-The world rings in the new year without the much anticipated computer armageddon. Elevators don’t plummet, planes don’t crash, and micro-wave ovens don’t blow up. Who knew?
-Called the greatest legal victory for the crees since 1972, when Justice Alfred Malouf stopped the James Bay project, a Quebec Superior Court rules that the province’s logging regime in the Cree territory is illegal and unconstitutional. Justice Jean-Jacques Croteau rebuked Quebec for ignoring the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and stated in his 56 page ruling that the, “constitutional rights of the Cree plaintiffs have been openly and continually violated.”
-Ricky Petawabano, of Mistissini, awaits trial in Amos after being arrested and charged with possession of narcotics with intent to sell for the second time in five months. Police found 60 grams of marijuana and 34 grams of cocaine after searching his car.
-Real Lemery, a 70 tear old Florida man, is accidentally shot in the buttocks near LG-4 by a fellow hunter who thought he was a caribou. His injuries are not considered serious.
-Celine Dion and Rene Angelil spare no expense in renewing their wedding vows at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. 235 invited guests take in the spectacle that features an Arabian theme, complete with camels.
-CTV NewsNet fires anchor Avery Haines for derogatory remarks made when she thought the camera was off. After blowing a line, Haines said: “I could be a lesbian, folk-dancing, black woman stutterer in a wheelchair with a gimping rubber leg. Yeah, really. I’d have a successful career, let me tell you.”
-Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and top officials of the National Congress of American Indians visit Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier in a show of support. Peltier, has spent two and a half decades in a U.S. jail for allegedly killing two FBI agents. The evidence against him is weak and his innocence has been proclaimed since day one. Meanwhile, he continues to serve two consecutive life sentences.
-Former Waswanipi chief John Kitchen is acquitted of a charge of drinking-and-driving stemming from an incident in August, 1998, when his vehicle went off the road on Highway 113 between Desmaraisville and Waswanipi. Defense argued that the Chief was not drunk at the time and that the accident was caused due to a tire that blew out.
-Singer Richard Desjardins, Quebec environmental groups, and the Grand Council of the Crees gather in Montreal to ask for a moratorium on the approval of new forest management plans. Desjardins warns of the eventual disappearance of the boreal forest and compares the effects of clearcutting, when viewed from an airplane flying overhead, to the look of a Mohawk haircut.
-The Mistissini True Value Hardware store wins the “Rookie of the Year” award from the Canadian Retail Hardware Association. Maamuu Mistissini Attaawaakamikw won the award based on outstanding performance in the areas of merchandising skill, customer service, community involvement, advertising and growth and profitability.
-Natives in Saskatchewan call for a public inquiry into all aspects of the crimianl justice system when two Native men freeze to death after being left out in the bitter cold by police officers. Vigils are held in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. In regards to the actions of the police. Perry Bellegarde, Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations states that, “nobody can operate like that. Everybody has to feel secure that something will be done.”
-The world of television entertainment reaches new heights with Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire. Fifty contestants compete for the chance to marry Rick Rockwell, a man they know nothing about. Darva Conger was the lucky winner who discovered that Rockwell was not as rich as she thought. They married on the air and she sought an annulment soon after. Conger claimed that she was embarrassed by the whole episode and had really hoped to fall in love. She then went on to pose for Playboy.
-A study ranks Quebec as the number one province in Canada… when it comes to euthanizing pets. La Belle Province is reported to put nearly 500,000 Minous and Rovers to sleep in a year.
-Charles Schulz, the creator of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, dies at age 77.
-The PQ passes a resolution that the Canadian flag may not be permitted to fly from Quebec buildings under any circumstance, but the flag is under federal, not provincial, jurisdiction.
-A Cree delegation goes to Washington to inform U.S trade officials and congressional staff about Quebec’s forestry practices. Doors were opened for the Crees by the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, a powerful U.S. lobby group that is leading the charge against Canada’s low stumpage fees. The Americans point to Quebec, where stumpage fees are among the lowest in the world, as the worst culprit.
-Crees are outraged by the Chief Justice Lyse Lemieux’s decision to replace Justice Jean-Jacques Croteau and reverse his decision in the Mario Lord forestry lawsuit. Lemieux appointed Justice Danielle Grenier as the new judge. “It’s a sad day for Quebec justice,” said Bill Namagoose, executive director of the Grand Council of the Crees. “I feel embarrassed for all Quebecers. Their justice system has been tarnished.”
-Pope John Paul II asks for forgiveness for many of the Roman Catholic Church’s past sins, including its treatment of First Nations, Jews, women, and heretics. However, one Native American man noted that the Pope has refused to overturn the 1493 Papal Bull giving “right of discovery” and land title to those who acquired new territories in the name of the church, especially in the Americas.
