It’s been 10 years already since we published the very first issue of The Nation. We started off with a $ 1,000 ad, a borrowed computer and then went on to work the first 10 months without pay. The reason we started was we felt that the Cree deserved to know the issues affecting them.
When we started, our way of thinking was that we would go for as long as we could. Little did we dream or know that 10 years later we would still be putting this magazine out there not only to the James Bay Cree, but also to communities in Northern Ontario and among the Inuit of Northern Quebec.
It is a milestone and one that makes us all very proud. The Nation shows no signs of slowing down. While a part of that is due to our perseverance, it is mostly due to you, the reader. Without your support and encouragement we could not have gone on as long as we have while keeping the high standards you expect of us.
We have never set out to intentionally harm anyone. Our goal is to print the truth. We publish stories and nothing more. Each one is as truthful as the people telling us about the event or issue has been. Sometimes though, the truth hasn’t always been evident, as there seemed to be as many truths as there were people.
As a result, some might say that we are for someone or for another but that isn’t so. Our purpose is to give all Crees a voice as much as is possible… within legal constraints and in a timely fashion.
We don’t take sides but if someone doesn’t get back to us, then we have to go with the story as is. In a later issue we try to fill in the blanks. You see, a story has many sides and as a news magazine we try to show all of them. In this way, Crees will have all the information to make their own choices and decisions on any issue. You might say that is our philosophy: tell as many sides of the story as we can. Then let the reader make up his or her own mind on what the truth is. That has never changed. We don’t say we are the ‘voice of the Cree’ but prefer to think we help to give a voice to the Cree.
The responses we receive to our stories never cease to amaze me. When I hear someone comparing The Nation to the National Enquirer I tend to laugh it off. All our stories are researched as well as we can and we believe them to be accurate. You don’t see “batboy” photos or “Grand Chief spends night with Madonna” type of stories in The Nation.
What makes it all worthwhile is the story that turns out to be a gem. There are tons of ‘people helping out people’ stories out there and we try to find them. An example is Simon’s story in the August 22 issue. We received a letter from Simon’s mom and have printed it in this issue. It is heartwarming and everyone in the office was happy to see it. It lets us know that we are a part of the community in so many ways. I promise that you will continue to see this in the next 10 years also.
The Nation is something to be proud of as are all the accomplishments of the Cree. I feel proud when I hear people have told each other stories that were in the magazine over the phone. I feel proud when I hear that stories have changed lives or brought people closer together. This is part of what we do and who we are at The Nation. We believe in community and we believe in people.