Ga Wiianiniiganiitamagoyak Children’s Centre in Deer Lake recently participated in a Community Exchanges Program through the Aboriginal Head Start On-Reserve Program (ASHOR). Deer Lake is partnered up with one of Saskatoon Tribal Council’s Head Start sites, located at Mistawasis First Nation. Four program staff from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan program arrived in Deer Lake on September 06, 2004. They included:
The Community Exchanges acitivites kicked off with the participants being taken to the GW Children Centre where students, parents and staff were waiting to greet the visitors. After being greeted by the Head Start Program team, the participants went on a community tour of Deer Lake First Nation. The participants were amazed at the rockiness of the community, the lakes and rocks made a lasting impression on the participants. The participants are use to the vast prairies across the province of Saskatchewan.
The next day the visitors continued their tour of the community. Community programs and services were visited. The participants were most interested with the Telehealth Services available in the community. They had never seen such equipment and asked many questions about Telehealth. Thank you Lily Sawanas for your time in showing us the Telehealth equipment, you are truly an expert at what you do (smiles).
The third day, the participants spent most of the day in the program with the children. During class time, participants were able to observe how the Centre incorporates Deer Lake’s culture and language into the program. Towards the end of the day, the participants visited a few of Deer Lake’s elders. The elders are used by the program as Traditional Instructors.
The fourth day, the exchange participants met with the Family Support Worker to discuss the parental involvement in the program. In the afternoon, they met with the Parent Group to talk about the programming and operation of the Centre. After the meeting with the Parent Group, there was a feast to end the community exchanges initiative. Community members were invited to the feast so they could meet the Exchange participants from Mistawasis First Nation.
Overall, the Community Exchanges Program was a success, the participants were able to exchange valuable information and ideas with the staff at GW Children’s Centre. All the objectives of the exchange visit were met. Deer Lake’s Head Start Program will be visiting their site in October.
Check out the Children’s Centre website for pictures at http://gwchildrencentre.ca
The Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telehealth project is building a sustainable health care service and delivery model for rural and remote communities. The KO Telehealth Web Portal provides all the latest updates and news from the communities as new developments unfold. The KO Telehealth initiative is putting the tools into place in remote communities to support both the local health care team and the community in accessing improved health care services.
Meanwhile, the country's leaders are now preparing to meet to discuss traditional health care delivery models and protect their turfs (click here to read the CMA's latest billion dollar solution for reducing waiting periods for required medical attention by transporting patients all over the place - from CBC web site). As well the new Northern Ontario School of Medicine (our new medical teaching institution) is spending millions to build more "white elephants" so medical students can create their comfortable environments in the cities (click here to read about this story in the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal). Building and investing in more inefficient institutional and corporate solutions that have created and continue to contribute to the expensive and ineffective health care system is simply leading Canadians towards private health care that only benefits the few.
Alternative and innovative health care delivery systems that support local, community-based health services require a major shift in everyone priorities to ensure these tools and systems are recognized and used by everyone. KO Telehealth and all its community partners are leading the way in developing local health care solutions and capacity for communities.
Fort Severn is presently 15th on INAC’s list to get a new school sometime within the next few years. The existing school was shut down in early June of this year due to severe mould contamination. In late August, INAC’s Regional Director met with Fort Severn leaders to recommend a "remediation strategy" as the solution to the existing school. The Chief and Council, using their own resources had determined that a temporary school facility would address everyone’s short and long term needs while the scheduled new school is planned and built. They require a decision from INAC immediately to be able to meet the scheduled barge delivery of construction materials for the temporary facility. The barge leaves Moosonee at end of September.
James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and NAN’s Grand Chief Stan Beardy witnessed the crisis first hand during a visit to the community last week. Later Mr. Bartleman, in the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal newspaper, stated "right now they’re in bad shape". Grand Chief Stan Beardy in a CBC radio program described the situation as "depressing".
Additional structural and historical problems with the existing school prevent it from becoming useable again for the community. The September 9 issue of Wawatay also documents these problems. A study commissioned by the Fort Severn leaders found that parents will no longer send their children to this site even if it was remediated. Historically, INAC officials decided to build the school at the present location even though local elders told them it was not suitable due to spring water and graves sites located there.
Now that their children’s health has been compromised by the existing building, parents are demanding a different facility for their children to attend. They require assurances that the health problems that they saw their children experiencing this past spring will not reoccur. Eleven families have already been forced to relocate to other centres so their children can attend school. INAC officials are aware of this information and these reports but everyone is still waiting for their support to address this crisis.
Fort Severn leaders took it upon themselves to include in their request for tenders for the temporary school facility that the buildings be able to be converted to teacher living quarters once the new school is completed. Existing teacherages are also contaminated with hydrocarbons and are aging due to the harsh weather conditions in Fort Severn resulting in the need to be replaced. The multiple usages for a properly designed and constructed temporary school facility will ensure that this investment will result in continued use after their primary function as a school is completed.
