Shortly after Deputy Grand Chief Matthew Mukash made his public announcement concerning the AIP, Deputy Chief Josie Jimikin of Nemaska attacked the agreement.
According to some residents, who wish to remain anonymous, resistance to the AIP is starting to be organized. Jimikin told the Nation that he had “plenty of volunteers” who helped him to post his position around the community.
The Grand Council/CRA have claimed that a majority of Nemaska supports the AIP. People opposing the AIP have claimed a majority of Nemaska residents oppose the AIP.
The following is Jimikin’s statement that was posted around the Nemaska community.
Statement to the Council of the Nemaska First Nation and to the Members of Nemaska First Nation You may not like what you are going to hear; the tone or what I am going to say. and where I stand on the matter of the A.I.P. I will not make it short and sweet; I will make it short and bitter.
Let me begin by using the overused politically correct expression “with all due respect” and the age-old legalistic expression “without prejudice,” for I will be very direct and frank in exercising my right to freedom of expression, to freedom of speech.
Agreement in Principle (AIP) Nothing that I have heard, read or seen has convinced me that this deal is the best deal or the right deal for an evolving and developing Cree Nation. Nothing! Nothing that I have heard and read from the Grand Chief’s public verbal and written statements and responses to questions from members of Cree Nation; nothing convinces me that this is the direction that the Cree Nation should be moving towards at this point in history.
The Grand Chief started promoting this A.I.P. by advising the Chief’s and the members of the Cree Nation “to think with their heads and not with their hearts” and only recently made a passing remark regarding heartfelt concerns. The Grand Chief, guided and assisted by his legally and technically advised logic and reasoning and his narrow-minded myopic views of Cree Nation Economic Development, has started tearing out the sacred contents of the hearts of the members of the Cree Nation and is throwing them into the cold and desecrated waters of Eeyou Astchee.
Every response and statement; verbal and written from the Cree leadership especially those from the Grand Chief himself has only served to reinforce, and reaffirm my conviction, my belief from not only from my head, but from my heart also; that our present political leadership possesses and promotes a heartless and distorted vision of the future of the Cree Nation and of Eeyou Astchee and that of Cree Nation Economic Development in general.
I have personally witnessed first hand, this lack of real vision and sense of direction, which was so obviously revealed at a Joint meeting of the GCCEI/CRA Council/Board and the CRA Board of Compensation held in December 2000. Calculating on a 50-year time frame, at this meeting the GCCEI/CRA Council/ Board, under its present leadership permitted and promoted the direct and outright leakage of approximately 1.5 Billion dollars from just one of the existing sectors of the Cree Nation community economies and the regional economy of Eeyou Astchee.
If the Grand Chief and his associates and advisors feel like they are personally being attacked and insulted, if they feel that they are not being respected, then I empathize with them for they have brought this upon themselves because of their recent actions and the approach that they and not the people have chosen to follow. And because of the direction they are dragging the Cree Nation & Eeyou Astchee towards at this time.
This community will know, if they don’t already, that the Council of the Nemaska First Nation does not and will not stand unanimously united in support of the A.I.P.
I will openly and publicly express my opposition to this A.I.P. I will openly and publicly express my lack of belief and confidence in the actions and approach presently being pursued by GCCEI/ CRA leadership. And no one is going to stop me! No one is going to infringe upon my human right to freedom of expression. No one is going to suspend my human right to freedom of speech! Not like the Grand Chief is doing to the employees and staff of GCCEI/CRA in his letter dated October 29th 2001.
I now formally declare my full endorsement and support to the CNYC Youth Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff and the Deputy Grand Chief of the GCCEI/CRA Matthew Mukash on their opposition to this Agreement in Principle.
Josie Jimiken Deputy Chief Nemaska First Nation