I am a 24-year-old youth who loves talking economic development in Eeyou/Eenou Estchee, as a beneficiary of the Cree lands of our Eeyou/Eenou Estchee.
What does the new economy mean to us, the Crees of Quebec? Well, here is one point of view I think we should pay close attention to. We seem to be talking a lot in our respective communities, in our local and regional organizations, but we are not delivering. There are many investment opportunities we can use to progress economically, and yet we are still talking about self-government. Listen people, we are behind, we are hesitating, and although we still mention credibility, accountability and self-reliance, we are still not utilizing our resources to its maximum.
So let’s work together here. Do people even know what accountability, credibility or even self-reliance mean? I think we as Crees still don’t know. Maybe we are simply too stubborn, because we mix political hassle with business. I believe it is happening in all of our Eeyou/Eenou Estchee.
The new economy is simply progress in economic development to better stimulate our quality of life within our respective communities. Communication is key to anything we may consider. Yet we seem to be having difficulties communicating at all levels within our Cree world.
Firstly, I will leave you with this to think about: As one elder put it at the 2000 regional general assembly in Mistissini, “Look at the community with the dam and yet we are fighting Hydro. Look at the community with the sawmill and yet we are fighting forestry. Think about it.” Are we just stubborn or ignorant to the macro aspect of our affairs and still just focusing on the micro aspect of our issues? Maybe not, we may have our reasons and complications when going back to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, the Indian act; the Cree/ Naskapi or any other acts and documents out there. All I hear these days is section this and section that. Come on people, you know who you are, let’s move. We as youth are crying out to you in ways in which you may not like. You figure this one out for yourself. Money may be running low for us Crees, so it’s time to think strategically and not stubbornly. It’s time for the future benefit of the quality of life of our people. I think it may be time for some people to step down and let the youth come in. We are eager to help stimulate our local economies and pitch in. Some youth are, I know, because I am one.
Secondly, we as Crees have neither policies nor procedures as to how we will manage and make progress in economic development. We need to get our act together and realize that those small entrepreneurs out there are key people to our advancement in economic development. But don’t get me wrong; those people should be able to face their own obstacles and not their local government helping them monetarily all the time. Running a business is not an easy job unless you make it happen for yourself and not for anyone else. Look at our regionally owned businesses; we are still bailing these companies out. God knows how long we have been with Air Creebec, except perhaps on one or two occasions. Let’s not forget Cree Construction, a company that looks pretty good on the outside because of our Cree money, but what about internally? How exactly are they doing financially? Tell these guys to stay out of being too political and think of changing their mind concept. Focus on trying to be more like entrepreneurs. Just because you have big titles and salaries doesn’t make you any better or different than those small entrepreneurs out there. Look at Servinor, how much of the Cree peoples’ money have we lost with this company? I suppose a few millions could just about be right. Not every business makes money right away, but it should be profitable at some point in time. That’s the whole point of business, you should be in it to make money and not lose it.
And finally, in which brings to further sharing with you this whole deal about the new economy.
One way to operate in the new economy for us Cree would be to live up to today’s development. One prime example is the recent new relationship we signed with the Quebec Government. It is time to think like business people and put our political affairs aside for now. Let’s move on all aspects of various industries such as mining, hydro, tourism, forestry, construction, not to mention entrepreneurship. Let’s not wait and see the outcome of things, let’s implement and monitor our future…