In the distant past, decisions about land and resource use in Eeyou Istchee—where to set camp, hunt, fish, trap— were made by individual Eeyou families, and the uchimaau of each territory.
Later on in the 1800s and 1900s, other actors such as the Hudson Bay Company, the Government of Canada and the Government of Québec also took on significant roles in making decisions about where people did and what resources were used. For example, decisions about the location of establishment of trading posts contributed to establishing land use patterns that remain to this day.
Starting in 1970s, with growing autonomy and the signing of the James Bay and Nothern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) in 1975, the Cree Regional Authority, the Cree Board of Health and Social Services and the Cree School Board have expanded the role of Eeyouch in multiple aspects of governance. Formal planning at the regional level remained to a great degree in the hands of Québec entities such as the Municipalité de la Baie James and Hydro-Québec, however.
This agreement enables the Crees to exercise greater autonomy and have more responsibilities regarding the management of their territory and natural resources.
The Governance Agreement also ensures that the Crees will participate, equally with the Jamesiéns, in the governance of Category III lands.
The Eeyou Planning Commission has, as a core planning responsibility, the development of a Regional Land and Resource Use Plan (RLRUP) for Category II lands.
The RLRUP is intended to guide decision-making on Category II lands, with respect to development and lands management.
The EPC is also working collaboratively with regional planning partners in order to harmonize the various land use plans so that they reflect the collective vision, interests and aspirations of the Crees.
The Natural Resource Committee (NRC) of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government (EIJBRG) has planning powers for Category III lands.
The Eeyou Planning Commission will work with the NRC to harmonize the regional land and resource use plans for Category II and III lands. The EPC will also provide the NRC with Cree planning content and information to input into the Category III plan.
The Council of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government is composed of 22 representatives, half Cree and half Jamésiens.
To find out more about the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government, you can consult its Website. https://greibj.ca/en/
It is a comprehensive planning tool based on regional values, concerns and needs.
Future-oriented, this planning tool defines goals and objectives that will guide the actions regarding the development, management, and conservation of the land and natural resources.
To learn more about planning and the plan, please visit our Land Use Planning section.
Category I lands are under the planning jurisdiction of the Cree First Nations.
The Eeyou Planning Commission will work collaboratively at harmonizing the regional land and resource use plans with Category I plans, developed by the Cree First Nations.
The Eeyou Marine Region Planning Commission (EMRPC) is responsible for land use planning in the offshore area.
The Eeyou Planning Commission will work collaboratively with the EMRPC on land use planning in the offshore/marine region, in order to harmonize the Regional Land and Resource Use Plan and the Marine Land Use Plan as best as possible.
To find out more about the Eeyou Marine Region and its three co-management boards; the Planning Commission (EMRPC), the Wildlife Board and the Impact Review Board, you can consult their Website. https://www.
We gained these planning responsibilities to ensure that Cree values and aspirations be at the center of decisions on land and resource management.
In this context, the Eeyou Planning Commission’s efforts to better intergrate economic development and environmental stewardship are first and foremost guided by its commitment to protect Eeyou Eetuun, the Cree way of life, and to reaffirm Cree rights, rather then impede them in any way.
Category I lands are lands ‘’set aside for the exclusive use and benefit of the respective James Bay Cree bands’’, in and around the communities where they usually reside.
Category II lands are areas where Crees have exclusive hunting, fishing and trapping rights, but no special right of occupancy: In these areas, the Government of Quebec may authorize public use and natural resource exploitation, although these lands may be replaced under certain conditions (e.g. flooding for hydro-electric development purpose).
Category III lands are by far the largest portion of Eeyou Istchee. They are treated in accordance with the ordinary laws and regulations of Quebec concerning public lands, and where Crees are not given exclusive rights or privileges except the ability to pursue hunting, fishing and trapping without restrictions.