Message to the Cree people of the Cree Nation — Eeyou/Eenou Istchee from the Grand Chief elect Dr. Ted Moses

The people have spoken and made their choice. They have voted to keep the Cree Nation strong and unified. They have decided to protect their own rights and rights of future generations of Crees.

To Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, I express my thanks for the enormous work that he has done for the Cree nation during the past twelve years, and for the work he did before that as chief of Mistissini. I wish him well in all of his future endeavors, and I hope that he will continue to play a large role in our lives.

I want to thank the Cree people for showing their confidence in my leadership — for electing me as their Grand Chief. This means that the Crees have rejected the idea that any Cree leader can ever agree to give up the rights which belong to the whole Cree nation.

The Cree nation has clearly rejected the idea that their treaty rights can be sold or given up.

I ran for grand chief because of my concern that the rights we have fought for and won as the Cree nation were in danger of being bargained away by communities or individuals for temporary and questionable short-term gains.

As most of you know. Hydro Quebec has approached individual Cree communities and propose to enter into a “partnership” with communities or individuals who, in the words of Hydro Quebec, are directly affected by their development plans.

Let me say this: Every Cree and every Cree community is directly affected by mining, by forestry, and by hydroelectric projects in Eeyou Istchee. It is the Cree nation that will defend Cree rights. It is the Grand Council of the Crees that has a permanent mandate to be the watchdog over Cree rights. It is the Grand Council of the Crees that signed our treaty. No one can give away something which is not theirs to give. The Tallyman cannot sell the rights to his trapline. Neither can a chief sell the rights of his community. We are given these things in trust, as caretakers and as leaders. Beyond that, we are just human beings, and we have no authority.

There are many things I want to do now. But I will need your help. I ask you now the call on me with your ideas and concerns. Beyond that, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for me, and to thank everyone who participated in the election, no matter who you voted for. I respect each candidate who ran, and I know that we all expressed similar concerns and interests in the future of the Cree nation. This gives me confidence in that the Cree people will be able to speak with one powerful voice. I want to express my appreciation to my family for their support and confidence; Elsa, Nian, Allan and musicians in the family, Donovan and Reginald.

May the lord and creator bless us as a united and powerful Cree nation.

Meegwetch! Thank you!