The Grand Council of the Crees

Not Just One More River

Notes on the "One More River" Film

Posted: 2005-08-08

These notes roughly follow the sequence of scenes in the film. They are made to give the reader at least some critical perspective on the film "One More River", a film that was made on the recent New Relationship Agreement signed between the Government of Quebec and the Grand Council in February 2002.

The film was made at the time of the consultations on the Agreement in Principle and later at the consultations on the Final Agreement and then it ends with the results of the referendum and comments on the results made by some of the parties involved and finally, with the signature of the Agreement.

Setting the Story Line

The narration starts with the comment that the Crees lost the first fight against hydroelectric development, referring to the Cree court action against the La Grande Project in the early 1970’s. The narrator (Neil Diamond) states that they won the next battle in the 1990’s against the Great Whale Project. He continues saying that these fights brought out great leaders, and names Matthew Cooncome, Billy Diamond and Matthew Mukash. It then mentions Ted Moses also ran, implying that he was not a great leader. It states that he stood up to Quebec and so was elected as Grand Chief and then surprised everyone by giving Quebec one more river. This statement was made in spite of the fact that the Agreement will actually remove one project (NBR – 8,000 sq. km.) already in the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, if a much smaller project, the Eastmain 1A/Rupert Diversion Project (395 sq. km.) is approved in the social and environmental review process.

The film is then an explanation of the process of the two rounds of consultation and then ratification of the final agreement. The film calls the Agreement: “The Deal that Split the Crees”. Such a rash and irresponsible statement shows that the film makers are desperate and want to win, even at the price of destroying the political entity of the Crees.

Consultations on the AIP

Mistissini

The film indicates that Mistissini is the first community visited after the AIP is signed. In fact Waskaganish, because of the importance of the Rupert River to its citizens, was the first community to be visited by the Grand Council delegation. The visit was on the same day of the signing of the Agreement in Principle.

In the community meeting there are pictures of elders listening and of Ted Moses explaining the agreement in English, the impression being created that they can’t understand him. This is followed by him speaking in Cree, but the sequence is short. (Nowhere is there any explanation of the fact that Ted Moses speaks Cree better than most Crees his age and conducted most of the presentation in Cree.) There is applause from the audience after the Grand Chief’s presentation.

Waswanipi

The action then moves to a meeting in Waswanipi, where different parties speak out against the Agreement and where an 11 year old boy says in Cree that he will be 61 years old when the Agreement ends and that it is therefore not long enough. This is either a very precocious 11 year-old, or it is a staged scene. By stating that 50 years is not long enough, it is implied that $3.5 Billion and 50 years worth of development is not enough. Is it then a case of garnering more money, or is an indefinite period of payment what the film is looking for? The negative portrayal of the Waswanipi meeting is peculiar, as the impression overall from those who attended the meeting for the Grand Council was that the Waswanipi meeting was a strong endorsement for the AIP, with of course, some who had reservations.

Matthew Mukash’s Dilemma

There is then an explanation of the situation of Matthew Mukash, Deputy Grand Chief, and the statement is made that while Mukash was working out a plan for Cree self-government, one of Ted Moses’ negotiators, Abel Bosum, was secretly negotiating a deal with Quebec for another river. In fact, Matthew Mukash had been putting together a plan for self-government that would establish Cree sovereignty and ownership over all of the James Bay Territory; the plan, however, was only in the initial stages of development.

Abel Bosum on the other hand was negotiating with Quebec, under a mandate conferred on the Grand Chief at the previous general assembly of the Crees in August of 2001. Obviously the discussions were not related or in conflict with one another as there was no mandate to implement any new model of self government. Why was Abel Bosum negotiating in secret? For three weeks he negotiated because the parties were not sure that an agreement was possible and neither the Premier nor the Grand Chief wanted to lose face if no agreement was in fact possible. The only way that they could seek agreement was to make discussions confidential until they saw whether the road was clear for further discussion.

