TURTLE ISLAND

BIO: DR. BILLY "CHIEF" DIAMOND. 



Billy Diamond was born to Hilda and Malcolm Diamond on May 17, 1949 in a spring goose camp on the shores of Rupert River near Waskaganish, Quebec. 

On his eighth birthday, he was forcibly sent to attend the Moose Fort Indian Residential School at Moose Factory, Ontario and later the Shingwauk Indian Residential School at Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. While in Sault Ste Marie, he attended Campbell Public School and later in high school he lived in a foster home and graduated from Bawating Collegiate and Vocational High School in 1968. 

Summer of 1968, he worked for the Waskaganish Band and also drove the local bulldozer. 

Fall of 1968, he went to work for Fecteau Air Transport as a radio dispatcher and base manager at Waskaganish. During October 1968, he joined the Indians of Quebec Association. 

In January of 1969, Billy Diamond entered the " in service training" program of the DIAND in Val D'Or District office and left in June to set the first Band Management Program at Waskaganish and became its first Band Manager. 

July 7, 1970, at the age of 21 Bill Diamond was elected Chief of Waskaganish. 

In January 1971, he became the Cree Communications Officer for the Indians of Quebec Association on the file of the James Bay Hydro electric Project. 

In June 1971, Chief Billy Diamond was instrumental in providing the organization of the first-ever Cree Chiefs meeting in the history of the Crees at Mistissini for the purposes of opposing the James Bay Hydro electric project. 

August 1972, Chief Diamond was appointed as the Regional Chief of the Indians of Quebec Association. 

He became a plaintiff in the Court case that the Cree Indians and the Indians of Quebec started in October 1972 against the Government of Quebec and the Crown Corporations including Hydro Quebec in respect to the James Bay Hydro electric
Project. 

The James Bay Court Case stared with the first Cree witness before Justice Albert Malouf and I Chief Diamond was called to the stand on December 2, 1972. The Court Case lasted until June 1973 with over 10, 000 pages of testimony, 350 pieces
of evidence and over 150 witnesses. The judge, Albert Malouf granted -a temporary injunction on the James Bay Hydro electric on November 15, 1973. 

One week after the Malouf judgment, the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment in favour of the Governments and crown corporations based on the argument of balance of inconvience. 

On November 19, 1973 Premier Robert Bourassa made an 11 -point offer to the Indians of Quebec Association. At the request of Chief Billy Diamond, the offer was to be-consulted with the Cree Bands most directly impacted by the James Bay
Hydro-electric project. 

The negotiations with the Governments of Quebec and Canada and the Crown Corporations were started in January 1974 under the leadership of Chief Billy Diamond and led to the founding of the Grand Council of the Crees in August 8, 1974
who signed the Agreement in Principle on November 15, 1974. 

Chief Billy Diamond was elected by his fellow Chiefs as the first Grand Chief of the Cree Nation after the incorporation of the Grand Council of the Crees in 1974 and ended his term as Grand Chief in 1984. 

The final James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was signed on November 11, 1975 which gave authority for one hydro-electric project to be built in the Cree territory under certain conditions. 

Chief Billy Diamond provided the leadership and vision to the negotiations and drafting of new federal and provincial pieces of legislation to have existing legislation compatible with Cree rights and interests shortly after the Final Agreement was signed. These negotiations lasted until June 1978. 

Chief Billy Diamond became the Chairman of the Cree School Board during the transitional period in January 19,76 and ended his term in 1988. 

In January 1976, Chief Diamond was one of the founders of the Cree Construction Company and sat on its Board of Directors and later founded the Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company (CREECO) a holding corporation for economic development on behalf of the Cree Nation. 

From early 1976 Chief Diamond negotiated and provided the leadership to the passage of the Federal legislation on the Cree Naskapi Act (of Quebec) and the funding required to implement local self government for the Cree Nation. 

In March 1976, Chief Diamond ended his term as Chief of the Waskaganish Band. 

When the legislation on the Cree Regional Authority was adopted in June 1978, Chief Billy Diamond was elected as the first Chairman of the Cree Regional Authority in August 1978 to 1984. 

In 1979, Chief Diamond founded and negotiated the Cree Housing Corporation and became its President until 1986 where 1,000 housing units were constructed in the Cree communities as well as water and sewage and the infrastructure for local
services. 

In 1980, Chief Diamond was appointed as the Senior Negotiator on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations on the Constitutional negotiations that enshrined Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in the Constitution of Canada in 1984 to include
Section 25 and Section 35(1), the clause that recognizes and affirms Aboriginal and Treaty rights in the Canadian Constitution. 

On December 19, 1986, Chief Billy Diamond received The National Order of Quebec from the Government of Quebec. 

In August 1988, Billy Diamond was re-elected as Chief of Waskaganish and ended his term in August 1999. 

In 1989, Chief Diamond was appointed as the Chairman of several Cree and Quebec Environmental Review Committees to do the environmental review of the proposed Great Whale Hydro-electric Project which was later not permitted to be built in 1993.

Chief Diamond was appointed as the negotiator for the Grand Council of the Crees and the Cree Regional Authority in 1993 with the Government of Quebec on the community infrastructure projects, youth centres, facilities for the disabled and
elderly, water and sewage, access roads, police stations, environment protection projects which led to the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding in amount of 150 Million dollars in 1999. 

In November 2001 Dr. Billy Diamond was the Senior Cree Negotiator for the Cree Nation through the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec and Cree Regional Authority with Hydro Quebec on the Eastmain 1 Reservoir and the proposed Rupert
River Diversion. The negotiations concluded with the signature of two new agreements on February 7, 2002 between the Crees and Hydro Quebec on partnership and revenue sharing in northern hydro development that totaled well over 850 million dollars in benefits to the Cree Nation. 

After leaving First Nations politics in 1999, Billy Diamond has entered the private sector with his own consulting and negotiations business in construction, hydro and wind energy, environmental protection, coffee, high technology projects, tourism,
aviation and community wellness and healing and health issues. 

Dr. Billy Diamond still serves as Chairman of TransArtic Shipping and Moosonee Transportation Limited, Chairman of Trans Artic Gas and Petroleum Company, President of Noosekan Construction Company, President and CEO of DiamondAlta
Ltd., and a member of the Board of Directors of Nadoshtin Companee, and member of the Board of Directors of Boumhounan Companee, and continues to serve on several national boards on tourism., community wellness and business. 

In 1997, Chief Diamond received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for business and commerce. Later that year, he received a Doctor of Laws with all rights and privileges from Carleton University. 

Billy Diamond lives in his home town of Waskaganish with his wife, Elizabeth and their mentally challenged son, Philip. 

Recently in September 2002, Dr. Billy Diamond has been re-appointed by his community to represent Waskaganish on the Board-Council of the Grand Council of the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Cree Regional Authority.

 

 

Turtle Island

Page created by: muckwa
Changes last made on: Saturday January 18, 2003.