Since the signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975, the Cree Nation has been on a path of modern Nation-building. We have accomplished much in a short span of time. We have, over the course of nearly forty years, put in place all the major building blocks for a strong indigenous Nation.
The Cree Development Corporation is a key component of this bold vision of the Cree future--a future where we Cree take full control of our economic destiny, a future where the political strength is matched by our economic strength. The Cree Nation has paved the way for building a strong economy.
We have before us a future where the Cree Nation is a major force in the economic development of Eeyou Istchee and beyond. A future where we have the economic tools to build a vibrant Cree Nation that creates opportunities for our entrepreneurs and especially for our youth. A future in which we continue to build on our achievements to date and build a stronger future.
Our population is growing very fast. Our young people need jobs and opportunities in Eeyou Istchee to raise their families here. They need to see a future for themselves in Eeyou Istchee. One where their dreams and ambitions can be fulfilled. This is what the Cree Development Corporation is about. It’s about building. It’s about improving. It’s about creating new opportunities for our people.
The Paix des Braves created the Wyapschinigun Fund to be the heritage fund for the future of the Crees. In addition to the Wyapschinigun Fund, the Paix des Braves created the Cree Development Corporation as the main vehicle for Cree economic development. The Cree Development Corporation will help us move to the next phase of Cree Nation-building. Through the Paix des Braves the people gave the mandate to the Cree leadership to create and advance the Cree Development Corporation. The people demonstrated their confidence in our leadership. The people have decided.
The Cree Development Corporation will be an active agent of economic development. It will pool many of our Cree financial resources so that we can make strategic investments in key sectors that will create wealth for the Cree Nation as well as job and business opportunities for our people. We need substantial financial resources to make these investments, and the Cree Development Corporation’s plan will ensure that these resources are in place to accomplish this.
The Cree Development Corporation will partner with key players in the world of finance and business in Québec and Canada to take full advantage of investment and development opportunities. The Cree Development Corporation is all about increasing Cree participation and Cree control.
The Cree Development Corporation will build on past successes of the Cree entities to create something bigger, stronger and better. It will retain and strengthen CreeCo. The successful companies held by CreeCo will be kept and enhanced--new opportunities will be opened up for them.
This is why the Paix des Braves called for the creation of the Cree Development Corporation--to serve as the primary vehicle for Cree regional economic development. And, to ensure the protection of Cree rights, the Cree Development Corporation is part of our Treaty—it falls under Section 28 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement.
We live in new and challenging times. New times call for new solutions. The Plan Nord and resource development projects are moving ahead in Eeyou Istchee. They will not wait for the Crees. Either we seize the initiative to shape development in Eeyou Istchee, or we will be left behind. It is time to break camp, and to move on to new opportunities.
The Cree Development Corporation will help us build a brighter future for the Cree Nation.