Quebec Cree leaders visit Moose Factory, Ont.
Meeting will update efforts to end dispute with MoCreebec
The Grand Chief of the James Bay Cree Nation is heading to Moose Factory, Ont., Thursday to update efforts to end a long-standing dispute between his government and the Cree of MoCreebec.
The community on the western shores of James Bay has been fighting for benefits under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement for many decades.
Allan Jolly, the acting Chief of MoCreebec, says his members believe the JBNQA was signed on their behalf and they are being unfairly excluded because of where they were living at the time of the signing.
"The people are anxious to hear about what's been happening with the idea of negotiations. That is really what this meeting is all about," said Jolly.
This past summer, the people of MoCreebec voted 88 per cent in favour of dropping a decade-old court case against the Cree Nation Government asking for a court interpretation of Section 3.2.7 of the JBNQA, which cuts off benefits to anyone who has been outside of the Cree territory for 10 consecutive years. It's referred to as the 10-year clause.
Jolly says this is the first time Matthew Coon Come will address his members since they agreed to end the lawsuit.
"It's basically an information meeting with the Grand Chief and will give him the opportunity to... address MoCreebec people and make some statements in relation to the strategy that we both agreed to embark on, " he said.
James Bay Cree Nation Executive Director Bill Namagoose and lawyer James O'Reilly will travel with the Grand Chief and meet with representatives of MoCreebec to update where things are at.
Namagoose says it was long past time to stop the fighting.
"I believe it is time to work with the MoCreebec Crees in their development, as it is counter-productive when you look at litigation towards us, as it relates to the past, and in solving our differences. We need to look at working with them in dealing with their future, and securing that with the governments."
Part of the strategy is to bring Ottawa to the table to negotiate a settlement. Namagoose is lead negotiator for the Cree Nation government with the federal government. He will be there to update where discussions are at with the federal government.
Jolly says he is hopeful that they are finally moving towards a resolution.
"This has been going on for like 30 years. It's not a new thing. The time seems to be right to bring everything together. And now maybe we can have a clear path as to where we want to go," Jolly said.