Moreover, Mukash’s plan for self government, only in its formative stages, required more development in order to properly establish Cree sovereignty which respected not only the hopes and expectations of the Crees, but international law as well. This explanation in the film of the aforementioned occurrences was not given by Matthew Mukash or Abel Bosum, but rather by the narrator, Neil Diamond.

Nemaska

In Nemaska the questions on film were all against the project, although, from reports of those who attended, there were positive comments made during the meeting by community members after those with complaints had spoken. Madeline, a non-native teacher and biologist asked the Grand Chief if he was selling the souls of the Crees, a very insensitive and insulting question, which was met by significant applause in the film; however, the disjointed nature of the sound of the applause, and the fact that a different figure than Madeline is seen standing at the microphone in the upper right part of the screen during the audience’s clapping are strong hints that the film makers edited an unrelated scene of applause taken before or after Madeline’s question. This contention is strengthened by the scenes with the following questioner, the film narrator Neil Diamond’s sister, who raised the issue of windmills as alternatives to the hydro dams, and stated support for other “green” options that Madeline had mentioned (to which Ted Moses replied it was it was Quebecers that needed the electricity, not the Crees, and that she should tell that to people in the south); however, in the film Madeline had never mentioned anything about green energy options, because the film makers had edited out much of the dialogue. This discontinuity raises the question that if the film makers are willing to cut out extended parts of dialogue, and splice in scenes of applause, what other forms of deception will they take advantage of? Another question asked by Lindy Moar was about what the Grand Chief would do if the people of Nemaska said “no”. The reply from Ted Moses was: “We will think about it.” What other reply was possible? The outcome of a vote could have split the communities. In fact, Nemaska voted in favour and Chisasibi voted slightly against, with 68% of all Crees who voted in favour of the Agreement.

Charlie Etapp

An elder was photographed checking a beaver trap. The narrator called him a “caretaker of the land”; perhaps not realizing that this term diminishes the Cree Nation title to the land. The elder wished that his children could be as happy as he was living on the land. This sequence is a good news piece, the audience in endeared by the elder and his way of life. However, it does not speak to the Agreement. We don’t know what his views were on this, so we don’t know if his joy of living on the land was used with his consent or not as an implicit critique on all development or if he had views on the proposed Agreement that were contrary to those of the film makers. There are many elders in the communities who wanted the Agreement to be signed. Some of them stated that unlike themselves, their children, like the film makers, had chosen not to live on the land.

Drinking, Cocaine and the Problems of the Youth

The next sequence is an account of a young girl and a young man’s night out. The narration starts out saying that most Crees don’t live off the land. This is a strange opening, as it implicitly poses the question: “Aren’t all Crees who do not live off the land like these young people?” The film shows an evening that is a mix of video machines, beer and cocaine. It describes some of the problems faced by the Cree youth of today, without suggesting any solutions. Moreover, an obviously intoxicated young man in the scene speaks of the money that the Crees receive but the audience does not know whether he is proud or angry at this fact. Moreover, the young man mentions having been abused, but it is not explained whether this happened in residential school at home or elsewhere; fundamentally, the man is used as a pawn by the film makers to further their agenda that development is, in essence, destroying the Crees.

In the last scene there is a young person who flies in front of the camera with a can of beer in hand and who is obviously drunk or high as chaotic and sinister music plays on. Many who watch this think that the film producer staged this scene, perhaps it is Neil himself!

Larry House

The next part introduces Larry House. He says that he, “heard that” officials Bill Namagoose and Romeo Saganash were the only ones allowed to speak out on the Agreement; are we to take Mr. House’s conjecture as statement of fact? What the memo he “heard” about in fact said was that for the Grand Council, Bill Namagoose and Romeo Saganash were the official spokes people. It is hardly unusual for the leadership of any organization to designate officials in that organization to speak to the press on a major accomplishment. The leadership and the Cree public was of course not covered by this memo, as of course they may say whatever they please, as illustrated by the very existence of this falsifying film. In a situation where the press is committed against the proposal as was the Nation and the Cree CBC Radio, they will try to get officials to say things that are contrary to what the leadership is saying or will interpret whatever is said in this way.

