Identifying potential receptors and routes of contaminant exposure in the traditional territory of the Ouje-Bougoumou Cree: land use and a geographical information system.

Research paper by Leonard J S LJ Tsuji, Harry H Manson, Bruce C BC Wainman, Eric P EP Vanspronsen, Joseph J Shecapio-Blacksmith, Tommy T Rabbitskin

Indexed on: 10 Aug '06Published on: 10 Aug '06Published in: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment


Great concern has been raised with respect to the 13 traplines that constitute the traditional territory of the Ouje-Bougoumou Cree located in the James Bay region of northern Quebec, Canada, with respect to mine wastes originating from three local mines. As a result, an "Integrative Risk Assessment" was initiated consisting of three interrelated components: a comprehensive human health study, an assessment of the existing ecological/environmental database, and a land use/potential sites of concern study. In this paper, we document past and present land use in the traditional territory of the Ouje-Bougoumou Cree for 72 heads of households, including 13 tallymen, and use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to layer harvest/hunting and gathering/collecting data over known mining areas and potential sites of concern. In this way, potential receptors of contamination and routes of human exposure were identified. Areas of overlap with respect to land use activity and mining operations were relatively extensive for certain harvesting activities (e.g., beaver, Castor canadensis and various species of game birds), less so for fish harvesting (all species) and water collection, and relatively restrictive for large mammal harvesting and collection of fire wood (and other collection activities). Potential receptors of contaminants associated with mining activity (e.g., fish and small mammals) and potential routes of exposure (e.g., ingestion of contaminated game and drinking of contaminated water) were identified.