Thanks to the hard work of our employees and the collaboration of our many partners, we have successfully implemented many different programs, ranging from the training of Crees for skilled jobs with Hydro-Quebec (over 50 Crees now occupy permanent positions), the rejuvenation of Cree community and family fisheries, the support of numerous cultural activities including summer gatherings and the enhancement of goose hunting facilities. This is not to mention the hundreds of kilometres of snowmobile and ATV trails already built throughout Eeyou Istchee.
On its 20th anniversary, Niskamoon Corporation salutes The Nation magazine and wishes it many more years of success and positive change.
New company on the horizon
CREECO signs partnership agreement with Dumas
Demonstrating its limitless potential, the Cree Regional Economic Enterprise Company (CREECO) has done it again by forging yet another strategic partnership agreement in order to form a new company; this time it’s with mining and energy services company Dumas Contracting Ltd.
“We signed a partnership with them to look at the various potential in terms of the mining area. Dumas is an expert in starting up mines, underground mines and open-pit mines. They don't do much work on the surface area, but they do have another company, and, of course, we have Cree Construction that can do that too. So we are concentrating on their expertise in terms of setting up of mines of underground or open pit,” said Jack Blacksmith, CREECO President.
According to Blacksmith, the move was done to capitalize on the recent Canada-wide mining boom. However, the partnership itself will see benefits for not only the Cree nation, but any Aboriginal group that is in an area of development as they will get to learn firsthand from CREECO’s expertise.
Under this agreement, the yet-to-be-named company will provide specialized training, employment and business opportunities to members of all our business partners within First Nations communities.
And, this will be part of the mandate of this new company, as they are committed to creating sustainable business relationships that are mutually beneficial to First Nations groups Canada-wide so that everyone involved can take part in the prosperity.
“We had been discussing various companies, and the possibilities of working with them, for about four years. Finally, some of the guys thought that Dumas would be the best choice, so we went with them. We exchanged a lot of information to see if we were compatible in terms of the possible business we're getting into. And it proved to be positive, so we've established a good relationship,” said Blacksmith.
According to Blacksmith, the hope is that the new company will be able to capitalize on the Ring of Fire mining development in northern Ontario and work with the Aboriginal groups whose traditional territory this falls in.
This will be the third partnership agreement that CREECO has signed in recent years. The first being the new Quality Inn and Suites in Val-d’Or and the second being the formation of Eeyou Baril, a new construction supplies distribution company.
Much like their previous partnerships, the new company will be led by a group of experienced executives from both parties. CREECO Vice-Chairperson Darlene Cheechoo will be the company’s President and CREECO Treasurer Rodney Hester will be on the Board of Directors.
Once more, this new partnership will serve to open up new territory in terms of CREECO’s capabilities in the business world, broadening the horizons yet again for the Cree of Eeyou Istchee. Blacksmith said that previously CREECO didn’t have the necessary expertise to get into the actual start-up of a mine. With all of the work happening, Dumas’ expertise will serve to take the Crees a long way.
And, Blacksmith said he is quite proud of how well this development deal will serve CREECO economically as forming this partnership came at the right price.
“There is actually zero dollars in terms of investment. We paid for our own expertise in terms of evaluation of this project and they paid their own. We each put in a dollar in terms of setting up this company and we'll go forward from there. In terms of when we come to projects, we will look at the cash flow at that time. Other than that, hardcore investments, putting down some money to start this company, there is none,” said Blacksmith.
But, this partnership will no doubt be yet another revenue generator for this powerhouse Cree entity.