The new http://meeting.knet.ca web space provides groups to work and plan together within a secure environment.
The K-Net team is inviting interested facilitators to identify applications using these resources that will engage and support First Nation participation across northern Ontario.
As the welcome message states ...
Welcome to K-Net Meetings! This online space allows people to participate in a wide range of First Nation workshops, programs and discussions. For full access to the discussion areas on this site, you will need to take a minute to create a new account for yourself.
Contact Cal Kenny (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about setting up a meeting space for your online gathering.
Be sure to check out all the different snow sculptures that the different youth and families in Keewaywin First Nation created. Visit http://www.keewaywin.firstnation.ca to visit this great photo gallery!
Special Chiefs Assembly
March 27-29, 2006
Hilton Lac Lemay
3 Boul. du Casino
AFN CEO Richard Jock
We are pleased to announce that the Special Chiefs Assembly will be broadcast LIVE on our website!
View the Special Chiefs Assembly on March 27-29, 2006 Live with Real Player
|Message from the AFN National Chief on the Special Chiefs Assembly|
|Call for Resolutions|
|Additional Information - Renewal|
Be sure to read the comments about this article by Karihwakeron (Tim Thompson), Education Advisor, Chiefs of Ontario Officer, at the bottom.
Residential schools cast long shadow ... Where suicide lives ... A plague of teen deaths is stalking northern Ontario reserves ... Native leaders see fathers as the key to stopping the dying
LOUISE BROWN - EDUCATION REPORTER - Mar. 24, 2006
THUNDER BAY—There is a corner of Ontario where some 6-year-olds play a homemade game called Suicide.
"My turn to put the rope around my neck — this time, you yell Suicide!"
One child nearly strangled.
It's the same part of the province where teenaged boys on a rampage threatened to kill themselves if anyone tried to stop them, so no one did.
Ask Celina Oskineegish, 16, how many friends and family she has lost to suicide while growing up in Summer Beaver, a community near James Bay, and she holds up 10 fingers.
"It's actually 12, but I don't have that many fingers," she says softly.
"It's very hard for the people left behind. I lost my close friend when we were 13; he drowned after sniffing (gas)," says the Grade 11 student.
"When someone talks about committing suicide, you just stick with them and tell their parents, but that doesn't always work."
This is the land where suicide lives, high in the woods of northern Ontario.
But increasingly, native leaders see parents, especially fathers, as key to stopping the dying.
They say generations of native Canadians raised without parents at distant, harsh, sometimes sexually abusive residential schools have become distant, harsh, sometimes sexually abusive parents themselves — and they must heal their own wounds if they are to raise children who feel life is worth living.
In its dying days in office, the federal Liberal government pledged millions to help communities rebuild these family bonds — $125 million earmarked specifically for healing the emotional wounds of residential school survivors in a tentative compensation package hammered out with native groups, and $1.3 billion targeted for aboriginal health, including suicide prevention, in the Kelowna Accord signed last November with aboriginal leaders.
Oskineegish's community and others like it hope these pledges will deliver more grassroots parenting and social programs to curb the deadly despair.
Some 30,000 people live in dozens of scattered Indian reserves between Hudson Bay and Manitoba. Some of these communities work hard to carve out a place in the global economy — focusing on education, instilling pride in the past and hope for the future.
Yet nearly once every two weeks, someone north of 50 takes their life: usually a teenager, usually a male, usually by hanging.
Last year, 24 people died by their own hand across the region known as the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) north of Thunder Bay, which covers two-thirds of the map of Ontario.
Over the past 20 years, 327 people in the NAN region have committed suicide. Five teenaged boys have hanged themselves since New Year's Day.
An intergovernmental committee was formed on aboriginal youth suicide in 2000. There have been inquests, awareness campaigns, teen self-esteem programs — Girl Power for girls, Wolf Spirit for boys — but as Canada's native population grows faster than any other in the country, native suicide rates remain alarmingly high.
And most fingers point to residential schools.
For more than a century, the Canadian government removed more than 100,000 native children from their families and placed them in church-run boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their language or honour their culture. Often beaten and sexually abused, many suffered life-long shame and withdrawal, turning the same abuse on their own children.
"Suicide is a symptom of things that have gone seriously wrong in our community — dysfunctional families, poor parenting, sexual abuse, residential schools and poverty — and as native parents and fathers, we must take responsibility and confront the monsters in our closet," says NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy.
"About 90 per cent of my people have been affected by residential schools, where nobody told you they loved you and you weren't allowed to express your feelings — so when you grow up, you don't know about normal family bonds," said Beardy, one of the few who avoided residential school.
