Canadian Geographic assignments are top ranking assignments for me. First, they’re almost always located somewhere I’ve never been to. Secondly, I learn about people living parallel lives but quite different from mine.
“Oujé Bougoumou? Could you repeat that? ...oh, near Chibougamau. Nope, never been there”.
The story is part of a series on relocated people. The Cree of Oujé Bougoumou have been relocated 7 times since Europeans arrived, mainly because of the mining activities surrounding Chibougamau.
The writer and I met and interviewed Grand Chief Abel Bosum and everything went as planned. By the next day, the village is dead quiet and there's not a soul around. We ask: “What do you mean Moose Break”?!? Our guides, Ron Simard and Victoria Crowe laugh. We’re city people so we never saw it coming. A nice fall weekend in northern Quebec is the perfect time for the people of Oujé to go moose hunting. Victoria is used to this though. She manages for us to meet the Wapachee family and away we go; hunting for moose and stories. Did I mention how I love to learn about people living different lives?
I now know where Oujé-Bougoumou is. I’m also filled with pretty amazing, sad and great stories. Let's be clear though, there is no skill in having been there. My only skill is to share these stories.
Many more images here: https://www.christianfleury.com/PROJETS/OUJE-BOUGOUMOU/thumbs
CanGeo map of relocation: https://relocation.canadiangeographic.ca/
CanGeo story: http://canadiangeographic.ca/article/search-promised-lands?fbclid=IwAR0zALqUv1ECZmKxZY83Dlhchd6ek6xdvqhskkpxijYCi_MKOQAz5fPvKos