Volume 1, Issue 18

$88,000 donated to Liberals by execs of companies in impact study: Liberal-linked firms did Hydro’s Great Whale impact report

Hydro-Quebec’s environmental impact report on the proposed Great Whale River Project was created largely by companies headed by Liberal Party donors, The Nation has learned. Of the 34 companies that conducted studies for the report, 15 are run by Liberal donors, or nearly one-half. In total, these donors gave $88,695 to ... read more ››

A heart speaks

Nokom—my grandmother—came down for a rare visit recently. The occasion was my sister’s wedding reception. I have probably seen Nokom less than a dozen times in the nine years since my own wedding reception. I have lived in Ottawa during those nine years, attending university and now training to become a ... read more ››

Aboriginal medalist rebuked

An Aboriginal sprinter from Australia caused an uproar when she chose to celebrate her Aboriginal heritage during a victory lap at the Commonwealth Games. After winning the women’s 400-metre gold medal on Aug. 23, Cathy Freeman put the blue Australian flag over her right shoulder and the red, gold and black ... read more ››

Air Creebec flying into the black ink

Things are starting to look up at Air Creebec. More natives have been hired. The management team has been restructured and perhaps most importantly, the Cree Nation’s airline company is making a profit for the first time in four and a half years. “AIR CREEBEC HAS been on the hot seat for ... read more ››

Apache scupltor dies

Allan Houser, a Chiricahua Apache sculptor whose six decades of work strongly influenced Native American art, died of colon cancer on Aug. 22 in his Santa Fe home. He was 80. House’s work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world, and encompassed many styles. He was awarded the ... read more ››

Brouillard gave PQ S400

Richard Brouillard, one of the top consultants working for the Cree economic entities, made a financial contribution to the Parti Quebecois in 1992, The Nation has learned. Brouillard, who lives in Val d’Or, gave $400 to the party’s Abitibi-East riding association, according to public records of political donations. Brouillard is the ... read more ››

Compensation sought for residential schools

Native children who were raped, beaten and sometimes tortured in residential schools should receive compensation, says Ovide Mercredi. The recently re-elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations said Canada and the churches which ran the schools should assume responsibility for what happened in the schools and the social problems ... read more ››

Cree Gathering plans set

The date and location of the Cree Nation Gathering are set—Sept. 13-16 in Old Nemaska Post. “The setting is important,” said Deputy Grand Chief Kenny Blacksmith. “It’s getting away from your conventional conference structures. It will be something more traditional.” Chiefs and regional Cree leaders met in Nemaska in mid-August to plan ... read more ››

Crees lawless due to Liberal government

Cree communities have been without regular policing services since Sept. 1 Fed up with months of government stalling on policing negotiations, Crees decided at the Annual General Assembly in Eastmain that if an agreement wasn’t signed by Sept. 1, they would stop funding Cree Peacekeepers. The assembly also voted to set up ... read more ››

Defense study flawed

A Defense Department study that okayed low-level military flights over Nitassinan is seriously flawed, says a coalition of aboriginal organizations that reviewed the study. The study has 130 different flaws, say the Innu Nation, the Conseil Atika-mekw-Montagnais and the Naskapi First Nation in their review, released July 28. Innu spokesman Daniel Ashini ... read more ››

DEW Line site cleaned

The clean-up of one part of the DEW Line is underway. The Inuvialuit Development Corporation, of lnuvik, N.W.T., has won a $l-million contract from the federal Indian Affairs department. The company is already at work cleaning up the Defense Early Warning Line site at Horton River, between Tuktoyaktuk and Paulatuk, on ... read more ››

Flying higher than an Icarus

The Music from the Legends Project I Am An Eagle Various Artists First Nations Music (P. O. Box 1180, 16 Fifth Ave., Sioux Lookout, Ont. P8T1B7) Move on over and crank up that sound. This album has something for everyone. Soul, blues, country, country rock and a native pride you just can’t hide. Native music is ... read more ››

Friends of Hydro: No scientists will criticize Hydro-Quebec, say ecologists

Quebec scientists and engineering firms are too buddy-buddy with Hydro-Quebec to be able to do an objective study of the proposed Great Whale River Project, say environmentalists. “It’s very well-known in Quebec that it’s difficult to get consultants to work for you if you’re going to do something critical of Hydro-Quebec/’ ... read more ››

Health care pitiful

The Canadian Medical Association says First Nations have an “unacceptable” state of health and called on Ottawa to intervene immediately to improve the situation. Native people live an average 10 years shorter than the Canadian average. The infant mortality rate is still 50 per cent higher than Canada’s as a whole. ... read more ››

Hydro profits soar

Hydro-Quebec made $571 million in profit during the first six months of the year. That’s $102 million, or 22 per cent, more than the profit during the same period last year. The soaring profits were the result of an unusually cold winter, which caused consumers to turn up their thermostats extra-high. ... read more ››

