The Grand Council of the Crees

Opening of Anjabowa Daycare Facilities

Remarks by Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff

Posted: 2007-10-26

Hello, it is my honour to be here on behalf of the Grand Council of the Crees to join you in the celebration of the Anjabowa Daycare facilities in Chisasibi. In 2003 an agreement was signed between the Cree Nation and Government to expand daycare services in the Cree communities. Since this time, the daycare facilities have increased the number of spaces being offered in the community for our children under the age of 5 years old. We had the pleasure of opening a daycare in Mistissini last year with Minister Carole Theberge. Unfortunately, in the last provincial election in the spring she was not re-elected to office; however, the good work she started with us many years ago with the opening of the first daycare in Eeyou Istchee to today with the opening of the new facilities in Chisasibi endures. We would like to acknowledge her for her leadership and commitment for her work.

I would like to thank all of the people regionally and locally who have contributed to this day. The building of facilities to care for and educate our children is a great accomplishment in community development. I would also encourage the parents who are bringing their children to the facilities to get involved in activities at these centers in your community. It is important for us as parents and community members to take time to participate in the education of our children as well. We have the ability to make the greatest impact in our children's life with the smallest of acts on our part.

My younger brother Shawn was a parent while he was on his way to university. He transferred to Ottawa, and made a commitment with the mother, who he is not married to, to raise his son. It is incredible to see the amount of time this young couple devotes to Daniel's development. First, they took classes to teach their son sign language so they could communicate before his speaking skills started. This worked out quite well, as their son could tell them when he wanted a light on, or more food, or water by simply making hand signals. It eliminated a lot of the guess work parents go through when their child is crying. Now, Daniel is speaking so he has replaced many of the signs with words. This is just a small example of participating in parenting and the development of our children's education.

I would like to congratulate Tina Petawabano, as Director of Child and Family Services, and all the staff for the day care for working hard on the expansion of the services in Chisasibi. We hope that you enjoy a tour of the new facilities, and the expansion of existing facilities. There was much planning and work that went into bringing them into full realization over the past four years.

As the community grows, so does the need for services such as daycare facilities. With a large youth population, and increasing numbers of opportunities for employment, education and training in the communities it is important to have facilities that allow for our people to participate more in them. In the past four years, we have doubled the amount of spaces in the community daycare centers. Thank You and God bless this facility and all of you.