The Grand Council of the Crees

Graduation Address of Grand Chief Matthew Mukash Delivered in Nemaska, Eeyou Istchee

Posted: 2006-02-02

Wachiya. Good evening to everyone here and in particular to the ladies who are graduating this evening. I am happy to be here on behalf of the Grand Council and I bring the best wishes of the Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff as well. It is always a good feeling to hear that our communities are celebrating the accomplishments of those who went to school. And to begin, I would to acknowledge and thank the CHRD, the CRA, CEGEP de St. Felicien, She She Guin Childcare Centre and the program instructors, Ethel Taylor and Holly Nathan. As well I want to specifically thank you for inviting me to be a part of your celebration, and am honoured to be speaking at a special time in your lives.

One of the great things about education is that it comes to us in many forms and in many ways. We are constantly learning each day in our lives with the experiences we have and the choices we make. The Native Childcare Services program covers has many different areas and aspects. I have had the opportunity to read the program description and review some of the courses that it entails. Just as our lives are diverse and ever changing, the courses in my view seems to meet many of the demands and different needs of many individual children, their families and their culture. Acquiring these skills is important as children are impressionable and what they learn will follow and be useful to them later in life. The ability to help shape and influence children in a positive way is a form of support that our nation needs, in its collective effort to become stronger.

When thinking about this graduation and what you have been able to accomplish, I think about the opportunity you have to help create positive and safe surroundings for the children. Perhaps a less thought of aspect of a program like this, is that it allows you to bring so much of what you already have into the program: Your natural gift for working with and caring for our future generations. Your knowledge and schooling combined enhances the services delivered and helps answer to the needs of our growing population.

What you do with the knowledge you have and what you do with the skills you have learned will be up to you. As someone who has been through schooling, I appreciate all of the work that you have had to do to get to this point. All of the reading and other, assignments and tests that you had to do, some of you may be glad that it is over! I appreciate the dedication you have shown to become examples of success and role models to our nation.

Always remember to recognize the potential in your choices to help shape our nation and the lessons that you can provide to future generations.

We are here to celebrate each of you tonight. So take pride in your accomplishments. Remember how good this feels and think of this feeling each time you remember your hard work. When you look at your diploma and when you dream of doing other things in your life think of how proud you are at this moment. This is another marker in your life to remind you that you can accomplish what you set out to do and that success comes with a price that you have paid and are capable of paying again. I sincerely congratulate you and hope you enjoy this evening.