In December 2000, in the days following the twenty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, a committee composed of State representatives and signing bodies (Quebec, Ottawa, Hydro-Quebec, Makivik, and the Grand Council of the Crees) started a reflection pool on the Agreement, 25 years following its implementation. The project entitled Reflections on the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, was divided into two chapters or steps, and finally comes to fruition with the present publication.
The first step consisted in organizing a symposium which was held on October 25 and 26, 2001 in Montreal. It brought together more than 200 participants from native communities -mostly those from the Cree and Inuit communities. Participants also came from both the Quebec and Federal Government bodies, as well as from Canadian and Quebec universities.
The discussions and exchanges completed the presentations, and sometimes questioned the reflections that were presented by approximately twenty experts and panelists.
Under the chairmanship of a moderator, the discussions were spread out over four sessions. Each session lasted half a day and was dedicated to analyzing four aspects of the Agreement: territorial development, environment, governance and implementation.
Two reference papers were also distributed to the participants. One tackled the issue of the Agreement's historical development, and provided a synthesis of the content, and the other paper examined the Agreement's very position in the evolution of Native rights in Canada.
The second step was dedicated to the preparation of the current publication, which was initiated soon after the Symposium, that is, at the beginning of December 2001. The Steering Committee of the project Reflections on the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement entrusted the Quebec Studies Program with the task of producing the publication.
The book is essentially aimed at those who are interested in reading about the opinions held by experts and historical witnesses on many aspects of the Agreement. Signed in November 11, 1975, it is referred to by several individuals as being the first modern treaty in Canada whose fruition was reached through intervention with Aboriginal peoples. Studying the text can only prove useful to many individuals for historical reasons as well as for its content; reading this text will doubtlessly lead to discovering the appreciation and the results of reflections of those who have experienced and followed the evolution of the Agreement's impacts and effects. All of these analyses could be precious for those who are seeking references and panel points to create a common ground which would enable Native and non-Native citizens to meet and co-exist.
This publication is more than simply the proceedings of the Symposium held in October 2001. All the papers were evaluated by the editors and then reviewed by the authors. We wanted to summarize for each session, the essential discussions that took place and that were written up by the rapporteurs assigned to each session. While reading the summary of each session of the colloquium, the reader will notice that due to technical difficulties, most of the Cree participants were unable to attend the event. A final summary includes some of the various remarks made at the Symposium by some of the actors who, in 1975, appended their signature at the end of the Agreement. The book concludes with the publication of the speeches given by Mr. Ted Moses, Grand Chief of The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), and Mr. Pita Aatami, President of the Makivik Corporation, which were made during the conference. Also included in the book is a chronology of the important events for the beneficiaries of the Agreement, some statistical facts on the beneficiaries, and a bibliography of books and articles relevant for understanding the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.