Billy Diamond (May 17, 1949 – September 30, 2010) was the chief of the Waskaganish, Quebec Cree in 1970, the grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees from 1974 to 1984, and a successful businessman who founded Air Creebec.
He was born on May 17, 1949 in a tent near Rupert House, Quebec, on the shore of James Bay. In 1970 he became chief of the Waskaganish, Quebec Cree. On November 11, 1975, he signed The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement with the Canadian government. With money from the settlement he created Air Creebec, Cree Construction Company Limited, and Cree Yamaha Motors.
On March 19, 1990, Diamond was a guest on 100 Huntley Street. He was on a second time, date unknown.
- Grand Council of the Crees (30 September 2010). "Respected Leader and former Grand Chief of the Crees of Quebec, Chief Dr. Billy Diamond, passes away this morning, on Thursday, September 30, 2010, in his home community of Waskaganish, Quebec". Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- MacGregor, Roy (1989). Chief: The Fearless vision of Billy Diamond. Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-82735-5.
- "Chief Billy Diamond, Business and Commerce". National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
A journalist once called Chief Billy Diamond the Lee Iacocca of the North. Indeed, it is hard to visit Northern Québec without being touched by the work of this Cree business and political leader. You can fly in on Air Creebec, the airline he founded; stay in a home built by the Cree Construction Company Limited, which he started; or drop by Cree Yamaha Motors to test-drive a boat. He was born in 1949, in the bush just outside the Waskaganish First Nation in Québec that he now heads.
- Champagne, Duane (1994). Chronology of Native North American History. Gale Research. ISBN 0-8103-9195-3.
- "Billy Diamond". Power To Change. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
I became chief of our Cree community when I was 21. ... Four years later I became the first Grand Chief of the Cree Grand Council. I used this position to help my people develop. We modernized the villages, built housing and schools and encouraged health and economic development. I was very successful in this position. But like all successes, it had its drawbacks, especially in my personal life.
- "Interview with Billy Diamond and Roy MacGregor". CM Archive. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
Billy Diamond, chief of Waskaganish (then Rupert House), had never met the chiefs from the other villages. His only network outside his village was made up of young Cree from the other James Bay communities with whom he had attended residential and secondary school in Ontario. They were bright young men like himself and when they finally learned of the giant hydroelectric project that would destroy their traditional hunting and trapping lands they knew that they had to do something. However, their isolation left them unable to gather and to discuss possible solutions.
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