Activities In Waswanipi

See, experience, and learn about the Cree way of life  and leave Waswanipi with a memorable experience.

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Tourism in Waswanipi

The Light on the Water Tourism offers many traditional and cultural programs and services through knowledges and practice of the Cree way of life. Waswanipi has a vision of what tourism can bring to its community and how this dynamic industry can provide long-term and sustainable benefits to its members. By sharing and working in harmony with the Cree traditional way of life, we attract and promote Waswanipi’s as a unique cultural experience. Sharing is an important Cree value that guides our tourism activities. We do not only share the land, but also our Cree traditions and culture. From the Cultural Village to the yearly Waswanipi Old Post Fishing Derby, come and enjoy a unique experience in Eeyou Istchee.

Seasonal Activities in Waswanipi


Spring Activities

Spring is a time of renewal where families are getting ready for the waterfowl hunting. In April and May everyone partakes in the Goose Break and renews their relationship with the traditional territory.

  • Partake in partridge, ptarmigan, and goose hunt
  • Learn the preparation of traditional foods in the company of Cree families
  • Join families in traditional festivities, such as walking out ceremony 
  • Accompany our experience trappers in checking traps and preparing hides

Summer & Fall Activities

During the summer we celebrate Waswanipi’s history with Waswanipi Day in June and our annual gathering of our people “Chiiwetau” which means “Let’s go home!” in July at the Old Post.

  • Learn about our history during Waswanipi Day
  • Enjoy the land by visiting our traditional sites and portage trails
  • Experience fishing, net setting and smoking fish
  • Join us for our Annual Gathering Chiiwetau at the Old Post

Winter Activities

Winter is the season of intense trapping activities, as well as the time when much of the artisanal activities are done such as moose hide clothing, snowshoes and other traditional tools.

  • Join us for the annual Winter Games in March, a time to share your skills and have fun.
  • Get to know the land through snowshoe journeys and ski-doo races  
  • Enjoy camp stories, Cree legends and oral history with your hosts
  • Book overnight stays and expeditions 

Cultural Village

Our Cree Culture department is responsible for our Cree way of life, and it is geared to develop programs and activities for the community people of all ages. It is located down by the riverside area where our ancestors met at conjunction of the three rivers, Opawica, Chibougamau and Waswanipi River.

The Waswanipi Cree Culture Department welcomes you into a glimpse of our home. I will not say "welcome to our world", for we all share the same world, but instead I will say "welcome to our home, our neck of the woods where we come from". Our Cree culture is our identity, not just a practice, but a way of life.

The culture department is at the culture village site, and it is managed by Jerry Gull. He is the culture coordinator and the "grounds keeper" of the culture village. The office is in a beautiful Log cabin also known as "elders gathering place". We have a kitchen, lounge and dining area within the same building.


Waswanipi Old Post Fishing Derby

For the past decade Waswanipi hosts the annual Waswanipi Old Post Fishing Derby, the first such event to be organized in Eeyou Istchee. An event that brings people from far and wide, the Fishing Derby takes place over three to four days. We have recently expanded the parking lot located at the Chiiwetau Boat Landing and offer RV and camping sites at the Miquelon beach. You can always stay with us at the Waswanipi Old Post where you can rent tent frames. Don't forget to register and have your local fishing permit. Try your luck and win great prizes!

Our Seasons

Waswanipi is open to visitors year-round; it is a pleasure to receive guests at our cultural village to enjoy traditional activities and Cree cuisine. Every season we host a variety of cultural gatherings and events. During the summer we celebrate Waswanipi’s history with Waswanipi Day on June 10 or alternate dates. It was the day Waswanipi was inaugurated in 1976. We also have our annual gathering of our people “Chiiwetau” which means “Let’s go home!” This event takes place for two weeks in July at the Waswanipi Old Post. It is a time to gather our families and learn and pass on the traditional knowledge. We have workshops such as paddle making, preparation of hide, cooking and other Cree teachings. And it is open to everyone and anyone who wants to learn.

We invite you to attend and participate in our community activities and Festivities. Visitors will be experience a culture that is still very active and vibrant. You will enjoy that a large percentage of our people are bilingual and trilingual. We speak Cree, English and French. We can reassure you that you will be taking care of.


Break-up (siikun)

March and April - Early Spring

Snow crust season, hard snow surface facilitates movement and makes travel on snow easier and faster whether by foot or snowmobile. Moose hunting activities are rising and the migration to spring camps by the Cree family for preparation of the spring goose hunt happens at this time of the year.


Spring (miyuskamin)

May and June - Spring Thaw

School recess for goose break as part of the traditional activities for the children who are attending school. Preparing for water fowl hunting which intensifies towards the end of May and early June. Progressive migration from one camping area to another until the sustenance hunter arrives in the community around mid June.


Summer (niipin)

July and August - Summer

Blueberry and Fishing season.


Fall (waastepikun)

September and October - Early Fall

Intense moose,bear and small game hunting. Families move to respective traplines and fall hunting camps. Most of the community members are out hunting in areas designated by a tallyman of a trapline.


Freeze-up (tikwaatin)

November and December - Late Fall/Freeze-Up

Period of limited activity due to water freeze-up and thin ice. Trapping activities are done near the camp or wherever accessible by foot or a vehicle until ice is safe enough to travel on with a snowmobile. Pre-winter preparation period, (gathering of firewood, building winter camps, making winter clothing from moose hide, making snowshoes and other traditional tools).


Winter (pipun)

January and February - Winter

Fur is top quality at this time of the year, intensifying trapping for fur bearing animals with the trapper focusing primarily on beaver, otter, marten and mink.