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Steering Committee

On August 4, 2016, the Agreement Concerning Investigations into the Ecology of the Coastal Region of Eeyou Istchee and its Relationship with Wildlife Important to the Cree was signed between the Cree Nation Government, Hydro-Québec and Niskamoon Corporation, calling for a comprehensive research program to better understand changes witnessed by Cree coastal land users for many years, most importantly the deterioration of eelgrass habitats. The research would have to, at a minimum, better understand the physical, social and biological components of these changes. To implement this agreement and to oversee the research project, a Steering Committee was appointed made up of representatives from the four coastal James Bay Cree communities, Niskamoon Corporation and Hydro-Québec.


The Committee has met over 40 times since its creation in 2016. Among other things, the Committee has developed the overall research protocol (including the central Research Questions), the terms of reference for the individual research components, recruiting researchers, reviewing interim reports, ensuring the links between research components and, finally, providing support to the research teams as they carry out their work.

A major focus of the Steering Committee is combining Cree Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Western Science. Indeed, Cree coastal land users play a key role in the research project, not only as guides and boat drivers, but as active knowledge contributors throughout the data collection process. While Traditional Knowledge is also a focus of one of the research components, it is also omnipresent in all of the components.

To achieve this end, biologists from the Canada Wildlife Service and Cree Regional Government, as well as three Hydro-Québec representatives provide support in developing the scoping of the research and evaluating deliverables.

Finally, the Steering Committee oversees the work of the Cree field team, made up of the Field Coordinator and the Assistant Field Coordinator.

The mandate of the Steering Committee, as established by the Agreement signed between the Grand Council of the Crees, Niskamoon Corporation and Hydro-Québec in August 2016 shall be to:

  • Elaborate a Comprehensive Program in connection with purpose of this agreement pursuant to Section 1 herein;
  • See to the implementation of the Comprehensive Program;
  • Review and comment specific aspects of each individual component of the research program, including terms of reference, results and conclusions in a constructive format lending to the credibility of the research.


Name Representing
Marc Dunn Niskamoon Corporation
Robbie Tapiatic Niskamoon Corporation/Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Ernie Rabbitskin Niskamoon Corporation
Ernest Moses/Clarence Happyjack Cree Nation of Waskaganish
Norman Cheezo Cree Nation of Eastmain
Geraldine Mark Cree Nation of Wemindji
James Bobbish Cree Nation of Chisasibi
John Lameboy Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Louie Kanatewat Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Roderick Pachano Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Emily Sinave Cree Nation Government
Jean-Phillippe Gilbert Hydro-Québec
Alain Tremblay Hydro-Québec
Carine Durocher Hydro-Québec
Mhaly Bois-Charlebois Hydro-Québec
Real Courcelles Hydro-Québec
Jean Rodrigue/Josée Lefebvre Canadian Wildlife Service

December 2019 group photo showing members of the Steering Committee and project researchers, Halifax, NS.