Aboriginal people insisted on special membership criteria (redefining Inuit and Cree status), control over local and regional governments, the creation of their own health and school boards, measures for economic and community development, special regimes for police and justice and environmental protection. They obtained technical definition of the La Grande Project including relocation of the first dam, limitations on water levels and a remedial works corporation for social and environmental damages. Compensation of $225 million was divided between the Cree and Inuit and paid over 25 years. The Naskapi received $9 million (including $1 310 010 from the Government of Canada) under the Northeastern Québec Agreement.
The lands were divided into three categories: category I included 14 000 km2 in and around Aboriginal communities to be controlled solely by residents; category II referred to crown land shared with the Cree (70 000 km2) and the Inuit (81 600 km2), exclusively as hunting, fishing and trapping territories; and 1 000 000 km2 in the remaining category III, approximately two-thirds of the surface area of Québec, were designated for the exclusive rights of Aboriginal people to use for traditional hunting and harvesting. For the Cree, provision was made for a minimum family-income plan for wildlife harvesting. The right to teach using native languages and in English and French was secured, and in Québec the James Bay Native Development Corporation was established to encourage Cree economic development.
The dynamic and complex nature of the agreement is evidenced by seven amending agreements, four additional agreements and 22 pieces of related legislation. The rights of the Aboriginal people in the agreement were protected by the CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982. In 1984 the promise of SELF-GOVERNMENT for the Cree was realized when Parliament enacted the Cree-Naskapi (of Québec) Act, the first of its kind in Canada.
Author JOHN A. PRICE Revised: BRIAN CRAIK
Grand Council of the Crees, Sovereign Injustice (1995); Sean McCutcheon, Electric Rivers: The Story of the James Bay Project (1991); John A. Price, Native Studies: American and Canadian Indians (1978); R.F. Salisbury, A Homeland for the Cree: Regional Development in James Bay, 1971-1981 (1986).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
James Bay Project and the Cree
A CBC feature about the political, social, and economic issues concerning the James Bay hydroelectric project and the James Bay Cree.
The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement
See the full text of the The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. From the website for the Grand Council of the Crees.