Coming this winter to a community near you is an opportunity to say what kind of Cree government you want.
The Cree Nation Government Working Group plans to hit the road and consult with Crees and Cree entities and businesses on what Iyiyuu governance should be.
Grand Chief Ted Moses says Cree governance can’t be decided in an office someplace.
“We have to take it to the people,” he said. “It’s the only way we can take effective control of our future.”
It’s a future that Moses says deals with land, resources, language, culture and a way of life.
Moses sees the consultation process as developing an ever-changing master plan for cultural, social, economic, political, spiritual development, healing and de-colonization.
Moses said the new responsibilities and jurisdiction that Crees would be looking at taking on would need money.
Moses doesn’t want government handouts, but sees revenue-sharing and direct taxing of resource-exploitation companies as the answer to financing the services and needs of Iyiyuuschii.
Moses sees this as exercising Cree rights and says it’s time to take the federal and Quebec governments to task for failing in their fiduciary and treaty obligations to the Crees.
“The right of self-determination is an Aboriginal right. This has been determined by the United Nations and now it is up to Crees to determine the level of participation that we wish to have in that self-determination,” said Moses.
Moses said that the Cree Nation would be looking at developing a Cree Nation constitution, what model of government Crees wished to pursue, what principles they wish to govern themselves by, a method of ensuring good relations with other nations and governments (Canada, Quebec and other First Nations) and how the Crees could contribute to healing the Earth, bettering humanity and helping world peace.
All of this stems out of a 1995 mandate that called for the establishment and development of a Cree Nation government that would have control, jurisdiction and authority over all areas of Iyiyuu governance in Iyiyuuschii.
In 1998, the Grand Council of the Crees created the Cree Nation Government Working Group to deal with this issue.
The plans are to have public meetings in all the communities and meetings with the band councils and leadership of Cree institutions like the Cree School Board, CTA, etc.
All the information would be gathered together and organized. The consultation process would also serve to educate as well as listen.
Moses said, “We need everyone’s input to make this happen. The tallymen. Elders, youth, men, women and all our existing institutions. We need their help in nation-building because a nation is not just the leadership, it’s everyone.”