Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company (Creeco)

Founded in 1982, the Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company (Creeco) acts as a holding company for investments made by the Cree Nation of Quebec in various sectors including construction, air transportation, hotel, catering and janitorial services, ground handling, and aircraft fuelling. It serves as a holding company of partnerships such as underground mining services. Creeco aims to be highly innovative in the delivery of excellent customer service and contribute to the development and self-sufficiency of the Cree Nation while maintaining long-term profitability.

Our approach to partnerships and service is guided by our values of cooperation, trust, and reciprocity. We want the companies we work with to grow, generate revenue, create jobs, and give back to the communities. Through our approach, we can achieve profitability and longevity. We have found success and profitability through monitoring and responding to unemployment, increasing access to the south, meeting the needs of the sustainable private sector, and supporting the needs of and relations between communities.

Some of the CREECO companies include Air Creebec, Cree Construction, Valpiro, Gestion ADC, Eeyou Eenou Realty Properties, Quality Inn, Suites Val d’Or and others. Creeco also has a strong participation in the mining and renewable energy sectors. These collection of companies and partnerships contribute to the development of employment, training and revenue for the collective. A significant project of economic note is one of the latest project expansions of the company into the real estate sector- a $100M, 26 storey tower downtown Montreal which is currently under construction.

We as a group of companies, have met the economic challenges of creating sustainability and healthy partnerships through the ongoing development of access to opportunity, supporting Indigenous businesses to succeed, and upgrading criteria for government and Indigenous relations in our business development process. We seek more than access to jobs and revenue sharing opportunities to build upon our success.

As the Indigenous economy emerges, Indigenous businesses are getting access to more opportunities to extend beyond their communities and territories through partnerships. Industries have begun to pivot away from exploitation and toward mutually beneficial relationships with our Cree businesses. Changing objectives of corporate responsibility and sustainability are positive signs of the process.

We would like our economic success to encourage other Indigenous businesses and partners to learn to tell their story, explore opportunities, accept support, and build relationships with mutually beneficial agreements. Our story unfolded in a way that can be shared to give other Indigenous Nations insights on opportunities to achieve financial independence.

There is so much work to do as the Indigenous economy develops. We need leaders who are patient, brave, hopeful, and creative. The revival of our cultural approach to environmental and social governance, values, and style must be at the center of our work. The road to economic success is filled with challenges and barriers that we need our leaders to invite and build solutions around. We believe that patience and long term vision is the answer to mending relationships that have been skewed since first contact. We are creating a better world for those who come after us business by business.

There is a wealth of opportunity in preparing for the future growth of the Indigenous economy. It is time to work together to create or adapt new structures to allow for longevity and sustainability. We could build sovereignty and capacity through training, and development. It’s not about reinventing the wheel or creating something that doesn’t exist, the difference between success or not is determined by cultural adaptation of the way something is done. New approaches will either walk along us and fosters respect for traditional indigenous entities or can become another mechanism of oppression. More conversations need to be kindled regarding dissolving top-down leadership in partnerships. We need more business best practices rooted in culture that uplift and make visible Indigenous executive capacity. This is indigenomics in action.