Fort Severn leaders received estimates from the engineering firm that the cost for remediation and structural upgrades of the existing school has been estimated to be $3 million and will require the existing school to remain closed for an undetermined length of time. For this amount, the Chief and Council presented plans in August for INAC to fund their temporary school that would be in place by January. At the same time a new school can begin to be planned and built for the children of Fort Severn.
Carmen Sandiego is not the only traveller on the move via the computer ... KO's Jamie Ray is a globe trotter assisting First Nation schools to get better connectivity. Earlier this week, Jamie was in Wabigoon helping develop the local community network. Click here to see his pictures and story about this development.
Now in Bearskin assisting with the new KiHS classroom there. He also took some time to help improve connectivity and the computer network at the Bearskin elementary school.
He tested the videoconferencing unit in the KiHS classroom by calling Wesley McKay and Brian Walmark at the KO Research Institute.
Greg Ross, Assoicate Dean of Research with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, met with KO's Brian Walmark to discuss opportunities to work together. Greg is interested in the various ICT applications that KO has developed in telehealth and teleeducation. He would also like to work with the KO Research Institute to improve the research capacity of First Nation communities in the North.
For more information, email Brian Walmark at KORI
Ron Fisher, Northern Aboriginal Education Circle (NAEC) Coordinator visited KO to discuss potential developments and learn about First Nations SchoolNet applications and opportunities.
KO's Wesley McKay gives Ron a virtual tour of the First Nations SchoolNet web portal. Fisher also participated in a videoconference linking the KO Research Institute with First Nations SchoolNet RMO in Sioux Lookout. He learned about a variety of applications that First Nations SchoolNet is providing to on-reserve schools.
Click here to visit the NAEC web site at Seven Generations. To see more photos, click here... To learn more about NAEC initiatives, email Ron Fisher...
NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic called on area First Nations to host medical students attending the Northern Ontario School of Medicine starting in the 2005-2006 school year (the first year of operation for NOSM).
During the first year of study, each medical student will be required to live for four weeks in a First Nation community in order to learn about health and medical realities of life in Ontario’s far north. The students will not provide treatment but will learn from nurses, telehealth staff and community leaders about local health needs. They will be required to complete community work that can include education sessions, public health information, etc
First Nations in Grand Council Treaty #3 and the Union of Ontario Indians have already opted to participate. Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic expressed concern during the medical school’s Aboriginal Reference Group Planning Meeting last week that few NAN First Nations are participating in the program. At present there are no KO communities involved in this portion program.
For more information about getting involved in this program, contact Orpah McKenzie, the Director of Aboriginal Affairs at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine... She can be reached at (807) 766-7311...
Wild Country is contributing to the well-being of First Nation students by flying free of charge almost thirty boxes of books donated by a school in Toronto for the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nation schools north of Red Lake.
For more information and photos, click here...
Our friends from New Zealand that Keewaytinook Okimakanak has worked with in the past sent us the following announcement and invitation ...
Te Wananga o Aotearoa is pleased to announce that it will be hosting the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) from Sunday 27th November 2005 through to Thursday 1st December 2005 - www.wipce2005.com.
While Te Wananga o Aotearoa is the official host, the conference will be a collaborative effort between Te Wananga o Aotearoa, the University of Waikato and the Waikato Institute of Technology, the three tertiary institutions within the Waikato area. These three institutions will also work alongside the other two Wananga, Te Wananga o Raukawa and Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi and with Hapu (Sub-tribes), Iwi (Tribal groups), Kohanga Reo (Immersion Early Childhood Centres), Kura Kaupapa (Immersion Schools), Community Groups and National organisations to ensure a successful conference.
The conference will open at Turangawaewae Marae with an official powhiri on Sunday November 27th. Conference presentations will be delivered from Monday through to Thursday 1st December 2005 at the University of Waikato. The finale will be on Thursday evening at the Waikato Stadium with a closing ceremony and cultural extravaganza which will be open to the public.
Te Toi Roa - The Overall Conference Theme
The overall conference theme for WIPCE 2005 calls for us to celebrate our stories and beliefs in our principles, our values and our histories, the quintessence of our uniqueness as indigenous people. It is these beliefs that enhance our experiences and knowledge to guide us to strive for excellence in education.
The themes flowing from Te Toi Roa are Leadership, Research & Development and New Horizons of Knowledge.
Submissions for Abstracts and Performances have now been loaded onto the website at www.wipce2005.com
Key Dates for Notification of Acceptance of
For further information refer to www.wipce2005.com which is being updated on a weekly basis.
Please do not hesitate to contact Aroha Te Kanawa (Project Manager) if you have any further queries (firstname.lastname@example.org or 027 276 4285 or 07 855 2723).Please feel free to forward this email onto others you think may be interested in attending WIPCE 2005.