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Originally signed in 1975, the JBNQA was Canada's first modern treaty. It dealt with land and other issues dating back to the late 1800s. However, Canada and the Crees of Eeyou Istchee held different views on how to best implement the JBNQA. After years of litigation, the negotiator for the Government of Canada and the Grand Council of the Crees signed a Statement of Intention in August 2004 to begin an out-of-court process demonstrating a mutual commitment to settling issues through meaningful discussion rather than through the courts.
On July 16, 2007, an agreement entitled an Agreement Concerning a New Relationship between the Government of Canada and the Cree of Eeyou Istchee, which includes a proposed financial package of $1.4 billion over a number of years and would clarify and facilitate the implementation of Canada's obligations under the JBNQA going forward. The agreement seeks to resolve disputes related to the implementation of the JBNQA outstanding over the last 30 years, and secures mutual agreement between Canada and the Crees on obligations for the next 20 years (beginning when the new agreement comes into force) with a process to extend that initial timeframe.