Eeyou Istchee continues to go beyond symbolism to negotiate real benefits of connectivity, says Cree leader
Dr. Ted Moses has been, and continues to be, a great advocate for telecommunications for Eeyou Istchee, the Cree territory in Quebec which covers an area of nearly 400,000 square kilometers, roughly the same size as the state. from California.
Moses, the former Grand Chief of Eeyou Istchee, which includes nine Cree communities, was a guest speaker at last week’s Virtual Indigenous National Technology Conference.
The two-day event on June 2-3 was hosted by Clear Sky Connections, the largest Indigenous-owned telecommunications network in Canada. The theme of the conference was digital sovereignty. Moses’ presentation was titled The Art of Negotiating: Going Beyond Symbolism.
Moses explained what it means to go beyond symbolism in negotiations.
“It is an agreement that we are implementing. We are looking for the tools to implement agreements and bring benefits to the territory to ensure that people have the tools to participate in the modern economy and to ensure that communication tools protect, promote and preserve our culture ”, did he declare.
Moses is the President of the Secretariat of the Cree Nation Economic Alliance.
The mission of this secretariat is to promote socio-economic relations and alliances between Eeyou Istchee and the regions of Jamesie, Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nunavik.
Moses said that to understand how telecommunications developed in Eeyou Istchee, it is important to understand the agreements in the region. This includes the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement of 1975 and the Peace of the Braves Agreement of 2002.
“Both establish general provisions establishing prior control over how justice, education, economic development, etc. are implemented in the territory,” Moses said.
“There has been a tendency to implement and extend the organizational powers supported by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. This growing trend towards self-governance and greater autonomy creates a strong impetus for the development of telecommunications.
Moses said Eeyou Istchee had succeeded in establishing control over education, health, police, local governments and infrastructure.
“We have the capacity to create laws. We have a responsibility to maintain many aspects of public safety. We have a growing economy and the right to self-determination, ”he said. “Every effort on our part requires connectivity and the ability to communicate with our employees. ”
The world is now thriving on connectivity, he said.
“Progress and innovation have continued at a faster pace,” said Moses. “We expect the content to be available in a digital format. We exist in our rural part of the world and the telecommunications development gaps must be filled, but a solid basis of agreements and negotiations enables us to meet these challenges through partnership and innovation.
Moses believes in understanding what Eeyou Istchee has done over the years to connect with his people.
“We have a long history of broadcasting information with Bush two-way radios providing security on the ground,” he said. “The first radio station created in the 1980s.”
In addition, the Eeyou Communications Network (REC) was established in 2004.
“ECN brings Internet, broadband and Cree communications services to James Bay, and community radio brings FM broadcasts, streaming video media and digitization services,” said Moses. “There is also an emergency alert system linked to emissions.”
Moses said that while ECN organizations were rooted in radio, they currently provide many other services.
“Their mandate is to expand into all areas of multimedia, be it video, the web or whatever,” Moses said. “The wide availability of connectivity offers a substantial opportunity to provide entertainment, news and public information to our people in their own language. ”
Moses believes it is important to have programming available in Cree.
“It is a recognition that the maintenance of language and culture requires representation in the media space,” he said. “There is also a great and growing need for public service announcements. ”
Moses added that his territory would not rest on its laurels.
“The foundation of the agreements that exist within Eeyou Istchee provide a solid foundation that continues the development of Eeyou Istchee and takes advantage of the opportunities offered to us through telecommunications,” he said. “We are actively taking inventory, creating development roadmaps and plans to participate in the regulatory and policy direction of telecommunications.”
Residents of the territory should also do their part.
“Participatory connectivity is a commitment that all residents of Eeyou Istchee should be able to access and know how to use technology,” said Moses. “We maintain our commitment to many of them by ensuring that any development protects them and that communities can reap the benefits of modern technology.