On behalf of the Nation I would like to offer my deepest appreciation to each of the Cree leaders for the incredible efforts that you made in 2005 toward the advancement of the Cree Nation as a whole.

The work that you have done expresses the Cree determination to expand the sovereignty and desire of the Cree people to control their destiny and future. All of you have shown your commitment towards that goal by your actions in public office.

This has been done in the best traditions of Cree Culture. You have kept in mind that your sincere care for your family and friends is the essential prerequisite for sharing with others. It does not matter if they are practicing a traditional lifestyle or not, sharing is an essential part of the Cree way of life.

But now in this New Year we raise our hearts and see with satisfaction that a year of success is behind us, and that the blessing of creation has fallen on the Cree people. It is a kind of joy that looks back with pride on what has been accomplished, and that gives strength for new plans and decisions.

It is our fortune to be Cree at this historic time. We have renewed and expanded relationships with our neighboring peoples. An example of this is the Paix des Braves Agreement. It is important that we seize this moment. The goals that we have set for next year have to be very bold. We must continue on this path with strength and conviction as equals. Crees should not seek to take advantage but never allow themselves to be taken advantage of also.

Each one of us has an important mission that only we can fulfill and that true unity is when each of us is able to shine with our own unique abilities and creativity. To create unity we must bring out our sincere spirit to seek teachings from our Elders. A seeking spirit is essential to all development in Eeyou Istchee.

Now is the time for each of us to show ourselves, what our great potential is by awakening to our mission as Crees willing to build our Nation. Let’s make 2006 the best year of our lives and something that we are proud of.

For us as a Nation the approaching year is and must be a year of hope. It is and must be a year of the sustained progress for all our people. It is and must be a year during which we make real advances with regard to the achievement of a better life for all.