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Thomas Jolly in his office in Nemaska (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Thomas Jolly in his office in Nemaska (Photo: Brian Mann)

In one life journey, the modern history of the Cree

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North Country Public Radio has been looking at the impact of massive hydro drams on the Cree Indians of northern Quebec. But construction of those dams is only the latest collision between the Cree and the outside world. In the course of a single lifetime, the Cree peopple have made a remarkable -- and sometimes painful -- transition. They've moved from a traditional, nomadic lifestyle to full engagement with modern culture and technology. Until the 1970s, native children in Canada were forcibly removed from their villages and their families. They were placed in residential boarding schools, where they were punished for speaking their native languages or practicing their people's religions. Thousands of children were physically and sexually abused. Thomas Jolly made this journey and has come full circle. He grew up in the bush, moved south to live in Canada's cities, and then returned to the remote Cree community of Nemaska. Jolly, who works now as an economic development planner, told his story to Brian Mann.

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