The September 18 issue of Wawatay News contains two more news stories about the work being completed within the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations demonstration project.
This week's issue of the Kuh-ke-nah page in Wawatay News include the following articles:
Rick Garrick is researching additional stories for future articles. If you have a story that you want to share about this project and the work that is happening in your community to get connected, please send us an e-mail.Various newspaper articles are being scanned and stored for reference purposes in this photo gallery.
The NAN Decade Youth Council would like to extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the community of Summer Beaver throughout these trying times.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of the deceased and we pray that you will find comfort during these dark days.
We would also like to address the Youth of Nibinamik. Our thoughts are with you as well and we pray that you will find the strength and courage to overcome the pain and sadness of losing a loved one. We share your grief and we sense your sorrow. Be strong and have faith.
Once again, our thoughts and prayers are with you all. May the Creator be with you and guide you in the days ahead.
In Unity and Respect,
The NAN Decade Youth Council
A Good Man Moves On.
On Saturday September 14, 2003 Mike Nothing passed away in Sioux Lookout after a lengthy illness.
Services were held for family and friends in Sioux Lookout at the Sioux Lookout Funeral chapel. The burial service will be held in Bearskin Lake First Nation on Wednesday. His wife Susannah predeceased him in November 1997. I was fortunate to be able to attend a service for Mike along with many friends and family in Sioux Lookout this past Monday.
Mike was from the community of Bearskin Lake. I first met him in 1977 when I went to the community as a Hudson’s Bay clerk (manager trainee). Even though we had age gap, cultural differences and a language barrier, we worked through all these and Mike not only became my father-in-law, but an elder (role model), and a friend to me. Mike was probably one of the most honest and straightforward individuals that I have ever known. As one of his daughters spoke during Monday’s service I remembered receiving a gift of a t-shirt about 15 years ago from her that stated… “Everyone is entitled to my opinion” and I laughed to myself thinking that the same could be said of Mike as well. He had his ways…and he was a very determined man. When Mike left us, he didn’t quit living, he just decided he was moving on and no one was going to talk him out of it.
Well he’s gone to a better place and as Rev. Susan Barclay stated in her message...Mike has gone to the place where God has prepared many rooms for our afterlife. I know that Mike’s room or mansion will have state of the art conference-call telephones so he can discuss all the important issues with his many friends and business associates in the “big city”. Just about every picture of Mike that I have in my photo albums has him pictured with a telephone in hand. Certainly every time I visited his home in Bearskin Lake or Sioux Lookout, Mike would be engaged in the most important conversations.
In the early days when I lived in Bearskin Lake there was no TV, VCR, or electricity in the reserve homes. Other than music, the telephone was the main piece of technological entertainment available and in 2003 that invention was still Mike’s favorite pastime.
It was only about a week ago that I erased his latest message on my answering machine as we all do when our message space gets used up. Everyone that knows Mike should be able to relate exactly to what I am talking about.
One of my favorite memories of Mike is the summer my family vacationed in Bearskin Lake and I fixed up his car and his truck with him supervising. Mike taught me how to fix carburetors and fuel lines with pieces of plastic, glue, and snare wire. Another one is the time in Sioux Lookout is when we explored logging roads for a full day unsuccessfully looking for a missing moose hide. Talk about a “wild moose” (hide) chase.
Back in the early days, Bearskin Lake was part of the Big Trout Lake band, so before they had Reserve Status, Mike was the councilor for the entire community… that in my understanding would be equivalent today to the role of chief. Mike then became the driving force in establishing Bearskin’s own Reserve status.
Later, he started a store in Bearskin Lake called “Bearskin Lake Variety” to help the people have a locally run store and to make a good living for his family. Mike had a neat store stocked with very effective high demand products and I remember enjoying the salami and fresh bread Mike flew in. We made it a regular routine to buy some from the store and have a mini-feast. He bought furs and one year made $150,000 profit while still paying good prices to the local trappers. In fact, I bought fur myself for about 16 years…but I recall that Mike had people from all over the north selling to him because of his good prices.
However, the very next year Green Peace started to boycott the fur business and their misguided actions spelled the end of the fur business…and this caused Mike to suffer a big financial loss. Mike had given away most of his money to others as he usually did to help people out. I remember his “shaver” was a burning cigarette (which I though was pretty cool) in the old days before BIC became a staple. Later when the community started the Bearskin Lake Consumer’s COOP store, Mike closed the family store so that the community store would be able to grow. This is the way Mike lived…he was a very committed servant to his community many times at his own expense. When he closed his store, he had about $30,000 of customer debt on tab, which he “lost”. In today’s dollars that would be at least $100,000.
Mike later sold his building to Pastor Ziggy Beardy for a nominal amount so that the group of believers could have a church building to hold services in. Mike himself spent a lot of time in prayer and he felt at home in the Anglican Church. I am glad that Mike has ended his earth journey to be with His Savior and is now united with departed family and friends. I am glad that we all have many fond memories of an extraordinary man who was a role model for the community, family, and his peers. My prayers are given to all who are affected by his passing. He truly was a man’s man…but I think Mike had a little help from the Lord.