Hydro’s 2% barrier

Most Crees aren’t aware of Hydro-Quebec’s 2-per-cent compensation policy. They assume the large amounts of money Crees spent on negotiations with Hydro-Quebec are in fact getting them a better deal. Sometimes we are even given the impression that we are lucky to receive anything at all. The truth is we ... read more ››

I can only share with you: Joab Bearskin

The following is a message Joab Bearskin delivered when Cree social workers asked him for help. I can only share with you how we dealt with problems long ago. I cannot tell you this is how to deal with the problems— this is the way you have to deal with it. ... read more ››

I would start from the beginning…

As usual, I tried to do justice to Daniel’s words. I translated this from Cree from an interview session we did in August. I want to express my gratitude and respect to Daniel and all the other Elders who pass on knowledge to the younger generations. -Ernest Webb, translator Daniel Rupert, 86, ... read more ››

Irwin coughs up cash

Ottawa will spend $11.4 million to clean up Pukatawagan s sewage-contaminated water. Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin made the announcement after visiting the community 200 km north of The Pas, Manitoba. Irwin’s visit followed a mass exodus of Pukatawagan residents prompted by a flurry of Hepatatis A cases caused by dirty ... read more ››

It is a time for definition

Coming back from Seal River, I had to check out The Nation like everyone else. As I opened it, I thumbed through to see what it “looked” like. Reading Romeo’s article (“To Vote or Not to Vote,” last issue, page 10) hit me pretty hard. It hit me in a way ... read more ››

La Presse tells off Richard Le Hir

Richard Le Hir is in the news once again. In the Aug. 13 issue of La Presse, the newspaper’s chief editorialist, Alain Dubuc, wrote a scathing editorial making fun of the PQ star candidate, and calling him “intellectually undisciplined.” Dubuc was commenting on recent revelations that Le Hir was once a ... read more ››

Lawmakers okay peyote use

Native Americans are on their way to being able to legally use and carry peyote for ceremonial purposes. A bill protecting the religious use of peyote has passed the House of Representatives. Similar legislation is also before the U.S. Senate. Twenty eight states already permit the use of peyote by native ... read more ››

Leaving home

The summer season was coming to a close. I felt it in the coolness of the evenings and saw it in the light mist that hung over the bay as dawn crept over the forest which surrounded the village. Our long hours of daylight were shorter and fewer children came to ... read more ››

Looking at the options: One Chief’s vision

At a community meeting in Wemindji on Aug. 5, Chief Walter Hughboy made a proposal that surprised some, and worried others. He unveiled a plan to build five or six new mini hydro dams in the Maguatua River basin, and sell the excess power to Hydro-Quebec. He went on to criticize ... read more ››

Maquatua Inn: Where the famous and infamous dine

Wemindji’s Maquatua Inn sits at the edge of the community near the river beside a softball field. If you’re lucky and get the right table at the right time, you will have a so-so view of the river, a perfect view of a softball game and an even better view ... read more ››

MoCreebec expelled from Mushkegowuk Council

The Mushkegowuk Council has expelled MoCreebec Crees as members, and they are crying foul. The MoCreebec Band says Mushkegowuk violated its own constitution when it forced out MoCreebec on June 28. The expulsion took place at a meeting of the council’s Chiefs in Timmins. The move followed heavy pressure from Moose Factory ... read more ››

Most natives unlikely to vote

Ho hum. That about sums up the attitude of many of the First Peoples living within Quebec’s current borderstoward the provincial election. “The elections? Which elections? It’s been a longtime since the elections were held [for Band Council],” was how Kahnawake Band Council member Billy Two Rivers put it when asked ... read more ››

Natives arrested at blockade

Five natives were arrested on Aug. 8 north of North Bay, Ont. for blocking a highway used by logging trucks and local residents. “This is an illegal arrest,” said Sherwood Becker, a member of the Temagami Nation and one of the protestors. “It’s our land.” The protestors were charged with mischief and ... read more ››

No glory, no shame – just community

I went to help out some friends last week. On June 11 their house burned down destroying all of their worldly possessions. Fortunately none of their family was hurt. They didn’t have any fire insurance but were planning to rebuild. This is why I went there, to help out. I ... read more ››

No one can predict anything

One night Philip [Awashish] and I recorded a long conservation with the three hunters. I asked how they felt when they heard that white men regarded the land on which they live as worthless and empty. “They are saying,” said Philip after a good deal of conversation, “that the white man’s ... read more ››

