Cree First Nation Reopens Lumber Mill, Creating New Jobs and Hoping to Address Social Issues in the Community

The Cree Community of Waswanipi has reopened a lumber mill in the hopes of attracting jobs and addressing some of the social issues in the community. The facility has been dormant since 2012 and needed an overhaul to make it operational again.

The mill, located 700 km north of Montreal, just outside of the Waswanipi Cree First Nation, is a collaboration with the Cree-Owned Mistuk Corporation and another local non-Indigenous company, Chantiers Chibougamau. The funding for the project is coming from various provincial and federal funding bodies, as well as the Cree National Government.

The Cree Nation intends to use the sawmill’s lumber output to address the lack of housing in the nine Cree communities on their ancestral territory of Eeyou Istchee in Quebec. It is estimated that 5,250 new family homes will need to be built in the next 15 years to address the shortage.

The sawmill is currently hiring 30 full-time jobs and will provide time off to workers during the goose and moose hunting seasons. The Cree Lumber mill is expected to be fully operational early in 2023.

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