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Press Release – The Grande Alliance is protecting more than 20% of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory

Thanks to an initiative carried by La Grande Alliance and a unique partnership with @GouvQc, the Cree Nation Government is proud to announce that 23 new reserves of territory for protected area purposes in Eeyou Istchee totaling 39,000km2 have been designated.

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This is a great step forward in protecting our biodiversity and traditional cultural values. Today’s announcement marks the start of a multi-step process that will lead to the granting of legal protection status to the targeted territories. This is an approach in which community members and land users of the territory can take part.

The next steps that will begin shortly are:

-Knowledge acquisition and public consultation allowing the final delimitation of territories; --Drafting of conservation plans;
-Carrying out the work surrounding the procedure for evaluating and reviewing the social and environmental impacts as required in Section 22 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA).

This would not have been possible without the guidance and expertise from our tallymen, land users, community members and leadership. We would like to thank everyone who has participated over the years in the planning exercises that have led to this becoming a reality and look forward to meeting with you again as we continue this important work together. Mista mikwetch!

"Today’s announcement is the result of many years of regular community engagements with land users and tallymen who guided this important announcement with their expertise. The Grande Alliance is about planning for an inclusive future of Eeyou Istchee, where sections 22 and 24 of the JBNQA take center stage. It is a new way of preparing the landscape so that development can happen in a way that makes sense for everyone, instead of the opportunistic exploitation of our resources. It is a way of creating a vision for the future where the Cree and the Jamesian communities feel valued, and encouraged to contribute to the future of Eeyou Istchee.”

Dr. Abel Bosum, Grand Chief and Chairperson of the Grand Council of the Crees

“This impressive accomplishment would not have been possible without the guidance from land users, tallymen, community leadership, as well as dedicated staff of the Cree Nation Government over the last 10 years. We are proud to announce the results that have come from a concerted effort by so many with the same objective: protecting our territory and the traditional activities of our people while providing a balanced and sustainable management approach of Eeyou Istchee. This collaboration with Quebec has demonstrated what is achievable when we work with common objectives and in respect of treaty rights and inclusion of all.”

Mandy Gull, Deputy Grand Chief and Vice-Chairperson of the Grand Council of the Crees