There is then a mock exchange in the film between Larry House and Sonny Orr where Sonny says that ‘we (the Crees) are finally making Quebec pay up after all of these years’ and Larry says, ‘no, no, we are opening the door to all development, forestry, mining and hydroelectric development.’ Larry’s comment is of course untrue. The AIP proposed to make the rules for forestry operators more stringent than they were and in fact many of the companies have complained that the new rules are too stringent. They were in fact forced by the new rules to abandon cutting operations on 28 Cree traplines. They subsequently reduced their cut by 25 percent. In mining the AIP did not propose to change the present system of impact review but only to create a Cree Mining Board to help fund greater participation by the Crees in Mining exploration. In hydroelectricity the Agreement proposes to cancel the 6000 sq. km. – 39 Twh NBR Project and replace it with the 395. sq km. EM1A Rupert project.

Whapmagoostui

For this sequence the most outspoken people are Lisa Petagumshkum and another who does not seem to be a Cree from James Bay. The former says that she felt betrayed by the secret agreement. In fact she was then being consulted and the agreement was available to all. Consultation can hardly be a betrayal. If the vote had gone against the agreement it would have been the end of the matter. The latter party speaks of “backstabbing” politicians. One does not know if he is speaking of Ted Moses, as we are led to believe, or the Grand Council as a whole. Again in Whapmagoostui the comments from the audience that are shown are not that negative, for the most part, and thus reflects the fact that many favoured the agreement.

Rejection of the Agreement

The film states that Matthew Mukash's rejection of the agreement came after his reception of a memo from Ted Moses ostensibly telling him not to speak out on the Agreement. The memo was actually the internal directive that Bill Namagoose and Romeo Saganash would deal with the media on the agreement. The film purposefully warps the true nature of the memo in order to vilify Moses, portraying him as a kind of suppressive dictator, which is an obvious falsehood.

The film then makes it seem as though a kind of unrestricted colonization would occur via the construction of various roads into the territory. The Agreement would in fact have the effect of reducing these as it also contained measures to deal with the creeping cabins issue. However, the Agreement does not pretend to stop development, which is not only impossible, but also impractical and extremely detrimental to the wellbeing of the Crees.

The film’s attack against Ted Moses and the AIP also seems like retaliation for a failed proposal by Neil Diamond, Ernie Webb and others at the time of the New Agreement to sell to the Crees a film that promotes the idea of stopping all development on the territory, as a means of leveraging recognition by Canada and Quebec. The failed film proposal endorsed a perfect and indisputable Treaty, one that would settle all disputes and also establish a Cree constitution and government. There is of course no such thing as a perfect constitution.

Frank Etapp

This is an interview with a trapper obviously impacted by forestry operations and roads. There is a serious loss of habitat shown in the area filmed. In fact Waswanipi community itself has a forestry operation and obviously wants forestry operations to continue rather that trying to stop them. This is reflected in Mr. Etapp’s comment that ‘he didn’t want to make a war out of this.’ Over the years Waswanipi has been trying to find a way of getting a larger wood allocation and new rules to moderate the impact of forestry on the trappers. This is what the new agreement provides, but this is never brought out in the film. In fact the film never does present what was in the AIP or the final agreement, but uses innuendo and conjecture to suggest problems that in fact are blatantly false. In this case, Mr. Etapp’s comments are used as evidence that all forestry should be stopped. Does Mr. Etapp in fact want this? He is never asked in the film, and yet again the film makes a pawn out of someone whose opinion is never truly expressed.

Illegal Fishing Camp

This part of the film shows a Francophone entrepreneur who has built a fishing camp on a trapline under a license received from the Quebec Government. The trapper is obviously concerned as he may lose the ability to hunt and fish in a certain area. On the other hand, the promoter seems to have good relations with the trapper and gave him a key to his camp.

