The Conference produced recommendations, which provide guidance to future decision-makers. These recommendations should not be disregarded, but should be a source for future action. The words of the elders, educators and other Crees and guests who spoke at the Conference are recorded in Cree and in English and should be distributed to all communities and entities to form the basis for consideration and decision. The condensed form of the proceedings approved by the Commissioners will be more widely distributed.
The Conference was organized to bring the Crees together to discuss what one of the participants in the Conference described as "the most basic and fundamental thing, our common language". It is evident to all of the Crees that the time to act is now, if we are to preserve, improve and promote the comprehension and use of the Cree Language in our communities and in our institutions and businesses. More than most other things, the thing that defines us as the Iiyiyuuch is our Language.
Let us, as the Cree School Board take the Conference Report and its recommendations to the Cree People. Let us do this by asking the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) to designate a theme of this year's General Assembly as: "Cree-Culture; Cree Language; Cree Territory."
Let us never forget the relationship among our culture and language and the land. If we lose any one of these we lose much of what we are as a people. This was the message of the Conference. Let us take this message and the ways of implementing it, as given in the Conference, and place these as our most important priority.
As the director of Educational Services I, Clarence Tomatuk ask the Council of Commissioners of the Cree School Board for guidance on how we can proceed from here to bring more of the Cree people, leaders, elders, youth, women and Cree entities into the debate on our language and culture that was started by the Conference held in November last year, 1997.
We have the recommendations of the Conference, now we need the mandate to develop and implement a plan of action with all parties involved.