The Grand Council of the Crees

Address to the 2006 Graduates of Sabtuan Education Services of Whapmagoostui, Eeyou Istchee

Delivered by Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff

Posted: 2006-02-25

Watchegue Whapmagoostui Eeyouch,

Today, I have the great privilege of delivering this address as your Deputy Grand Chief and on behalf of the Grand Council of the Crees.

I am happy to join you here today, to be able share in celebrating each of you and your wonderful achievements. While Grand Chief Mukash was not able to be here with all of you, he felt comfort in knowing one of us would be able to make it to this special event in your honour. After speaking to him this morning, he asked me to tell you that his wife Danielle and him are extremely proud of each of you, and what this day represents. They send their warmest thoughts and wanted to make sure you knew they are thinking of you today.

So on behalf of both of us, I am here to share words of encouragement and let you know that you have our support.

Whapmagoostui has a good history of people who have set aside their own dreams and personal goals in education to either serve their community or their Nation.

I believe that education comes in many forms. Success depends on what you want to accomplish in your life. What you see as valuable and what you see as a contribution to those around you. In the example of pursuing formal education, there are some individuals who have returned to their studies who now play a fundamental role in our society as a Nation. Individuals such as Losty Mamianskum, whom I have learned to have great respect for, went back to university as an undergraduate and earned a degree in Law. There are many from Whapmagoostui such as Mary Shem and others, including our Grand Chief all provide positive examples for your community that education is always an option for all of us.

Education is now an important necessity in our own society. By having achieved those diplomas, you now possess the key to the doors of other institutions, but it will up to you which one you wish to open first and when.

It has been your personal efforts, the combination of your perseverance and commitment, the support of your families and faith in yourselves that has brought you to this day. You have achieved something very meaningful and valuable to your lives. You have proven that the last thing that matters in education is "age" and that time is not even a factor.

I am certain that I am not the only one in this room that is inspired by your accomplishments. This day is an encouragement to the members of your generation in your community. It is also an encouragement to many of the children, perhaps your own children or grandchildren, who are still in elementary or high school. Seeing is believing. It is obvious that this was important to you, and that shows through in what you have been able to do for yourselves.

Throughout the years I have worked in public service, one of the best things I have been able to be a part of are events that celebrate the achievements of our own people. Being invited to an event such as your graduation ceremony is special. You can feel the exceptional amount of pride in the hearts of many people. I realize how thankful I am, for being able to witness a day like today.

In closing, I would like to encourage you to continue to pursue your dreams whatever they may be. To use the education that you have learned to help yourselves, your family and your communities will open more doors of opportunity. Your contributions are needed and important, and can be used to encourage others as well. Remember this day when you think about other things you want to pursue. Remember it is as a reminder, that you can always accomplish what you set out to do.

To Mrs. Eliza (Kawapit) Masty, Lillian (Rabbitskin) Sandy, Mr. Joseph George, Mr. Simon Kawapit, Mr. Norman Mamianskum, Mr. Paul Atchynia, Mr. Sinclair Gilpin and Mr. Richard Tookalook:

Grand Chief Mukash and I wish to congratulate you in your important achievement of obtaining your high school diplomas.

May God bless you and your families.
Thank you. Meeqwetch.