Saturday, October 20, 2007

Experience Cree Community

Photography: Fred Cattroll Lac Mistissini Quebec, Canada

Looking up at the sky on an island in the middle of a lake. The lake is enormous. No urban elements in sight. One exception transatlantic jet planes soaring along in the foreground still extremely distant but lower then satellites and not audible above nature sounds close to the lake. No single man made property or flicker of light on the horizon. Distance here is visually hard to predict especially after dark but the lake is known to be 200 hundred miles long and at least fifty miles wide. The island in the middle where I happen to be at the waters edge is like a continent dividing this magnificent lake. The sky here at night is a beautiful experience. You see the northern lights and hear the ripple on the shoreline with a smooth spiritual beat of wind pushing the water up against the rock edge. The rock is worn from the effects of the water. The rock at the waters edge has been painted by years of natural elements edging a texture layering abstract forms. Bursting out of the rock seams evergreen trees hold their perch they appear to be new growth their small size disguises their age. These are small trees growing slowly next to the lake emerging out of the seam a century ago.

The rock is sandwiched by water and moss, constant water that endlessly themes a magic song that cannot be authentically reproduced by artificial device. Beyond the rocky waters edge a wonderful spongy surface emerges and spreads back into the old growth forest away from the rock. This base of growth is very thick it transforms the hard rock surface and carpets the forest.

Trying to describe the experience on Lac Mistissini is a kind of folly. Like the sound water makes lapping on the shore. This place can’t be described by words it is truly a utopia that must be lived and experienced to understand and then you can only begin to appreciate.

The people who make this part of the country their home, have invited me out onto the lake. The opportunity to come here has been extended to me by my clients and friends the James Bay Cree.

When we think about brand and corporate identity we look at capitalistic model organizations that are market driven. The language we use to define the essence of the brand should have a glossary to support everyone’s collective understanding.

The Cree of course have their own language and syllabic forms for writing, these special brand elements are important components of the unique world of the James Bay Cree community.

The experience during the last twenty years engaged in communications with the Cree has been about working closely with the client and being witness to their leadership in the development of a world-class identity. I have difficulty using brand lexicon to describe the Cree Nation. But it is true the Cree have succeeded not without major challenges, today they face their share of issues like any modern society. Their identity is known nationally and internationally based on their successful brand of leadership.

Influential people who form part of the Cree Leadership have engaged us. Based on this we have benefited and collaborated meeting Trappers, Chiefs, Guides, Elders, Teachers and many others too many people to mention. All of this has provided us an appreciation for the traditions and culture that is evident within the James Bay Cree.

The Cree leadership has fought exhaustive battles asserting their rights and defending themselves against governments insistent on extracting resources and exploiting what has been time immemorial Cree.

We are thankful to have had two decades of friendships and relations. We have been witness to many breakthroughs and we’ve learned many life lessons from the James Bay Cree in Northern Quebec. A person whom I hold in extremely high regard and who has co traveled extensively across and up and down this nation on many shooter junkets Fred Cattroll a great photographer (did you get the shot Fred?) and friend introduced me to the Cree Naskapi Commission in 1988.

From that first introduction the experience is unfolding.

Thanks Fred!

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