November 30, 2020

Eenou-Eeyou Community Foundation and the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund Help Provide Healthy Food in Eeyou Istchee During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 crisis, many Eenou and Eeyou living in the James Bay region, and many Elders in particular, are facing serious challenges in terms of their health due to Covid-19 restrictions. Some are faced with shortages of healthy, traditional food because they are not able to fish, tend to traplines, or to hunt.

Support from the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund has made it possible for the Eenou-Eeyou Community Foundation to make special grants for several food sovereignty and food security projects in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Recipients include several Cree entities and communities, including the Cree Trappers Association, which is employing hunters and fishers to provide traditional food to Elders and community members in need. The communities of Wemindji and Whapmagoostui conducted projects with Elders teaching youth regarding traditional Cree fishing practices, with the catches provided to local Elders.

Tina Petawabano, President of the Eenou-Eeyou Community Foundation, explains the importance of this initiative:

“In addition to meeting a clear need during this challenging time, these projects reflect very basic principles and traditions of the people of Eeyou Istchee, including the importance of providing our Elders with the kind of foods that are essential to their dietary needs and passing our cultural traditions to our youth.”

For more information about this and other Eenou-Eeyou Community Foundation initiatives, please contact Tina Petawabano, Foundation President, at

Photos: Brendan Forward