The Grand Council of the Crees

We Rise Up! Episode 3

It's 1989. While the struggle continues to get the federal and Quebec governments to implement the JBNQA, Cree communities deal with inadequate resources for housing, social programs and economic development. Meanwhile, profits from resource extraction (forestry, hydro and mining) on Cree lands are flowing south to fill Quebec coffers. When Quebec announces the go-ahead for more major hydro projects, the Crees object, and launch a bold campaign to stop the Great Whale and NBR Projects. The government changes and Quebec freezes the Great Whale project, but announces a referendum to separate from Canada. Again the Crees rally with a media and legal campaign that says if Canada is divisible, so is Quebec. Relations between Quebec and the Crees are at an all-time low, when the people of Quebec say no to separation. This episode covers the Cree story from 1989 to the end of the 90s.

In the early 1970s, ten young Cree leaders were asked by community elders to lead the fight during negotiations for the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement. May their experiences serve to guide and inspire Cree youth and others in similar circumstances today. This is the third episode in what will be a four-part series (watch the second episode here or the first episode here).