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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
Home > Press centre > Press releases > 2012 > Febuary 17, 2012

Cree Community of Wemindji

Minister Kelley at the inauguration of the Justice Centre

Wemindji, February 17, 2012 – Geoffrey Kelley, Minister responsible for Native Affairs, was in Wemindji today for the inauguration of the Justice Centre. He joined the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, M. Matthew Coon Come, Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and Vice-Chairman of the Cree Regional Authority, Ashley Iserhoff and the Chief of the Community of Wemindji, Rodney Mark, for the official opening ceremony.

"Doing what’s needed to promote justice means choosing better quality of life for the entire community. It means positive social change. And that means having the adequate infrastructure.
Creating the Wemindji Justice Centre is the best way to assure great living conditions” said Minister Kelley.

The facilities are designed to meet the specific needs of the Cree and the Court, especially those of the Itinerant Court. The services offered will promote the exercise of justice and enable reconciliation among the members of the community. The Justice Centre will be a place for mediation, conciliation and arbitration in keeping with the Crees’ own way of operating, for example, in managing family trapping grounds or in matters of local administrative and regulatory decisions.

The Wemindji Justice Centre is the fifth of its kind, after those in Chisasibi, Oujé-Bougoumou, Waswanipi and Mistissini. It comes in the wake of the Agreement concerning the administration of justice for the Crees between le gouvernement du Québec and the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Regional Authority, signed in May 2007, providing for an annual payment of $ 13 million indexed for 20 years. It will be used to fund various justice-administration-related projects and measures. The creation of the Wemindji Justice Centre represents an investment of more than $ 3.5 million.

"The Community of Wemindji wants an adapted justice system that reflects its values and takes account of its needs under every circumstance. Today’s event shows that it has succeeded in making its point about its desire for greater autonomy, that it wants to be the architect of the projects that have meaningful consequences for it. Justice is the bedrock of a community, and to play an active role in it is to act directly on its social development, Grand Chief, M. Matthew Coon Come, said in closing.

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