It’s our 13th anniversary. Some might consider that an unlucky number, but I think it’s a significant date for this Aboriginal magazine. Thirteen consecutive years in business makes this one of the longest-lived publications in the Aboriginal media world.

As I write this I am smiling with pride that the Nation has been a part of the Cree world for so long. I’m still waiting for the bouquet of flowers or gift baskets from our naysayers but I won’t hold my breath. Thirteen years is a long time to run and manage a news magazine and must seem like an eternity tothose who would have liked to see us fail.

It is true we have spent those years bringing into the open the dark, little secrets of the Cree world. We have consistently won awards for our work inbringing those issues and news items into the light. There are those who have liked to see them stay in the dark and profit from that situation. We have been glad to disappoint them.

During our tenure, in which we have practiced a democratic model of social activism, we have been more than prophets of doom, as some would have you believe.

We have promoted Aboriginal role models and local heroes in everything from sports, politics, and environmentalism to business. We have also entertainedyou through columnists and stories that, while they were not news, were something of value to the Cree Nation. We have suggested movies, books and cookingtips.

In short we were always more than just a news magazine. We are there to reflect Cree values and needs.

We have done our best with the limited resources we have to achieve distinctly Cree goals. A prime example of this is the Cree Legends series. We recorded Elders and developed new Cree fonts. The results were used in Cree culture classes as the Cree syllables went along side the English translations.

The Nation has seen some founders (Ernie Webb, Catherine Bainbridge and Neil Diamond) leave to pursue careers in the film and television business. They created Rezolution Pictures and have continued in the goals of promoting, preserving and enhancing Cree culture, values and way of life. At times, they return to the Nation to give back a little of what they received from it. Ernie and Neil are still an active part of the editorial board.

At the Nation, we take seriously the task of being involved in the community, even when that community is actually closer to a dozen and covers over 345,000 square miles.

We have been members of the boards of Native Friendship Centres, Native Women’s Shelters, the James Bay Cree Communications Society, the Quebec Community Newspaper Association as well as helping out by volunteering at a variety of events.

The Cree Nation is a growing community. It does make it difficult to cover everything but there’s always next year.

Thanks to our readers and advertisers today as a business, we are viable and growing.

We have gotten over the hump financially speaking and have grown in spirit as the Cree Nation has grown.

I feel if we continue to do what we’ve been doing for the past 13 years we will continue to have your support. We know our future is dependent on our commitment to the highest level of professionalism we can provide to all Nation readers, and if we deserve it, your support will be returned. I look forward to the next 13 years.