Learn more about the Cree Nation Government's Quebec, Federal and International Relations
The Cree Nation Government/Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) represent the coming together of the administrative and executive branches of Cree government. We work to promote and protect the interests of the Eeyouch (Crees living in the water sheds of eastern James Bay and south-eastern Hudson Bay). We stand to protect our human rights including treaty rights and to promote our economic interests, while working to strengthen our political and cultural ties with Quebec, Canada, other First Nations as well as maintaining international relations.
Beginning in the 1980’s the Grand Council of the Crees worked with international agencies in an effort to bring international focus on the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. Many of the original habitants of the world have been pushed aside, without land or recognition of their human rights.
In the Cree case, this reality was manifested by the Crees having been largely ignored by the Province of Quebec when it approved and began construction of the James Bay Hydro-Electric project in 1972. In 1973 the Crees filed a court case seeking to stop the project and initially they won, but the higher courts prevailed and overturned the decision. Canada, Quebec, the Crees and Inuit of Northern Quebec then negotiated the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, signed in 1975. The Crees began their campaign in Europe and in the Americas because the Province and Canada were reluctant to implement the Agreement they had just signed.
The Grand Council received recognition as a non-governmental organization in consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. This status allowed the Crees to question Canada on its non-compliance with their treaty. Their effort led to many years of meetings with other Indigenous Peoples and nations. Together, we collaborated in favour of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which led to its adoption by the United Nations on September 13th, 2007.
The Grand Council continues to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples within and outside of Canada and continues to take part in international forums.