The Anglican Church of Canada declared itself in the middle of the testy James Bay development scheme today, with the appointment of a liaison-fieldman to deal with the 6,000 Indians on the east shore and the James Bay Development Corporation.
Rev. Lynn Ross of Schefferville, Quebec, who has worked three years with the Cree people of the Ungava area, will begin research and liaison work immediately and report to a Committee of Concern representing the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada.
His assignment is "to be a communications link between the native peoples, the James Bay Development Corporation and the committee, to facilitate a process whereby the native peoples share fully in the decision-making procedures affecting the social, economic and political development of the area."
The Anglican Primate, Archbishop E.W. Scott, also is writing to the corporation to announce Mr. Ross' appointment and to arrange a meeting between the Committee of Concern and top officials of the corporation early in the new year.
The United Church of Canada is sharing in research, although it does not have congregations in the area.
"We are not just reacting negatively," Archbishop Scott said, "although we have a bias in favour of the Indians. We want our inquiry to be open and to help resolve the difficulties."
"We have seen trends develop very quickly, and we are reacting against the trends rather than against the basic idea of development."
Underlining his concern, the Primate said: "I believe that the whole 'soul of Canada' will be determined in large part by the attitudes we develop towards the aboriginal peoples of this country."
The request for help came from the Indian people, virtually all of them Anglican, to the Diocese of Moosonee at Schumacher, Ontario. The decision of the National Executive Council of the General Synod was to give full support, naming the five dioceses most closely affected: Moosonee, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa and the Arctic, to the Committee of Concern.
Since then the Indian people have initiated court action in Quebec seeking an injunction to stop any development on the grounds that aboriginal rights have not been settled - in fact there have never been treaties signed over land or hunting rights.
The Indians argue that, at this point, the responsibility for treaties and settlements lies with the federal government and that the provincial government is merely its agent.
"We are concerned about the people," Bishop James Watton of Moosonee said. "We are talking about the responsibility of government and its agencies towards people and their environment. This scheme is a threat to the whole cultural identity of the Cree people, who have had almost no contact with our society. You can almost see the debilitating effects day by day."
Rev. Hugo Muller of Noranda, Quebec, who ministers to the eastern shore people, said: "Certainly, the Indians think the whole idea (of massive development) is evil and wrong."
Bishop N.R. Clarke of James Bay (Noranda) said: "We all realize that we can't turn back the clock. We want to draw attention to the fact that certain things are being done wrongly and are disturbing basic elements of life, culture, ecology and other factors affecting people."
"A Cree community of 1,900 people situated on the western coast of James Bay in Ontario, Attawapiskat is connected to the outside world only by air, water and, in winter, an ice road. Many Canadians were shocked when a state of emergency was declared at Attawapiskat on Oct. 28, 2011, and the Red Cross was called in to help residents cope with frigid temperatures and insufficient housing, Several commentators suggested the best solution would be to shut the community down and move residents to the south". "A fundamental question for me is why so many people believe we owe so little to the people of Attawapiskat, with whom our federal government entered into a solemn agreement in the form of Treaty 9 ?" "In areas such as education, Indian Affairs provides budgets below the provincial average to reserves where needs are greater. Communities serving deprived populations in remote locations become trapped in a downward spiral of underfunding and underperformance". "The James Bay Cree and Inuit of Quebec were never asked to sign a treaty. As a result, when the Quebec government announced in the early 1970s that a hydroelectric project would flood their traditional lands, the Cree and Inuit when to court to stop it. Settlement negotiations led to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), the first modern land claims agreement, and the project went ahead. The JBNQA left the Cree and Inuit with regional school boards, health and social services agencies, police forces and local government structures under their control. These institutions are funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments, to the same level as comparable bodies in the rest of the province". "The real question raised by Attawapiskat is whether all we promised its people in Treaty 9 was underfunded resources on an unsustainable reserves and an invitation to move elsewhere if these did not suit them. Or is it possible that we owe them institutions and services of at least the same quality we take for granted in the rest of Canada and a chance to participate in the economic benefits that can be derived from their lands ?"
Author is "a partner in the law firm of Dionne Schulze in Montreal, which specializes in representing aboriginal communities and individuals".
"Copyright August 8, 1974. Hugo Muller, 38 Frederic Hebert (P.O. Box 326), Noranda, Quebec". -- inside front cover.
"Cover Design By: Dian Watton". -- inside front cover.
Includes bibliographical references.
"There are many ways in which you can come to the corner of North-Western Quebec which has opened up during the last quarter century .... There is yet another way of coming into that country: the way I came -- as a priest, to minister to both the people in the new towns and the people who were there already, before the towns. .... This volume, then, is not really a study of Indian people. It has been observed, particularly in Indian circles, that everybody is always studying the Indian, they may, in fact, well be the most studied people in the world, and there are few signs of this trend slackening off to any perceptible degree. What follows, then, is more of a study of 'western' attitudes, if I may put it that way, and not really a 'study' but rather a look, a few questions and ideas which came to me through a number of incidents which made me think". -- p. 1, 3.
Contents: Dedication -- Disqualifying the Author -- "Why don't you ?" -- "Why don't you: Live like us ?" -- "Why don't you: develop, produce DO something with it ?" -- Why don't you: stand on your own feet ?" -- Why don't you: get ahead ?" -- "Why don't you: Move into civilization ?" -- The Comfortable Canadian Hypocrisy -- What Can We Do ? -- The Church -- I Wish You Knew Suzanne -- A Few Suggestions for Reading.
Author is a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada. Chapter one includes biographical information about the author.
OTCH has 2 copies. Copy one, formerly the property of Beryl Morris, has several annotations and underlinings in ink but also the only one of the two copies that includes Copyright and Cover Design info on inside front cover. Copy two appears identical (sold by Anglican Book Centre for $3.50 in March 1976) but without copyright and other information. Copy two may be second printing.