NADF staff support local children's charity!
Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) joined in the ‘Clowning For Kids Day’ fundraising initiative with incredible gusto on Friday 31st March 2006! Management and staff at NADF have raised over $1,000 to ensure that the organization’s President, Harvey Yesno and his management team, wore red clown noses to work. But the organization’s fun-loving efforts didn’t stop there.
President of NADF, Harvey Yesno appeared at the NAN regional Chiefs Meeting last week wearing a red nose, where he collected hundreds of dollars in donations from regional Chiefs representing northern
Clowning For Kids Day is a fundraising initiative for the George Jeffrey Children’s Foundation Capital Campaign. The centre provides treatment to children with physical and developmental disabilities that help them to crawl, walk and talk over time. Approximately 25% of the Centre’s children come from the regional First Nation communities serviced by NADF. A new building is needed to help the centre service the more than 450 children who are currently on its waiting list from the region.
To see photos of the staff visit: www.georgejeffreyfoundation.com
Congratulations to the 2006 - 2008 Chief & Council installed for this next 2-year term:
Many thanks to all the candidates, nominators, and election committee, and voters for all your hard work.
Native chiefs to delay reforms, ask for debate
BILL CURRY - March 29, 2006
Ottawa -- Final sign-off from native chiefs on reforms such as an aboriginal auditor-general and a one-person-one-vote system for electing the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations will have to wait until at least July, as chiefs opted to strike a new panel to hammer out the details.
Chiefs from across the country wrapped up a three-day meeting in Gatineau a day early by giving full consensus to a general motion stating that the details of the proposals should be debated in the regions before a possible decision at the next meeting of chiefs in Vancouver in July.
National Telehealth Working Group Meets to Discuss Telehealth Strategy
The Assembly of First Nations have identified Telehealth as a tool that can be utilized to address quality of life issues for First Nations people.
At the National Telehealth Strategy meeting held in Ottawa March 22 and 23, First Nations involved in Telehealth programs from across the country met to discuss how to support the AFN in delivering this message to governments and communities.
The importance of validating Telehealth's health benefits is required to ensure long term funding and sustainability of Telehealth programs. Priorites identified for research include: How is Telehealth impacting wait times? How is Telehealth impacting social outcomes and determinants of health issues? Quality of life issues as well as access and equity were discussed as health needs that are directly addressed through community based, First Nations directed Telehealth Programs.
KOTH presented an overview of the communtiy based model and told the stories of how the region is utilizing Telehealth to address disparities in health access for First Nations communities.
Future Initiatives include:
The parents of Max Kakegamic, who was killed on the streets of Kenora more than five years ago, are appealing to the chief coroner’s office for an inquest.
By Mike Aiken
Miner and News
Thursday March 30, 2006
The Native Law Centre of Canada at the University of Saskatchewan is currently seeking ten (10) post-secondary candidates to live and work overseas. The Young Professionals International project implemented by the Native Law Centre is undertaken within the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy, with a contribution from Foreign Affairs Canada. This is an exciting opportunity for young Aboriginal people to enhance their career prospects while contributing to international organizations that foster empowerment and development strategies for Indigenous peoples.
Given your knowledge and expertise in the area of international and indigenous issues and the extensive network you have within the community, we are asking your assistance in forwarding the attached poster to those who may be interested in the opportunities. Moreover, please feel free to post the information at your office. Further information can also be found at: http://www.usask.ca/nativelaw/programs/internship/index.html
Thank you for your time and effort in assisting in this worthy opportunity for our youth. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Selina Mackie, BSW, BEd or Wanda McCaslin, B.A., LL.B.
Native Law Centre of Canada
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B8
Tel: (306) 966-6193 Fax: (306) 966-6207
Province And First Nations Create New Partnership With Signing Of An Agreement-In-Principle On Gaming Revenue - Increased Revenue To Enable Key Investments In First Nation Communities
QUEEN'S PARK, ON, March 29 /CNW/ - Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today signed an agreement-in-principle with the Ontario First Nations Limited Partnership (OFNLP) that sets out a new partnership for sharing the economic benefits of gaming with First Nations.
"Our government is committed to building opportunity and this agreement-in-principle is an important step forward in meeting the needs of First Nations communities," said Premier McGuinty. "It provides the foundation for a stronger partnership with First Nations as we work together to invest in their communities in a number of areas such as the education, skills and health of First Nations peoples."
"This agreement is designed to provide over 130 Ontario First Nations with greater financial stability," said David Caplan, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal and Minister Responsible for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC). "This is a historic day and we want to acknowledge the invaluable leadership of the negotiators."
