The James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement and Its Effect

The James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement was an Aboriginal land claim settlement signed in 1975 by the Cree and Inuit of Northern Quebec.. It was the first modern land claim agreement in Canada that set out an environmental and social protection regime. It covered on economic development and property issues. It also established cultural, social and governmental institutions for the Aborigines. Its content included areas like land, health and social services, local government, economic development and financial compensation, environmental and social protection and on education. It was based on mutual understanding that the Cree would have to give up some of their land in order to receive a financial compensation. Some rights were still preserved for the Cree people in the same land, these included fishing and hunting

Cree-Naskapi Act came into being in 1984. It came to free the Cree and Naskapi people from the Indian Act since it used to limit them to exercise their rights of self-determination and self-governance. It was a means of reaffirmation and gain of recognition for the Cree and Naskapi people.

Cree-Naskapi commission was put up to investigate any representation submitted to it if it relates to the implementation of the Cree-Naskapi Act. The Cree-Naskapi Land Registry was set up to register rights and interests pertaining to certain categories of land and the buildings in the lands.

The James Bay and Northern Agreement of 1975 was the next major agreement that was formed after the numbered treaties of 19th and 20th centuries. It was signed on 11th November 1975 after thorough negotiations. It was as a result of the conflict over the James Bay Hydroelectric project and the litigation that the Aboriginal groups had expressed in a bid to stop the project. The agreement was a mutual thing since the Aboriginal people exchanged their rights and interests for different rights and interests specified in the agreement.

This agreement sparked off the formation of various political entities that had a beneficial effect to the Cree people. These entities included The Cree-Naskapi commission, The Cree-Naskapi Act and the Cree-Naskapi Land Registry.

The Cree-Naskapi commission is an independent non-governmental body that was established to check on the implementation of the Cree-Naskapi Act. It prepares biennial reports on the implementation of the Act. It also investigates representation submitted to the Act.

The Cree-Naskapi Act was passed in 1984. It dealt with the issues of the local government. It overthrew the Indian Act for the bands affected that used to govern the Cree people. Through it the powers exercised under the Indian Act were transferred to the bands. It was based on mutual understanding that the Cree would have to give up some of their land in order to receive a financial compensation.

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