A leadership transition took place last summer and Waskaganish has elected its new leader. Firstly, congratulations to Chief Gordon J. Blackned for his election! Also thank you to the former Chief, Steve Diamond, for his time of service to our community. I’m thankful to our Heavenly Father to have positioned me to be part of our community’s leadership and to sit with the Members of the Council. I give Him all Glory and Honour!
We have done so much in the past year and have undertaken in one of the biggest projects in our community, the Community Center, whereas we are starting with the new Arena. There are many hours put into this undertaking by our people to realize such a big project at this magnitude. This is a building that we will enjoy utilizing for many years to come. Our community was host to the Regional conference on Addictions held from August 1 to August 5, 2011 and was coordinated by local and Regional Health Board coordinators. There were events carried out throughout the week. There has been participation by our members with delegates attending from other Cree communities. The conference was well received and many thanks go out to the individuals that were part of the local support group for the delivery of the conference and to the community for accommodating the delegates into their homes.
We are still taking in the impacts of the Rupert River Diversion project, a project that has impacted many of our local traplines and its users in our territory. One of the areas that is very important to us, the Smokey Hill, is in a significant period. A liaison committee known as the Smokey Hill Liaison Committee was established along with Hydro-Quebec and SEBJ representatives to address many important issues to maintain a continuance use of the Smokey hill. The tallymen and users are consulted to provide their knowledge on how to work out details to lessen the impacts at the Smokey hill area. There is an on-going process to address other issues correlated to the diversion of the Rupert River.
Another file that we worked on is the relocation of the office of the President of the Air Creebec Inc. to Waskaganish. The discussions started in the spring of 2011. A relocation plan was developed and I’m pleased to inform you that the relocation of the office of the President was done in January 2012. There will still be other meetings with Air Creebec Inc. to continue the process to address other related areas.
There have been steps taken forward in establishing an Elder’s facility for our community. At a meeting last fall with the Chairman of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, we addressed the importance and the need of such a facility in our community. We were informed that this project will be included in the discussions with the Governments to be part of their negotiations. The project is an on-going file. As part of the progress, we visited several Elder homes with the members of the Elders Council in Amos, and Palmorelle, on March 26 & 27, 2012. This was more to see the facilities and to acquire more information on what we can develop in our community.
Again, I was involved in a number of reviews of By-Laws which have to be updated and the work for new By-Laws was carried out. The above is not limited to what the office of the Deputy-Chief is involved or is partaking in our organisation and community. Our community is growing and it is getting advanced in many ways.
With the support and input from our people, we’re moving forward.
A. Thomas Hester