In February 2005, the McGuinty Liberal government appointed former Premier David Peterson to lead discussions with First Nations on a new agreement for distributing gaming revenue to Ontario First Nations.
Under a pre-existing contract that runs until 2011, Ontario First Nations receive provincial gaming revenue from a single gaming site - Casino Rama. The terms set out in today's agreement-in-principle would add to this arrangement by providing First Nations with 1.6 per cent of gross revenue from all provincial gaming, starting in 2011. Ontario First Nations would also receive approximately $155 million over the next six years.
"This First Nations Gaming and Revenue Sharing Agreement-in-Principle represents a new relationship between First Nations within Ontario and the Province. It is an opportunity for our partners to build upon existing successes as well as address their community growth and development. We look forward to finalizing the agreements required to move forward," said Harvey Yesno, President of the OFNLP.
"Today's announcement demonstrates Ontario's commitment to developing a true partnership with First Nations peoples," said David Ramsay, Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. "We are taking a big step forward on the New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs by working with First Nations to increase economic opportunities."
The agreement-in-principle was signed by Premier McGuinty on behalf of the Ontario government and by the OLGC and the OFNLP. It provides that the parties will seek to negotiate binding legal agreements to give effect to the terms of the agreement-in-principle by December 31, 2006.
Premier McGuinty thanked David Peterson for leading this effort on behalf of the Province. He also thanked the OFNLP negotiating team - Gord Peters, Joe Miskokomon, Linda Commandant, Don Morrison, Mike Mitchell, Ernest Sutherland and George Kakeway - for their vision and commitment.
"This agreement will make a lasting difference in the lives of First Nations people throughout the province," said Premier McGuinty. "The increased revenue will allow First Nations to make key investments to build a brighter future for their communities and a stronger Ontario for all."
Ont. to renew casino revenue deal with natives - Canadian Press
TORONTO — An agreement that distributes net revenues from Casino Rama to Ontario's aboriginal communities is being extended through a new deal that could also give natives a bigger slice of the total provincial gaming pie.
Sources say the province will sign an agreement Wednesday that extends a five-year deal reached in 2001, which would have expired this summer.
The new deal could also allow aboriginal communities to share in revenues from other casinos around the province. Former premier David Peterson was appointed as Ontario's representative last year in talks to give First Nations a share of all provincial gaming sites.
Currently, Ontario's aboriginal communities share provincial gaming revenue only from Casino Rama.
The previous deal ensured net revenues from Casino Rama, located on aboriginal land, are distributed to 134 First Nations communities around Ontario.
The casino - located near Orillia, north of Toronto - has collected roughly $1 billion in net revenues since it opened in 1996.
The Ontario government's previous deal on the casino's revenues, signed in 2001, was meant to provide aboriginals with a stable source of funding for community, economic and cultural development, health and education.
It has been the subject of litigation in recent years, with the Mnjikaning First Nation saying it should retain 35 per cent of net revenues since the casino is on the band's land. That money has been held in escrow for years, pending results of the litigation.
The government calls Casino Rama central Ontario's most popular tourist attraction, hosting 12,000 patrons daily.
It is also one of the largest employers of First Nations people in Canada, with 2,300 slot machines and 120 table games.
To celebrate World Water Day on 22 March, UNESCO's online magazine, the Courier has published a collection of articles on this precious resource, that is increasingly threatened by population growth, pollution and poor management.
Water: A Grindstone of Governance
There is no water shortage, at least not on paper. The Second United Nations World Water Development Report shows that water resources are unequally distributed, and above all, badly managed. Presented in Mexico City in March 2006, ‘Water, a Shared Responsibility’, takes an inventory of the planet’s water resources. More
Water, A Shared Responsibility - The main theme of the 4th World Water Forum (4th WWF) was Local Actions for a Global Challenge. Water related problems have their greatest impacts at the local level. As a result, local actions are key for generating concrete results that, when amalgamated across sectors and regions, will move us closer to meeting the water-related targets set by the Millennium Development Goals.
Valencia: Water Wisdom - In Valencia's vast “huerta”, the heartland of Spain’s orchards, water is an historically strategic element. For centuries a special court has met on every Thursday to settle disputes relating to this key resource. More
Aboriginal school boards touted - Minister holds early talks with Alberta chiefs
Sarah McGinnis - Calgary Herald
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice wants to create aboriginal school boards in Alberta to improve the First Nations education system.
Consultation with aboriginal educators, adequate funding levels and respect for programs that are working would be needed to make any school authority a success, warns Siksika Nation chief Strater Crowfoot.
