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Cree

CREE

CREE. The Crees are a tribe with a long history in the United States and Canada. Their current territory ranges from the eastern shores of James Bay, down through northern Ontario, across the Prairie Provinces of Canada to the Rocky Mountains, north to the Northwest Territories, and south to the states of Montana and the Dakotas.

Traditionally the Crees were adept at selecting from other cultures those things they saw as useful while ignoring the rest. This trait was especially evident during the fur trade, when they were known as middlemen. The Crees' trade practices in Prince Rupert's Land involved holding the prime locations around Hudson Bay Company posts. The trade goods they received were paid for with furs that came from other Crees in the northwest. The Crees near the posts would use the goods for a time and then pass them on to other Crees. Eventually, these used goods, especially firearms, would be traded to other tribes, such as the Blackfeet, for horses. In turn, the Blackfeet would use the guns to protect themselves from other warlike tribes and, in the process, protect the Crees from


these same people. Using trade goods to arm a buffer tribe between themselves and their enemies is a good example of the Crees' astute use of an economic power in the political arena.

In the modern era, the Crees have been major players in the political activities of Aboriginal people in Canada. They successfully negotiated a modern treaty in the James Bay area (1975) and are often found as political leaders in tribal organizations. Despite their history of economic and political astuteness, many Crees are located on isolated reserves and suffer from extreme poverty. Land claims and other claims for past mismanagement and abuse are now seen as the basis for re-creating the Crees' economic system. From their historic leader Big Bear in the 1880s and his dream of a collective of tribes living in western Canada to the Crees' modern political leaders, the object remains the same: the establishment and protection of a self-reliant nation of Crees.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Mandelbaum, David G. The Plains Cree: An Ethnographic, Historical, and Comparative Study. Regina, Saskatchewan: Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina, 1979. Originally published in 1940, it is one of the best sources for Cree cultural practice in the Plains area. Despite its age, there is no other work currently available that describes in such detail the Crees' spiritual, cultural, and social activity, with attention to specific practice and its development in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.

Milloy, John S. The Plains Cree: Trade, Diplomacy, and War, 1790– 1870. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1990. A telling description of the Crees' use of fur trade economics for their political requirements. The descriptions of why and how the Plains Crees used trade as a political tool should be required reading for anyone who assumes that First Nations were unable to manage the fur trade for their own purposes.

Richardson, Boyce. Strangers Devour the Land. Vancouver, British Columbia: Douglas and McIntyre, 1991. One of the better descriptions of a modern treaty-making process and the Crees' determination not to be disadvantaged by hydroelectric development. Combined with the two texts mentioned above, this work should provide the reader with an excellent overview of the reality of the Crees, historically and in the modern era.

FredShore

See alsoFur Trade and Trapping ; Tribes: Great Plains .

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Cree

Cree, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They formerly inhabited the area S of Hudson Bay and James Bay in what is now Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba S of the Churchill River. Members of one branch of the Cree, allying themselves with the Siouan Assiniboin, moved southwestward into buffalo territory and became the Plains Cree. It is probable that they introduced the method of hunting buffalo by driving them into enclosures, since the Woodland Cree used this method in hunting deer. The traditional culture and language of the Woodland Cree greatly resembles that of the Ojibwa.

A warlike tribe, the Cree were nevertheless friendly toward French and English fur traders, and their history is closely connected with the activities of the Hudson's Bay and the North West companies. They were powerful in the late 18th cent. until smallpox drastically reduced their population. In 1884 they were involved in the second Riel Rebellion (see Riel, Louis), in Saskatchewan.

About 200,000 Cree live in 135 bands in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. They have the largest population and are spread over the largest geographic area of any aboriginal group in Canada. In the 1990s, Cree living in N Quebec waged strong opposition to the province's planned massive James Bay hydroelectric project, but in 2002 they negotiated an agreement with Quebec that permitted partial hydroelectric development, mining, and logging in exchange for jobs and $3.5 billion in financing (over 50 years). The agreement also recognized the autonomy of the Cree as a native nation. In 2012 they signed an agreement with Quebec to establish the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory (largely the former Baie-James municipality), 114,801 sq mi (297,333 sq km), to be jointly governed by Crees and non-Cree residents. In 1990 there were over 8,000 Cree in the United States, some of them sharing a reservation in Montana with the Ojibwa.

See L. Mason, The Swampy Cree (1967); E. T. Denig, Five Indians Tribes of the Upper Missouri (1975).

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Cree

Cree People belonging to the Algonquin language family of Native Americans in Canada, who ranged from James Bay to the Saskatchewan River. Like the closely related Chippewa, the Cree served as guides and hunters for French and British fur traders. Many of the Plains Cree intermarried with the French. Today, there are c.130,000 Cree.

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Cree

Cree / krē/ • n. (pl. same or Crees ) 1. a member of a American Indian people living in a vast area of central Canada. 2. the Algonquian language of this people, closely related to Montagnais. • adj. of or relating to the Cree or their language.

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Cree

Creeabsentee, addressee, adoptee, agree, allottee, amputee, appellee, appointee, appraisee, après-ski, assignee, attendee, bailee, bain-marie, Bangui, bargee, bawbee, be, Bea, bee, bootee, bouquet garni, bourgeoisie, Brie, BSc, buckshee, Capri, cc, chimpanzee, cohabitee, conferee, consignee, consultee, Cree, debauchee, decree, dedicatee, Dee, degree, deportee, dernier cri, detainee, devisee, devotee, divorcee, draftee, dree, Dundee, dungaree, eau-de-vie, emcee, employee, endorsee, en famille, ennui, enrollee, escapee, esprit, evacuee, examinee, expellee, fee, fiddle-de-dee, flea, flee, fleur-de-lis, foresee, franchisee, free, fusee (US fuzee), Gardaí, garnishee, gee, ghee, glee, goatee, grandee, Grand Prix, grantee, Guarani, guarantee, he, indictee, inductee, internee, interviewee, invitee, jamboree, Jaycee, jeu d'esprit, key, knee, Lea, lee, legatee, Leigh, lessee, Ley, licensee, loanee, lychee, manatee, Manichee, maquis, Marie, marquee, me, Midi, mortgagee, MSc, nominee, obligee, Otomi, parolee, Parsee, parti pris, patentee, Pawnee, payee, pea, pee, permittee, plc, plea, pledgee, pollee, presentee, promisee, quay, ratatouille, referee, refugee, releasee, repartee, retiree, returnee, rupee, scot-free, scree, sea, secondee, see, settee, Shanxi, Shawnee, shchi, she, shea, si, sirree, ski, spree, standee, suttee, tant pis, tea, tee, tee-hee, Tennessee, testee, the, thee, three, thuggee, Tiree, Torquay, trainee, Tralee, transferee, tree, Trincomalee, trustee, tutee, twee, Twi, undersea, vestee, vis-à-vis, wagon-lit, Waikiki, warrantee, we, wee, whee, whoopee, ye, yippee, Zuider Zee

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