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Public Health to hold “From the Bush to the Table” Food Safety of Cree Foods training

ᐊᐦᒣᐆᓇᑭᑡᔾᑌᐁᒻᒃ ᐁᔪᐅ ᒣᐁᒋᒻ

January 28, 2016
photo: T. Philiptchenko for CBHSSJB

Ahmeoonakitwayteemk Eeyou Meechim

The CBHSSJB Training Program on Food Handling Best Practices for Cree Traditional and Store-bought Foods workshops have been given in Inland and coastal communities every year since 2008 and have resulted in over 150 trained participants.

This year the trainings will take place in Mistissini (February 23rd to February 27th), and in Chisasibi (March 8th to March 12th). Registration deadline is February 12th for Mistissini and February 19th for Chisasibi.  Space is limited, register soon! Information sheet and registration form | Poster

Hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering activities are fundamental to Cree culture of Eeyou Eestchee. Many members of the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee eat eeyou meechim on a regular basis. Traditional food is highly valued among the Cree for maintaining health, preserving cultural identity, intergenerational teaching, and promoting self-worth.

What we eat -- where it comes from, how it is cooked -- affects our health in many ways. Traditional Cree diets where people still mostly eat what they hunt; trap, fish and gather-- have been found to promote health and long life, for reasons only gradually coming to be understood.

Cree Traditional Safe Food handling practices

Cree Safe Food Handling Methods have been in existence and practiced since time immemorial. It is absolutely essential and necessary that these skills and practices be continuously observed to ensure that all Cree traditional foods are of the best quality when served at community feasts, family gatherings and institutional settings like the Chisasibi Hospital, MSDC’s, Group Homes, Reception Center, Childcare centers and Elder Homes.

At the training, special attention will be given to the respect and responsibility by each hunter of these animals harvested. Our Elders will speak on the food handling process that is followed after the animal has been killed. Any special ceremonies, spiritual teachings and feasts that accompanied each kill will also tbe aught.

Because traditional foods are effective in the prevention and management of diabetes, it is important and vital to expand this work in order to ensure the wisdom, important teachings and cultural knowledge of our Elders with regards to traditional foods is passed on to the younger generations. It is also essential to collect and transmit the most current scientific advances in this field to help bridge traditional practices with new knowledge and support from the scientific community.

This training will also increase the expected participation of Cree Hunters to support a more steady supply for serving Traditional Cree Foods at the CBHSSJB foodservice points to our clients and patients of all ages. Currently, the CBHSSJB is serving traditional food (TF) at the Chisasibi Hospital to the chronic care patients, the MSDCs clients in Chisasibi and Mistissini and the service points of the Youth Healing Services Department (YHS), such as the Group Homes and Reception Center.

This Safe Food Handling Workshop is a collaboration of our local Cree Elders, the Public Health Department of the Cree Board of Health, the Cree Trappers Association (CTA) and the Ministère de L’Agriculture, Pêcheries et l’Alimentation (MAPAQ).

For more information:

Reggie Tomatuk
Environmental Health Program Officer


Lilian Kandiliotis
Planning, Programming and Research Officer - Institutional Food Services


Media Inquiries:

George Diamond
Healthy Communities Program Officer