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
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
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
and take appropriate action. Write letters of concern to appropriate
organizations and raise these issues with pension funds and RRSP funds
3. To raise these issues in local and other media including letters to
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