NOVEMBER 15, 1973


In the 1970s, Quebec undertook construction of several hydroelectric dams in the James Bay region.  It did not, however, consult with its Indigenous peoples.  After unsuccessful attempts to communicate their grievances, in November 1972 the Cree & Inuit sued to force negotiations claiming that the land transfer agreements for the James Bay & Northern Quebec, in 1898 and 1912 respectively, required negotiation.  The Superior Court ruled in favor of the Cree & Inuit, stopped dam construction, and required Quebec to negotiate in good faith.  While the ruling was suspended by Quebec’s court of appeal, negotiations began in late 1973.  On November 15, 1974, the parties reached agreement in principle.  On November 11, 1975, the James Bay & Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) was signed.  The JBNQA allowed Quebec to complete the dams.  In return, the province recognized the rights of the Cree & Inuit and committed to paying $225 million in compensation over 20 years.  

Source:  Yanick Turcotte, “The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7/3/2019.  Retrieved 8/8/2020,
Graphic:  Joseph B, 12/30/2005.  Public Domain.

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