In 1991 the Grand Council of the Crees requested Paul Joffe, a Qu?bec lawyer and legal scholar specializing in aboriginal, constitutional, international and human rights issues, to examine the rights of the James Bay Cree people in the context of the possible secession of Qu?bec from Canada. The resulting study was submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights at its forty-eighth session in February 1992.
The present book continues and up-dates our 1991 study and exhaustively examines the considerable literature which has since been produced regarding indigenous peoples' right of self-determination. In particular, the book highlights the fundamental rights of the James Bay Crees and other Aboriginal peoples in the context of the Qu?bec secession debate, as well as the developments that are taking place in Canada and internationally towards increased recognition of the rights and status of indigenous peoples.
Mr. Joffe prepared the present study pursuant to our instructions "to ensure that the study is consistent with Cree perspectives, policies and positions" and "to endeavour to place the Grand Council of the Crees in the most informed and advantageous position to defend the rights and status of the James Bay Cree people, regardless of the outcome of the Qu?bec secession question". We thank him and all of our legal, constitutional and political advisors and other people who contributed substantially to this study for their efforts.
Grand Council of the Crees