It’s a new year

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The past year has certainly been one to remember. It wasn’t just the political face of the United States that changed as Trump stomped into the White House, but also the Cree political world. Matthew Coon Come decided that he wouldn’t run again, preferring to retire from politics. This left the door open for Abel Bosum to step into Coon Come’s large snowshoes as Grand Chief after last summer’s election that also saw Mandy Gull elected as Deputy Grand Chief. Also on the political front, the Cree Governance Agreement became a reality and it looks like the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples could follow suit in Canada.

There have been Cree people honoured within and outside of Eeyou Istchee. There have been tragic losses felt throughout the Cree Nation. There have been expressions of hope such as the opening of Robin’s Nest women’s shelter in Waswanipi. There have been celebrations such as the 35th anniversary of Air Creebec.

In short, last year – like every year before – was unique. A new year though is one to embrace. Mistakes of the past can be just that – a part of the past, and we can move on having learned from them. At least it is hoped that something was learned so that mishap won’t happen in the new year.

It is a time to reflect and look at all the projects and plans that were dropped by the roadside in the past year. Some of them could do with a dusting off and be tackled with the renewed energy that seems to accompany the start of a new year. Others unfortunately have gone past their best-before date.

New plans or resolutions are always thought about this time of year. At times, though, implementing the plan may be difficult. One of the reasons is that baby steps are best to begin with rather than the long strides that seem so attractive and promising. Remember the story of the race between the rabbit and the turtle. Slow and steady won the race and this applies to making a resolution or plan work out the way it should.

Remember that life for all people, Native and non-Native, has improved with each passing year. There will always be people who are complainers or judgmental of everything around them. Ignore them as they ignore reality and cling to a skewed view of the world they live in. It wasn’t that long ago some Cree families had to go begging at a mine company’s mess hall for excess food. The hustle and bustle of the mine’s operations would drive away game that they subsisted on in the past. Today it is rare a Cree family has to worry about starvation. Clinics assisted in lowering the infant mortality rates and now the Cree Nation is outbreeding the surrounding population. It will make mainstream political control over our traditional territory a true reality in the future.

Give yourself easy challenges to start with and experience the joy, satisfaction and pride that comes with achieving something meaningful. After doing this for a few times it will be something you will always want to feel this way and will work to make it happen. It is addictive and will allow you to achieve the growth and wellness we all need. It all starts with the realization that the future is bright, but only if you choose to believe that.

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