The Grand Council of the Crees

About the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)

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The Grand Council of the Crees is the political body that represents the approximately (2012) 18,000 Crees or “Eeyouch” (“Eenouch” – Mistissini dialect), as they call themselves, of eastern James Bay and Southern Hudson Bay in Northern Quebec. The Grand Council has twenty members: a Grand Chief and Deputy-Grand Chief elected at large by the Eeyouch, the chiefs elected by each of the nine Cree communities, and one other representative from each community. The present Grand Chief is Mathew Coon Come and the Deputy Grand Chief is Rodney Mark. The Council’s head office is in the Cree community of Nemaska, although it also has offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec.

A Short Description of the GCC / CRA

The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Regional Authority are two distinct legal entities, however, they have identical membership, board of directors, governing structures and are de facto managed and operated as one organization by the Cree Nation.

The Cree Regional Authority (the “CRA”) was created pursuant to legislation of the Quebec National Assembly: the Act respecting the Cree Regional Authority, R.S.Q., c. A-6.1, first adopted in 1978.

The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) (the “GCC(EI)”) was created by Letters Patent issued in 1974 by the Deputy Registrar General of Canada pursuant to the Canada Corporations Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-32.

Both corporations are created on a not-for-profit basis.

All Cree beneficiaries are members of the GCC(EI)-CRA.

Both organizations must report annually to the Cree beneficiaries in an annual general assembly. This reporting includes the presentation of audited financial statements and of activities reports.

The GCC(EI)-CRA is governed by a Council-Board of 20 members elected by the Cree beneficiaries as follows:

The powers and authorities of the GCC(EI)-CRA include the following:

GCC(EI) Letters Patent:

CRA Act :

Moreover, as “legal persons” under the meaning of the Civil Code, both the GCC(EI) and the CRA have the same capacity to exercise civil rights as natural persons:

“301. Legal persons have full enjoyment of civil rights.”

“303. Legal persons have capacity to exercise all their rights, and the provisions of this Code respecting the exercise of civil rights by natural persons are applicable to them, adapted as required.

They have no incapacities other than those which may result from their nature or from an express provisions of law.”

In addition, the GCC(EI) holds among others the following additional capacities flowing from section 157 and subsections 161(1)(d), (l), (w) and (z) of the Canada Corporations Act:

Moreover, the CRA is formally recognized as a Regional Conference of Elected Officers under the terms of sections 97 and 98 of the Act Respecting the Ministère du développement économique et régional et de la recherche, R.S.Q., c. M-30.01. As such, it acts as the “primary interlocutor of the [ Quebec] Government for the territory or community it represents as regards regional development.”

In addition, government authorities have been delegated to the CRA such as:

Moreover, numerous federal and provincial legislations refer to the CRA for various purposes including, among others:

It is also noteworthy that the CRA constitutes the “Cree Native Party” under the terms of the JBNQA (see parg. 1.11) and, as such, is official and sole representative of the Crees in relation to the application of that treaty and modifications to that treaty.

Moreover, the GCC(EI) and the CRA have entered into numerous agreements concerning various matters of interest to the Cree Nation. Virtually all important agreements between the governments of Canada or Quebec and the Crees have been negotiated and signed through the GCC(EI)-CRA. To name but a few:


In addition, both the CRA and the GCC(EI) are party to numerous administrative and funding agreements with government related to the transfer of funding and the management of programs and services, such as policing, day care, environment, economic development, etc.

Members of the Grand Council and Board of Directors of the CRA are:

Dr. Matthew Coon Come

Grand Chief/Chairman

Mr. Rodney Mark

Deputy Grand Chief/Vice Chairman

Mr. Davey Bobbish

Chief, Chisasibi

Mr. Thomas Shem

Member Chisasibi

Mr. Edward Gilpin

Chief, Eastmain

Mr. Kenneth Gilpin

Member Eastmain

Mr. Richard Shecapio

Chief, Mistissini

Mr. John Longchap

Member Mistissini

Mr. Matthew Wapachee

Chief, Nemaska

Mr. Josie Jimiken

Member Nemaska

Mr. Reggie Neeposh

Chief, Ouje-Bougoumou

Mr. Gaston Cooper

Member Ouje-Bougoumou

Mr. Gordon Blackned

Chief, Waskaganish

Mr. Gordon Blueboy

Member Waskaganish

Mr. Paul Gull

Chief, Waswanipi

Mr. Marcel Happyjack

Member Waswanipi

Mr. Rodney Mark

Chief, Wemindji

Mr. Danny Tomatuk

Member Wemindji

Mr. Stanley GeorgeĀ 

Chief, Whapmagoostui

Mr. Elijah Sandy

Member Whapmagoostui

Mrs. Pauline T. Hester

Chief, Washaw Sibi

Mr. Jimmy R. Trapper

Member Washaw Sibi