An e-learning planning workshop was hosted by the Keewaytinook Internet High School in Balmertown, ON on November 29 and 20. Click here to see the agenda that documents the activities for this two day event. Participants from La Ronge in northern Saskatchewan (the Masinahikana School), the Bella Bella school in British Columbia and from the KO Research Institute in Thunder Bay joined the gathering in Balmertown via video conference during scheduled times in the agenda. The workshop was sponsored by Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program.
This initial workshop is intended to lead to more on-line activities and the development of e-learning resources that First Nation schools and learners can utilize and benefit from. Thanks to Fernando Oliveira (the on-line Grade 8 Supplementary Course instructor and coordinator - http://g8.firstnationschools.ca) and Darrin Potter (principal of the Keewaytinook Internet High School - http://kihs.knet.ca) for putting this initial meeting together.
The video conferenced portions of the workshop are now available at http://webcast.knet.ca/schoolnet and select the E-Learning Workshop sessions.
Brian Walmark, Coordinator of the KO Research Institute and the K-Net Coordinator met with Kevin Pasluk, IT Director of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). Discussions and strategies to find ways to work together to support First Nations across Northern Ontario and first year students in NOSM in their four week placements were shared.
The opportunity exists for First Nations with broadband connections in place to provide a positive learning experience for NOSM students during their first year of studies at the new school. The first round of placements will take place in the spring of 2006. Working with KO and Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program, NOSM is committed to working with communities to ensure these learning experiences are successful for everyone involved.
The Canadian Research Alliance For Community Innovation And Networking team met in Ottawa on Friday, Nov 26 and Saturday, Nov 27 to dicuss about evaluation tools and techiques. Brian Walmark, KO's Research Institute Coordinator, presented information about KO's work that included a variety of digital videos used to capture the thoughts of KO community members and funders regarding the migration of connectivity to remote and isolated First Nations in Ontario's far north. These materials and stories are being used to support the completion of the evaluation of KO's K-Net project.
Keewaytinook Okimakanak's K-Net Services is one of the seven case studies included in the CRACIN research initiative. Members of the CRACIN team demonstrated the use of K-Net's Breeze server to support the participation of other members of the team in the workshop.
The Washaho School in Fort Severn First Nation is contaminated with severe mould growth due in part to INAC’s decision to build the existing building over a spring (click here to read Wawatay September 9 news story). Elders informed INAC officials of this potential problem before construction began over twenty years ago. Now the school has been closed since June 2004 as a result of a Health Canada order to remove everyone from this building. So as INAC officials want to continue to study the problem, Fort Severn children go without a school facility. The mould continues to grow and spread throughout the school because no one is able to go near the condemned facility. Click here to see September K-News story.
The local leadership and community members completed their own feasibility study during the summer at their own expense. The study recommended removing the school building and constructing a new facility. Bringing in temporary classrooms was planned for this year’s barge as financing and plans for the new school were completed. Then INAC decided that they would do their own study, thus preventing any of the community’s plans from proceeding. The INAC funded consultant determined that the old school should be renovated against the wishes of the local leadership and parents. As a compromise INAC is now demanding a third study by an independent body. Click here to read Wawatay story -Remediation won’t solve mould problem.
The community was then forced to use existing band owned buildings to accommodate some scheduled classroom activities that support a limited form of home schooling for the students as a temporary measure. These five buildings were build by the band to serve specific local needs. Now these functions are being put aside so the children can get a limited level of support they require to complete some of their work for this school year.
On November 24, a letter was sent to Fort Severn’s leaders from INAC (click here to read the letter) indicating a limited amount of funding would be made available to convert these five community owned buildings to classroom space with sufficient resources to address health and safety issues. The same letter states that INAC will continue with the third feasibility to remediate the existing school facility against the wisdom of the local community. The letter also states that INAC will not contribute towards the recommended non-safety items required for educational space nor restore the five community service buildings to their original purpose after they are no longer needed as classrooms.
Another letter arrived on December 2 from the Ontario Regional Director, Robert Howsam restating that INAC requires an independent assessment (click here to read this letter). Fort Severn sent their official response to these letters from INAC on December 7. Click here to read the Fort Severn response
Even though Fort Severn requires a new school as soon as possible due to the age and condition of the existing facility, INAC is insisting on yet another study that will require spending over a million dollars to "address the mould contamination and structural safety issues" of the existing facility. It is well understood that once renovations take place on an existing facility then the community priority position for a new facility is affected on INAC’s school construction program. Previous correspondence from INAC indicated that this would not happen but that has not been the case in the past.
Fort Severn needs a new school. The community and the families tried to work with INAC to have temporary classrooms in place for the start of the school year. The children and teaching staff are struggling to deliver an educational program that they hope will help them with their studies. But the situation is both depressing and dangerous for everyone. As INAC acknowledges in their letter, they need to spend over $400,000 just to address "safety / health issues" in these non-classroom environments that the community is using for interim classes.
The Auditor General notes in her latest report that INAC officials are not clear about what their role is when it comes to providing educational services in First Nations. In the case of Fort Severn it seems very clear. They will not listen to the community members and leaders. They will use policies and services that seem to create more delays that prevent the children from accessing a normal and safe school environment. Some people are feeling that the department's real agenda is to remove the people from their traditional homelands and lifestyles.
