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      Recently two books called Winisk have appeared . They were written by two different women who looked back many years to their stay on the river. The town of Winisk was situated at the mouth of the river until a disastrous spring flood in 1986 almost wiped it off the map. The village was relocated 20 miles up river and renamed Peawanuck. However the loss of two lives, homes and possessions, and the sudden move into the 20th century, caused confusion, emotional upheaval, and the loss of identity. A simple iron cross is the only thing that indicates the location of the old settlement.

    Winisk - A Cree Indian Settlement on Hudson Bay
    By Vita Rordam
    Published by Borealis Press 1998
    $24.95 383 pages
    ISBN 1-88887-181-3

      This book deals in part with problems faced by a Cree Indian community at the mouth of the Winisk River. In 1955 the Federal Government started construction of Site 500 - a radar station and airport across the River from the settlement, and the sudden arrival of some thousand construction workers jolted the natives, whose contact with the outside world had so far been minimal, into a different existence. Vita Rordam joined her husband, Bill, in Winisk and was herself hired by the main contractor, Carter Construction Ltd., for office work. As there were no married quarters at the camp, they lived in a cabin in the native community, travelling to work and back by dog sled in winter, by canoe in summer. Vita, the sole female employee, and the only non-native woman in the area, found her two-year stay in Winisk filled with hilarious, dramatic, exciting, and wonderful experiences. Her full-time job, the travel time to work and home, household duties, entertaining unexpected visitors, and helping to care for the sick (including Bill, who had a severe heart attack in 1956), left scant time for personal interests. However, she got to know her native neighbours, studied the wilderness, spoke to local missionaries, corresponded with professionals, travelled when possible, and hunted and fished with the men, keeping records of all she saw, heard, and learned. These records, supplemented by later data, provided the basis for Winisk.

      Winisk - On the Shore of Hudson Bay,
    By Mildred Young Hubbert
    Published by Natural Heritage Press 1997
    $16.95 ISBN 1-896219-35-7

    This book affers almost a sequel tgo the previous one dealing with a time some 15 years later. The late Mildred Hubbert married a teacher who worked in the original Winisk under what today would seem primative conditions. This was long after the Mid-Canada Line's Site 500 radar installation had been abandonned and forgotten. There were few ammenities back then and Mildred Hubbert paints a vivid picture of life in a small and isolated community. She and her husband George were there together for several years in the early 1970s. They played an active part in the community and came to know very well the cycles of the season and how the natives lived their lives - and how to be very resourceful.


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