West of the huge facilities of the La Grande complex, Chisasibi ("big river") is the last community accessible by road. Until 1981, this Cree community was located on Fort George Island (formerly Governor’s Island). Fort George was the site of a Hudson's Bay Company trading post built in 1837 by George Atkinson, a Scottish Métis who gave his name to the island. Fort George Island is a well known meeting place and a centre for festivities. Each summer, it hosts a major pow-wow that draws people from all over.
Wapanoutauw ( "land east of James Bay"), or Eastmain, was the location chosen by the Hudson’s Bay Company to set up its first permanent trading post which was called the East Main House. Traditionally, Aboriginal peoples gathered here to trade caribou pelts for birch bark which they used to make canoes. A first post was opened in 1690 and then, after moving to a few different locations, it was established permanently on the coast around 1723. Eastmain is home to the Cree Trappers Association.
The community of Mistissini (“big rock”) is located southeast of Lake Mistassini, the largest freshwater lake in Québec, and in the province’s largest wildlife reserve. Father Charles Albanel discovered this site in 1672 and French merchants established trading posts to intercept pelts headed for the English market. Mistissini was eventually the site of several trading posts and today is one of the largest Cree communities of the area. Because of its rich fish stocks, which never cease to amaze anglers, and a hydrographic network that extends to Lac St-Jean, this community has always been a popular meeting and trading place for the Crees.
On the western shore of Champion Lake lies Nemaska (“plentiful fish”), the smallest Cree community of the region. In 1970, the closing of the last Hudson's Bay Company trading post led to the dispersal of its population towards neighbouring communities. Seven years later, the former residents re-established the community. Today, Nemaska is a modern community, accessible via the Route du Nord, and an important administrative centre hosting the offices of the Grand Council of the Crees and of the Cree Regional Authority.
Oujé-Bougoumou (''the place where people gather'') is situated on the shore of Lake Opemisca. The names of Oujé-Bougoumou and Chibougamau share the same origin. Dispersed in neighbouring towns, communities and the forest, the band members reunited in 1992 to form the newest Cree community. Designed by architect Douglas Cardinal (Museum of Civilization, Hull) and combining modernity and tradition with an environmental outlook, it has won recognition and several United Nations awards.
Located on the shore of Rupert Bay at the confluence of the Nottaway, Broadback, Rupert and Pontax rivers, Waskaganish (“little house”) was a popular meeting place for inland communities. Also know as Fort St-Jacques, in 1668, it became the site of the very first trading post established by Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médart Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers.
The southernmost Cree community of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory: Waswanipi (”light on the water”), lies on the banks of the Waswanipi River. In 1846, an Anglican mission settled on a small island in the northern part of the lake, the former location of the village. Dispersed by the closing of the local trading post and the opening of a railroad between Chibougamau and Senneterre in the early 1960s, the population resettled the community at its present location in 1976.
At the mouth of the Maquatua River lies Wemindji (”ochre hills”). The name originates from the ochre found in the hills that was mixed with grease to make paint. This small community, also known as Paint Hills, Old Factory and Vieux-Comptoir, was once located on an island on Vieux-Comptoir River. Around 1686, the North West Company and French Chevalier Pierre de Troyes deployed soldiers in the area and managed to dislodge the Hudson’s Bay Company and take control of the bay for a short time. In 1935, the Hudson’s Bay Company opened a new trading post and, in 1959, the community was relocated to the coast.
Whapmagoostui (“place of the beluga”) is the northernmost Cree community in Quebec, located at the mouth of the Great Whale River on the coast of Hudson Bay in Nunavik. The local population consists of about 900 Cree and 650 Inuit, who live in the neighbouring village of Kuujjuarapik. The community is only accessible by air (Kuujjuarapik Airport) and, in late summer, by boat. Whapmagoostui is about 250 kilometres north of the nearest Cree community, Chisasibi.