November 23, 2004 - from http://www.afn.ca/Media/2004/nov/november_23_04.htm
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Responds to Auditor General’s Recommendations on First Nations Education
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine responded to recommendations on First Nations education in the Auditor General of Canada’s report released today in Ottawa. The report includes recommendations related to First Nations primary and secondary education and post-secondary education, noting that “educational parity is still a long way off for First Nations”.
“The lack of progress on First Nations education is alarming,” said National Chief Fontaine. “In the last four years there has been literally no progress in closing the gap in graduation rates between First Nations and Canadian citizens. At the current rate, it will take 28 years for First Nations to catch-up to the non-Aboriginal population. If this is left unchecked it’s going to create a crisis in Canada’s economy.”
The National Chief noted that in 1996, the federal government capped funding increases for Indian Affairs’ core programs (which includes education) at 2% per year. This does not match inflation or population growth and follow-up studies have found that the gap in overall quality of life between First Nations and non-Aboriginal Canadians stopped closing at this point. At the same time, recent studies show that the number of Canadians withdrawing from the labour force will exceed those entering by 2015. At the same time, the First Nations population is young – more than half the First Nations population is under the age of 25.
“Education is a key determinant in the quality of life of Canadians and it will be a key determinant in the quality of life of the country,” said the National Chief. “Our population is young and will be driving the country’s economy in the coming years. If Canada is going to be a player in the world economy then the only solution is for the government to work with First Nations and support our efforts to ensure our citizens are equipped and educated so they can become the work force of tomorrow. It is a simple but important truth that, now more than ever, our future is Canada’s future.”
The report also examined the problems with the government’s administration of the $273 million annual Post-Secondary Student Support Program for First Nations. The Auditor General reports that, in administering the program, the government does not ensure that as many students as possible have equitable access to the program. The number of students has been declining in recent years. In 1998-99, participation rates of Registered Indians was at a high of 27,157 but dropped to 25,075 in 2002-03.
“We have 10,000 First Nations students on waiting lists, ready and willing to further their education and contribute to the economy, but they cannot access the resources they are rightfully entitled to,” said National Chief Fontaine. “Access to post-secondary education is critical to the improving the quality of life for First Nations individuals, families, and communities. Post-secondary education is also a fundamental building block of self-sufficiency and self-government. It is true that we need more resources dedicated to education, but we can also make better and more efficient use of the available resources. First nations are best-placed to identify where the needs are because they deal directly with their students. What’s really needed is more First Nations input and control over administering the program.”
The Assembly of First Nations commissioned a thorough national review of First Nations post-secondary education in 2000 and found that there are two fundamental problems with the funding of First Nations post-secondary education in Canada:
The second point above is confirmed by the Auditor General’s report released today. The problems with how the funding is managed begin right at the center of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada – allocations to regions are made in blocks, and so regional senior officials can move funding amounts between program areas at their discretion. When funding is transferred to First Nations to disburse to students, the terms and conditions under which the money flows do not ensure maximum impact or benefit.
The AFN intends to work closely with the Federal Government to ensure that changes are made to both the way post-secondary funds are managed within INAC and in relation to the terms and conditions attached to funds when they leave the department.
“It is the fundamental position of the AFN that education at all levels is an inherent Aboriginal and Treaty right as recognized in the Canadian Constitution and international law,” said National Chief Fontaine. “The AFN is ready to work with government and has put many ideas on the table already to ensure maximum benefit to students, families and communities from existing funding amounts, and to identify and increase student funding so that First Nations participation rates in post-secondary education get back on a positive increasing trend. This is good for First Nations and it is good for Canada.”
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
One product from last week's KO Telehealth conference in Sioux Lookout was a 2 minute video created by Cal Kenny, Blue Mason and Tina Kakepetum-Schultz. The video is available on-line from the KO Telehealth home page at http://telehealth.knet.ca.
Along with this video four additional videos providing additional information about telehealth services in remote First Nations are available from a new web page. The four other videos include:
Health - Better access to services and support
|High - Low|
Fort Hope, Ontario
February 17, 18, 19, 20 2005.
PeeWee 11 & 12 yrs old
Bantams 13 & 14 yrs old
Midgets 15 to 18 yrs old
$200.00 Entry Fee
Deadline February 1st 2005
First 6 out town teams (per division to) to confirm
- cash prizes - trophies - medallions
Friday & Saturday Night Dances
For more information contact:
Clara @ (h) 242-1431 or (w) 242-1573
Eva @ (h) 242-1297 or (w) 242-1515
We will soon have an email address and a MyKnet.org website to keep you updated
Northern Nishinawbe Education Council Post Secondary celebrates 25 years!!
NAN Women’s Gathering November 22-26, 2004
Travelodge Airlane Hotel
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Tuesday 23rd November 2004: A house fire last weekend in Long Lake #58 First Nation has stripped a local family of six of their home and personal belongings. The Chief and council of the community are appealing to the public for donations of goods and money to help support the family over the next few months.
The family, which has four children, ages 10, 9, 8 and 4, is currently residing with family members in the community and are in need of essential living items such as clothing, toys, and food. The family has been living on a limited income and all their Christmas shopping was also lost in the fire.
Says Chief Veronica Waboose of Long Lake #58 First Nation; “As a community, we are rallying to support this distressed family as much as we can. However, most of our families are struggling to live on a limited income themselves and so we would welcome any additional donations from the local community at large to help support this family, especially through the Christmas season.”
All donations should be sent to Matawa First Nations Management and specify that they are for Long Lake #58 Fire Donations.
Matawa First Nations Management; Tel: 807 767 4443; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org