As I am writing this, events are happening. All of the Cree entities and organizations listed below and more might be examined by both Quebec and the Crees with a view to possibly abolishing some, merging others and maybe changing a few mandates here and there.

At the heart of the matter is part of the deal soon to be signed between the Crees and Quebec, a little section known as Issue No. 5: “Issues with res pea to regional authorities.” That list includes almost every Cree entity, but no Quebec entities, even though at least one chief remembers that Quebec entities were also supposed to be on the table when the talks with Quebec first started in 1995.

To be reviewed are: the Cree Regional Authority, the James Bay Eeyou Corporation, landholding corporations, Cree municipalities, etc. (see page 5 for more details).

Normally I would be cheering the possibility of needed changes and modernization, but for two simple faas.

Over 90 per cent of the Cree people agreed to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and now less than I per cent think they have the power to change it.

The second faa is that this Issue No. 5 makes a mockery of Crees being able to determine their own future. Since when is the Quebec government part of the Crees’ right of self-determination? Why wasn’t the entire Cree Nation informed of this issue and allowed to participate in the decision to do Issue No. 5.? Are we Crees not all together on the path to self-government? Did we not win court battles affirming a Cree right in that direaion for the Cree School Board recently? Why, then, disempower them? In doing this are not all the Cree entities disempowered, subjea to the whim of the eleaed chief and/ or Quebec bureaucrat? Questions, questions, but they need thought and answers.

Let us face it. If this Issue No. 5 is just a property right of the Cree leadership, then all those questions point in the same direaion. All that has been achieved over the last two decades by the Crees is just a laughable joke. The Great White Father is back and he’s going to tell the Cree Savages how to live right and true with Cree leadership approval. There is no Native self-government: there’s just The Government. Natives have all been living an illusion. It’s time to rejoin Canada’s favourite government program, Quebec style, the Buffalo Jump. Let’s all become assimilated into the dominant culture. Genocide is a predetermined faaor.

By what right were the Cree rights even remotely contemplated in this fashion? Was it the precedent of having a chiefs’ meeting make a binding deal for the Crees before the deal ever came before the full Council/Board? Oh, those bad boys and girls, give them an inch, they’ll take your future! Just joking. I know some band councils that are quite open and keep their band members well-informed. Not all councils continue to imagine Crees as still wards of the state.

The faa that it was contemplated that Quebec had a right to be involved in deciding the Cree future only proves that Crees need to be vigilant. It also shows that all Crees are necessary to complete this task of Nation-building. We cannot entrust it to the few. If we continue to give the leaders the burdens of the many, then we must expea them to falter. We must be ready to lend a helping hand if this is not to happen.

It was one of the points in the Eeyou Estchee Commission’s report. That all Crees should be involved in creating and making a Cree future.

And the title, thejudas Goat? Just part of a fable. It describes the Judas Goat. An animal necessary in any slaughterhouse. Any animal is afraid of the smell of blood and death. The Judas Goat goes first and the trusting animals follow it. Only thejudas Goat survives.

So who is thejudas Goat here. Is it Billy Diamond because of Issue No. 5? Is it The Nation, because as one person at the GCCEI/CRA meeting said, by covering this story we are promoting disunity in the Cree Nation? Can it be Ted Moses or Chief Matthew Mukash for their widely distributed letters criticizing Issue No. 5? Is it the entities that were alarmed by the wording and possible interpretation of Issue No. 5 by Quebec?

Perhaps all and none. Debate is healthy and Crees, like all humans, will argue for their view ofthe future. Not everyone will look at the destiny of the Crees in the same way. Perhaps a littledistrust is even healthy.