The Grand Council of the Crees

Remarks by Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff: Opening of Mistissini Multi-Service Center

Posted: 2006-02-14

The Opening Ceremony of the Mistissini Multi-Service Centre

Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff (Back row, far right) celebrates with the community of Mistissini in opening the first Multi-Service Center in Eeyou Istchee. [Click for larger image] Photo courtesy: John Farrington, Air Creebec Destinations magazine.

I would like to thank the Cree Board of Health and Services of James Bay, all the staff, and the organizers for this invitation for this special occasion.

I feel honoured to be here as the Deputy Grand Chief of such a strong and proud Cree Nation. It makes me feel happy to see everyone gathered here today to celebrate the opening of the first Multi Service Day Center in Eeyou Istchee. It is an incredible accomplishment, and rightly so its conception and reality should be celebrated.

I believe that this facility is a symbol of what makes us a strong Nation. It is symbolic of the fact that we take the responsibility to care for our elders, families and loved ones very seriously. This is the tradition of our ancestors and it is something that continues to motivate us in our present struggles and challenges. We make an effort not to lose touch with the past.

The Multi Service Day Centre is also more than the recognition of this sacred responsibility. It is the perseverance of the efforts of so many people. It has been a long and difficult road to arrive at this important day, but here we are. The construction of this facility has been the product of many individuals, their vision and contributions. The past and present leadership and the staff of the Grand Council of the Crees, the leadership and staff of the Cree Nation of Mistissini, the Cree Health Board and the individuals who work anonymously for the betterment of their community. There is one individual that I would like to pay special tribute to, as I know that the realization of this facility is very close to his heart, James A. Shecapio. The need for these facilities was something he recognized and wanted to answer. I am very sure he is looking upon us today very satisfied but knowing and remembering his energy he is no doubt thinking, ?OK keep going now?. We thank you James.

With our future in mind, we must understand that even though we are cutting the ribbon to this facility, our work here is not done. This building provides us with the opportunity to continue something wonderful. Yes we can have modern facilities like those you have seen in the South, but because of our culture and communities we must do more. We must ensure that the programs and services that will be delivered are designed for us. We must ensure that the care we deliver here is a reflection of the respect and love we have for one another. We must ensure the Cree way is present in every part of this building.
Because we work together, we will achieve this. When we do things together, we will succeed.

We all shared the dream of this facility together.
We fought for the resources to build this facility together.
We all made sacrifices and worked hard for this facility together.
?and here we are to celebrate the opening together.

I share the same vision as Grand Chief Matthew Mukash, and as so many of the Cree people, about accomplishment. It is very important that everyone be involved in every decision and that we rely on our own strengths as much as possible. The opening of the Multi Service Day Centre is another step closer to the many great things our Nation will accomplish. I hope each of you enjoy the day and the festivities planned. This is the perfect chance for you to become familiar with the building so you and the people in your lives can benefit from what it has to offer.

May God continue to bring you peace, love and hope as we continue to serve the Cree Nation.

Meegwetch. Thank you.