Date(s) Price(s)
August 27-September 3, 2024 $2,690

Canoeing With The Cree

This trip offers our guests a rare opportunity to travel through the ancestral homeland of a Cree couple, David and Anna Bosum. David and Anna grew up in the bush living the traditional subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and trapping.

On this trip, you will learn how to: set fish nets, clean, cut, and smoke fish, and try traditional crafts, such as moccasin or paddle making.

Much of our diet during Canoeing with the Cree is what they refer to as “country food”; that is, food that comes from the land or water, so you will have the chance to try moose, goose, walleye, beaver, and several species of trout. We will spend one day in the Cree Village of Ouje-Bougoumou learning more about the Cree language and culture. We also take a tour of the Cree Cultural Museum. You’ll learn traditional Northwood canoe traveling techniques with the people who developed them. To view a trip itinerary, click here.




  1. One or two Cree guides, one Mahoosuc guide
  2. Transport by Mahoosuc van from Mahoosuc Guide Service
  3. Food on trip starting in village of Ouje Bougoumou, Quebec
  4. Camping equipment including sleeping bag and pad


  1. Transport to Chibougamou via airline
  2. Food on the road if traveling with Mahoosuc to Ouje-Bougoumou

Traditional Subsistence Lifestyle

As subsistence hunters, the Cree did not normally hunt big game in the summer because the temperature is too warm. Smaller game and fowl, such as spruce grouse and goose, were hunted to supplement the main part of their diet, which was fish in the summer months.


Although we won’t be hunting big game, you will be in a position to learn a lot about the Cree’s keen observational awareness skill that they use for tracking and finding big game. 


The Cree are superb subsistence fishermen. If they are not very hungry, they might cast a lure with a spin-in rod and reel, but as subsistence fishermen, they don’t mess around. You will learn how and where to set fishnets under the surface of the water. We’ll leave the nets for one or two nights, then head out in canoes to collect our catch.

Species commonly found in the net are walleye, brook trout, lake trout, red sucker, and northern pike. We’ll take our catch back to camp where you will learn how to filet and properly cut the filets for smoking. We will spend a whole day just preparing and smoking fish.

Exploring Ouje-Bougoumou Cree Village

The Cree village of Ouje-Bougoumou was recognized by the United Nations as a model indigenous community. Their first language is still Eeyou (Cree), which you will hear spoken in the village. Most young people speak English or French as a second language. Ouje-Bougoumou was chosen to be the location of the Cree Culture and Heritage Center Museum, which is a state-of-the-art facility full of award-winning exhibits.

The Last Generation of Cree Subsistence Hunters

David and Anna Bosum represent the last living generation of Cree subsistence hunters that were actually born in the bush and grew up living the traditional lifestyle. In many ways, they are an outstanding example of traditional Cree culture. After Anna and David walk on (as they are both in their mid to late 70s), you will never have the opportunity to spend time in the bush with Dab Eeyou (meaning “absolutely Cree”).

Cree Cultural Museum Tour

To further enhance your understanding of the Cree culture, you will be taken on a guided tour of the Cree Cultural Museum. This fascinating institution showcases the history, art, and traditions of the Cree people, providing a comprehensive overview of their storied past and present. Through captivating exhibits and artifacts, you’ll gain valuable insights into the resilience and adaptability of the Cree people and their unique way of life.

By exploring Ouje-Bougoumou Cree Village and visiting the Cree Cultural Museum, you’ll be able to deepen your connection with the land, its people, and its remarkable heritage.

Northwoods Canoe Travel Techniques

Under the guidance of David and Anna Bosum, you’ll learn traditional Cree canoe strokes and paddling techniques.

  • Cultural Significance of Canoeing

The Cree word for canoe is “ode.” For thousands of years, the canoe was the Cree’s pickup truck. Their roads were the rivers and lakes of Eeyou Istchee. Many mishmookin (“white people”) think they know how to canoe the “Indian” way. If you really want to learn to canoe this way, go on a canoe trip with Anna and David.

  • Paddling Techniques

On your Canoeing with the Cree trip with Anna and David, you will want to watch their canoe strokes very attentively. An unspoken and unwritten cultural norm is that you need to learn by keen and focused observation. This is how native children learn skills from their parents and grandparents. You will not get a formal canoe strokes lesson from Anna and David as you would from a non-Native canoeing instructor.

  • Canoe Portaging

During our trip through the wilderness of Eeyou Istchee, we may need to do one or two kibbataggin (meaning “portage” or “carry”). One of the techniques you will learn about on portages is how to properly size and use a wattump (“tump lines” in English).

  • The Pace of Canoeing with the Cree

When the Cree are in the bush country traveling by canoe, they are never in a rush in getting from point A to point B. When you do stuff and where you go is determined by the weather, how people are feeling, where the good berry picking is, and the ideal sites for setting fishnets. They do not do things according to the wristwatch, but rather when “the time is right.” You will not have to bring your watch on the Canoeing with the Cree trip!

With a focus on Northwoods canoe travel techniques, the Canoeing with the Cree trip provides you with the priceless opportunity to spend time in the bush with the last generation of Cree, who are truly Dab Eeyou.

Ready to embark on this trip? Book your reservation today or contact us for more information!

For trip itinerary, click here

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Custom trips

Mahoosuc Guide Service can design custom Maine canoe trips for families, youth groups, clubs, or organizations from one to 10 days in length. We can also design trips to retrace any part of Henry David Thoreau’s route, including Webster Brook and East Branch of the Penobscot River. Contact us today to discuss your group’s interests, abilities, goals, and available dates.

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Safety and Basic Information for Canoe Trips

All our Maine canoe trips are fully outfitted and guided by Mahoosuc Guide Service’s owners Polly or Kevin. We provide all the food, camping, paddling, and cooking equipment, as well as a detailed clothing list to help you in packing for your trip. Most of our trips meet in Orono, Maine (just north of Bangor). We provide transportation to and from the river. Many of our canoe trips require no special physical conditioning. If you have any concerns about the physical requirements of a trip, please contact us.

On the Trip:

We are experienced teachers and will help you master the art of canoeing by teaching paddle strokes and poling techniques. You will learn how to set up a warm dry camp, and if you want, how to cook and bake over an open fire. All our food is natural or organic, and we source much of our food locally. Natural history, wildlife viewing, and fishing will be covered as your interests warrant.


You are in safe hands with Mahoosuc Guide Service. With more than 40 years guiding experience from Maine and Quebec to the Yukon Territory and Alaska, we have an excellent safety record. We are certified in Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responders. We carry a satellite phone for emergency communication!


Trip Itinerary



Day 1

Drive to Ouje Bougoumou, Quebec OR fly to Chibougamau, Quebec.

Stay in cultural village.

Day 2

Tour of village.

Stay in David and Anna Bosum’s bush camp outside of town.

Day 3-6

Two day canoe trip down Chibougamau River to Scot Lake. Set up base camp.

Set fish net, smoke fish. Cree crafts of carving paddles, sewing, learning bush medicine.

Paddle back up river (slow current) to put in.

Day 7

Overnight in David and Anna’s bush camp.

Day 8

Drive home.