The following message is a copy of an email I sent to CBC concerning the singing of the National Anthem in Cree on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, Feb 3. I am hoping that others feel the same way as I do and will write to CBC suggesting that they address this inappropriate decisions on their part and that they give Akina Shirt another chance to sing the anthem in Cree in Toronto!
Sent to CBC - Saturday, Feb 3 by David Fiddler ...
I'm a big fan of hockey and HNIC but right now I don't even feel like watching it. Tonight was to be a very proud moment for First Nations across Canada, where the National Anthem was sung in the Cree language by a 13 year old in the game between Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. I was sitting with my family waiting to watch " O Canada " sung in our language. It was very disappointing, to say the least, that it was not broadcast. Instead, there was steady stream of commercials while this event was happening. I can't help but feel that we as First Nations are, again, being marginalized and CBC should be ashamed for their role in this. CBC must do something immediately to rectify this wrong. We had conducted a publicity campaign on the internet and locally to encourage people to watch this very important event for our people.
I did end up seeing the short taped portion during the intermission that provided us with one line of the song. I don't feel this did justice to what it could've been for all of us. I feel CBC should do more to rectify this situation, perhaps by arranging to have Akina Shirt appear on another broadcast of HNIC, in Toronto (a much bigger market providing more exposure).
Cree teen sings 'Ka Kanatahk' for hockey fans
Feb. 3 2007 - CTV.ca News Staff
A Cree teenager became the first to sing O Canada -- or Ka Kanatahk -- in the Cree language at the start of an NHL hockey game.
Akin Shirt, 13, of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation performed in front of about 20,000 fans before the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks faced off Saturday night at Calgary's PenGrowth Saddledome.
"Cree is a beautiful language and it's spoken among aboriginals across Canada and it's great to have this exposure on a language and for me to share this with canadians," she told reporters after an afternoon rehearsal.
"Each time I hear her, it brings a lot of emotion inside," said her mother, Jean Cardinal.
Shirt actually lives in Edmonton with her parents. She's a Grade 8 student at the Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts there.
Besides participating in three choirs, Shirt takes guitar lessons. She counts Inuit singer Susan Aglukark as a role model.
While this was her first time in front of an NHL crowd, Shirt performed the anthem in front of the Saddle Lake Warriors junior B hockey team last year.
In fact, she turned into something of a good-luck charm for them.
"Whenever I sang for them, they won, so I'm 6 and 0 right now ... I'm hoping I can go for seven wins," Shirt said.
If you're wondering what side she was on, Shirt was wearing a Calgary Flames jersey.
How did she get her shot at the big time?
Chief Eddy Makokis of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation happened to be playing golf with one of the Flames owners last summer.
"We asked general manager Darryl Sutter to see if they could get her in," he said.
The Flames asked for an audition tape.
"I thought my goodness, this is going to be wild," said Geordie MacLeod, a spokesman for the club. "She sounded great of course."
During a CBC radio report on the recent release of the Canadian Boreal Initiative, an Inuit elder stated, "Today I have nothing ... but if the land and the animals are healthy, our people can survive for a thousand years." Maybe it is time for the consumers, their governments and corporations in the south to begin to learn from the wisdom of the original people of this land. Read the Dene Nation press release below ...
Dehcho Leader Calls for Tar Sands Moratorium
Fort McMurray, Alberta – Jan. 31 – After completing a tour of the Suncor oil sands facilities north of here, Grand Chief Herb Norwegian of the Dehcho First Nations, called on Canada and Alberta to support a moratorium on further development of the massive oil producing Athabasca Tar Sands “until some sanity can be brought into this situation.”
Norwegian led a delegation of 11 chiefs and elders from the Dehcho to view the operations of Suncor, and meet with leaders of First Nations groups in northern Alberta to discuss what he called “the serious decline of the quantity and quality of water in Mackenzie River watershed.” The Mackenzie River watershed flows through some 212,000 sq km of the land 5,500 Decho live on. Their claim to the land they have always lived on is currently being negotiated with Canada.
“Our people who saw this massive development from the air as we flew in from the North and again today from the windows of a bus, were shocked,” Norwegian told a press conference. He pointed out that 87 percent of the Mackenzie River flows through the Northwest Territories and yet the huge reductions in water levels and changes in the fish and wildlife come from here, south of the NWT, he told reporters while Suncor officials listened.