"Even basic things the dominant culture takes for granted — like a family meal, family time — hasn't really taken hold in our culture because we never did that at residential school. We behave the way we were treated.
"So just the fact we're talking about these issues of healing and parenting now is progress itself. This has all been kept so quiet for too long."
It may sound familiar.
It's the same link between fatherless teens and violence being drawn by black leaders from Toronto to Philadelphia. It's the same call for men to become active mentors that we hear from black leaders like Boston minister Eugene Rivers on a recent visit to Toronto.
Former principal Goyce Kakegamic calls strong families and fathers "the first line of defence in the battle against suicide." As NAN deputy chief responsible for education, Kakegamic organized the recent faith-based Embrace Life forum on suicide prevention and called on native men — many of whom drift between multiple partners and have numerous children with whom they have little contact — to return to their family role.
He echoed Rivers in his challenge to men to step up to the plate.
"The love and caring of a parent, family and friends are more powerful in healing a broken spirit than money and programs can ever be," he said to an all-ages audience from across Ontario's north. "I challenge each of you, and especially men, to think about what you can do to ensure your children learn values to live by."
Ryan Morrison, a 24-year-old native youth volunteer, has been on his own for nine years; he barely knows his father and rarely sees his mother. He lost three friends to suicide in five years, and came to the brink himself. "I think young people kill themselves because they can't find love. You keep looking for the spotlight, looking for attention. You keep looking, then you get on edge, then you start drinking and suddenly you're standing on a cliff over a lake and thinking about just jumping off."
For Morrison, the answer came through religion. For others, the government offers funds for counselling.
Winnipeg lawyer Ken Young is the Assembly of First Nations' special adviser on residential schools. He knows the impact the schools have on a man's ability to be a good father.
Young spent 10 years at residential school in Manitoba, where he says students were flogged if they tried to escape. He became so introverted, he says, he went through law school without asking a question and lost his first case because he wouldn't examine the witness.
"Our people have a tremendous problem with parenting; it's one of the legacies of residential schools, where we were never encouraged, never nurtured," he told the Embrace Life forum.
"I was not a good parent. I never hugged my daughter; I never told her I loved her — I didn't know that's what parents did. Only now, as a grandfather, am I able to hug my daughter and grandchild. The legacy of suicide we now face is largely a result of lack of nurturance in our communities."
Young admits Indian communities face severe economic issues, "poverty, the dependency syndrome created by three generations of welfare and the lack of recreational facilities taken for granted in urban centres. But for our communities to finally begin to heal, our leaders need to heal, and then they will make decisions in the best interests of their communities."
Suicide expert Al Evans, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, says the role of a father or male mentors is crucial during the mid-teens, especially for boys, to provide emotional support and moral guidance.
"Where there is family disruption and the father is not available, this can be one of the contributing causes of suicide — and often aboriginal fathers are struggling with despair and alcohol problems themselves," said Evans, who has just published a biography of native artist Benjamin Chee-Chee, who killed himself in 1977 at the age of 32.
Ricky Asta, 19, of Davis Inlet in Labrador has graduated from a solvent abuse treatment centre in Thunder Bay. He says many Innu teens commit suicide, and he thinks he knows why.
"They don't know who they are."
But there is hope, says Abe Kakepetum, an esteemed Ojibwa artist whose work has been featured on Toronto designer Linda Lundstrom's popular "La Parka" winter coats. Kakepetum is a residential school survivor who, like others of his generation, is only now, as a grandfather, beginning to overcome the emotional scars.
"I lost the ability to hug when I was away from my mother at school. When I became a parent I had no idea how to hug. I still have a problem with hugging, but I make an effort with my grandchildren," said Kakepetum, who ran workshops for fellow elders at the Embrace Life forum on suicide prevention.
"All my life, we've never really dealt with the residential school problem. A lot of the ones who were abused, or sexually abused, became abusers and we need to stop that cycle. That's what happened in my family, that's what most of us are going through."
He believes talking about the issues will help both men and women overcome the shame and repression they have lived with for so long and ultimately become nurturing members of their families and community.
"I may be over 60 now, but I still cry when I think of the things I went through, but thank God we're opening the door to discussing them now," he said. "This is how we can build bridges with our young people. We were strong people once and we're going to get that strength back."
Comments about this article From: Karihwakeron email@example.com
Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2006 2:18 PM
Subject: Chandler Report on cultural loss and suicide
The March 25 edition of the Toronto Star included an article on the issue of suicide in northern Ontario. While there was reference to the multi-generational impact of residential schools, there was no discussion of the impact of the loss of cultural continuity.
