The Nation (TN): Congratulations on once again being elected as Chairman of the BOC and President of CREECO. This is the second time you will fill this position, how have things changed since you served as Chairman of BOC/CreeCo from 2004 to 2006?
Rusty Cheezo (RC): Ten years have come and gone, one always likes to think that progressive improvements have happened during those 10 years. Even when overall BOC-CREECO operations have been going very well, we can always find ways to do even better.
TN: What are the key roles and responsibilities you will have as chairman?
RC: With the support of the members of the Board of Directors on the Board of Compensation and CREECO, lead the BOC-CREECO teams in the service of and for the benefit of the Cree Nation by maximizing the returns of our investment portfolio and maintaining a high level of profitability for CREECO and its subsidiaries. Provide meaningful employment opportunities for Cree beneficiaries who wish to work for CREECO subsidiaries.
TN: Do you have any specific goals you hope to accomplish in the next two years?
RC: Cree Nation unity in business is crucial for the enhancement and maximization of socio-economic development opportunities for all Cree communities. In politics the Cree Nation puts into practice unity and are there any justifiable reasons why the Cree Nation shouldn’t put into practice doing business together. Leave politics to the politicians and leave business to the business minds of the Cree Nation.
Eeyou Istchee, Eeyou-Eenou Eethoun and Eeyou-Eenou Yeh-Moon are all integral components of our Cree identity as Eeyouch. Maintaining, strengthening and preserving our Eeyou Yeh-Moon should and must be kept in the forefront of our aspirations as a Cree Nation. BOC-CREECO as a Cree entity can play a leading role in promoting and preserving our Cree language by adopting and implementing such a policy.
TN: What are the major projects the BOC and CREECO will be working on in the near future?
RC: CREECO and its subsidiaries just recently undertook a planning session and with the guidance of Dr. Marie Delorme, and the CREECO Board of Directors in close collaboration of the key personnel of the subsidiaries formulated a plan for CREECO and its subsidiaries. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the participants of the planning session. The Board of Directors of CREECO and all it subsidiaries will now have give the plan their blessings then CREECO and its subsidiaries will have their marching orders to put the plan into action. The plan covers the full spectrum of operations for CREECO and its subs.
TN: How can the people of Eeyou Istchee stay informed on the BOC/ CREECO or be involved in projects and the companies they support?
RC: One must want to get informed and get involved in what’s happening in Eeyou Istchee and with the Cree Nation. Ask the appropriate questions, I have told some people, just ask, the worst you can get is a no. Another thing that I have also said is, “if I don’t know the answer, I will get you the answer.”
On behalf of BOC-CREECO it is our pleasure to represent the Cree Nation and of course with the support of all of the community representatives, it is our hope that we can serve the Cree Nation to the best of our abilities and instil pride within the Cree Nation.