Qey Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk,
In my capacity as Grand Chief and Grand Council Member of the Wolastoqiyik First Nation, I wish to confirm in writing the responsibilities and mandates for which I am committed to the nation. As such, as Grand Chief, I will act as the chief spokesperson for the Wolastoqiyik First Nation and will retain political responsibility for the claims. These responsibilities are of the utmost importance and I pledge to always exercise them in the best interests of the First Nation.
The beginning of the mandate is a defining moment for WWFN and will be marked by continuity in change. Already in 2016, the members of our First Nation were sending a clear signal. They wanted WWFN to move into second gear in order to develop to its full potential. WWFN needed to regain its leadership with respect to Wolastokuk and its members. To achieve this goal, the following steps were taken:
- We have improved our ability to manage and govern ourselves as a nation. The separation of administrative and political roles was instituted and a team of competent and honest managers was put in place. The results have been conclusive. Not only have significant revenues been generated, but they have also been administered effectively in anticipation of structuring projects for WWFN and its members.
- Important relationships have been consolidated and renewed. First of all, with our members, whom we have involved in committees and who have contributed in various ways to important issues. Historic alliances have also been renewed with our brothers and sisters from other First Nations, including the Wolastoqey Nation. Finally, we have resumed negotiations with the governments of Canada and Quebec to continue our struggle towards reparation and recognition of our rights while establishing partnerships.
The members have given us a clear mandate. They agree with these directions and want us to continue them. Over the next few years, WWFN will have to consolidate its governance and build structuring projects for the nation and its members.
As Grand Chief of the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation, I will ensure coordination and cohesion in the exercise of the various responsibilities assumed by the organization and devolved to the Chief Advisors. In order to do so, I will have to have a sufficient level of information regarding all projects and issues of the First Nation. As spokesperson, I will see to it that sufficient internal information mechanisms are put in place to be constantly informed of the latest developments and ensure that they can benefit any department or sector of activity. Also, I will see to it that I use the communication channels in place with the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) and the other First Nations of Quebec to share any important issue. With regard to claims, I will continue to defend the rights and interests of the First Nation with a view to their recognition and implementation by Canada and Quebec.
The Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation is counting on us, as elected officials, to guide them through our work and ideas. The challenges ahead are great, but we are not alone. All members of the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation, including our ancestors and future generations, can guide us. We must inform, consult, and listen. The involvement of our members is an important transparency tool that also promotes the objectives of belonging and reappropriation. Also, we must collaborate and work in complementarity with the leadership and managers of the WWFN. Clearly determine our respective roles and responsibilities. Share information in both directions in order to benefit from their knowledge while allowing them to know and implement the Grand Council’s orientations and decisions. Finally, we must cultivate our relationships with organizations and individuals outside of WWFN while protecting and affirming our rights.
In my capacity as Grand Chief, I will act as the principal spokesperson to the Elders’ Council, which plays a key role in our governance. The members of the Elders’ Council are entitled to our full consideration and their wisdom must be put to good use. In certain agreements reached with the governments of Canada and Quebec, it is customary to create political committees in order to intervene as a last resort to resolve any issue. For the Fisheries Resource Agreement with Canada, I will sit on the Monuwehkehtit Kisitahahsit Committee. As required, I will be able to intervene on an ad hoc basis at the various negotiating tables led by our negotiating team. Finally, I will also take part in the discussions of the Toku Management Corporation, which works to promote the economic development of the First Nation.
In closing, I am committed to taking steps to ensure the sustainability of the work I will be doing during my term of office. As members of the Grand Council, the fruits of our work do not belong to us and must remain with the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation. We must therefore take the necessary steps to ensure that our approaches and initiatives are accessible and can benefit our successors and future generations.
Jacques Tremblay, Grand Chief
Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation