Grand Chief Matthew Mukash:
With each passing year, our nation is faced with different situations and at times share common hardships.
The loss of loved ones is one of the most difficult things our communities are faced with. As Eeyouch, we have faced different tragedies involving friends, loved ones, and for far too many times, we are faced with tragedies involving our youth.
Our sympathies go out to those families that are present here tonight. We are humbled by your courage to join us as we pay a special tribute to your loved ones. We pray that your strength will continue to grow so that you may continue to carry on with your lives.
Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff:
We all need peace in our lives and in our minds. Some don't have to look too far, but for others the journey to finding peace sometimes takes a little more time and requires some patience.
Our Creator has a special place for all of us in this world. Most importantly, we all have an important role to play within our nation and society. Our encouragement and support to one other to pursue our goals is key to our nation's success.
As important as it is to remember our past and our loved ones that have passed on, it is also important to acknowledge each other's contributions.
In the decades past, each of our communities has been blessed with prominent leaders and individuals whose efforts helped shape our past, present and future.
Among these individuals were the achievers, negotiators, spokespeople, leaders and remarkable people who took pride in serving our nation. Some have committed their entire lives to serve us all.
Time has come to acknowledge the achievers of yesterday, today and tomorrow and the contributors to the continued development of our nation.
We are here tonight to make a special announcement concerning a new initiative founded by the members of the Grand Council/Cree Authority.
Grand Chief Matthew Mukash:
On behalf of the Grand Council, Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff and the Chiefs present here tonight, I am proud to announce our support for a new important initiative concerning the creation of the Cree Nation Achievement Award Foundation.
Founded by the Grand Council of the Crees/Cree Regional Authority, the Cree Nation Achievement Foundation (CNAF) shall be registered as a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to deliver programs that provide the tools necessary to recognize the excellence and contributions of Crees of all ages.
This new initiative shall include an annual Cree Nation Achievement Awards Gala beginning in the fall of 2009, a Secretariat (Production CNAAG), and other programs may include Eeyou Youth Role Model Programs, Educational Programs, Bursaries, etc.
We believe that such new initiative will have a positive impact on the lives of our young people. Time has come to honour those who deserve our honour.
In the coming months, a process will be established to help institute this important new initiative.
On behalf of the Grand Council/Cree Regional Authority we look forward to the positive impact this new initiative will have on our nation.
Thank you, meegwetch, merci!