Coon Come marshaled local, national and international environmental, human rights and tribal communities to create a strong coalition opposed to the James Bay project. In 1990, he masterminded a canoe trip by Cree elders from James Bay, down the Hudson River to a well attended press conference in New York, which initiated significant public outcry against the project. As a result of these efforts, New York State canceled major contracts to purchase electricity from Hydro Quebec. In 1992, the Cree succeeded in forcing Hydro Quebec to conduct an environmental assessment on Great Whale. In 1994, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that federal environmental assessments are required for all Hydro Quebec electricity exports. The Cree had a major victory in November 1994 when the Quebec premier announced the suspension of the Great Whale project.
Coon Come continued to play an influential role in opposing the province’s leadership as the Quebec secessionist movement grew. Traditional Cree and Inuit territories comprised two-thirds of the overall territory being claimed by Quebec. Through a referendum in 1995 the Cree clearly indicated that they did not want to be separated from Canada in the event Quebec decided to secede. Later, a province-wide referendum for a separate Quebec was defeated.
Visit the Assembly of First Nations website for more about the current activities of Coon Come.