The Grand Council of the Crees

Remarks of Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff to the Cree Nation Regional and Business Conference

Posted: 2007-10-31

September 20th, 2007, Ouje-bougoumou, Quebec.

Good afternoon everyone, I am honoured to have been asked to be the concluding speaker. There is always a collective sigh of relief at the end of a good conference. That sigh, fortunately, has little to do with boredom and everything to do with impatience. That impatience is to get things done. It is to run as fast as we can back to our businesses and communities and put those great ideas into action. It might even be a changed awareness of a tiny detail of strategy. Or it might be something so simple, yet until it occurred to you here, you had not thought of it in quite that way. It may have been something that happened talking to another delegate. It might be an example that you have seen that has inspired you. Whatever it was, it is there represented in the 'Collective sigh.

Now is the time to get going. Now it is time to get back to start working on the next phase. It is time to be doing. All those people who are out there waiting for you to get in touch, to flash into their lives, to encourage and having proper mechanisms in place to start new businesses. After all, we have many resources to help them and you know the knowledge and the ability to fulfil and help them. That is what is important now and nothing else. The difference between before and now, is that you have been inspired. Our batteries have been recharged, our appetite for the game sharpened. Even when you thought you were staring out of the window watching the clouds roll by it was happening to you. Words, ideas, questions and examples came and went but none is more important, than your own passion for getting the job done.

The regional business and economic development conference would not have happened without several things. It would not have happened without the whole set up here. That is everyone who has worked so hard and will still be working long after we have retired home. We owe every member of staff here and those who have contributed a huge debt of thanks. The community of Ouje-bougoumou have made this a home from home for all delegates and made everyone all feel very welcome.

I have been inspired personally by many events and many speakers throughout my life, I want to share with you a quote from an inspirational leader, former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who eloquently spoke of the impact that we have with each other whether it is from the business community or to the political offices we may have, to the child or young person who is in school today, getting ready to be part of the business community, or to the elder who maybe listening to what we are saying here today, or to that young woman or man who may be searching for a meaningful and sustainable job to pay for their home and essentials in life, these inspiring words enlightened me to think differently of others and the way I view life and I hope it changes the way you think when you go home, he says:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frighten us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be;
Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented, Fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a Child of GOD
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
You are born to make manifest the glory of GOD that is within you.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as you let your own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

This speech inspired me to do the best I can in my role as one of the many leaders, to allow everyone's gift to shine, so that their light can be reflected out to the world, this is what our people have, a great light to shine to others in the world.

Let us walk on a new path to allow everyone to succeed and put more investment and resources so that many of our patiently waiting new entrepreneurs, whether they are young or old, who have many ideas to get their businesses going, but don't have the resources to start, as leaders, we need to put actions to our words, lets invest by having cash to help them to be successful entrepreneurs and that we can help them and encourage them. Let us be a little different and not always think of the profit for our companies but help and build our young entrepreneurs...who want to be part of our growing economy...we will be requiring about an estimated 570 new jobs a year, its both a scarey number and also an exciting one.

In concluding today, I need to thank every one of you for your contributions and your appreciation. It had been there in new acquaintances made and it has been there in old friendships rekindled. Most of all it is there in the 'Collective sigh' and your determination to go from here and put your ideas into action. I hope that some time in the future we will continue another such conference and have stories to tell of your successes.

May God richly bless the Cree Nation.
Thank you.