This week, the Cree Nation Government unanimously passed its first Bill – An Act respecting the Cree language of Eeyou Istchee. The objectives of the Act are to support and promote the use of the Cree language, to support Cree efforts to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen the Cree language, and to plan initiatives and activities for restoring and maintaining fluency in the Cree language.
In 2017, the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee (northern Quebec) successfully concluded a Governance Agreement with the Government of Canada which described a vast range of powers and jurisdictions to be exercised by the Cree Nation Government and by the local Cree First Nations. Pursuant to this Agreement, accountability to the Federal Minister of Native Affairs has been replaced by accountability to the Cree Nation Government. This Agreement also provided for the Cree Nation to draft its own Constitution. This Act passed today is the first piece of legislation to be enacted by the Cree Nation Government.
This historic enactment comes during 2019, which has been proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
“The Cree Chiefs took a historic step today in enacting this urgently needed legislation”, declared Grand Chief Dr. Abel Bosum. “It is in keeping with our Indigenous nation-building agenda, our mission to become ‘masters of our own destiny’ and our profound commitment to ensure the protection and the continuity of our Cree language. Our traditional knowledge, our values and our cultural practices are deeply embedded in our language and the Chiefs today expressed their dedication to vigorously protect and promote the Cree language.”
“Revitalizing our Cree language is essential in ensuring a strong Cree culture”, stated Dr. Sarah Pashagumskum, Chair of the Cree School Board. “We are inspired to do our share in building on this important achievement”.
For more information: Dr. Abel Bosum: (819) 673-2600 // Dr. Sarah Pashagumskum (418) 923-2764
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