Death of five Cree hunters in Quebec fire an ‘unfathomable loss’

Five Cree hunters from northern Quebec have died in a cabin fire in a tragedy described by the Cree leader as an “unfathomable loss.”

CHIBOUGAMAU, Que. — Five Cree hunters from northern Quebec have died in a cabin fire in a tragedy described by the Cree leader as an “unfathomable loss.”

Matthew Coon Come identified the victims as David Jimiken, Emmett Coonishish, Chiiwetin Coonishish, Kevin Loon and Charlie Gunner.

“On behalf of the entire Cree nation, I extend our deepest condolences to the families and to the community of Mistissini who must all now find a source of compassion and strength to endure this terrible tragedy and to support one another in a journey of healing,” Coon Come said in a statement.

“At a time of such unfathomable loss, we can only express our deepest sympathies to the families and pray that the knowledge of the full support of the entire Cree nation will help in some way in providing comfort and easing the terrible pain they are suffering.

“Their loss is a loss for the Cree nation and we mourn with them. Their tragedy is the Cree nation’s tragedy.”

Details of how and when the fire began were still unclear.

Bill Namagoose, executive-director of the Grand Council of the Crees, said Gunner was a police constable with the Cree nation government.

He also said one staff member lost a brother, while another lost a husband, but he would not provide any details.

NDP MP Romeo Saganash, who is Cree, rose in the Commons on Thursday to express his condolences.

“There is no greater loss that a family and a community can face than the loss of a youth,” he said in a statement before question period.

“As a father, Mr. Speaker, I can’t even begin to imagine the pain that families and friends are feeling today.

“I want to send my support, my love and our prayers in these trying moments, in this dark time of need. May their memories be a blessing as we collectively attempt to come to terms with this sad and horrible loss.”

Saganash, who represents the federal riding of Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou, said one of his friends lost a son, a brother and three friends in the fire.

Quebec provincial police Sgt. Jean Tremblay said the five were meant to return to Mistissini at the end of March.

When they didn’t turn up, the locals sent out a plane that discovered the burned cabin in nearby Lac-Bussy.

Premier Philippe Couillard also expressed his sympathy.

“I want to convey my deep condolences to the Cree nation for the horrible tragedy that has happened,” he said in Quebec City.

“Circumstances have yet to be determined but for the Cree nation, for the community in Mistissini, it’s a horrible tragedy.”

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

A Comox Valley 55+ baseball team isa being organized for the 2021 season. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
18U AAA Carstar Braves start season strong

The Red Deer Carstar 18U AAA Carstar Braves started the Baseball Alberta… Continue reading

(Contributed image).
Online poetry reading to benefit Red Deer women experiencing period poverty

The Period Promise Poetry Powerhouse is a central Alberta collective of some… Continue reading

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

OTTAWA — Annamie Paul is firing back against the coterie of party… Continue reading

Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan leaves the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Bill to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clears Senate

OTTAWA — A landmark piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) flips a shot on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Russian goalies highlight Lightning-Islanders series

NEW YORK — Semyon Varlamov is the wily veteran, coming off a… Continue reading

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime reacts during his ATP Tour Singles, Men, Round of 16 tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Friso Gentsch-dpa via AP
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Roger Federer in second round of Noventi Open

HALLE, Germany — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime earned one of the biggest victories… Continue reading

A course official keeps out of the sun on the seventh green during a practice round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A different US Open than imagined at Torrey Pines

The spectacular ocean vistas will fill TV screens as usual, along with… Continue reading

A commuter pumps gas into their vehicle at a Esso gas station in Toronto on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Statistics Canada will say this morning how fast prices rose in May compared to the same month one year earlier amid expectations of a hot inflation figure for the second month in a row. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Annual inflation rate climbs to 3.6 per cent in May, highest in a decade

OTTAWA — Prices across the country rose at their fastest annual rate… Continue reading

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

OTTAWA — Better protections for the rights of air travellers, immediate refunds… Continue reading

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson speaks to media during the Liberal cabinet retreat at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. Wilkinson says Ottawa will step in to conduct assessments of new coal mines that could release the contaminant selenium.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma
Ottawa to review new steelmaking coal projects in Alberta’s foothills for selenium

The federal government will step in to conduct an environmental review of… Continue reading

Most Read