ARTICLES BY Lyle Stewart

When the music’s over…

It’s now been a year since Matthew Mukash was elected Grand Chief of the Crees in a decisive vote, sweeping Ted Moses from office after a narrow defeat three years previously to the good doctor. At the Nation, we were optimistic. After a number of years in which we felt the ... read more ››

Bolivia’s land reform a victory for all indigenous peoples – Former coca grower Evo Morales launches ‘agrarian revolution’

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, has launched what he called an “agrarian revolution” by redistributing 9,600 square miles of land to the South American country’s Indian majority. The June 3 announcement marked the first phase of a vast reform that will involve more than 77,000 square miles – an area ... read more ››

The new NHL offers lessons far beyond hockey

With about a week to go before the playoffs, this National Hockey League season has been a revelation. Cynicism reigned supreme back in October as the players, badly outplayed by the owners in their contract dispute that wrecked an entire season, finally returned to the ice. But with new rules permitting ... read more ››

New government, old prejudice?

There are dark clouds on the immediate horizon for Canada’s First Nations with the increasingly likely election of a Conservative federal government under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Of all the parties in Parliament, the Conservatives have by far the most regressive, even repressive, approach to Natives. Harper’s top policy advisor is ... read more ››

Grand Council celebrates 30 years of JBNQA

The Grand Council of the Crees used their annual Christmas dinner in Montreal December 14 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement with a special tribute to the chief negotiators of the agreement. Recently elected Grand Chief Matthew Mukash delivered a speech that marked the ... read more ››

The Last Frontier – Mining Report Shows Quebec Is Miners’ Paradise

If there’s gold (or copper or zinc) in them thar hills, the Quebec government will bend over backward to help you mine it – and helpfully look the other way if environmental degradation, health problems or Native land claims threaten to get in the way. That’s the cheerful message from the ... read more ››

Crossing Rivers and Dotting ‘i’s

There comes a moment when you know you’ve crossed a threshold. Or, in my case, a river. Not the proverbial Rubicon, but the Papas, way up on the northern end of Lac Mistissini. This was no triumphant crossing on the back of a stallion. But a less-than-elegant hitchhike on the back ... read more ››

OJ Toxins Study: Eat and be Wary Says Nieboer

The Crees of Ouje-Bougoumou are healthier because they consume wild game and fish, but they must still be careful about eating wild game and fish. That’s the seemingly contradictory conclusion of a year-long study of toxic contamination in fluid and hair samples of 200 Ouje residents. The study, titled “Exposure and preliminary ... read more ››

Landslide on La Grande

Muddy water caused by a landslide on the north bank of La Grande River marred Chisasibi’s annual gathering on Fort George Island at the beginning of August. People were forced to bring their own water to the festival because the river water contained levels of silt 100 times greater than allowed ... read more ››

Back to the Land – Coon Come Faced Impossible Task at AFN

Three years ago this month, Matthew Coon Come walked into a packed Neoskweskau arena in his home-town of Mistissini to a hero’s welcome. He had just been elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and the pride in the prodigal son was palpable, with the 2,000 or so ... read more ››

O.J. Toxic Study Drags on Until September

Results of a year-long health study into toxic contamination of Ouje-Bougoumou residents will be released at a public meeting Sept. 3. The study was lead by Dr. Evert Nieboer, a toxicology professor at McMaster University. Nieboer says the data from the testing – which began almost a year ago – is ... read more ››

Copper Rand Mine Plays Heavy Metal

New Hampshire geologist Christopher Covel says he feels “vindicated” by an interim report provincial on heavy metal contamination of fish in lakes near Ouje-Bougoumou. The study, titled “Metal, PCB, Dioxin and Furan Concentrations in Fish and Sediments from Four Lakes in Northern Quebec in 2001,” was prepared by Denis Laliberté and ... read more ››

MoCreebec calls for new election Case closed, responds returning officer

The MoCreebec Council of the Cree Nation is demanding a new Grand Council election, based on the failure to provide voting stations in northern Ontario for the estimated 500-700 eligible Quebec Cree beneficiaries living there. In a letter to Chief Returning Officer John Henry Wapachee signed by seven members of the ... read more ››

