The following was written by a Cree Economic Development Officer:

These days when I watch even cartoons with my children there is something to do with develop and sustainability. It’s everywhere folks.

They say that it has been defined that sustainable development, is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. First of all I would like to thank our elders for generations and generations past. They have done their part, but have we in our Cree World today. One thing is for certain that this path was chosen for us people the second we started signing documents and started focusing on $$$$$$ as an alternative for survival.

It makes you think of what we can do to prosper and to move in a direction in which we might think is the right direction, but just when you think things are going right, up comes another problem. However, to every problem there are more opportunities. Take for example the JBNQA and now the new agreement with the Quebec government, there could be more opportunities than problems for now.

It makes sense that in the new agreement we are to revive growth; conserve and enhance the resource base; ensure a sustainable level of population and jobs; reorient technology and manage risks; integrate environment and economics in decisionmaking; reform economic relations with others; and strengthen cooperation. One must ask themselves for years to come, “Is this what we been doing with the agreement(s) with the Quebec Gov’t?

I need not to mention that at this point in time Quebec is rated # 1 in investment and mineral potential according to an article in the Northern Miner, a national paper in Canada.

Well, if we are to achieve excellence in economic development within our Cree World and the rapidly changing political and fiscal environment of today and onto the next generation. We have got to set our goals, so have our leaders done this for us, do they have a decision-making process that is fair to us the people, or is it something we can’t be aware of, because of certain agendas and perhaps even commitments.

It is simple, because of the new agreement, which is basically an economic development agreement. We are to look to four major roles consisting of team building, individual development (i.e. a community, an entrepreneur, etc.) and skill development, productivity improvement and inter-community cooperation.

We are seeing the development of innovative entrepreneurial governments, but are we doing this within our Cree World, or has it slowly faded? They say that an entrepreneurial government must fundamentally change, from the old bureaucratic system that is a thing of the past. But in some communities they refuse to let go because of the manipulative power that goes with their authority. Innovative governments promote competition between service providers and empower people by pushing control out of the bureaucracy. Innovative governments measure performance and focus not on inputs, but on outputs, which are driven by goals and missions, not rules and regulations. It basically redefines the people they serve; they offer choices, and put their energies into earning money, not spending it. Tells you a little something of the Quebec government in relation to the new agreement with us Cree people. Who is going to be earning and who is going to be spending? We have opportunities,

but let’s not let time tell, let’s just do it, then you be the judge.

As far as I’m concerned most of the funds will go to development, but just not in economic development over the next few years. Did we really sign an economic development agreement or a community development agreement, although they go hand-in-hand, but do we really understand what they really are, do we even possess a plan in which we monitor and implement for our Cree Nation?

They say that the new governments will prevent problems * before they emerge, decentralize authority and embrace participatory management by encouraging market mechanisms over bureaucratic approaches according to statements mentioned by our leaders in local, regional and perhaps even at the national level. Let’s see about that. Of course the entrepreneurial approach of governing ourselves is to perhaps focus on channeling service from all sectors of our communities to create what has become known as the healthy community.

One thing is for certain: In simple terms, we must as communities become more entrepreneurial oriented, especially at the governmental level, which I think some communities have already slowly integrated into their governmental systems. Let’s just hope for the best and do our part as community members of our respective communities.