Québec City: The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is pleased to announce the signature with the Government of Québec today of a Framework Agreement on Governance in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory. (Francais)
The Framework Agreement provides for a one-year period for the Crees and Québec to negotiate a Final Agreement which will expand Cree jurisdiction over certain lands in their traditional territory. It also provides for a new, inclusive form of regional government in the Territory, comprised of representatives of the Crees and the other residents of the Territory. This regional government will have expanded jurisdiction over the major portion of the Territory.
For the Cree Nation, the signature of this Framework Agreement, and subsequently of the Final Agreement, will represent another major milestone in realizing the vision of the original James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement of 1975, which outlined a blueprint for the Cree people to be full and active participants in the governance and development of northern Quebec.
Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come stated, "This Framework Agreement marks a significant step towards the modernization of the governance regime in Eeyou Istchee James Bay. More importantly, it signals a firm intention to recognize the appropriate roles of the Crees and of our neighbours in the governance of the Territory. We look forward to assuming our rightful place in the governance of the Territory."
This Framework Agreement builds upon the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement as well as the Paix des Braves of 2002. It expresses the intention of the Crees and Québec to strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship which they have been striving to develop for many years. When the Final Agreement is signed, it will resolve a long-standing dispute over more recent legislation that attempted to exclude the Crees from the governance of the Territory.
The Grand Chief continued, "We look forward to working collaboratively with our neighbours in the context of a new regional government which will create the conditions for harmonious development in the Territory, for the benefit of all residents and for Québec as a whole."
The Grand Chief went on, "I am pleased that Premier Charest and his Government have recognized the link between good governance and economic development. With the signature of this Framework Agreement on Governance, we are now in a position to work together toward the realization of the Plan Nord."
In conclusion, the Grand Chief stated, "Together with the Plan Nord, the Framework Agreement provides a vision for the future governance and economic development of the Territory. The Plan Nord holds the promise of a new era for Cree participation in the economic development of Eeyou Istchee. The Framework Agreement complements it by opening the way to a new era for Cree participation in the governance of Eeyou Istchee."
Bill Namagoose, Executive Director, Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), Tel. (613) 725-7024 Abel Bosum, Cree Negotiator - Québec, Tel. (514) 774-7077