This section also presents another Francophone individual who built a hunting camp without a license. This person had found a note on his truck from a Cree person asking him to close his camp. He commented that he would not accept that a Cree tells him what to do on the land.

The New Agreement sets up a committee to discuss how to deal with such issues. In fact the policy in many respects was not clear and is now being dealt with.

Once again the film shows a problem and does not present the solution. Is the solution to kick out all cottagers, outfitters and non-Cree hunters from the territory? This would obviously create a lot of confrontation and resentment from non-Cree individuals. Unfortunately, many Cree and Aboriginal viewers of this film will pick up this type of message from it – anti-development, anti-non-Aboriginal outfitters and hunters, anti-Francophone. This film risks to undermine the new relationship with Quebec that the New Agreement was intended to establish.

Cree Student Consultation

Once again all of the negative comments or comments that express concerns from the students were presented and none of the positive ones; another example of the film’s devious editing practices, which construct a single-sided argument for the viewer.

Road Block at the Rupert Bridge

This was more of an information stop to inform people of the opposition to the proposed Agreement. On statement made by Roger Orr at the road block was something to the effect of: ‘We haven’t gotten anywhere these past 26 years.’ Does this reflect the opinion of the majority of the Crees? Do people not consider or take pride in the progress that has indeed been made? What was the contribution of the protesters during the last 26 years? If they thought that the Crees were ‘going nowhere’, why didn’t they help out before this? Essentially Mr. Orr’s comment ignores and depreciates the hard work of many Crees, including the previous Grand Chiefs celebrated in the beginning of the film. Mr. Orr states earlier in the film at a meeting that he can remember the “time before television” and money when he went to his Grandmother’s. His memory must be quite poor, as the developments achieved in many Cree communities are both evident and numerous: paved roads, multi-million dollar community centers, housing projects, fire & police departments, sewers, as well as social improvements in areas such as welfare, education, and childcare to name but a few developments that have occurred in the past 26 years.

Part II

This part starts with Billy Diamond extolling the virtues of the new agreement, with Matthew Cooncome saying that Ted Moses is a real hunter and with John Paul Murdock stating the Ted was a truly great leader. It shows the event where Ted Moses was given the award of person of the year by La Presse Newspaper. The statement is made by the film narrator Neil Diamond that the captains of industry were here to congratulate Ted Moses. In fact the room was full of prominent people from all facets of Quebec society, but the film creates the false impression that only industry was there, thus furthering the conspiracy thinking the film both creates and promotes. The Crees should be happy and proud that their Grand Chief is so celebrated by Quebecers.

Robert Weistche

The Chief of Waskaganish, after the over 2 years of debate with Hydro Quebec that took place with the Crees, mostly represented by Eastmain and Mistissini communities, stated that he was not against the EM1A Project but did not like the fact that Mistissini was taking ownership of it. At the time EM1A was being promoted by Hydro Quebec to the Crees as an economic development project. In the film he is portrayed as stating that “we need more information”. He says that it looks good on paper, but asks whether it is “just another set of broken promises.” What does he mean? Does he mean that he would be in favour of the dam if the price was right? Nemaska Meeting to Oust the Chief

In this sequence one can see the same people who are the main characters in the film, trying to oust the Chief. The attempt fails, yet the implications of this are not explained in the film. Could it be that the community is embarrassed by this attempt to film their chief being kicked out of office? Could it be that the community is not universally against the New Agreement? This possibility is dismissed by Roger Orr, who states that the people of the community “don’t understand”. It seems impossible to Mr. Orr that the community simply rejected his agenda, so he must then place blame upon their lack of knowledge surrounding the issue; obviously however, Mr. Orr cannot possibly know the extent of anyone else’s knowledge. It is also interesting to note that several contentions by Mr. Orr and the rest of the “Un Official Opposition” are not based on fact. Moreover, the “Un-Official Opposition” do not seem to understand the AIP and its implications very well.

Nemaska voted in favour of the Agreement by 72%.