Michael Chandler, a professor from the University of British Columbia, made a presentation to a national policy forum hosted by the Assembly of First Nations in April, 2005 on the issue of First Nations youth and suicide. Mr. Chandler noted a strong correlation between cultural continuity and suicide prevention.
In fact, in the presentation Mr. Chandler notes that First Nations communities with strong cultural continuity have lower suicide rates than Canadians. Conversely, Mr. Chandler noted that where there has been a break in cultural continuity, there is the strong potential for greater incidence of suicide.
In view of Mr. Chandler's research, it seems that any discussion of suicide prevention must include an examination of culture in all its aspects including rituals, relationships, life cycle responsibilities, and the impact of cultural change.
Mr. Chandler has also noted that First Nations communities which have a sense of empowerment in key aspects of self-government/self-determination, also demonstrate a reduced level of suicide.
Clearly the Toronto Star article was deficient on this important matter which affects all of our people.
March 24-26, NAN "Get Active" Youth Leadership Recreation Conference at Travelodge Airlane Hotel. Contact Jonathan Neegan at NAN, 1-800-465-9952
NAN youth conference in city
Tb News Source - 3/24/2006
Youth members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation are getting active kicking off a three day youth conference Friday in Thunder Bay.
Sixty NAN community members between the ages of 18 and 29 are participating in the event. The conference is designed to develop leadership skills that could be brought back to the NAN communities.
The focus is on health and fitness for First Nations youth and 'Get Active' got underway Friday morning at the Travelodge Airlane Hotel. The young people of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation which covers two-thirds of Ontario, will be attending workshops on recreation, good nutrition, and physical fitness, and then taking what they learn back to their own communities.
The NAN-sponsored conference also features a couple of young keynote speakers from Alberta, and a banquet on Saturday night.
Four area First Nations on quick fix list for water
Shoal Lake 40, Northwest Angle 37, Dalles and Wabigoon First Nations are all on Ottawa’s highest priority list for quick fixes when it comes to safe drinking water.
By Mike Aiken
Miner and News
Wednesday March 22, 2006
Shoal Lake 40, Northwest Angle 37, Dalles and Wabigoon First Nations are all on Ottawa’s highest priority list for quick fixes when it comes to safe drinking water.
“All parties with responsibilities in this area must take decisive action and achieve measurable results,” said Indian Affairs minister Jim Prentice,
Tuesday’s announcement has roots dating back to last November, when the Liberal government found itself immersed in scandal over the living conditions in Kashechewan First Nation, where half of the 1,900 residents had to be evacuated to southern communities due to ongoing concerns over contaminated drinking water. Almost six months later, the community is still listed under a precautionary drinking water advisory.
Last fall, a total of nine communities in Treaty 3 were listed on the boil water advisory list. Since then, Couchiching, Red Gut and Dalles have been removed, but Eagle Lake, Lac Seul, Wabigoon, Shoal Lake 40, and both bands at Northwest Angle are still on the list.
“I’m very surprised. It’s very good news,” said band councillor Rhonda Nash of Northwest Angle 37.
“Hopefully they’ll follow through on their promises,” she added, noting the band council is still dealing with preliminary studies and consultants.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada spokesman Tony Prudori said the project at Northwest Angle 37 was entering the design and construction phase.
At Wabigoon, engineers were assessing the existing system, and the next phase would be a feasibility study, while Dalles was scheduled to have its facility open by summer.
The government also hopes to establish clear responsibilities for the regulation and enforcement of water treatment in aboriginal communities, as well as ensuring the necessary resources are provided for those in need.
National Chief Phil Fontaine said Tuesday he was encouraged by the first steps taken by Ottawa in an effort to close the gap in living conditions between First Nations and non-aboriginal Canadians.
Fontaine hoped the joint efforts would result in better training programs for water treatment operators, who may not currently be certified, as well as better resources for community leaders, who want to retain employees through better wages and working conditions, once staff have been properly trained.
Fontaine and Prentice have also been discussing the implementation of important settlements reached with the previous government, such as the $2-billion residential school compensation package and the $5-billion Kelowna agreement, which included investments in health, education and housing.
Tuesday’s announcement comes two weeks before the House of Commons is set to resume.
This summer Frontier College wil be working with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (James K. Bartleman) to deliver the Lieutenant Governors Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps (LGALSC) in 25 Northern Ontario communities.
We are looking for about 65 young people (18+) from around the province to be counsellors in this exciting project. This challenge would be a great experience for young people interested in First Nations issues and education.
