The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay is saddened to learn of the passing of Lucie Bergeron. She arrived in Chisasibi in 1989 with her partner, at that time, a practicing physician, and their 3 children. While in Chisasibi, she started the first daycare and become the pioneer of all Daycare Centres in Eeyou Istchee.
While in Chisasibi, she started the first daycare and become the pioneer of all Daycare Centres in Eeyou Istchee, from setting up the board of directors for each centre to developing the training programs for educators and overseeing the construction of these facilities and securing funding.
Lucie is also the founder of Little FireFlies, La Maison des Petites Lucioles, a respite centre in Quebec City, where Cree children with multiple disabilities are placed.
CBHSSJB pays tribute to Lucie Bergeron, through the voices of local Cree Women.
"We first met and knew Lucie when our children were attending daycare. The makeshift daycare was situated across from the hospital in a building that used to be a bakery. Lucie was a great and passionate supporter of childcare services in our community and the love and care of children showed in every aspect of her work. As the Board of Directors of the first Anjabowa Daycare Centre, our meetings were always fun as Lucie’s English language translations were met with laughter which she didn’t mind, eventually over several years she mastered the English language as well as knowing our own language terminologies and sayings. Anjabowa Lucie, as we affectionately called her, is a term of endearment in our language we use for showing love and compassion to children and anyone. She was very modest and humble and never wanted to take sole credit for the work. Whenever we showed gratitude to her, she would reply ‘this is ALL your work’.
Lucie was instrumental with our meeting negotiations with OSGE in securing funding to establish the first affiliated daycare centre in our community of Chisasibi. as well as in the promotion and delivery of the childcare workers service training program.
Together with our local team and Lucie, we facilitated workshops on “Childcare Services in a native community” at the National Childcare Association of Canada in Toronto, Ontario and collaborated on the manual entitled “Setting up a Daycare Centre in a Native Community.” We participated in the national daycare conference in Montreal with different groups such as the Quebec Native Women’s Association and Montreal Native Friendship Center. She helped and supported us when we applied for the Headstart Program geared for First Nation children.
Most of all we will always remember Lucie as being a team inspired person and loveable to everyone. We will remember her generosity as sometimes we knew she gave her own time and her own finances to make sure that all the children were happy, taken good care of and that they had good furniture, toys and most of all, a friendly environment to play, nap and eat. She was so excited and emotional whenever she talked about the children.
Farewell our friend ‘Anjabowa Lucie” May you rest in peace, Mishtiih Chinaaskuumutinaan.
Sending prayers and sincere condolences to your family and friends.
– Margaret Fireman, on behalf of the first Board of Directors of Anjabowa Daycare, Chisasibi, Quebec, July 7, 2023
Jeannie Pelletier had the pleasure of working with Lucie Bergeron with the planning and grand opening of the second childcare and expansion of the first childcare Anjabowa Daycare Centre.
"Lucie was a trailblazer and we would affectionately call her the “energizer bunny”, Lucie was known for her immense energy, she had so much passion for her work. Her efforts in establishing these child care centers and also recognizing the need for respite services will be forever remembered. Lucie was a role model and advocate for women's issues in Eeyou Istchee." – Jeannie Pelletier, Proximity Director, Chisasibi Pole
“When Lucie Bergeron arrived in Chisasibi in 1989, she immediately began to make significant contributions that our children needed and deserved. Heavily involved in the community, Lucie integrated the unique needs and culture of Eeyouch into the development of a future day care program and facility. One of her greatest qualities was how she listened. By really hearing from the families, she was able to bring their wishes to life.
In the early 90s, the first local day care opened in Chisasibi. Fast forward to today, we now have three fully operational day cares. We truly would not be where we are without Lucie’s contributions and dedication. She was a trailblazer, instrumental in providing our babies with a safe space to play, learn, and grow together.
Lucie also motivated and inspired others to reach their educational goals and obtain their Bachelor’s degrees. She prioritized the development of our local leaders by helping build the Early Childhood Education and Special Needs programs” – Chief Daisy House, Statement of July 7 2023.
Today, many CBHSSJB employees and professionals and their children continue to benefit from these childcare centres across Eeyou Istchee.
Our sincere condolences to her partner Louis and Lucie’s children Julie, Marie-Eve and Etienne and their families. Your mother was a special woman, her contribution to the Cree Nation is unmeasurable and many will benefit from generations to come.