What is governance?

Share Button

The Grand Council is beginning a tour of all Eeyou communities, including Mocreebec and Washaw Sibi, to consult on governance and a Cree constitution. So it’s time to reflect on what this means for those of us who live in this realm we call Eeyou Istchee, whether we live in the communities or elsewhere. How will this affect me? How can we sustain a Cree Nation Government with law-making powers? How will it be funded or supported? What body will enforce the laws that are adopted? What opportunity will we have to appeal arbitrary decisions? It will be an interesting debate.

Look at where we have come from; the path we have walked and the challenges we have survived. The decline of food animals from clear-cuts, hydro dams and mine tailings, not to mention the appropriation of the wealth of this land, and for whom? How much are we really getting for these things we now think will sustain us? Who really benefits? Do we personally benefit?

We will have to look closely at the fine print. How will our lives improve from these changes? What are we giving back in exchange? Look again at where we have come from. For instance, who is working at our entities? Are they productive? Were they the best for the job or are were they hired because they were related to the director? What about the abuses and abusers within our communities: who is accountable for them? Every day in our communities, somebody is hurt and people know about it. But do they bring it up or is that person charged? Who will manage the teams needed to advise on and administrate those lawmaking powers?

Who will teach our children what they need to do to get into the professional positions that will be needed? Will people already in place hire them? Is there a chance that we can do this without losing more of our language and culture?

Not to be pessimistic about things, but I think we need to see where we have come from and look at ourselves in the mirror. What I mean is that we need clear conflict of interest guidelines. Likewise, we certainly need ironclad rules surrounding the disclosure of information from our governing bodies. Secrecy harms good governance and only benefits those who wish to misuse the powers we invest in them. A constitution could help implement these democratic safeguards. But they need to be enforced and to do that we need a mechanism to ensure we can challenge those with power in our society.

So we do agree it is time for a Cree Constitution, but we need to think hard about what purpose it will serve. We need to think beyond our narrow, personal interests and design a framework for a true Cree Nation that will well serve future generations of sovereign eeyou and eenou.

Share Button

Comments are closed.