Cree Health Survey 2003, Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.1, Iiyiyiu Aschii: Demographic and social characteristics of the population living in Iiyiyiu Aschii

The survey was conducted during the summer of 2003 using a representative sample of residents aged 12 and older from the nine communities in Iiyiyiu Aschii: Chisasibi, Eastmain, Mistissini, Nemaska, Oujé- Bougoumou, Waskaganish, Waswanipi, Wemindji, and Whapmagoostui.

  • The population of Iiyiyiu Aschii is primarily young: only 6% are over age 65, compared to 15% in the rest of Quebec. Fully 91% of residents are of Aboriginal ancestry.
  • More than a third (37%) of households in the region contain six or more people, while the majority (74%) have at least four.
  • Most Cree residents speak Cree in the home (89%), and an even larger proportion is able to carry on a conversation in Cree (97%). In addition, 88% can converse in English, and 26% in French.
  • Education levels have risen substantially since 1991. Nonetheless, 67% of the Cree population still has a high school degree or less, while only 5%* have a university education.
  • Wages provide the major source of income in most households, but seasonal or intermittent employment is common: 35% of the labour force was employed for only part of the year preceding the survey, while 41% were employed all year. Seasonal employment is less common in the coastal communities than the inland ones, and this translates in to a higher unemployment rate in the coastal area.
  • Two thirds (68%) of Cree say that spiritual values play an important role in their lives, and 89% have some religious affiliation, most often Anglican or Pentecostal. Some people may also draw strength from traditional spiritual beliefs.
  • 82% of people in Iiyiyiu Aschii have a strong sense of belonging to their community, compared to just 56% of other Quebecers.
  • When asked about a list of community problems, high proportions of people agree that alcohol abuse, youth theft/vandalism, illegal drug use and child neglect are issues in their community.
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