The Anniversary of the JBNQA

Share Button

I consider it the highest privilege to have been elected to be the Grand Chief of the Cree Nation – a privilege that I promise to fulfill to the best of my ability. It is a profoundly humbling feeling to know that I am following in the footsteps of our great Cree leaders of the past, including Billy Diamond, Ted Moses, Matthew Mukash and Matthew Coon Come. I truly understand what it means to be standing on the shoulders of giants.

It is my intention, and my mandate from the people, to continue the vision of our past leaders and to continue our nation-building agenda. While working within this framework, I have listened to the Cree people, and on the basis of what I have heard, the theme of my administration will be “Bringing Home the Benefits”.

Based on my own experience, particularly as Chief of my home community of Oujé-Bougoumou, I know that the only way we can achieve an ambitious vision and an ambitious agenda, is by doing things chiyaanuu – together. I am committed to bringing this principle, and this approach, to my work as Grand Chief.

In order to maintain my essential contact with our communities, I have revived the table of Chiefs Meetings – a forum where our Cree Chiefs sit together without the formality of Council/Board meetings and openly share visions, aspirations, concerns and constraints. I hope for this table to become an important source of additional information that will help my administration in focusing on real needs, real opportunities and real priorities.

I have also begun to make regular visits to all of our Cree communities so that I can hear first-hand from the people about their concerns and their wishes for the future. And additionally, I will also be asking for meetings with our Cree Youth Council, the Council of Elders and our Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association. I would like the Cree people to know that my administration will be there for all the people.

I believe that in these ways we will be able to solidify and nurture the Cree unity which has been such a vital element of Cree successes for decades under the leadership of our previous Grand Chiefs. I am committed to ensuring that this unity remains intact and deepens. I firmly believe that we Cree people are on this journey of ours toward Indigenous nation-building together, and we are at our best when we know, in a very deep sense, that we are all in this together, and that it is chiyaanuu, together, that we will make it the best journey possible.

With these principles firmly in place, and with the commitment to effective communications, there are important things I will work to achieve:

  • Implementation of a Cree Nation housing program to address the housing crisis in our communities;
  • Increase our efforts in implementing an effective approach to capacity-building, with a particular focus on our youth;
  • Development and implementation of a Cree jobs strategy to ensure the financial stability of our people, families and communities;
  • Improvement of the lives of our hunters and trappers who have been, and remain, the backbone of our culture, our values and our way of life.

My greatest joy over the years has come from seeing our people enjoying the benefits of services and programs that improve their lives. I would love nothing better than to experience this many times again as our Cree Nation continues to thrive and prosper, and continues to bring home the benefits – all of which have ultimately derived from our treaty, the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.


Share Button

Comments are closed.