Is it a coincidence that it is Neil Diamond, the narrator’s brother of the film producer handing out the copies of the petition to force the chief out of office? It would seem that the film is more a piece of propaganda masquerading as a documentary to further its political agenda than anything else. Nemaska later voted for the New Agreement in a community referendum.

Funding Formula

Here there is a futile attempt to prove that the Grand Council made an error in arithmetic. Even with the help of a local math teacher they can’t figure out the funding formula in the New Agreement. About this time the accusation was put around the Cree communities by the opposition that the funding formula would end up in one payment of $70 million or that there would be many payments but they would never increase beyond $70 million. In fact, the formula exists and is, as agreed-to, for the first time beginning to index the funding based on a five-year moving average of the value of the resources produced by the territory. In spite of the futility of this effort, the filming of the opposition trying to figure out the formula is left in the film to create the impression that there is a problem. However, isn’t it more plausible that the individuals in the film, including the teacher just did not understand the formula? This shows that the film is an attempt to manipulate people’s thoughts and feelings by creating a false version of the facts. The formula is real and is working. In fact the formula produced the first increase in fiscal year 2005/06 as it was designed to do. Chisasibi and the Second Round of Consultation on the Final Agreement

This part starts with a western drum ceremony, something that some Crees have recently begun to import from the western Crees.

Youth Council

The youth council called for a meeting of the Grand Chief at the same time as there was a meeting scheduled with Chisasibi community. The Grand Chief couldn’t leave the one to go to the other, particularly when the community meeting was so intense. What had happened was that the Grand Chief had attempted on at least three previous occasions to get a meeting with the Youth Council headed by Ashley Iserhoff. They did not respond. Then there was a consultation meeting set for Waskaganish where a meeting with them was also to occur. On his way to the meeting Ted got the message that his mother-in-law had died, and so he cancelled the Waskaganish meeting to go to Eastmain; then, after the funeral he went to the meeting scheduled in Chisasibi, and later returned to Waskaganish. The meeting in Chisasibi started at nine in the morning and went to midnight. The Youth Council came to Chisasibi and started to meet at eleven in the evening. At the end of the Chisasibi meeting the Grand Chief stated that after 15 hours of engaging in the meeting, he was too tired to go to the Youth Meeting and asked John Paul Murdoch to go instead. At that meeting the Youth Council claimed that the New Agreement was a sell out of Cree sovereignty over resources. Mr. Murdoch quoted section 25.5.1 of the JBNQA that states that the Crees will not claim royalties on resource development in the future. He then pointed out that the new agreement provides a system of allowing the Crees to benefit from development and in effect reverses the effect of 25.5.1. When this was pointed out, Mr. Mukash of the Council asked Mr. Murdoch to leave, without replying to his statement.

Most opponents of the agreement fail to see that the Federal Government’s extinguishment policy is violated by the Cree Quebec agreement, and thus one of the reasons it was negotiated in secret and without the participation of the Feds. The film promotes the idea that the agreement was not valid since it was not signed by the Federal Government. Federal government officials have the same view and would have butchered the agreement and reinstate the extinguishment policy before signing it. Only a colonized person would think that the Federal Government would help us and make the agreement better, when it has become abundantly clear that after over 26 years of broken promises, the Federal Government has not been a viable partner for promoting Cree interests. Chisasibi Consultation

What had happened was that Larry House and some others had organized the meeting for the first time, with a list to determine the order of speakers. All of those opposing the Agreement were asked to sign the list first. Afterwards there were accusations made by some of those who attended that they had not been allowed to speak or were intimidated not to do so. (Larry House subsequently placed a call to the Grand Council to say that he had nothing to do with the meeting.) The meeting went on until the next morning when finally some members of the community who were in favour of the Agreement, finally were allowed to speak. Rather than leave this forum to meet the Youth Council, the Grand Chief invited them to participate in the community meeting. One of the members came and stated that if the Grand Chief did not apologize to the youth, they would react “in a physical way”. The film shots from Chisasibi were carefully chosen to bring out the worst exchanges that took place. There is then a petition circulated to stop the signing of the Agreement and some of the chiefs sign it in front of the camera. Do they prefer to have the Grand Chief guided by a petition signed by few hundred opponents, than a referendum of the thousands who want to vote in a free and secret ballot? Waskaganish