The application deadline is April 15th, 2006.
Please share the following job posting (see below) throughout your networks? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Manager - Knowledge and Program Development Frontier College
35 Jackes Ave.,
Toronto, ON, M4T 1E2
(416) 923-3591 ext 323
SUMMER POSITIONS AVAILABLE
Camp Counsellors – Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps 2006
Please forward these postings to any people or organizations who may be interested in these exciting opportunities.
Title of Position: Camp Counsellors – Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps 2006
Term: July – August 2006
Location: 25 Fly-In Aboriginal Communities in Northern Ontario
Start date: Late June 2006
Salary: $10.00 per hour
Frontier College is a national, non-profit literacy organization which was founded in 1899. We work with children, teens, adults and families who need help to improve their literacy skills. We are looking for mature, creative university and college students who are seeking a unique and challenging summer job as camp counsellors in the Lieutenant-Governor ’s Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camp program in 2006.
The overall aim of the Lieutenant Governor’s Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camp (LGALSC) is to build the English literacy skills of Aboriginal children living in remote fly-in First Nations communities in Northern Ontario in a safe, caring and fun-filled environment. The main activities will focus on reading, story-telling, sports and games, outdoor activities, arts and crafts. These camps will be run in close co-operation with the local Chief, Band Council and the community.
The three-week summer camps are organized in two parts every day – an early morning structured session for children aged 5-10 years old and an afternoon drop-in session for older children aged 11 -15.
Camp Counsellors work as a team under the supervision of a Frontier College Community Coordinator, who are responsible for reporting to the Program Manager.
The application deadline is April 15th, 2006.
Training, accommodation and travel costs to and from the camps will be provided by Frontier College.
For more information about Frontier College visit www.frontiercollege.ca
Frontier College is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity in the workplace. For this position, Aboriginal candidates are especially encouraged to apply.
We are only accepting online applications for the LGALSC.
Press Release: Greenpeace
Satellite maps show forests critical at Earth Summit
Curitiba, Brazil, 22 March, 2006: Groundbreaking satellite maps reveal the world's forests are in critical condition, Greenpeace revealed today, at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Brazil. They include maps of the last large intact areas of ancient forests around the world including the 'lost world' or garden of eden region of forest on the island of New Guinea, as well as the Amazon and Congo.
“The maps provide evidence that less that 10% of the earth's land area remains as large intact forest areas,” said Greenpeace Forests campaigner Grant Rosoman. “The maps show how heavy the human ‘footprint’ has been in Asia Pacific – only in Europe are there less remaining intact forest landscapes.”
“Never before have the Earth’s remaining large intact forests been mapped in such detail and with a consistent methodology,” said Rosoman. “We have used state of the art technology, such as high resolution satellite imagery, to create a new important tool for governments, environment groups and landowners to understand the extent of remaining ancient forests and work together to protect them.”
The Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific are being destroyed faster than any other forest on Earth. Much of the large intact forest landscapes have already been cut down - 72% for Indonesia and 60% for Papua New Guinea. They continue to be under enormous threat, for example 45% of intact forest landscapes in PNG are covered by logging concessions.
“In PNG, other Melanesian countries and Indonesia, these maps provide evidence to governments of the need to improve protection of ancient forests in a region with the fastest deforestation rate on earth,” said Grant Rosoman.
These ground breaking maps are being released at a time when both terrestrial and marine life is being destroyed at an unprecedented rate. The current rate of extinction of plant and animal species is approximately 1,000 times faster than it was in pre-human times and is predicted to be 10,000 times faster by the year 2050 (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005).
As well as being a unique reservior of biodiversity, the current intact paradise forests are home to thousands of indigenous peoples from hundreds of different cultures and languages. Immediate moratoria are urgently needed on new industrial developments in the last intact forests identified by these maps. The maps clearly show what is left of the world’s ancient forests and provide clear evidence to world governments, meeting in Brazil this week, on the need for urgent action to protect what is left before these forests are destroyed.
The launch of the maps coincides with Greenpeace campaigns to highlight the global biodiversity crisis. The Rainbow Warrior is in Manokwari, Papua, Indonesia, on a mission to protect the Paradise Forests from illegal and destructive logging. The flagship is near the Foja Mountain area recently declared a 'New Eden' rich in undiscovered plant and animal species.
Greenpeace has also set up a Global Forest Rescue Station in the Paradise Forests of Papua New Guinea, working with landowners and other environment groups to protect the forests from illegal logging by establishing ecoforestry as a viable alternative.
