The Grand Council of the Crees

Inauguration Speech by Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff, Delivered at Chisasibi, Quebec

Inauguration Speech by Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff, Delivered at Chisasibi, Quebec

Posted: 2005-10-18

Grand Chief, Youth Grand Chief, Chiefs, members of the Council/Board, distinguished guests, Minister Kelley, my many friends, people of Chisasibi and the people of the Cree Nation.

During the course of my life, people have always found ways to support me in the positions that I held, I started taking responsibility at a very young age. From being part of the local Youth Council, to leading the Cree Nation Youth Council, being a member to our local Council, there are always people that have always been there to support me, to give me the right words of encouragement, most importantly, leading their lives to be my role models.

I want to take this time to honour two (2) of those role models, my parents, Matthew and Annie N. Iserhoff Sr., without their love and support, I would not be standing here to share this moment.

I want to thank my brothers Shawn Trevor and Matthew Jr. for being true to whom they are and my aunts whom are very close to our family, Julie Iserhoff and Edna Neeposh Sr.

During my campaign, I took it to heart when I spoke of the importance of what family means to a child. Like every family, we had our hardships. We learned from our struggles, we overcame and we grew stronger, my parents continue to show us to never give up.

On this occasion, I think of my late grandparents, Allen and Luce Iserhoff, Matthew and Jane Neeposh who led their lives by example, to whatever came their way, they did not give up. They passed that on to their children.

This comes from our teachings that have been given to us as gifts from God. He has given us all gifts to share, to bring hope, to give, to use the right words in the time of trials and tribulations.

In order to spark that light, it can come from a few words of encouragement, YES YOU CAN, NEVER GIVE UP, YOU CAN DO IT!! Words lift our spirits and motivate us to contribute. We need to use these words everyday, for we know what is going on in our communities. We need to laugh, share our stories, and encourage one another.

During my travels this past summer, I often spoke of what do we do as humans when we see our friends fall in life, what do we do? We go see them, we spend time with them, we lend a listening ear, encourage them, talk to them, show them and help lead them to overcome what they are going through.

When I reflect on the importance of any position in our nation, we all have that responsibility, to share our knowledge, to listen to people, to bring words of hope, and show the people who have fallen to get back up again. Everyone has an important role to contribute to society.

I believe that many of us don?t want vandalism, crime or drugs or alcohol. I believe that many of our people want a nation of which they can be proud. I know that our people want bright, clean streets, healthy communities, communities striving in community and economic development and top class local facilities such as new clinics and educational establishments. I believe we want sports facilities and theatres and art galleries to express our culture. I believe if we all stick together we can overcome those obstacles we encounter.

Building up that pride takes some time and a lot of words of encouragement. I am excited to be part of the Cree leadership and to encourage you in helping us making our nation stronger.

There will always be new challenges. There will always be people who care for themselves and forget the common good. Such people have to be tackled sympathetically but firmly. A Nation is about all of us and I firmly believe that each one us should have our say, from our children, our youth, our women, our men, our elders. I use the word team deliberately. We need consensus of what is the most important work to be done. We need agreement on how challenges should be met. We need the backup of that team spirit. Speaking of teams I think it is essential to bring together the bodies involved in sports of Eeyou Istchee and to promote it aggressively. Young people who have training three nights a week and have games at the weekend are rarely the ones in trouble. The same applies, of course, to those who are interested in music or drama or art. We need to provide the facilities and programs that will make our youth bring credit and hopefully, with our words of encouragement and living by example bring a few all-star awards back to our communities.

When I hear of the stories of our past, everyone had an important role to play, our children remind us of the meaning of life, our youth were taught to take responsibility, our women made sure everything was up to par in the bush camp, our men went to go hunt and bring food back to the camp, our elders were teachers.

The way of our ancestors is what we have to bring back, no one was looked down on, no one thought people were inadequate, People encouraged each other, this was their life and now this principle we will now use.

Our nation is one family, just like what we have been taught, we share what has given to us to use, most important share our love to each other.

I ask each of you to be part of the leadership today, get involved in our community activities, contribute to the wellbeing of our Nation. Empty words are meaningless unless we contribute. Let's walk together, listen to each other, encourage each other. This is what I have learned from my family.

All off you know what family means to me, therefore, you will have an important role to play with us.

May God bring you peace and love and may He continue to bless each and everyone of you.