In Cree society today people have more power than they realize. Last September you might have remembered The Nation did an article entitled, “Your primer to Cree politics.” In it we discussed the various rights all Crees are entitled to and protected by.

Now it’s time to learn how to use your most important tool: The Resolution. The resolution can be used at local and regional levels to enact laws, by-laws, rules, procedures and a host of other goodies to make your life more enjoyable.

Basically the power of a resolution is the ability to change, modify or add what you want to your local or regional political and legal structure. Sounds boring doesn’t it? Nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, I hear a lot of people complaining about different things in local and regional politics, but these same people feel powerless to change those things. However, their power, your power, lies in the resolution.

To put it bluntly, the resolution is a tool you use when you have a complaint about something and want to change it. It doesn’t matter what kind of change we are talking about. If I made a resolution concerning Forestry Operations in the Cree Territory, I would start off with Whereas. The Whereas tells why you want this change. It is the spirit and intent of the resolution. For example: “Whereas the Cree people, hunters and trappers have expressed concern about the destructive and unacceptable practices of forestry companies in the James Bay Cree Territory of Northern Quebec; Whereas there are hardly any moose left in the territory; Whereas the Quebec government has never honoured its environmental commitments to the Cree people under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement; Whereas the Coordinating Committee on Hunting, Trapping and Fishing has resolved to ban sport hunting by non-Natives in the southern Cree Territory, starting this year…”

This basically sets the groundwork for what follows- the Be It Resolved section.

The Be It Resolved section lays out the methods or mandate for achieving the means to make the desired change.

“Be It Resolved: That the CCCQ pursue all means at its disposal to ensure that forestry companies in the Cree Territory stop their destructive practices; That those means include: blockades, revival of the Crees’ international campaign, court cases against Quebec, the federal government, regulatory officials, forestry executives and their companies;’ That Quebec should provide funds and legal authority for CTA officials to act as game wardens in the James Bay Territory That etc., etc…”

In this way a person starts to look at and change things that affect his or her life. Resolutions can be political or deal with business, social or community life. The choices are yours, so is your community. Now you have the option to do something concrete about your complaints.

Oh, just one last note, you will have to propose your resolution and get someone to second it before it can be voted upon. And in the case of the ACA, 51 per cent of the vote is needed to pass a resolution. Local community by-laws may have different requirements. Check with your government has never honoured local Band Council for details and don’t be shy to ask for help.