The Grand Council of the Crees

The Youth of the Cree Nation of Mistissini receive international recognition at the Nuclear-Free Future Awards in Washington D.C.

Posted: 2015-10-28

NEMASKA, EEYOU ISTCHEE, QC, Oct. 28, 2015 /CNW/ - The Youth of the Cree Nation of Mistissini will today receive international recognition for their outstanding efforts against uranium development on Cree lands, at the Nuclear-Free Future Awards in Washington, D.C. Shawn Iserhoff, Justice Debassige, Desmond Michel and Kayleigh Spencer are being recognized for their leadership role in the Cree Nation's successful stand against uranium in Eeyou Istchee. They will be accepting the award on behalf of the Mistissini Youth at a ceremony to be held today at the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill.

"I could not be more proud of the Youth of Mistissini, and I congratulate them wholeheartedly on their achievements and on receiving this important recognition today," said Richard Shecapio, Chief of the Cree Nation of Mistissini. "Uranium development in Eeyou Istchee threatens the environment, the wildlife, and our future generations. It threatens our traditional practices and the Cree way of life. By their actions, the Youth of our community have demonstrated the importance they attach to preserving our territory and Cree values."

The Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee has been outspoken about its opposition to uranium development on its land, since Strateco Resources applied in 2008 to pursue the Matoush advanced uranium exploration project. Located on the family hunting grounds of the Cree Nation of Mistissini, at the crest of two major watersheds that bring water throughout Eeyou Istchee, the Matoush project was the most advanced uranium project to date in Quebec. The Government of Quebec has since denied the required permit for the Matoush project, due largely to its lack of social acceptability amongst the Cree Nation.

The Youth of Mistissini were instrumental in mobilizing the Cree Nation's stand. The Youth launched a province-wide campaign to educate Quebecers about uranium and about the Cree Nation's opposition to this unique form of mining. In 2012, they participated at the Earth Day rally in Montreal and hosted the "Together Against Uranium" rally. In 2014, they marched 850 km from Mistissini to Montreal to hand-deliver their message to the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE). The BAPE concluded in its report that uranium development should not proceed on Cree territory without the consent of the Cree Nation.

"I have always believed that we Crees inherited this land from our ancestors, but we also borrow it from our children," said Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come. "It is inspiring to see our Youth fighting to protect our people's lands, traditions and way of life. Our Youth represent the future of the Cree Nation, and with leaders like this, our future is very bright!"

The Cree Nation recently released The Wolverine: The Fight of the James Bay Cree, a short film directed by renowned Cree director Ernest Webb and produced by the Grand Council of the Crees. The Wolverine can be viewed found here:

For more information on the Cree Nation's stand against uranium, please visit