– Boston Bruins enforcer Marty McSorley is charged with assault after whacking Vancouver’s Donald Brashear on the side of the head with his stick. Brashear winds up with a concussion.
-Justin Rushford, a rap enthusiast in Troy, Mich., violates the city’s loud radio ordinance and is forced to listen to two hours of Wayne Newton. “It makes me think about other people’s style of music,” said Rushford. “I probably wouldn’t appreciate it if some old man drove past me blasting this music.”
-British researchers claim that male menopause is more than a myth.
-A four-tonne orca whale washes ashore in Tsawwassen, B.C. and is so full of PCB’s that it is classified as toxic waste.
-The Canadian Government and church leaders squabble over who should pay compensation to native surviviors of residential schools. The Feds want the churches that ran the schools to take responsibility and pay some of the money, expected to be in the billions. The Anglicans and some of the other churches complain that the payments might drive them into bankruptcy. “I don’t believe for a minute that it’s going to drive any of them into bankruptcy,” said Vancouver lawyer David Paterson, who initiated Canada’s first residential school lawsuit. “The real question is, do they take the issue seriously?”
-Approximately $95,000 was raised to fight a rare Cree brain diseas in the Win ter Journey fundraising campaign, which saw 42 people walk from as far as Waswanipi and Mistissini to Nemaska. Ottawa refuses to fund research into Cree Leukoencephalitis, which has claimed 21 children’s lives. Little is known about the disease, except that almost all its victims are Crees from Quebec. The walkers were led by Abraham Ottereyes and James A. Gunner.
-Montreal’s Native Friendship Centre celebrates its 25th anniversary.
-Stockwell Day admits to inhaling marijuana. We knew he must have been smoking something.
-An Italian literature professor claims that William Shakespeare was Italian. Go figure.
-Pie throwers take aim at Bernard Landry, but only manage to hit his shouk der. Landry labels the would-be snipers as “dangerous.”
-10,000 demonstrators protest at an International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington, D.C. Five hundred are arrested.
-The U.S. threatens to stop protecting Canada if we don’t join in on their Star Wars project. Thanks, but no thanks.
-The Cree School Board holds its first ever nation-wide election for the position of chairperson. All Crees over the age of 18 can vote.
-The Catholic Oblate order claims it is on the verge of bankruptcy due to lawsuits related to residential schools. Similarly, the Anglican Church fears it will be bankrupted by next year unless the federal government steps in to save it from the spiralling costs of the lawsuits. Over 7,000 lawsuits have been filed in all against the Catholic, Anglican, United, and Presbyterian churches.
In a related story, a Cree man frustrated at the slow pace of compensation payments to survivors of residential schools, is marching from Edmonton to Ottawa. Robert Desjarlais, 53, left the Alberta capital on April 24 and hopes to reach Parliament Hill in late June, he plans to finish the last 100 miles of the journey barefoot.
-Environmentalist David Suzuki urges natives not to build casinos to raise money. Instead, he suggests that they stick to traditional practices, like carving coffins.
-Residents of Walkerton, Ontario head to the hospital in the wake of the E. coli bacteria tragedy.
-Bob Homme, a.k.a. The Friendly Giant, dies at age 81. His CBC children’s show aired for 27 years.
-Hockey legend Maurice “Rocket” Richard dies at age 78. Over 100,000 fans pay their respects at the Molson Centre.
-The world’s largest lumber retailer. Home Depot, offers its support to the Crees and plans to visit lyiyuuschii to examine logging operations. “We appreciate your concerns,” Home Depot president Arthur Blank told a Cree delegation that he welcomed to the company’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Home Depot also said it would raise Cree concerns about forestry at an international conference in London held by the Forestry Stewardship Council, a group that investigates the social, environmental, and economic impacts of logging.
-Just one short hour before Waswanipi youths are to set out on a 750 km protest walk to Quebec City, word comes down from the Quebec government that they will release $2.2 million in promised funds to finish the community’s long-awaited youth centre.
-Mabel Herodier is elected the new chairperson of the Cree School Board, winning 53 percent of the total votes in a June 15 runoff poll. Rival candidate Kenny Blacksmith picked up the remaining 47 percent of the votes.
-Health Canada reports that natives are five times more likely to contract HIV than other Canadians.
-The New Jersey Devils beat the Dallas Stars to win the Stanley Cup.
-Tiger Woods, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, wins the U.S. Open.
-The World Health Organization announces that Canada’s health system ranks 30th in the world, finishing behind countries like Spain, Colombia, and Morocco.
