Waskaganish 350 (Tree Fiddeh) celebrates its existence with a year-long series of events

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One theory says that the English sailor and explorer Henry Hudson wintered near Waskaganish in 1610. While there, he encountered a Cree gentleman and traded an axe, a mirror and other items for the man’s furs. The man promised he would return with more pelts but was never seen or heard from again.

The following spring, Henry Hudson was also never seen or heard from again. His mutinous crew made it back to England with stories of battles with the Inuit around Ungava Bay. Apparently, all they received was a slap on the wrist as punishment.

Almost 70 years later, in 1668, the Nonsuch sailed into what is now the Rupert River. And so, the Hudson’s Bay Company was born.

The community of Waskaganish has been marking the event with a year-long series of events in and around the town.

The winter celebration saw a toboggan/snowshoe journey from Siisiitsiinuuk in Rupert Bay to Waskaganish. Artisans from around the territory were invited to display their creations.

Performers from the south were also in Waskaganish. Canadian group Blue Rodeo played to a packed arena. John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band played in May. As well, the Innu band Kashtin played Waskaganish, as well as Kashkun.

The final event will be held in November when Gospel singer Jason Crabb is expected to visit.

One event of historical note was shared by the communities of Waskaganish and Nemaska. In the early 1970s, many people in Waskaganish weren’t very welcoming when the Nemaska people were relocated, after being warned that their village would be flooded. They were placed in the least livable parts of the then-very tiny village of Rupert House. A reconciliation ceremony was held between the two communities near the spot where the people from Nemaska settled for a brief period.

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