“We are all devastated by what we have seen these days. This so-called ‘development’ project is out of control and we have to tell the politicians that it is like a cancerous tumour and that the Mackenzie Gas Project is designed to feed that tumour.” The MGP has currently applied to the National Energy Board to build a pipeline to bring natural gas from the High Arctic down the Mackenzie Valley to the pipeline networks of Alberta. The Dehcho oppose the pipeline until their claims are satisfactorily settled and serious environmental questions answered.
Elders and chiefs described how water levels have been fluctuating as much as 10 feet in some places along the mighty river and that fish and waterfowl are being negatively affected as well as wild game and the habitat they live on. The water is not fit to drink or swim in some places and fish have become soft and discoloured in others. The Dehcho rely on the water, fish, birds and game for food and trapping.
“Our elders have been telling us of these changes for a long time,” Norwegian said” and we think that these water problems are coming from here in this huge area around Fort McMurray. We live upstream from this and are severely impacted by this blowout of adevelopment. The problems for us and our land and animals and people are here. We have to sit with the developers and the governments and other First Nations in open doors, not closed meetings and the federal government has to pay the major role in cleaning up this mess that affects all Aboriginal people.”
Ironically, as Norwegian was speaking, Alberta’s new Premier, Ed Stelmach, had been telling people of Fort McMurray the Athabasca tar sands project had only “a very narrow window of opportunity” to address, and fix, the problems fuelled by the massive and rapid growth.
There are more than $100 billion of work planned for the region in the next decade but, as Norwegian stated “the water and the environment we live in is in danger of destruction and we in the Dehcho are not even consulted. The tar sands are also Canada’s largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, the cause of frightening global warming and climate change.
Stelmach agreed with people, the latest being the Dehcho, who have said that the situation is critical. Fort McMurray, a city of some 50,000 has massive social problems, inadequate housing, three times the number of motor vehicle fatalities per capita than the rest of Alberta, drug abuse and four times the average of sexually transmitted diseases.
“With each project approved, the growing demands on water and the environment and the absence of any sustainable solutions weighs more heavily on the people of the north,” Bill Erasmus of Yellowknife, national chief of the Dene Nation, who accompanied the Dehcho delegation.
The DFN delegation held meetings in Fort McMurray to discuss with the Athabasca Tribal Council and neighbouring first nations the way forward. Last year, the Dehcho, at the urging of their elders held a large conference in Fort Simpson to discuss the serious water problems in their land and issued a declaration that First Nations are Keepers of the Waters”. Norwegian urged this meeting of key Aboriginal players to form an alliance to address the water issues and the issues of massive development.
They heard of the degradation of the boreal forest ecosystem, the “dewatering” of rivers and streams to support the tar sands operations and the threat to the cultural survival of the people according to their treaty rights. The areas of concern are under Treaties 8 and 11, Treaties that ensure that lands of First Nations should not be taken away from them by massive uncontrolled development which threatens their culture and traditional way of life.
Late last year, Norwegian told his people, Suncor, the oldest tar sands mine in the region. was granted an expansion of its operations which already produce 225,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and will reach 500,000 bbd by 2012.
During the tour, the Dehcho were accompanied by two Suncor public relations people who would not allow the group to take pictures. Questions about the impact of largetailing ponds bursting toxic waste on the land, the proximity of the mining operations to the Athabasca River, in some places an estimated 150 feet, and destruction of the boreal forest were not answered.
The grand chief told his people of research done by pro-moratorium supporters across Canada that for every barrel of oil produced by Suncor that between four and eight barrels of water were used from the Athabasca River, which flows through the tar sands and is part of the Mackenzie Valley watershed.
Using the latest figures available from the Alberta Energy Board, Suncor sucked up 45.5 billion barrels of water in 2004 although its claims to recycle 75 percent of this but its quality is questionable. Holding tanks for toxic waste, some of them as big as 15 sq km, are larger than many natural lakes in the area. It is estimated by the AEB that current and future projects will require an unimaginable 175 million litres of water a day.
“I cannot even imagine what figures like this look like, they are almost meaningless to the average person from Dehcho,” Norwegian said, “but I do know this whole place looks like a moonscape. “ And it will get worse. Imperial Oil and Shell Canada have been granted permission to build new sites, bringing the total of existing and planned tar sands producers to 11 with more leases opening up almost daily.
