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Draft Minute presented to Canadian Yearly Meeting on the situation of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Cross Lake, Manitoba

Friends were deeply moved on Thursday evening, 19th 8th Month, 1999, by the presentation of Emma Jane Crate, Rita Monias and Tommy Monias of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Cross Lake, Manitoba introduced by Will Braun of Mennonite Central Committee. The imposition of the dam system along the Nelson River is killing the Earth, depriving some of the land of life giving water while other is flooded. The Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Cross Lake (PCN), formerly self-sufficient and living off and with the land are now engulfed by the poverty of unemployment, the despair of welfare dependency, the ill health of poor food and polluted water and the betrayal of the broken covenants of the Northern Flood Agreement (NFA) 1977.

The Northern Flood Agreement is a treaty between five Cree communities, including PCN, and the Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro and the Government of Canada. It promises the dignity of Cree directed development to implement the goal of "eradication of mass poverty" 'Schedule E," NFA, 1977. in exchange for the flooding of some Cree lands for the building of the dam system to produce hydroelectric power. The dams have been built and the land flooded. The PCN have fulfilled all their obligations under the NFA. The governments and Manitoba Hydro have reneged. The latest injustice is the governments? attempt to extinguish PCN's on-going NFA rights, and renege on governments? environmental responsibility.

Canadian Yearly Meeting acknowledges the profound injustice in this situation. It provides some of the cheapest power in the world at the cost of PCN health and self sufficiency and the long term destruction of this extensive ecosystem. We recognize that we are among those who benefit as the power we have used daily at yearly meeting comes from this source. We deeply regret participation in this injustice. We accept responsibility to examine our part in creating this situation. As a faith community we agree to participate in creating solutions.

We know from the experience of Quaker Aboriginal Affairs Committee (QAAC), formerly Quaker Committee for Native Concerns, that the struggles for such injustices are long and exhausting. We know, too, that such struggles are spiritual as well as political. We hold the PCN in our prayers and commit ourselves to walking with them through this journey to justice.

We will write to the Canadian Government, the Manitoba Government and Manitoba Hydro advocating the following:

1. The full implementation in spirit and intent of the Northern Flood Agreement.

2. That they honourably respect the jurisdiction and self determination of the PCN including election results under PCN election law.

We encourage Monthly Meetings and individual Friends to take similar actions. We ask CFSC [Canadian Friends Service Committee] and CYM [Canadian Yearly Meeting] Finance Committees to examine our holdings of Manitoba Government Bonds in light of an appropriate response to this situation.

We ask QAAC to continue its involvement with this struggle, keeping us informed in appropriate ways. We also ask them to bring forward in timely ways through CFSC, Representative Meeting and Yearly Meeting other actions as may be appropriate for Friends and Meetings.

Drafted by QAAC 20/8/1999

Action Suggestions for Friends and Meetings in support of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Cross Lake Manitoba:

(To be distributed with a back grounder with information and addresses.)

1. To distribute the YM minute and letters as widely as possible.

2. To examine in right conscience any financial bonds from Manitoba Government, Manitoba Hydro, or the Government of Canada in light of this situation and take appropriate action. Write letters of concern to appropriate organizations and raise these issues with pension funds and RRSP funds where possible.

3. To raise these issues in local and other media including letters to the editor.

4. For Manitoba citizens:
a) Write to your Manitoba Member of the Legislative Assembly
b) Participate in the voluntary surcharge project making payments to the PCN on the basis of Manitoba Hydro bills

Quaker Aboriginal Affairs Committee will initiate and maintain a network through electronic and other media to provide information and actions opportunities. Please send copies of correspondence and information about actions to QAAC. QAAC will also initiate discussions with Prairie Monthly Meeting and Friends in Northern Yearly Meeting, including Minneapolis, about making a visit to the PCN of Cross Lake and developing strategies to address the use of power from this injustice by the state of Minnesota.

QAAC, 60 Lowther Ave, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1C7