To: Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
Subject: Cree Eeyou Government Task Force

Dear Matthew,

I have a strong feeling that our leaders are beginning to get manipulated by continuing to define our rights in the non-Native justice system, that is totally against all principles of our culture as caretakers of Eeyou Istchee. We are being held hostage by governments, be it federal or provincial, by being denied funding to our communities if we step out or stray away from the road which these non-Native governments propose we follow.

The people gave a mandate in 1996 at Chisasibi to the Grand Council of the Crees in a special gathering to begin a process to eventually evolve into a strong governing body made up of Cree people operating a Cree Eeyou Government. The process was supported again by resolution 1997-25, at the 1997 Annual General Assembly in Ouje-Bougoumou, to look into the planned developments which the Quebec government had planned for the future of Eeyou Istchee.

The negativity of the proposed developments, which
promise further destruction of the land and the environment of which we are the true caretakers, cannot continue. The leaders of the Grand Council were requested again and again, and given a directive by an all-chiefs meeting in Montreal on March 19, 1998, to create a task force to establish a solution to the vision for the people to create an Eeyou Governing Body, which could negotiate at a national level, Nation to Nation, to protect the only thing that the entirety of our souls comes from, which is the land. It must be protected at all cost, not only for our lives, but for the lives of our great great grand-children yet to come.

The process, supported by the people, seems to have come to a halt and I began to wonder why. Is it that we are afraid that monies from the governments will not pour into our communities if we go forward with our vision for the future of this nation?

Time waits for no person and I feel by waiting we lose every day against the forces that are continuing daily to divide and conquer our people of Eeyou Istchee. Even today it becomes more and more important to place this task force into action and start working together to build a strong future for Eeyou Istchee.

Let us work with the people. We have our mandate to fulfil.

Yours in Brotherhood,
Eric R. House, Chisasibi