Report found problems in how Air Creebec used to be managed

AIR CREEBEC WAS alerted to many of its serious financial and managerial problems about a year and a half ago, when a consulting firm did a detailed analysis of the Cree airline. The consultants’ report was prepared for CreeCo. President Abel Kitchen by the firm Raymond, Chabot, Martin, Pare. A copy was ... read more ››

Sandy Lake rejects mining

For the second time in a month, the Sandy fake First Nation in northern Ontario has turned down a request from the Ontario government to discuss mining development on its traditional land. Sandy Lake told the Ontario Natural Resources Ministry it opposes a gold exploration project proposed by JVX Ltd., a ... read more ››

Still Flying High: Vern Cheechoo

I first heard Vern Cbeechoo on the Goose Wings album. He impressed me then and he impresses me still. I finally got a chance to catch up with this travelling man in Wemindji, where he performed some of his latest music at the 35th anniversary of the community’s move from Old ... read more ››

Suicide wave hits native town

A spate of suicides has hit a northwestern Ontario native community, prompting exasperation from the Chief over the community’s poor housing, lack of land and inadequate funds for a healing centre. Pikangikum Chief Gordon Peters accused Canada, Ontario and the Assembly of First Nations of abandoning his community. Most of Pikangikum’s 1,600 ... read more ››

The blessings of Yogic Flying

If Quebec’s politicians all knew how to do Yogic Flying, crime would plummet and everyone would be happy. That’s the message the Natural Law Party is taking to Ungava voters in the weeks before the provincial election on Sept. 12. “Yogic Flying is actually a lot of fun,” said Marlene Charland, the ... read more ››

To vote or not to vote

By the time enumeration period arrived a few days ago, the Quebec Director-General of Elections had recruited more than 20 Eeyouch enumerators to walk into our homes in order to register the population for the Sept. 12 provincial elections. An honourable mission, one might say, but yes, there is also a ... read more ››

Top 10 reasons for not voting in the provincial election

10. Mohawks will beat you up if you do. 9. Both parties are into the wet dream of Great Whale and NBR. 8. Romeo Saganash isn’t running for either party. 7. Two words: Le Hir. 6. You’re waiting for Billy and Walter’s Cree Beaver Party to run. 5. The two main leaders look ... read more ››

Tough resolution passed on Cree rights, policing: General Assembly a time for “celebration”

“It was more of a celebration than anything.” That’s the way Bill Namagoose summed up this year’s Annual General Assembly of the Grand Council/CRA in Eastmain. In all, the three-day event was attended by 200 community delegates and other Crees, including some who stayed behind from the Youth and Elders Conference, also ... read more ››

Two words: Le Hir

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s PQ star candidate Richard Le Hir’s philosophy on the referendum on Quebec’s sovereignty that the PQ would like to hold if it’s elected. Le Hir has surprised reporters and even some members of his own party by saying that if Quebecers vote ... read more ››

Wemindji dissidents take Chief to task owed dam plans

A group of Wemindji residents is up in arms over Chief Walter Hughboy’s plans to build a series of new hydro-dams on the Maquatua River and to gain more independence from the Grand Council of the Crees. “To local Wemindji voters, Hughboy’s administration isanti-Cree, and has dearly begun to promote cultural ... read more ››

Wemindji dissidents write

The following anonymous letter was sent to The Nation from Wemindji: Chief Walter Hughboy calls for a General Meeting with his people in Wemindji on August 5, 1994 after numerous demands made by the people to address issues pertaining to irregularities at the Council level. But instead of Chief Hughboy addressing these ... read more ››

Wemindji First Nation meeting heats up

The Hughboy administration is under fire again. It happened at an August 5 Band meeting about new proposed mini-hydrodams and other matters pertaining to the interests of Wemindji residents. Walter Hughboy, the Chief, was proposing to create four or five more flow-of-the-river mini-dams. This would be in addition to the one existing ... read more ››

Who gave what and when

THE SNC-LAVALIN GROUP figures prominently in Hydro’s 5,000-page Great Whale impact report. The SNC-Lavalin Group is Canada’s largest engineering firm, and four of its subsidiaries did a total of 26 studies for the report. Among them is the company Lalonde Girouard Letendre, whose president, Claude Comtois, gave $13,800 to the Liberals. ... read more ››

Who was asleep at the switch?

One must wonder at times if the viligance of our leaders is sometimes relaxed in allowing the unthinkable to happen. Just because we can’t imagine it happening. What do I mean? I mean that having a Hydro-Quebec representive on many of the boards of Cree organizations, such as the Eeyou, Opimiscow or ... read more ››

Will North be flooded for clean cars?

The Quebec government has announced $100 million in spending to develop new electric-car technology, sparking renewed concern that the move to alternative fuels in Europe and the U.S. will lead to the construction of new hydro dams in James Bay. Hydro-Quebec has aggressively promoted the use of alternative fuels like hydrogen ... read more ››