Every time we, the Cree Nation, lose a youth or any Cree individual who has contributed so much to the Cree Nation there is always one question that lingers in my mind: “Why did he or she have to go so soon, so early?”

With the passing of the late Mr. Albert Diamond on September 9, 2009, again the same question came to my mind: “Why did he have to go so soon?”

Albert was a predominant Cree individual who has contributed so much to all the Cree communities and to the Cree Nation. He was never a Grand Chief or Deputy Grand Chief, but behind the scenes he did a lot for the Cree people. He was an outspoken Cree individual, every word he said was important. And I personally liked listening to him speak in conferences or other forms of public gatherings. He was a young man (58) of great intelligence and wisdom. He was a big contributor to the success of the Cree Nation. It is individuals like him that brought the Cree people to where they are today, as a Nation that has achieved so much in the last 30 years. But unfortunately some of these Cree individuals are gone, like Albert. We  (the Cree people) never had the chance to say “Thank you” or “Good-bye”, but we didn’t know when their time was due for them to go home, only the Lord knows.

Maybe it’s the Lord’s calling for Albert’s early departure from us. The Bible says “our days are numbered” and only the Lord knows when our time will be up on this earth. It also says, “The Lord giveth life and taketh life.” He is the only one who knows when we will be born and when it’s time for us to go. As humans we will never understand the mystery of why we live and why we die.

The passing of Albert is a big loss for the Cree Nation. Listening to his speeches you can understand that he wanted to improve the relationships between Crees and non-Crees, which I share and support. He wanted to improve the quality of life for his people, the Cree people. That’s what the various components of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement tries to do.

Albert will be greatly missed by the Cree people and other people who worked and knew him. He was a well-known individual not only in the province of Quebec but throughout Canada. It is hard to say “good-bye” to a dear friend but he will always be remembered as a good leader and a valuable contributor to the Cree Nation and wherever he was involved.

The same thought goes with Stella Gull, Paul Gull’s wife who also left us on October 11, 2009. Why do the good people have to go so soon, so early?? As a Cree teacher, Stella was a valuable contributor to the community of Waswanipi for the children and youth of Waswanipi. Stella will be missed by many, especially her students she taught in Waswanipi.

Both these individuals were valuable contributors in different capacities to the Cree Nation. Stella as a school teacher and Albert as a politician. They will be hard to replace.

It is these types of individuals when they leave us that my question remains unanswered: “Why do they have to go so soon… so early??

On behalf of the membership, personnel, Executive and Board of the Cree Trappers’ Association, I would like to sincerely extend our condolences to family, friends and colleagues of late Albert Diamond, a man who I will always cherish, respect and dearly miss, and to Paul Gull, family, friends and relatives.
Thomas Coon

Cree Trappers’ Association