There’s a new deputy in town Paul Gull wakes up to find himself a winner

Paul Gull was sleeping when the returning officer for the Grand Council elections, John Henry Wapachee, telephoned him at home late in the evening Aug. 29. “My son woke me up, saying the returning officer called,” Gull recounted. “I didn’t know what to think. He gave me Losty’s numbers first. ... read more ››

Don’t touch that dial: Split results and irregularities leads Mukash to challenge election results, Moses claims victory after taking a 28-vote lead over challenger

It’s not over yet. After one of the closest elections for Grand Chief in modern Cree history, Matthew Mukash says he will exhaust all avenues to ensure the Aug. 28 vote was as free and fair as possible. The challenger to incumbent Ted Moses for Cree Grand Chief lost by only 28 ... read more ››

High-level health meeting in Montreal

Grand Chief Ted Moses and Cree Board of Health and Social Services Chairman Bertie Wapachee met with Quebec Health Minister François Legault in Montreal Aug. 26 to address several outstanding health issues. The meeting was short on specifics, but Legault promised announcements would soon be made regarding the Cree diabetes epidemic ... read more ››

The A-to-Z of vanadium McKenzie Bay mine at Lac Doré set to dig next summer

The long-rumoured vanadium mine at Lac Doré in the Ouje-Bougoumou region is taking shape. Brighton, Michigan-based McKenzie Bay International hopes to have a pilot project running by next summer and has issued a flurry of communiqués since the spring outlining the $364 million-project’s progress, most recently announcing the engagement of ... read more ››

More Fish, healthier hearts Study says Cree should maintain traditional diet

While worries about toxic contamination of food fish continue to bedevil different Cree communities in Eeyou Istchee, a recently published study suggests that the health benefits of consuming wild fish far outweigh the risks. Published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study was lead by ... read more ››

The Path from here

Jimmy Mianscum drew the big picture as he spoke to a community meeting in Ouje Bougoumou last week. Speaking in Cree, the 82-year-old Elder and former chief described some of the many things he has seen change in his lifetime. People he knew once knew routinely lived to ages of ... read more ››

CBC North returns to the airwaves

Popular Cree-language programs will return to the radio and television airwaves this week in the wake of a vote by locked-out Radio-Canada newsroom employees to accept management contract offers. Members of the Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC) voted 694 to 302 to accept the contract at an extraordinary general ... read more ››

Ouje health study coming this Summer

Between 100 and 150 Ouje-Bougoumou residents will undergo comprehensive health testing this summer as part of an expanded study to determine if decades of gold and copper mining contaminated the local environment and food chain with toxic heavy metals. The newly created Cree Regional Public Health Department has mandated Drs. Evert ... read more ››

Should O.J. Be Concerned?

There are grounds for a preliminary health study among the Ouje-Bougoumou Cree, but no need of a full-blown program of detoxification of heavy metals among community members. That’s the conclusion reached by a third-party review of last fall’s Christopher Covel study of toxic contaminants in the water, wildlife and people ... read more ››

Native media workers press job issues

Locked-out employees of the CBC Northern Service in Quebec continue to make their case for better salaries and working conditions. The nine CBC North workers have elected a union representative to push their case during negotiations with CBC/Radio-Canada management, which locked out 1,400 newsroom employees from Quebec and New Brunswick ... read more ››

Fed’s Are the Problem Says ABL

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL) say they will be suspending most logging operations in their territory after the federal government unilaterally cut funding for an innovative co-management forestry project. The Department of Indian Affairs notified the community 140 km north of Maniwaki in July that it is cutting funding of ... read more ››

Chief’s Reject Governance Talks

The Assembly of First Nations rejected the federal government’s much-ballyhooed “governance initiative” aimed at reforming the Indian Act during a national meeting of chiefs in Vancouver last week. An AFN resolution “strongly objected” to Minister Robert Nault’s “unilateral action… in holding consultations and drafting a Governance Act under the direction and ... read more ››