Waswanipi is a Cree community in central Quebec, located near the confluence of the Chibougamau and Waswanipi Rivers. The community has a population of about 1,400. The word “waswanipi” is usually translated as “reflection on the water”.
Some people say this word refers to the traditional night-time fishing method the locals, consisting of luring fish to light by using torches. The village was founded as a trading post the Hudson's Bay Company. The post was closed, however, in 1965. Its residents dispersed until 1978.
That year, the new village of Waswanipi was built about 45 km upstream the Waswanipi River from the former location. The Waswanipi is home to the famous Waswanipi Cree Model Forest, created in 1997 as a special project of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi.
The project received funding from the Canadian Forest Service as the only Aboriginal-run Model Forest in the Canadian Model Forest Network. The project ended in 2007, but the community is working to create the Cree Research and Development Institute. It would pick up where the Model Forest left off and strive to bring a Cree voice to development decisions. People of Waswanipi speak Cree, English and French.
The community has various public facilities including several businesses, administration buildings, post-office, schools, fire-hall and last but not least the Arena, which our people have made full use of. Cultural activities include Chiiwetaau (“going home”), an annual summer gathering for the community at the site of the old community (often referred to as the "Old Post") on Waswanipi Lake and an annual Pow Wow.
Besides, the community organises canoe and snowshoe journeys to help keep the knowledge of the old routes and travel techniques alive amongst the young.
Waswanipi is located along Route 113.