“The government and the oil companies talk about ‘balance’, a balance between the environment and the economy. But this is no balance, this whole scheme is unbalanced to the point it is out of control. We aboriginal people need to demand a stop to this until we can find out where the mess is going. We have to ask the hard questions: do we need this? Is this kind of development just a waste? What is going to happen to our land and our water? And our people? As Dene we do not differentiate between the land, water, air, earth, wildlife, birds, fish and people. The people and the land are inseparable. That is real balance, “ he said.
For further information, please call Grand Chief Herb Norwegian: (867) 695-2355/2610
From Kenora Daily Miner and News archives ...
World of high-speed Internet opened to 15 local rural communities
By Mike Aiken, Miner and News, February 01, 2007
Rural communities in Northwestern Ontario are gaining access to economic, educational and social opportunities, thanks to a multi-million dollar broadband technology project.
“It’s a world-class project in the works,” said the mayor of Sioux Narrows Nestor Falls, Bill Thompson.
“It’s a huge advantage to us,” he said, noting it has helped saved the community’s school by providing a connection to resources across the country and around the world.
In all, 15 communities surrounding Lake of the Woods, including First Nations and municipalities, will have high-speed Internet access with the completion of the four-year project.
“This initiative demonstrates our government’s commitment to work with community partners for the benefit of the people in Northwestern Ontario, providing them with the tools they need to compete in today’s global market,” said the minister responsible for health and FedNor, Tony Clement, in a press release.
“I think this is critical for us in the Northwest,” said Ryan Reynard, chief executive officer of the Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation. “(Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation) is proud to have brought together the partners necessary to build the required infrastructure to help businesses and local residents reap the benefits of technology.”
The business incentive corporation initiated the Greater Lake of the Woods Broadband Project, with funding from public and private sector partners. The project received $563,000 from Industry Canada’s Broadband for Rural and Northern Development Pilot Program, $575,000 from the province’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, $710,000 from the Connect Ontario Broadband Rural Access program, as well as $310,000 from FedNor. KMTS and Bell, the project’s private sector partners, provided approximately $2.5 million in capital funding.
Jodi Gibson, vice-chairman of the corporation’s board, who also sells recreational properties in the area, said the project will definitely help both the community, as well as her job selling real estate, because it will allow seasonal residents more access to internet technologies.
Kenora Mayor Len Compton said access to high speed technologies was necessary for economic development in any community in the area, given the challenges presented by the area’s remote geography and low population density.
The 15 areas and communities connected through the Greater Lake of the Woods Broadband Project include: Sioux Narrows, Whitefish Bay First Nation, Storm Bay (Heenan Point/Longbow Lake), Laclu, Pellatt, Kendall Inlet, Kenora East, Washagamis Bay First Nation, Poplar Bay, Shoal Lake 39 First Nation, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, Wabaseemoong First Nation, Clearwater Bay, Angle Inlet 33 First Nation and Windigo Island 37 First Nation.
NAN press release at www.nan.on.ca
NAN HOSTS YOUTH SUICIDE PREVENTION CONFERENCE
THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Decade for Youth and Development program and Decade for Youth Council will host a sacred fire lighting ceremony during the opening ceremony of the second annual Sacred Teachings Youth Suicide Awareness Conference next week in Thunder Bay.
DATE: Monday February 5-9, 2007
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Best Western NorWester Resort Hotel, 2080 Hwy 61, Thunder Bay, ON
Some of the other highlights of the five day conference include a gala dinner with a special performance by Cree band CerAmony Tuesday February 6 at 7 p.m., an open youth forum for all youth delegates on February 8, and a Powwow on February 8 at 7 p.m.
Over 200 delegates will participate in the conference, including youth aged 15-30 from 29 NAN communities as well as 8 other First Nation communities across Ontario and territory and front-line workers from all parts of Ontario.
There were 25 youth suicides in NAN territory in 2006 which is almost double the national average.
* * *
For more information please contact:
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
(807) 625 4902
(807) 472 9604 (mobile)
NAN Press release from www.nan.on.ca
NAN Deputy Grand Chief to Participate in International Diamond Conference
THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will deliver a statement on fair trade diamonds at the Rapaport International Diamond Conference in New York City, NY Monday.
NAN Deputy Grand Chief Fiddler is calling on diamond exploration and mining companies to meet basic operating standards based on various supreme court rulings to consult and accommodate First Nations prior to exploration. He will distribute these standards at the conference.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is an Aboriginal political organization representing 49 First Nation communities within the territory of James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario First Nations of Treaty 5. This area covers over two-thirds of the province of Ontario and is home to approximately 45,000 people.
