A cultural framework for Cree self-government : retracing our steps back

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Wastesicoot, Jennie
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In 1994, the Chiefs of Manitoba, through the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), set out to create a path to self-government for the First Nation people in Manitoba. A ten-year agreement was signed with the Government of Canada, committing the Chiefs to come forward with a plan that would define their self-government model. The agreement is referred to as the Framework Agreement Initiative (FAI). The FAI involves sixty-two First Nations communities scattered throughout Manitoba. These communities are comprised of five distinct Aboriginal Nations: the Cree, Dakota, Dene, Oji-Cree and Ojibway. When the FAI agreement was signed it was understood that the First Nations in Manitoba would define their self -government model based out of their history, culture and institutions. Outcomes would not be imposed. How much traditional knowledge has been kept intact through the years of colonization and assimilation will have a significant impact towards restructuring their traditional governance systems because Aboriginal people have not governed themselves for more than 100 years. The FAI initiative was a huge undertaking requiring the AMC to develop a strategic process to ensure they were meeting the needs of Manitoba First Nations and ensuring their issues were being addressed. This thesis explores the concept of self-government and what this means to the Cree Elders in northern Manitoba. Four Cree Elders were interviewed; two male and two female. This thesis captures and documents their oral history and takes the research findings to restoring the traditional governing system of the Cree Nation. The research findings identifies the necessary components that are essential towards building a foundation for self-government that is based on the traditional culture of the northern Cree Nation...