Canadian Boreal Initiative applauds the new Agreement on Governance in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory between the Crees and the Government of Québec

QUÉBEC CITY, July 24, 2012 /CNW/ - According to the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI), the newly signed Agreement on Governance in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory between the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Government of Québec is an innovative model for indigenous governance across Canada's Boreal Forest.

The Agreement includes provisions for Cree decision-making on Category II lands (Eeyou Istchee), which cover more than 74,000 km2.  It also provides for the creation of a new regional governance process, where decision-making will be shared by the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Jamesians, on more than 350,000 km2.

"CBI applauds both the Government of Québec and the Crees of Eeyou Istchee in signing this historic agreement, which is an evolution from a provincial government-led model of governance for the James Bay that largely excluded the Crees, to a model and practices of inclusion that will ensure balanced development for the benefit of all peoples," said Suzann Méthot, CBI's Regional Director in Québec. "As Grand Chief Coon Come mentioned today, it is indeed a very special day that, from CBI's perspective, sets the course for further fundamental changes required to establish a fruitful relationship between the Government of Québec and all of Québec's First Nations. Developing such partnerships with the Aboriginal peoples, this is the future of Quebec."

"This agreement demonstrates a model of implementation of the principles of the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which refers to the right of Indigenous Peoples to participate fully in political, economic, social, and cultural life of the State as well as the right of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their distinctive relationship with their lands, territories, and resources.  This agreement illustrates that implementing these principles is not only desirable, but is vital in ensuring equitable decision-making and true Aboriginal leadership in managing the relationship with the land and its resources," concluded Valérie Courtois, CBI's Senior Advisor for Aboriginal Relations.

About the Canadian Boreal Initiative
The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for the conservation and sustainable development of the Boreal Forest. It works at a catalyst by supporting on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal, by Governments, industry, Aboriginal nations, conservation organizations, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

SOURCE: Canadian Boreal Initiative

For further information:

Suzann Méthot, Regional Director - Québec, Canadian Boreal Initiative
(514) 792-1843 smethot@borealcanada.ca

Valérie Courtois, Sr. Advisor - Aboriginal Relations, Canadian Boreal Initiative
(709) 899-0578 vcourtois@borealcanada.ca

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