The Grand Council of the Crees

Former Grand Chief Matthew Mukash Profile

Grand Chief 2005-2009

Posted: 2009-08-11

Former Grand Chief Matthew Mukash was the Grand Chief from 2005-2009 (View the results of the 2005 election.

Matthew Mukash was born in the spring of 1951, about 100 miles northeast of the Cree community of Whapmagoostui. Raised on the land in Eeyou Istchee (Cree homeland in Quebec) until the age fifteen, he lived the Cree traditional way of life which he learned from his family and elders. At the age of fifteen Matthew was treated for tuberculosis for 18 months at the Moose Factory Hospital in Moose Factory, Ont. When he went home after his full recovery, his father encouraged him to pursue an academic education, assuring him that the personal advancement he would gain, coupled with the traditional values of his ancestors, would instill in him the knowledge and wisdom to achieve his goals in life.

Grand Chief Matthew Mukash

During a successful academic career, he obtained college and university degrees, which provided him with an education platform for future opportunities. Matthew went on to gain invaluable experience serving his community of Whapmagoostui as an economic development agent, a police officer, a member on various committees, and as a Council member on the local government. He also served as a member on various regional boards, such as the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB), the CRA Board of Compensation, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Regional Authority (GCCEI). At the height of the Cree Nation opposition to the proposed Great Whale River hydroelectric project in 1990, Matthew serviced as Community Liaison Officer with the Grand Council of the Crees, placing him at the forefront of the opposition campaign for which he received widespread recognition. In 1992, Matthew was elected Chief of the Whapmagoostui First Nation.

From 1992 to 1999, Matthew continued to represent his people as Chief of his community. In the fall of 1999 he was elected Deputy Grand Chief of the GCCEI, where he exercised his beliefs that the power and authority to determine the future of his people rests with the Crees of Eeyou Istchee. As part of his work as Deputy Grand Chief, Matthew was responsible for the development of a process for the establishment of a Cree Nation government that would have authority and jurisdiction over all areas pertaining to Cree governance in Eeyou Istchee.

His strength of character and respected beliefs and values were reaffirmed by the Cree people on September 16th, 2005 when Matthew Mukash was elected Grand Chief of the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee. Since then, Grand Chief Matthew Mukash has been appointed by the Government of Canada as a member of the National Aboriginal Board on Economic Development.

Matthew also carries many talents as a musician. In the fall of 2006, his first music album was releases entitled, Matthew Mukash – Whapmagoostui Cree Fiddler.