A team of twelve health care service providers working with First Nations and their organizations from across British Columbia traveled to Northwestern Ontario to learn about the development of telehealth in this region.
The group spent the first day of their visit participating in training and information sharing with the KO Telehealth team in Balmertown. On Tuesday they flew to Eabametoong to meet with the local Community Telehealth Coordinator and community members about the introduction of telehealth as a community-based service. Then they traveled to Sioux Lookout to meet with the KO K-Net team to learn about the network and the various partners that have worked together to support the development of this service across the region. They left for Toronto today to meet with NORTH Network officials tomorrow before returning to their homes.
See an assessment of the report by a Public Advocacy group below ....
OTTAWA, March 22, 2006 -- The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, today received the report prepared by the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel. The report was presented to the Minister and made public by the panel earlier today in Ottawa.
"I am very pleased to receive this report and the recommendations of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel," said Minister Bernier. "This document is the culmination of extensive consultation and research, and I thank the panelists for their tireless work in its development.
"In the coming weeks and months, my department and I will carefully review this thorough report and its recommendations," said Minister Bernier. "The telecommunications sector is of critical importance to Canada's economy and our future well-being. I intend to work, along with my Cabinet colleagues, to ensure that Canada has a policy and regulatory framework that provides Canadians with access to telecommunications services that are, in every sense, world class."
The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel was established on April 11, 2005. Dr. Gerri Sinclair, Hank Intven and André Tremblay were appointed to conduct a review of Canada's telecommunications policy and regulatory framework, and asked to make recommendations to ensure that Canada has a strong, internationally competitive telecommunications industry.
The report is available online at http://www.telecomreview.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of Industry
22 March 2006, Ottawa, ON
Telecom Panel report gets mixed reaction from CIPPIC
A three-person panel appointed by the Minister of Industry released its report today, recommending large-scale deregulation of the telecommunications market. The Panel recommended that regulations be retained only where market forces cannot achieve policy goals within a reasonable time, and where the benefits of such regulation outweigh the costs. It also proposed a number of new initiatives, including a comprehensive federal program to deploy broadband service in all remaining unserved areas of the country, and a new Telecommunications Consumer Agency to resolve consumer complaints against telecom service providers.
Consumer advocates and public interest groups gave the thumbs-up to some recommendations, but expressed serious concerns about others.
"There are a number of good proposals in this report", said Philippa Lawson, Executive Director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa. "We are especially pleased with the recommendation for a statutory right to access publicly available content on the Internet, given the potential for ISPs to limit user access to certain sites for self-interested purposes." TELUS was widely criticized last year for blocking access to a website critical of the company. "However, this recommendation does not go far enough toward ensuring network neutrality, since ISPs could still offer different levels of Internet access depending on ability and willingness to pay. We need additional rules prohibiting 'access-tiering'", she added.
Lawson also praised the Panel's recommendations for a comprehensive federal plan to deploy broadband services in all remaining unserved areas of the country. "This is an area where government support is clearly needed", said Lawson. "And the Panel recognized the importance of close cooperation with the communities themselves, who are best placed to define their access needs. However, we are disappointed with the absence of any recommendation to support ongoing access and training in those communities."
Lawson was highly critical of the Panel's proposals to do away with regulations that currently protect consumers against a variety of unfair practices in the telecom market. "If these proposals are adopted, telecom consumers will be left at the mercy of market forces, with no effective recourse against abusive industry practices such as hidden fees, misleading bills, excessive late payment fees and other after-the-fact charges, and disconnection of basic local phone service for non-payment of toll charges. Consumers would no longer have a right to a refund of charges for unauthorized 900 calls the first time it happens. You can expect to see telephone companies start charging for print directories, and even for printed bills."
"The Panel seems to be completely unaware of the significant role that the CRTC currently plays in holding the industry to basic standards of fair play when it comes to ordinary consumers", said Lawson. "It's not enough to ensure affordable access; consumers need protection from a variety of unfair practices specific to this industry. Other than the CRTC, there is no consumer protection agency with a mandate over the telecom industry", she added.
On the Panel's proposal for a new Telecommunications Consumer Agency, Lawson was circumspect. "This is something that consumer advocates have been calling for, but it's not clear how effective the Panel's proposed agency will be, especially if we do away with the ground-rules for fair play. The proposed agency could be effective in resolving certain individual consumer complaints, but would have no powers to change systemic unfair practices, which are the real threat to consumers", said Lawson. "It's also unclear to me how an agency that is funded by and reports to the industry can have any real clout when it comes to abusive practices that are industry-wide."
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tel: 613-562-5800 x2556 (o)