"We're talking in the province of Alberta about (creating) an education authority for Treaty 8, one for Treaty 7 and one for Treaty 6," Prentice said in an interview with the Herald on Saturday.
Education authorities, divided geographically throughout the province and identified by the different treaty numbers, could be similar to the school boards that govern the public school system, Prentice explained.
They could include elected representatives who are made accountable for their decisions, he added.
School authorities are needed because First Nations students don't have the same legislative protection other students do, Prentice said.
"First Nations kids live in this legislative vacuum where there's no legislation that prescribes curriculum and class sizes, children's rights or the rights of children with disabilities," he said.
"These are all things you find in and around the Alberta school legislation. Aboriginal kids don't have that."
While there have been preliminary talks with Alberta chiefs about school authorities, the concept is far from being a workable policy yet, Prentice said.
And Crowfoot agrees there's still a lot of work to be done.
"I think Jim is taking the right step by looking at what can be done to make the system better," said Crowfoot.
"Perhaps having a pan-Alberta approach with . . . better co-ordination with the province may be a good step."
But there has to be much more discussion with affected groups before school authorities can be created, said Crowfoot.
And education discussions shouldn't be limited to chief and councils, he said.
"You have to get the politics out of education. Let the educators decide better how to run the systems," he said.
Adequate funding levels and support systems are also needed to ensure First Nations kids get the best schooling possible, said Crowfoot.
"Just because you put a school board in doesn't mean you're going to get anywhere," said Fraser Institute spokesman Peter Cowley, who added there are already two aboriginal school boards in Quebec.
Cowley organizes an annual report card on education, ranking schools across Canada.
Instead of expanding the educational bureaucracy, the government should release standardized test results so the public can see how serious the problems are in First Nations schools, he said.
By analysing test results, administrators can look for best practices at other aboriginal schools which can be applied to them, he said.
Platinex Encouraged by Government Action on Big Trout Lake Exploration Delay
TORONTO, March 24 /CNW/ - Platinex Inc. (TSX-V: PTX) reports on recent progress relating to its delayed exploration program at the Big Trout Lake property in Northern Ontario.
On Monday March 6th, Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, announced "Ontario's Mineral Development Strategy", which includes the Government's commitment to "...ensuring that mineral sector activities occur in a manner consistent with Ontario's consultation obligations related to Aboriginal and Treaty rights."
Platinex President James Trusler is encouraged that the Ontario Government is taking its consultation duties seriously, but notes that "Platinex has made clear to the Minister and senior MNDM officials that the absence of government consultation with the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug community (KI) over many years has frustrated the Company's extensive consultation efforts and ability to explore on its claims at Big Trout Lake. This is a situation that requires urgent action on the part of Government at the most senior levels to resolve KI's concerns." Minister Bartolucci has indicated that he is treating this matter as a priority.
In conjunction with its on-going communications with the Ontario Government, Platinex continues to seek a response from KI regarding its offer to set up a meeting to discuss exploration related matters. Platinex remains committed to playing its part in the consultation process. During the recent Prospectors and Developers Association annual Convention in Toronto, Platinex representatives made a presentation to the PDA directors regarding the obligation to consult with First Nations people through the exploration process. Part of the program featured the involvement of First Nations people from various parts of Canada who are involved in exploration and/or mining and bringing substantial benefit to their individual communities.
In addition to seeking a timely resolution to enable Platinex's safe access to its Big Trout Lake property, the Company is continuing to evaluate data obtained with the acquisition of the adjacent property to define the extent of the existing chromite deposits and to estimate the potential of the platinum group element mineralization. A release of this data is expected shortly.
"It has always been the intention of Platinex management to acquire additional PGE properties with exceptional potential to improve the Company's chances of discovering a very large PGE deposit. In addition management wishes to provide more stability to the Company by opportunistic acquisition of more advanced mineral properties," Trusler stated. Such events are expected shortly and will be announced on conclusion of staking or negotiations.
About Platinex Inc.
Platinex is a Canadian exploration company based near Toronto. Platinex focuses on carefully selected Platinum Group Element targets in settings with potential for the discovery of multi-million-ounce deposits, analogous to the JM reef (Stillwater Complex, Montana) and the Merensky and UG2 reefs (Bushveld Complex, RSA), each of which contain resources of PGEs in the tens or hundreds of millions of ounces. The Company is currently exploring on its Big Trout Lake Property in Northern Ontario, approximately 580 km (350 miles) north of Thunder Bay. Shares of Platinex became listed for trading on the TSX Venture Exchange on November 4, 2005, under the symbol PTX. Platinex has 14,271,173 common shares issued and outstanding.