Merry Christmas to all the Cree Nations. Our first issue was fun. Never having put out a newspaper before, we found it was the kind of experience that comes along once in a lifetime. Waiting for it to come off the presses once all our work was done was truly exciting. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when you wake up too early and your parents tell you to go back to sleep. This is because it’s about 5 a.m. You lie in your bed unable to sleep. But now I’m an adult and, of course, I’m supposed to be above such things. I guess there is a little bit of the child left in all of us.

I hope you will consider The Nation our Christmas present to you. You see, our vision of The Nation is that it will grow and be defined by the members of the Cree Nation itself. This is not some feel-good statement. We at The Nation feel that not everybody’s voice is heard. And that’s not consistent with the Cree tradition of consensus that is a part of our culture. Our promise is that The Nation will aspire to hear and listen to everyone’s voice.

The Nation was started up with the help of some good friends who believe in this project. It has not received any funding from such “traditional” sources as Indian Affairs. In fact, to start up, we didn’t apply for any grants from any entity. We will approach different government agencies for training grants, but we will always remain an independent publication. The paper is Cree and will strive to reflect the values of our way of life in all our actions.

We ask you to join us and share with us what you have to offer. This is a request for your knowledge, your memories, your opinions, your ways. All these things must be passed on to the future. We are in danger of losing some of our past as our elders get older. Some may say this generation doesn’t want or appreciate what the elders have to offer, but history tells a different story.

When I was involved in the Great Whale campaign in the United States, I had the opportunity to meet with members of many other First Nations. Many felt sorrow about the loss of their traditions, and asked for my opinions and thoughts on traditional ways of life. I replied to the best of my abilities and became aware of how much I knew. But especially, I learned how much I didn’t know. Future generations will want to know what being a Cree is and means. It’s up to us to preserve and protect this knowledge for them.

Give our future a Christmas present that really means something.

Give something of yourself.