Eastmain is a small Cree community a short way inland from James Bay, on the
south shore of the Eastmain River. It has a population of about 480. It is also
known by its Cree name, Wapanoutauw, which means "lands east of James Bay."
Eastmain was the location chosen by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) to set up its
first permanent trading post which was called the East Main House.
Traditionally, Natives gathered here to trade caribou pelts for birch bark which
they used to make canoes. A first post was opened in 1690. After moving to a few
different locations, it was established permanently on the coast around 1723. A
territorial guard formed by Crees ensured supplies of foodstuffs and material to
the fort. Eastmain is home to the Cree Trappers Association.
An unpaved road connects the community to the
James Bay Road, 103 km to the west.