-British motorists stop to help a motorcycle courier when $220,000 in bills fly out of his backpack. Remarkably, all the money is recovered.
-Scientists claim they’ve finished a rough draft of the genetic blueprint for human beings.
-Molson Inc. puts the Molson Centre and the Montreal Canadiens up for sale. Still no buyer.
-Elian Gonzalez finally goes home to Cuba with his father Juan Miguel.
-Some marijuana is found in a Buckingham Palace kitchen.
-Matthew Coon Come is elected as the new National Chief, defeating incumbent Phil Fontaine. Coon Come promised “loyalty to our Peoples and their aspirations.” He said, “I am not in the federal camp, the Liberal camp, or any provincial camp. I will be always where I was born: in the First People’s camp.” He is the first Quebec Cree to be elected leader of the Assembly of First Nations.
-After a long silence, former Cree
Grand Chief Billy Diamond makes a stunning return to the public eye in a cover story in the Quebec magazine L’Actualite. Headlined, “I am a Cribecois,” the magazine cover says Diamond “denounces the parasites who orchestrate the ‘Quebec-bashing’ by the Crees.” In the article, Diamond attacks Cree leaders for their “lack of vision.” The magazine says Diamond didn’t run again for chief in Waskaganish because he was “disappointed with Cree politics.” The article doesn’t mention that his tenure as chief left Waskaganish on the verge of bankruptcy and in danger of being put under trusteeship.
-On the 10th anniversary of the Oka crisis, Mohawk traditionalist Ellen Gabriel informs Hour magazine that “the Mohawk Nation has rights to 98 million acres, not the piddly little 260 hectares they’re talking about.”
-Quebec ranks 10th in a study of provincial environmental protection practices.
-Ben Holcomb of Oklahoma City, the world’s oldest man, celebrates his 111th birthday. Firefighters in neighbouring counties are on stand-by as he lights the candles.
-Ontario Superior Court judge David McCombs upholds the right for parents to spank their children.
-An Air France Concorde crashes into a hotel in Gonesse, France, shortly after take-off from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. 113 people are killed.
-Don’t try this at home: One boy dies and 24 others are sent to hospital in a botched circumcision ceremony in Bizana, South Africa. Old, dirty instruments were pointed to as the cause.
-Charly Washipabano scores the winning goal in a shoot-out to help ower Team Indigenous to an impressive 4-2 record in its first-ever outing in Tampere, Finland. The tournament featured teams from Russia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and the United States. Team Indigenous, created by former NHL coach-of-the-year Ted Nolan, was the only Canadian squad and finished a respectable fifth out of twelve teams competing. “They proved they were able to compete at an international level after only four or five practices ,” said proud mother Doris Washipabano. Nolan hopes the team will be the centrepiece of a national Aboriginal youth hockey program.
-Members of Kokumville in La Verendrye Park blockade a logging road. The Kokumville residents aren’t armed and allow tourists to pass through. Kokumville leader Jacob Wawatie says that he is not opposed to forestry if it is done in harmony with his peoples’ way of life. Wawatie charges that Domtar is cutting trees without the permission of the land owner on unceded land.
-Fisheries vessels sink two Mi’kmaq boats in violent confrontations near the Burnt Church First Nation, in New Brunswick. Federal fisheries boats were out picking up what they called illegal lobster traps. Mi’kmaq officials say they are exercising their treaty right to fish for lobster. A federal spokesman called the incident “a nightmare” from a public relations standpoint, and said conditions are “extremely tense out there.”
-Bridgestone-Firestone recalls 6.5 million tires on SUV’s and light trucks due to evidence of blowouts.
-The Russian nuclear submarine Kursk, with a crew of 118, is trapped at the bottom of the Barents Sea. Nobody survives.
-Prime Minister Jean Chretien gets pied, in PEI, by a 23 year old sniper.
-A young man sues the Ottawa Civic Hospital after they remove one of his testicles. He claims to have been misdiagnosed when admitted to the hospital after being punched in the unmentionables by a stripper.
-Toronto council votes to send 1.3 million tonnes of garbage to an abandoned mine near Kirkland Lake, Ontario. The deal fails due to the pull-out of the company that would have been responsible for liability issues.
-Mistissini First Nation intiates its own DNA study of speckled trout, having grown weary of waiting for government budget increases even though it is normally the government’s responsibility to carry out such studies. The government told Mistissini that when it comes to conservation they put their money where there is a crisis. Though there is no crisis with fishing in the community, the move was made to keep it that way rather than wait for things to go wrong before taking action.
