By Richard F. Salisbury
A native land for the Cree is a useful examine of the way the 1st James Bay undertaking used to be negotiated among the Cree and the Quebec govt. Richard Salisbury follows the negotiations which started in 1971 and analyses the adjustments to Cree society over a ten-year interval in mild of the nearby improvement in James Bay.
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Extra resources for A homeland for the Cree: Regional development in James Bay, 1971-1981
Even in 1972, when the Cree chiefs and delegates met privately during the annual meeting (held in Mistassini) there was the feeling that this was a group of people who were only now beginning to work together as colleagues who understood one another, and that they still had need of the IQA structure (and its legal counsel) to help them to achieve effectiveness. In short, a group of between seven and fourteen Cree had had some experience of modern political action or administration by 1971; as we shall see, they had the further link of having been to school together.
Even the experienced hunter, whose past seasons fur catch did not provide enough cash for the following years outfitting, found casual wage-work a valuable way to meet the need. 25 Village-band Society in 1971 As demands for cash increased - to buy chainsaws, outboard motors, snowmobiles, or to pay the costs of an air-charter to fly the hunting group out to a distant camp-site, complete with supplies - so did the pressure to engage in summer wage-employment. Conflicts between casual wage-work and hunting were increasing steadily, especially when casual jobs continued after September.
Critical here was the need to have some fluency in English, and this was a skill that had been taught in the local primary schools only since the 1950s. Few people aged over thirty had spent more than a few years in school by 1971, and few had learned more English than the minimum picked up from occasional visitors. Those with the best second-language skills often acted as the go-betweens for Cree with lesser skills, ensuring the employment of a group of friends by doing the talking with the employer, even if the work was equally shared among the group.
A homeland for the Cree: Regional development in James Bay, 1971-1981 by Richard F. Salisbury