One of the youth of Waskaganish is filmed stating that the chiefs would sign the agreement even if the people voted against it. This is another attempt of the film to create a false impression by featuring statements by misinformed individuals. This was never said by the Grand Chief or any other party from the Grand Council. The question was unresolved as to what would have happened if, for example, many of the communities voted against but there was still an overall majority in favour. Such a question in fact never arose. None of the positive comments on the agreement made at Waskaganish were included in the film, yet another instance of the film’s manipulation.

The Vote

In reporting the vote of each of the communities the comment was made that in Whapmagoostui the Grand Chief had said that he would protect the Great Whale River from future development and the film stated that this was: “…a promise that he couldn’t keep.” This was a gratuitous and uncalled for comment. It shows the degree to which the film was designed as a personal attack on Ted Moses. To date, Quebec has not spoken of Great Whale. Hydro Quebec has removed it from its long-term plans. Whether this was done out of respect for Ted Moses’ commitment to protect Great Whale or not remains is unknown. Whether Ted Moses will ever be called to defend the river is a moot point. Will he respond to such a call? That is between him and his maker. Why would the film presuppose the answer? In fact the Great Whale project is still in the 1975 James Bay agreement and would have been removed had some of the Grand Council political leaders not changed their minds on the AIP. After their change of mind Quebec wanted to safeguard their legal right to build Great Whale project as described in the JBNQA and insisted itnot be part of the Cree-Quebec agreement.

The report on the vote gives the number of yes and no votes per community. In fact 68% of the Crees who voted, voted in favour. The film says that 38% voted in favour of the Agreement. This is true, because only 56% voted. If that is the type of arithmetic that is to be used in looking at this issue, then only 17% of the electorate voted ?no?. It is false to assume that the 44% who decided not to vote would have voted against the agreement. Many people say that God decides the outcome. Some are just not interested in voting and others say ?Let?s support our leaders proposals.? There are of course other who say: ?I will not vote because the no side will not win anyway?. Voter apathy is a problem here in the Cree community just as it is elsewhere. To say that half of the Cree population is against the agreement is clearly wrong.

Figure 1: Voting Statistics for Feb. 1 2002 Vote on the Agreement. Statistics provided by James Diamond.

Referendum Results
Population and Voters as January 31, 2002
 
Population
Voters
Voted
% of Voters
 
Yes
% of Voters
% of Voted
No
% of Voters
% of Voted
 
Spoiled
Chisasibi 3,292 2,007 1,298 65%   621 31% 48% 668 33% 51%   9
Eastmain 581 335 243 73%   193 58% 79% 40 12% 16%   10
Mistissini 2,948 1,815 1,053 58%   904 50% 86% 134 7% 13%   15
Nemaska 611 363 200 55%   142 39% 71% 55 15% 28%   3
Waswanipi 1,593 978 373 38%   261 27% 70% 103 11% 28%   9
Waskaganish 2,113 1,200 568 47%   358 30% 63% 205 17% 36%   5
Wemindji 1,148 674 406 60%   339 50% 83% 44 7% 11%   23
Whapmagoostui 748 409 232 57%   145 35% 63% 86 21% 37%   1
Ouje-Bougoumou 629 372 181 49%   143 38% 79% 38 10% 21%   0
Chisasibi Inuit     -                
Total
13,663
8,153
4,554
56%
 
3,106
38%
68%
1,373
17%
30%
 
75

There is then a scene of the signing of the Agreement in Waskaganish. Mr. Henry Diamond, brother of the co-producer of the film Neil Diamond, then confronted the Premier and the Grand Chief. He had a very excited air about him. Immediately the Cree Police from Waskaganish attempted to guide him away from the table, only to have Mr. Diamond shout, “No! No! No!” and “I’ll resist!” By adopting a defiant stance, he forced the officers to subdue him, which they eventually managed to do.

