "Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs". 3 November 2008. 
  97. ^ "File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  98. ^ "Saskatoon Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  99. ^ "Touchwood Agency Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  100. ^ "Yorkton Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  101. ^ "Beardy's and Okemasis". 
  102. ^ "Cowessess". 
  103. ^ "Ochapowace". 
  104. ^ "Onion Lake Cree Nation". 
  105. ^ "Pheasant Rump Nakota". 
  106. ^ "White Bear". 
  107. ^ "Agency Chiefs Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  108. ^ "Northwest Professional Services Corp.". 
  109. ^ "Peguis". 
  110. ^ "Big Island Lake Cree Nation". 
  111. ^ "Thunderchild First Nation". 
  112. ^ "Maskwacis Cree Tribal Council". 3 November 2008. 
  113. ^ "Yellowhead Tribal Council". 
  114. ^ "Enoch Cree Nation #440". 3 November 2008. 
  115. ^ "Paul". 3 November 2008. 
  116. ^ "Saddle Lake Cree Nation". 3 November 2008. 
  117. ^ Holmes, E.M. 1884 Medicinal Plants Used by Cree Indians, Hudson's Bay Territory. The Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions 15:302-304 (p. 303)
  118. ^ Leighton, Anna L. 1985 Wild Plant Use by the Woods Cree (Nihithawak) of East-Central Saskatchewan. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series (p. 54)
  119. ^ Leighton, Anna L., 1985, Wild Plant Use by the Woods Cree (Nihithawak) of East-Central Saskatchewan, Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series, page 63
  120. ^ a b Leighton, Anna L., 1985, Wild Plant Use by the Woods Cree (Nihithawak) of East-Central Saskatchewan, Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series, page 64
  121. ^ Simonot, Colette P.. "Sainte-Marie, Buffy (Beverly) (1941–)". Retrieved 27 October 2019. 
  122. ^ Nestor, Rob. "Tootoosis, Gordon (1941-2011)". Retrieved 27 October 2019. 

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