You say you wanna resolution
Trappers assistance fund
Trappers may finally get some relief from forestry. Once again, the AGA has passed a resolution supporting a Cree Tallymen and Trappers Interim Forestry Assistance Program. The program was supported last year too, but the Board of Compensation refused to pay for it. Now, there’s a new crew in charge of the Board of Compensation. And this time, the AGA didn’t take any chances and mandated the Board of Comp and the Eeyou Corp. to “do all things deemed necessary” to create the program.
The fund would provide compensation to tallymen and other trappers hurt by forestry, “especially those in vulnerable financial circumstances,” so they aren’t tempted to sign “inadequate compensation offers” with forestry companies, thus threatening Cree collective rights.
Housing commission – take 3
For the third time, the AGA supported a resolution to create a Cree Housing Commission to review “the critical and urgent housing needs of the Cree communities.” The problem keeps getting worse, but still no commission four years after the first resolution was adopted.
No to 10-year clause
The Cree Nation condemns the so-called 10-Year Clause as “illegal, discriminatory and a gross violation” of the constitution. The clause, found in the James Bay Agreement, deprives Crees of their status after they’ve lived outside the territory for 10 continuous years. The Cree communities are directed to “cease and desist” from complying with the rule and from supplying the Quebec government with names of people living outside Cree territory. The Grand Council is mandated to pursue the necessary amendments to the James Bay Agreement.
The AGA supports a request by the Waswanipi First Nation to fund the community’s Trapline Forestry Management Project, which has a mandate to address forestry issues.
Cree rights and Quebec secession
“Quebec has no right under Canadian or international law to forcibly include the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee and their traditional
territory and resources in any new Quebec ‘state,’” reads this resolution. Quebec continues to deny the Cree Nation’s status as a “people,” and yet another referendum is looming on the horizon. The AGA mandates the Grand Council to defend Cree rights during the coming debate and to hold another Cree referendum.
The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement is flawed in many ways and was “entered into under terms of duress.” But it still contains “many beneficial provisions” and is part of the “collective birthright” of the Cree people. Canada and Quebec have consistently denied that the agreement is a treaty and are trying to get Crees to “sign off” on the promises that the governments don’t want to honour – even though this practice has been condemned by the United Nations. The AGA affirms the JBNQA is a treaty, rejects “unlawful and unjust efforts” of governments to wriggle out of its obligations and declares that it is a violation of Cree law for a Cree leader to negotiate away any Cree treaty rights.
Cree Nation government
The Cree Nation has the right to self-determination and has take steps to implement it. The Grand Chief is mandated to review Cree government, consider new options, consult the people and study the example of other First Nations. It’s all to be presented to a Special Assembly on Governence.
Cree Nation lands, resources and revenue
Another Special Assembly, this one on Revenue, Lands and Resources, is being called. First, they built the dams against “our expressed wishes.” Then came the James Bay Agreement, negotiated “under conditions of duress.” Now, the Cree Nation is “totally dependent on transfers and handouts” from other governments, money that is “consistently inadequate and insecure.” Crees face high unemployment, overcrowding, ill health and other problems, while the wealth of the land is being taken. The Grand Chief is mandated to “comprehensively evaluate the natural wealth and resources in Eeyou Istchee,” and the way they benefit and are controlled by outside entities and governments. The
Grand Chief is also directed to examine options for Crees to secure adequate sources of revenue and restore control over resources.
This one didn’t pass. A resolution declaring “firm opposition to any further hydroelectric development” was deferred to a Special Assembly on development projects, to be held this fall. The resolution said the project “would seriously affect Cree rights,” and criticized Hydro-Quebec for failing to fulfill the JBNQA and undermining the unity of the Cree Nation. (See News, page 7, for more on this one.)
The AGA backed a resolution from the Cree Nation of Chisasibi on people with special needs – a large part of the Cree population, higher than the Canadian average. Health care and education for these people are “totally inadequate to address even the basic needs.” It is a “moral obligation” of Cree entities to support people with special needs. The AGA supports a professional assessment of the concerns related to persons with special needs.
Cree-Naskapi Commission and JBNQA
Despite a 1991 inquiry, the Feds continue to deprive the Cree-Naskapi Commission of adequate funds and powers. The AGA calls on Canada to implement the inquiry’s recommendations. The AGA also asks the commission to report on the implementation of the JBNQA, which Canada has yet to live up to also.
Cree Nation youth election
The Cree Nation Youth Council is supported in a request to choose its chairperson by general election of Cree youth from all communities, at the same time as the Cree School Board’s coming general election. The AGA also supports the youth council’s “working agenda.”
The Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief are full-time jobs and shouldn’t hold other elected positions within the Cree Nation. So said the AGA.
See you in Mistissini for the AGA 2000.