The Cree Nation Government is issuing this statement to outline its position on the Quebec government’s upcoming consultations on the protection of Indigenous languages.
On March 28th, 2023, during a meeting with Indigenous elected officials, the Quebec government announced its intention to undertake consultation to support the First Nations and Inuit in their efforts to revitalize, promote and protect Indigenous languages, including its intention to draft a bill on Indigenous languages. Four consultations sessions have been planned through the months of May and June in the following locations; Val-d’Or, Uashat, Montreal and Kujjuaq.
While the Cree Nation recognizes the desire of Minister Ian Lafrenière to undertake consultations, it has expressed its position that it will not participate in the consultation process as proposed, but rather requested to pursue these discussions on a nation-to-nation basis, as the Cree have always done. The relationship between the Cree Nation and Quebec under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) and other agreements requires tailored discussions to properly account for the unique context of the territory and treaty obligations. This allows the Cree Nation to ensure that its voice is heard and that its specific needs and circumstances are taken into account.
The Cree Nation has adopted its own legislation, namely the Act respecting the Cree language of Eeyou Istchee, and wishes to pursue the works for its implementation. The Act also established an Office of Commissioner of the Cree Language, which will be instrumental in moving discussions forward.
The Cree Nation Government remains optimistic that through determined, respectful and informed dialogue, the objectives of these consultations can be achieved, while ensuring that the Cree Nation and Quebec relations are strengthened in addressing Cree language concerns in Eeyou Istchee together.
Political attaché – Office of the Grand Chief, Cree Nation Government