Washaw Sibi Eeyou

The River That Runs Into the Bay

The Washaw Sibi Eeyou has a distinct history and a vision to establish a new tenth (10th) Cree First Nation community within Eeyou Istchee.

We, the Cree people of Washaw Sibi have an inherent right to implement our plan to build a new community for our members. We have a right to govern ourselves and to have a home where we can ensure the survival and health of our people, our language, and our culture.

News From The Chief

September 10, 2008 Volume 1, Number 2 October 7, 2009

Message from Chief Katapatuk

Chief Katapatuk

Wachiya, to all community members of the Cree Nation of Washaw Sibi!

This newsletter is being provided to the members of the Washaw Sibi Eeyou as part of the commitment of your leadership to provide current information regularly to the community members on the major events and activities of your leadership.

We are continuing to work very hard to make progress in reaching our objective of establishing Washaw Sibi and the tenth Cree First Nation with our own village. As we get closer and closer to beginning the detailed planning for the new village our community members will need to be as informed as possible so that when it comes time for the community to make important decisions we will be ready.

It is our hope and expectation that in the coming months we will start the planning for our new village and we will be calling on all community members to participate actively in the community assemblies which we will organize. The new village cannot be planned properly without your active involvement.

Meegwetch!

Your Chief,

Billy Katapatuk, Sr.

CREE NATION SIGNS HISTORIC AGREEMENT WITH CANADA

Then Grand Chief Mukash with Hon Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

In an historic decision, the members of the Cree Nation, through a nation-wide referendum gave its approval to a new agreement with the Government of Canada. The major intent of this Agreement Concerning a New Relationship Between the Government of Canada and the Cree of Eeyou Istchee is to provide for the proper implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, to resolve legal cases against Canada and establish a positive relationship between the parties, and also, to provide for the Cree Nation to assume greater responsibility for Cree economic and community development.

Since the ratification of the Cree/Canada Agreement, and the specific inclusion of the Washaw Sibi issue as a matter to be resolved, we are now much more confident than ever that our people will soon see the fruits of our efforts to finally establish a separate village for our community where we will no longer fear the loss of our Cree language and culture.

The establishment of a new Washaw Sibi village is a matter which will fall squarely within the jurisdiction of the Cree Nation. It will be the responsibility of the Cree Nation to identify and allocate the appropriate financial resources to see our dream come to reality. We are comforted to know that our future will be decided not by distant bureaucrats and politicians who do not know us, but rather by our brothers and sisters of the Cree Nation who know us intimately.

We are very pleased that the Government of Canada together with the Cree Nation have taken a huge step forward in setting the standards for the arrangements which reflect a commitment to the notion of aboriginal self-determination. We look forward to the fruits of these negotiations. We look forward to receiving the full range of powers, rights, services and benefits which are available to the other Cree First Nations flowing from the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and subsequent legislation and agreements.

On our part, in anticipation of positive discussions with the Grand Council of the Crees, we have undertaken a number of measures to continue the journey toward our permanent Cree home. We have established very positive relations with the municipality of Amos and we continue to have very collaborative discussions with the town’s representatives on a range of matters related to a new village.

The Agreement also provides for negotiations to take place on the establishment of a new Cree Nation Government with powers and authorities beyond what is currently in the Cree-Naskapi Act.

IMPORTANT MEETING WITH THE MAYOR OF AMOS

Mayor Mr. Ulrick Chérubin

We have known for a long time that the construction of our new village would require the assistance of the Mayor of Amos to help us in ensuring that the final site which is selected for the location of our village can be re-zoned as quickly and efficiently as possible. As a result of numerous meetings with the Mayor and his staff to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible, we convened a very important meeting in June 2008 between our Council and the Town Council of Amos. This meeting was also attended by Grand Chief Matthew Mukash and Mr. Bill Namagoose, Executive Director of the Grand Council.

This was a very positive meeting, and as a result of the meeting, the Mayor, Mr. Ulrick Chérubin wrote a letter to the President of the Quebec Agricultural Lands Protection Commission asking for him to consider rezoning initial potential sites for the construction of the village. This letter represented a first, and very important, step in advancing the planning for the construction of our new village.

The process of rezoning the sites chosen by the community will require considerable effort on our part and we intend to work closely with the Mayor’s office to ensure that we do all we can to have this rezoning process result in a successful outcome.

EFFORTS CONTINUE TO CREATE HARMONIOUS RELATIONS WITH PIKOGAN

Abitibiwinni First Nations and Washaw Sibi

In order to ensure that our relationship with the Abitibiwinni First Nation is as harmonious as possible, we have offered to Chief Alice Jerome that together we establish a Washaw Sibi/Pikogan Working Group. We continue to believe that it will be important for us to develop respectful and harmonious relations so that our two communities will be able to benefit from activities and developments in the region.

Our vision of such a permanent working group is to have a forum through which we could undertake joint efforts designed to ensure harmonious relations as we address issues which affect both our communities. Additionally, we would like to establish such a working group as a forum where we could discuss how the Abitibiwinni First Nation and its members may be able to realize certain employment and other benefits associated with the establishment of a new Washaw Sibi village. There may further be opportunities for joint economic development initiatives for us to consider in the future which we could be beneficial for each of our communities.

I have had to opportunity to meet with Chief Jerome to discuss the establishment of such a Working Group, and I am pleased to say that there is sincere openness in having our two communities work together. I will keep the community members informed as this important initiative unfolds.