Waskaganish, Eeyou Istchee James Bay: The Cree and Jamésiens of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory, along with representatives of the Government of Québec, came together today in Waskaganish to mark an historic occasion: the inauguration of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government.
The Regional Government has been established pursuant to the Agreement on Governance in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory signed by the Cree and Québec on July 24, 2012. The Regional Government offers a new model, for it is the first governance structure in Québec formally constituted with equal representation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations. It will exercise powers of local and regional municipal governance, regional development and land and resource use planning over the Category III lands of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region.
Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come, Vice Chair of the Regional Government, stated: “Today marks the culmination of Cree efforts to build with the Jamésiens and Québec a truly inclusive form of governance in the Eeyou Istchee Bay James Territory. With the new Regional Government, we are turning the page on the old politics of exclusion, and embarking on a new partnership in governance between the Cree and Jamésiens. And so, the Regional Government gives life to the original vision in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement of 1975 of a partnership in governance of the Territory. We are building something never before seen in Québec. We know that the success of our new Regional Government will depend on what we, Cree and Jamésiens, make of it. So let us now, together, get down to the work of governing.”
Mayor Manon Cyr of Chibougamau, the first Chair of the Council of the Regional Government, expressed the satisfaction of the Jamésien population with the establishment of the Regional Government. “Today the Jamésiens, the Cree and Québec are making history”, she stated. “With the new Regional Government, our governance partnership with the Cree takes on real life. The Jamésiens will work with the Cree to make the Regional Government a success. Our joint governance will allow us, together, to protect the environment, develop the region’s wealth and create prosperity for all.”