Chisasibi (Cree: ᒋᓴᓯᐱ/Cisasipi meaning Great River) is a Cree village on the eastern shore of James Bay, in the Eeyou Istchee territory in northern Quebec, Canada.
It is situated on the south shore of La Grande River (the Grand River), less than 10 km (6.2 mi) from the river’s mouth. Chisasibi is one of ten Cree villages in the region, and is a member of the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec.
The Cree have lived in the region for many centuries but were nomadic. In 1803, the Hudson’s Bay Company founded Fort George, a trading post on the north shore, which was relocated to the largest island in the mouth of La Grande River in 1837. Fort George became a permanent village as the local Cree population until 1981. The Quebec Government built a new community on the mainland’s south shore, relocating the population and some 200 houses to the new site. The village was renamed Chisasibi (official name: Cree Nation of Chisasibi).
Chisasibi is the most northern Cree village accessible by road. A 90 kilometre paved road, running from Radisson, and parallel to the Grand River, connects Chisasibi to the James Bay Road (French: Route de la Baie James). The James Bay Road was built from 1971 to 1974 as part of the James Bay hydroelectric project and connects Matagami to Radisson. Chisasibi Airport is located just west of the village and Air Creebec operates scheduled service from this airport.
Many Cree in Chisasibi engage in hunting, trapping, and fishing activities but all catch is meant for local consumption. Other economic activity includes local services (health care and education), employment by Hydro-Québec and some hospitality services. An elected Chief and Council help administer the Cree Nation of Chisasibi.
Chisasibi, in comparison to most communities, is a relatively new community; however, guided by strong leadership and people, continues to seek ways to preserve and strengthen the Cree language, culture, education, traditions, beliefs and values. Likewise like in modern society, they strive to balance these realities, the new with the old, to ensure a positive future.
“One teaching our Elders passed on is to make our guest feel welcomed. So in that spirit, we therefore welcome you. Come and visit Chisasibi – the home of the “Great River” people.” Chief Davey Bobbish, Cree Nation of Chisasibi