The Grand Council of the Crees

Federal Relations

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The Grand Council (GCCEI) of the Crees/Cree Regional Authority (CRA) represents the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee and protects the rights of the Cree People. Canada is a signatory of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA - 1975) and in the James Bay and Northern Quebec Native Claims Settlement Act ratifying the 1975 Agreement also affirms that it has a "special relationship" with the Cree People. In addition, Canada has special obligations toward the aboriginal peoples of Canada by virtue of the Canadian Constitution.

The Ottawa office of the Grand Council/CRA manages relations with the Government of Canada by making presentations to Committees of Parliament and Senate. It also maintains relations with the offices of Ministers with responsibilities over matters touching Cree affairs and with the various departments that manage such matters. This includes the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs that has set up an office to oversee Canada’s implementation of the 1975 Treaty.

Bill Namagoose, Executive Director of the GCC (EI), works out of the Ottawa office and is Negotiator for the Crees with respect to Federal implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. Brian Craik is the Director of Federal Relations and is also a Cree-appointed representative on the Review Committee and the Evaluating Committee, both of which have responsibilities in respect to environmental protection on Cree traditional lands under the JBNQA. He is also member of the Offshore Claim Negotiations team headed by Rod Pachanos of Chisasibi.

Others working on Cree matters from the Ottawa Office include Geoff Quaile, environmental and forestry advisor, Paul Wertman advisor to the community of Oujé Bougoumou, Frederick Moar, Date Base analyst for the Cree Human Resource Development Department, as well as an excellent support staff headed by Lillian Loon, receptionist Marina Katakwabit, coordinator Sheila Weapinicappo, and document technician Susan McAllister.

The Ottawa office also houses an office of the Grand Chief.