Founded in 1959, the Northern Citizens Guidance Association involved people from the mining industry and airline pilots, nurses, doctors and clergy. Their goal was to improve the lives of Aboriginal groups living near mining towns, drawing from the experience of Chapais, the town nearest Chibougamau, where several Cree families resided while their men worked at the mine.

However, the Crees were reluctant to trade their traditional ways for urban life. Many wanted a reserve to be established on the shores of Doré Lake. They continued to work seasonally for the mining companies, but did not settle in Chibougamau.