Thanks to the hard work of our employees and the collaboration of our many partners, we have successfully implemented many different programs, ranging from the training of Crees for skilled jobs with Hydro-Quebec (over 50 Crees now occupy permanent positions), the rejuvenation of Cree community and family fisheries, the support of numerous cultural activities including summer gatherings and the enhancement of goose hunting facilities. This is not to mention the hundreds of kilometres of snowmobile and ATV trails already built throughout Eeyou Istchee.
On its 20th anniversary, Niskamoon Corporation salutes The Nation magazine and wishes it many more years of success and positive change.
Scary bedtime stories
As the new millennium approached back in 1999, we still told scary stories to the kids, just to keep them in bed and hopefully not too scared to stay awake all night – but just enough to keep them quiet. Those bedtime stories were based on tales of old.
Some came from ancient bodjigey (bogeyman, not the really scary disco guys) stories where even adults had to make sure that the doors were closed tight enough before telling the kids. Some of those stories were so scary, we had to wait until winter to tell them. Otherwise, spirits would pick up on those telling those tales and come to get them in the middle of the night, if they dared tell them in warmer months. I guess that those spooks hibernated all winter long.
Those stories, from the ones in which a person would mysteriously be transformed into a wolf, would keep us from ever ingesting wolf fur or hairs accidentally, or we would become the fate of the infamous werewolf. Some other stories were about babies crying in the woods, luring the innocent to their terrible deaths from dismemberment.
Some stories told of the big hairy creature commonly known as Sasquatch. Others would be of mermaids from the seas, luring men to their unknown fates as companions of the deep-sea monsters. Another favourite was of the wild gone-feral women of the north with their gnashing teeth and deadly knives, who hungered cannibalistically for the flesh of succulent men.
On another lighter note, rabbits with wings anyone?
The bodjegy is actually slang for the Portuguese, who used to sail up and down the coastlines of the James and Hudson’s Bay, raping and pillaging little settlements and small family camps. These stories gradually became more modernized, with strange encounters with lost surveyors of the late 1950s, when the first research was done in northern Quebec for the massive James Bay project and were under strict orders not to make contact with anybody.
Today, the monsters are more real than ever, and take the shape of humans in almost every instance. Take for example, the many cases of disappearances of young children in the past years, usually abductions from their own back- or front-yards. Now, that is scary.
Another eerie element is the groups of gangs in our own towns, the ones that tend to get you while innocently walking home in the evening and turning you into hamburger meat.
Every day and night it seems that there is another horror story that defies the gravity of our present intentions to become self-sufficient and self-governing, by the wayward actions of our own citizens.
Of course, there are always the drunks who scare everyone with their foolish ranting and ravings, often more than not into some sort of brawl. But lately, those same drunks are now paying for it in fines and social services are now becoming the ones to be afraid of, since they take children away in the middle of the night. But that is becoming more and more normal, which is scary in many ways.
I think I preferred the monsters of old, compared to the real-life horror stories that we now face on many occasions.