Cree

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Cree, English, French

Métis, Oji-Cree, Ojibwe, Innu

The Cree are one of the largest groups of First Nations/Native Americans in North America, with 200,000 members living in Canada. In Canada, the major proportion of Cree live north and west of Lake Superior, in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, although 15,000 live in eastern Quebec.[1]

In the United States, this Algonquian-speaking people lived historically from Lake Superior westward. Today, they live mostly in Montana, where they share a reservation with Chippewa (Ojibwa).[2]

Contents

Tribes

The Cree Nation is generally divided into eight groups (some political, others cultural):

Collectively the Cree used the autonym Nēhilawē (those who speak our language).[4] They used "Cree" to refer to their people only when speaking the languages of the European colonists, French or English.[5]

Skilled American bison hunters and horsemen, the Plains Cree were allied with the Assiniboine and the Saulteaux before they encountered French settlers in the 16th century.

Name

The name "Cree" is derived from the Algonkian-language exonym Kiristino, which the Ojibwa used for tribes around Hudson Bay. The French colonists and explorers, who spelled the term Kilistinon, Kiristinon, and Cristinaux, used the term for numerous tribes which they encountered north of Lake Superior, in Manitoba, and west of there.[6] The French used these terms to refer to various groups of peoples in Canada, some of which are now better distinguished as Severn Anishinaabe (Ojibwa), who speak languages different from the Algonkian of the Cree.[7]

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