What was not recorded on the film was that the audience was calling for the police to remove him during the scuffle and when they did, they applauded the police for their effort.

The film ends with the statement that the Crees won the battle of Great Whale but that Moses believed that they were losing the war, that development would keep coming. This statement is interesting not because of what is pretends to know of what the Grand Chief thought, but because it is based on the premise that the Crees had stopped and could continue to stop development forever. This is a naïve statement, made by a group of people without any real sense of its implications. Where would the 125 Crees work who are presently working on at the Troilus Mine? What about the Crees working in forestry? What about the more than 500 Crees who work on the EM1 project? What about all of the non-Crees working in the territory. Would they and Quebec and Canada just acquiesce to Cree demands that they be allowed to close the door on the rest of the world? Not likely! It seems that a minority of people, such as the “Un-Official opposition” are willing to sacrifice the well-being of many others to further their own agenda, even when the people vote the other way.

Final Comment

In fact, the concept of sovereignty is evolving so that states and governments, including indigenous governments that assert jurisdictions over resources must increasingly abide by international rules for the harvesting or extraction of natural resources, their transformation and trade in these materials and products. Increasingly this is the way things are organized. States can also declare reserves and parks. Would the Crees themselves want to live in a reserve that protects their environment and limits the Crees to living a traditional way of life? It is not very likely.

What is true is that the producers of this film have an ill-conceived vision of a future for the Cree Nation that seems to be based on the Crees going back to their way of life of 100 years ago, and on stopping all development in their territory. Or is it based on a vision of stopping all development and renegotiating so that the Crees would receive more money in the future than they presently do? This possibility is negated in the film by the numerous times that someone is shown coming out and saying that money cannot replace the hurt caused by development, and that one cannot pay for the soul of the Crees. Either the makers of this film don’t have any idea about the future of the Cree Nation or they use the romantic and nostalgic feelings of the Crees who feel unsure of where change is leading them to promote a smear campaign against the present Grand Chief Ted Moses, who is trying to plot a realistic future for his people. It is a film without honour.

What is more difficult for a Cree Audience is that many of those who spoke out so strongly against the new Agreement and who held out living on the land as the best way for the Crees to go were receiving large salaries from institutions that came from the James Bay Agreement. It is one thing to walk over to the meeting center to take part in the debate and it is another to drive over in a $70,000 vehicle paid for by your good job and to then take the hardest position in the room against the Crees making more money.

No, money will not replace the feeling of loss that rapid culture change can bring. However, is it better or worse in the circumstances to have the financial means to build proper housing, to provide adequate health services, to provide clean water, good schools and to pay all of the Crees and others who make sure that these services continue? And is it not better that the Crees attain the means to dictate their own future and destiny by being as economically independent as possible?

Many people around the world are suffering from the effect of rapid economic and cultural change. Few of them have the financialmeans to address these impacts and direct their own futures. Because of the work of the Cree Grand Chiefs, Billy Diamond, Matthew CoonCome and Ted Moses, the Crees have these means while other indigenous peoples in and outside of Canada do not.

This film hurts the future of the Crees by suggesting that the solution to our problems is to go back to the bush. That way of life is being pursued by many, but many more prefer other options. Moreover, living in the bush would not be possible without the Income Security Program or the housing construction or other sources of money that people rely upon to be able to afford the equipment necessary today.

The film also disrespects 30 years of countless people’s hard work by stating that for 30 years their struggle has been meaningless and fruitless, a statement which is both a untrue and deeply insulting to many of the Cree Nation’s leaders and elders. It is interesting to note that this film has been produced during a period of unparalleled prosperity, success, and wealth for the Cree Nation; which could not have been produced without the high public interest in the Crees that our leaders have accomplished, or without the funding that is a consequence of that fact. Most certainly the film would have never been made.

This film also hurts the Crees as it presents their society as a helpless victim of development and change while the Crees are in fact a dynamic people with a practical outlook and confidence in themselves.