-About 80 natives blocked a CP rail line near Chase, B.C. to show support for the Mi’kmaq natives of Burnt Church. Members of the Interior Alliance were protesting against the recent arrest of 14 Mi’kmaq natives for fishing in waters off New Brunswick.
-Over 100 natives who attended St. Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany, Ontario, sue the federal government for physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.
-Once again surprising absolutely nobody, Tiger Woods wins the Canadian Open.
-An 11 year old Edmonton boy actually robs a bank. His mom, 42, and another man, 22, are both charged with armed robbery.
-Crime reporter Michel Auger, of the Journal de Montreal, is shot in the back five times in the newspaper’s parking lot.
-Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau dies of prostate cancer at age 80.
-Six members of the Cree nation are among 25 Aboriginal candidates who graduate from a three-week Canadian Armed Forces Pre-Recruit Training Course in St. Jean, Quebec. Richard and Jonathan Cheezo of Eastmain, Willard Hester and Stephanie Jonah of Waskaganish, Liette Neacappo of Chisasibi, and Isaac Petagumskum of Whapmagoostui successfully completed the challenging course.
-Alarm spreads among hunters and trappers as the December 31 deadline for gun licenses approaches. The new federal Firearms Act imposes harsh penalties for firearms owners who don’t have a proper license by the new year, including fines, criminal charges, and confiscation of weapons.
-After a lengthy delay, the Grand Council of the Crees signs a $20 million deal with federal Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault for basic infrastructure first promised under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. The agreement leaves negotiations open for future infrastructure funding.
-Cuban leader Fidel Castro dons a suit for his visit to Montreal, where he attends Pierre Trudeau’s funeral. He’s the guy with the beard.
-Separatists calling themselves the Brigade D’Autodefense du Français place firebombs at three Second Cup outlets in the Plateau district of Montreal. One bomb goes off and nobody is injured. The group is now thought to have a membership of one.
-Ontario removes the theory of evolution from elementary and high school curricula due to controversy and a lack of time to teach it.
-Waswanipi teenage hockey phenom Travis Grant is the first selection in the third round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. Grant, who plays with the Midget AAA Amos Forestiers, was chosen by the Foreurs of Val d’Or.
-Montreal’s Native Friendship Centre is in turmoil when a new board of directors suspends its two top administrators and places them under investigation. The sudden suspensions send shockwaves through Montreal’s 50,000 strong Native community.
-Innu leaders in Newfoundland ask the government to intervene in the tragic situation involving some 40 kids addicted to sniffing gasoline. The leaders want the kids to be taken to a proper treatment facility.
-U.S. President Bill Clinton pledges to give native political prisoner Leonard Peltier a “fair hearing” in his request for clemency. Clinton will review the case in the weeks before he leaves the white House.
-Rezolution Pictures proudly releases its first film, Cree Spoken Here. The documentary, co-directed by Ernest “Goes To Camp” Webb and Neil “Golden Boy” Diamond receives huge critical acclaim.
-In an internet poll initiated by the television show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, over 900,000 Canadians vote to force Stockwell Day into changing his first name to Doris.
-Jean Chretien is re-elected as Prime Minister, thus sparing üs the reign of Doris Day. Que sera, sera.
-The Montreal Alouettes lose the Grey Cup to the B.C. Lions, 28-25.
-O.J. Simpson shows up in Montreal. Who invited him?
-Crees favour the Liberals over the Bloc Québécois by a whopping 18-1 margin in a federal election that puts Guy St-Julien into a new term as the representative of the sprawling Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik riding.
-Waskaganish experiences its first ever traffic jam as the long-awaited road connecting the Cree community to the rest of the country is finally opened. Former chief Billy Diamond was the first to make the historic drive across the road.
-Six months of Cree negotiations with Quebec on forestry appear to collapse dramatically. Cree officials leave a December 14th meeting, in Montreal, in anger when it is discovered that the Quebec government decided to go through the media before the Cree had time to review the final offer.
-Global warming is pointed to as the cause of skinnier polar bears. North America’s largest land carnivores are 10 percent thinner and are having 10 percent fewer cubs than they did 20 years ago, according to an in-depth feature story in the New York Times.
-The Montreal Canadiens reach out for Maniwaki’s Gino Odjick as they desperately attempt to bail out a sinking ship. Fans hope that Odjick can walk on water as well as throw a few good uppercuts.
-Baseball player Alex Rodriguez signs a ten year deal, with the Texas Rangers, for a paltry $252 million. Not a bad wage to play a game, wouldn’t you say?
-After much controversy, Al Gore finally concedes the U.S. presidential election to George W. Bush.
-Ending a three year retirement, Mario Lemieux returns to the ice and scores a goal and two assists in his first game. Pittsburgh beats Toronto 5-0.