When are we going to realize that we are being continuously screwed? We’ve been screwed for hundreds of years.

We are suffering the loss of our lands, our culture, our language and now our pride. We were once a proud nation. Proud of our ancestors, who taught us to survive. Proud of our Elders who show us what strength was, as they went about their hunting, fishing and trapping activities. Will our youth be proud of us someday?

I ask you all what are we going to pass down to our youth? Will we make them proud? We keep playing the white man’s game, if you have an argument, “take it to the courts.” That was fine and dandy when the courts dealt honestly with everyone, no matter what nationality they were. Not anymore.

Changing judges when one does not like the decision they make is akin to the Montreal Canadians leading after the first period and the hockey authorities decide, during the intermission, to change the rule, change the referees and in the process, possibly change the outcome of the game.

We win injunction in the courts to halt what we consider illegal works in our territories on a Friday and early the following Monday an appeal judge lifts the injunction allowing the company(ies) to resume works and orders everyone to go back to court. Just check the first James Bay Project.

So go figure, they are clear-cutting our lands with no respect for the environment and Cree Land use while they are talking in “their” courts. Who would stand for that? Will we, the Crees of Eeyou Istchee stand for what is happening to us at this time again? I hope not, I hope we still have some pride.

This is something that has been whispered amongst the Cree population, for years now, and that is “why are we using the white man’s system, which they control anyway, to try and get results which we thought were promised to us in the first place by the JBNQA?”

Remember we are dealing with Governments and companies who understand only one thing, “Greed.” Get as much for oneself as one can. We talk about rallies and protests, but I ask you now “what’s to stop some young Cree or even older Crees from practicing their traditional activities in their traditional territories?”

Which Cree, who is so frustrated, will really care if a logging road or for that matter, a Hydro Quebec access road or mining road happens to cut right across the area where they happen to be cutting and piling their firewood (a traditional native activity)? Or some Cree’s old jalopy happens to break down sideways on one of those long lonely stretches of road which trespass through Eeyou Istchee/ Enou Estchee and he’s waiting for a mechanic from Europe to arrive? So what if it prevents or delays getting their wood (our wood?), their precious metals our gold?) or their damn hydro-power (Cree power?) to the market.

You know where it hurts a greedy person the most? In their pocketbook.

So what if they claim a “right of way” to the road itself and on each side of the road and we are not allowed to cut our firewood, which they fear just might fall across the road blocking it. They took the JBNQA and only took what was beneficial to them and we can’t do the same?

There have been and still is billion’s and billion’s of dollars of profits flowing out of Eeyou Estchee in the form of logging, mining and hydro-power since the JBNQA and we have no right to a fair share of these profits? Apparently not, even though the JBNQA was recognized as part of the Canadian Constitution in 1982.

The logging and mining companies and Hydro-Quebec give us contracts on our own lands The contracts total only a very, very small fraction of the vast revenues generated from natural resources on our lands and they almost break their arms patting themselves on the back, telling everyone that “Quebec Natives” are the best treated Aboriginals in the world. Give us a break!

I am a peace-loving man and believed in the judicial system but if the Governments and the companies can afford to change judges whenever they feel decisions by the courts are not going their way, I ask you “what is left for us”, the so called “best treated” Natives in the world?

Sure we can go to the international forum to voice our fears and concerns again, but what do the Canadian and Quebec Governments tell them? “Mind your own business, we can look after our own Natives,” and in the process we spend Cree money, which rightfully belong to our future generations. The bad publicity dies down for them rather quickly too.

Maybe it’s time we tried doing things differently or threaten to. They only understand the “almighty dollar” anyway.

Even a few hours delay on the sales of “their goods”. I am sure would translate into millions of dollars of their so-called profits. This is their “pocket book.” Mind you I’m not advocating violence in any shape or form but is there very many options they leave us when they show the world they can control the courts also!

Is there not one honest judge or one brave enough to stand up to what he/she was taught and believes in and that is “rightful justice for all.” But they have made a mockery of their own justice system. It doesn’t leave us much choice, does it? When people are oppressed, you will see that oppression surfaces in so many different ways after a while.

I am just one frustrated Cree venting his anger out over this issue and others we have had to live with over the years, and I am sure there are other Cree men and women, who are just as angry and frustrated, perhaps more so because they don’t have any means of support, no jobs, and no money to feed their hungry families.

To those people, I offer this encouragement and advise, let your voices be heard, the solutions will come from the grass roots of our Cree communities from people like you and me.