New Year’s Reflections

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As we do every year, the Nation asked several leading figures in Eeyou Istchee to reflect on 2016 and look ahead to 2017 in respect to their organization and the Cree Nation as a whole. Here are the responses from a handful of Cree movers and shakers to the following three questions:

1) What was your greatest achievement or achievement on behalf of your organization in 2016?

2) Looking back over the past year, what was the largest challenge faced by you or your organization and how did you overcome it?

3) What are your hopes and plans for the New Year?

Isaac Voyageur – Director of Environment and Remedial Works Departmentisaac-voyageur

Cree Nation Government

I would like to acknowledge God for his many blessings on the Cree Nation, our leadership for its continued support, the staff of the Environment and Remedial Works Department for their commitment in ensuring Cree Rights are respected and my family for their understanding and continued support.

Greatest achievements: Concluding negotiations on new forest harmonization agreement, and successfully launching a planning branch of the Environment Department.

Largest Challenge: Managing the growth of the Department in relation to new commitments made through new agreements (e.g. Governance, Baril-Moses Agreements). We overcame this challenge by being adaptable and carefully listening to the views and recommendations of all staff members.

Hopes and plans for the New Year: that the Cree Nation continues to progress and prosper.

Kathleen J. Wootton – Chairpersonkathleen-wootton

Cree School Board

Perhaps the biggest challenge for both the staff and commissioners of the Cree School Board was organizing the first Regional General Assembly. The Regional General Assembly was a great success and the Cree School Board received many compliments on the assembly.

Another highlight was the recent visit from former Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Paul Martin, to launch the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program in Mistissini. We look forward with anticipation to realize the new training center project.

As always, the Cree School Board looks forward to serving the Cree Nation in the New Year.

On behalf of the Cree School Board, I wish everyone in the Eeyou-Eenou Istchee, a wonderful Christmas holiday. May all your dreams come true for 2017 and may you all have a peaceful, prosperous New Year.

Donald Nicholls – Director

Cree Nation Government Department of Justice and Correctional Servicesymca_aga_2016-107_lrg

It is hard to say what it is the key achievement of last year; we have built new facilities, services and programs, and launched new funds that create partnerships with communities, organizations and individuals in areas of crime prevention, rehabilitation, reintegration and youth engagement. One of those achievements was our ability to use a secure network to link trials throughout the Cree Nation without other parties having to leave their communities or even when they are outside of Eeyou Istchee. It reduces costs, hardships and makes the process more accessible to people. We also use technology for over 120 hearings per year.

One of the challenges we faced last year was with the Funds program. As the Funds process was new, there was a lag in the payment process related to successful applicants. We were able to set up a new system with Finance to facilitate more timely allocation of funds. We also set up a reconciliation process to allow us to measure the efficiency by which we allocate under the Funds program.

Our plans for the New Year are to continue to work with communities and partners in the development of needed facilities, services and programs. We have looked at a number of measures that will improve not only our services but that of other stakeholders in the Cree Nation. We are working to look at ways we can deliver these with other entities to address underlying needs of those entering our systems when we can intervene earlier, and to reduce recidivism of those returning to our communities.

Bella Moses Petawabano – Chairperson

Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Baygrand-chief-matthew-coon-come-with-director-bella-moses-petawabano

I am very proud of the 2016 Eeyou/Eenou Regional General Assembly on Health and Social Services held in Waskaganish in April 2016. This three-day event brought together stakeholders from all levels from across Eeyou Istchee in a participatory process where everyone’s voice counted resulted in a list of priorities which will help guide the CBHSSJB’s new Strategic Regional Plan: Shaping the Future of Miyupimaatisiiun.

In the past year we have transformed the way we approach transportation, lodging and food service for our clients travelling south for medical treatment. We did this by listening to the voice of the people, including listening to and responding to complaints.

Through a partnership with Air Creebec, we now bring people to Val-d’Or and Montreal by charter flight, in greater comfort, and with a nurse on board the plane.

The environment at Espresso Hotel is completely different from what it was a year ago, with renovated rooms and three beautiful spaces just for our Cree clientele: a cheyamaougamikw (spiritual room), piminûwhaûgamikw (community kitchen), and sabtuan (activity room). The place is warm and welcoming, a home away from home for Eeyouch and Eenouch who are in the difficult situation of having to come to Montreal because of illness.

Services will continue to improve under what used to be called Cree Patient Services, and which is now called Wiichihiituwin (helping one another). My goals for the coming year include beginning work on the Strategic Regional Plan, which will guide our organization for years to come, and continuing the important work we have been doing with the Cree Nation Government to advocate for the recognition of customary adoption in the Quebec Civil Code.

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