We are back to where we were three years ago. Again you are asked to declare where you stand. Which candidate represents your goals and ideals? Who speaks for you? Who is the best person for the job? Maybe you already know who you will vote for. Maybe the elections will be over by the time you read this and will have picked a new grand chief. One thing is for sure. Things will never be the same.

Politics have been around for a long time. Politics is in everything. And sometimes everything is in politics. Anytime you get two or more people together there is politics. There is a new type of politics that has entered our realm. It started when we had to pick a chief or leader to talk to the traders, missionaries, and politicos who had a concern over our lives. Then in the 70’s the dams came. We had to organize ourselves in ways we never had. We came together. We had to start a bureaucracy to run our affairs and decide what to do with our money.

People came from all walks of life to help the Crees. Students, aspiring lawyers, anthropologists, negotiators, money managers and other types of consultants. Many were just kids. Many were there to consult. To help. To help fight for the Crees, And of course to invest our money wisely. All we had to do was pick our Grand Chief. All we asked ourselves was who will fight for us? Who will talk to Hydro Quebec, the Provincial and federal governments?

Unfortunately along the way fear has entered the political arena. How many times were you at a meeting wishing you could say something but the same people are talking about the same things again and again? How many times were you at an A.G.A. wishing you could get up and say something that’s been on your mind? How many times have you thought of writing to your leaders to let them know how you feel? How many times have you actually done it?

If you haven’t then the next best way is to vote. People around the world are willing to die just to have a chance to vote. There are people in Cree land who have never voted. Are they waiting for something? The elections after the AIP signaled another new era for Cree politics. For the first time people were asked not to pick who best to fight for them but who stands for their ideals. It was a painful time for people. It hasn’t gotten much easier. Kids are killing themselves at an alarming rate. The next grand chief will have a lot on his plate. It’s not only the social problems but a host of others he will have to start dealing with.

Now that we have entered a new era we need to change how we pick our leaders. We need to know where they stand. Unfortunately even religion has entered the debate. Some people are asking you to pick the next grand chief based on whether he shares the same religion as you. This does not address how they will handle or cope with the problems in the Cree Nation. It has no place in the political arena.

We need leaders. We need to pick an Uuchimau not the Uuchimaakahn’s of yesterday. When fear and doubt are the norm we will not have those leaders.

Let us all stop and look at what we really want our leaders to do with us and vote accordingly.