The Rapaport Group drives sustainable economic development in the poorest countries of the world and is committed to using economic power and strategic positioning in the diamond and jewellery industry to help artisanal diggers and other disadvantaged groups obtain economic self sufficiency.
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For more information please contact:
Nishnawbe Aski Naton
(807) 625 4902
As the AFN plans their legal options in regard to the appeal, filed in Saskatchewan, between the federal government and the Merchant Law Group, INAC Minister Prentice states in the press release below, "The Government strongly believes that the matter of the verification of the fees payable to the Merchant Law Group need not, nor should not, delay the implementation of the Settlement Agreement."
INAC press release ...
Minister Prentice Provides Update on the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
OTTAWA (January 31, 2007) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, and Minister Responsible for Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, today provided an update on the progress made by Canada's New Government toward a fair and lasting resolution of the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.
"Since taking office, Canada's New Government has taken all the steps necessary to ensure that the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement is approved and implemented as quickly as possible," said Minister Prentice.
The Settlement Agreement requires the approval of the Courts in nine jurisdictions across Canada, and the Government is pleased to confirm that the Settlement Agreement has now been substantially approved by those Courts. "We anticipate that the formal approval of the Settlement Agreement may proceed in the coming weeks, and that we will in turn move further toward implementation of the Agreement with the commencement of the Opt-Out Period in the next few months," said Minister Prentice.
In recognition of the age of many former students, and in recognition of the length of time required for the approval of the Settlement Agreement, the Government launched an Advance Payment Program on May 10, 2006, for elderly former students who were 65 or older when the Settlement Agreement negotiations began on May 30, 2005. "I am proud to report that the Advance Payment Program, which ended on December 31, 2006, has provided $8,000 to each of 9,938 elderly former students who resided at Indian Residential Schools, totalling $79.5 Million," noted Minister Prentice.
Among other things, the Settlement Agreement provides for a Common Experience Payment to all former students who resided at an eligible Indian Residential School. Applications for the Common Experience Payment will be processed in accordance with the Settlement Agreement, and all applications will be verified against the Government's records. In cases where records are unavailable, other means of establishing the residency of a former student at a particular Indian Residential School will be possible.
The Settlement Agreement also provides for the payment of fees to legal counsel who represented former students in the Settlement Agreement negotiation process, and in many cases for some years prior to the beginning of the negotiations, for their work on behalf of former students. The Settlement Agreement sets out a verification process for all legal fees to be verified and approved by the Courts.
"The Government believes that it is important for all elements of the Settlement Agreement, including the payment of fees to legal counsel, to be subject to appropriate verification and approval by the Courts," noted Minister Prentice.
"Given that former students need to prove that they resided at an eligible Indian Residential School to receive a Common Experience Payment, it is only reasonable and appropriate that legal counsel should have their bills verified as well. Further, this is part of the agreement that the Merchant Law Group negotiated," said Minister Prentice.
Accordingly, the Government recently filed an appeal of the decision by the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, respectfully seeking that the matter of the fees payable to the Merchant Law Group be verified by the Court in accordance with the Settlement Agreement. The Government strongly believes that the matter of the verification of the fees payable to the Merchant Law Group need not, nor should not, delay the implementation of the Settlement Agreement.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Jim Prentice
The monetary value of developing some natural resources for short term gain verus maintaining and protecting the environment for the long term benefit of all concerned is presented in the report produced by the Canadian Boreal Initiative. During a CBC radio interview a local Inuit resident explained his position with the simple statement, "Today, I have very little but with healthy environment and all that nature provides for us, I, along with my children and all future generations will be able to survive for thousands of years."
Press release ...
Natural Wealth Of The Mackenzie Region Close To $500 Billion, Says Report
OTTAWA, Jan. 31 - The natural Wealth of the Mackenzie Region is close to $500 billion, according to a report released today by the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI).
The report, The Real Wealth of the Mackenzie Region, authored by two ecological economists Sara Wilson and Mark Anielski, estimates the ecological goods and services provided by nature in the Mackenzie watershed region to be 10 times the total economic value generated by natural capital extraction industries and other activities within the watershed.
"With this new study we have a stronger basis for demonstrating the value of Boreal conservation in efforts to combat climate change", said Larry Innes, acting Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative. "Climate change is one of the most pressing global challenges of our time. Maintaining natural cycles and enhancing this huge carbon 'bank account' in the Boreal region should be seen as a part of the solution. The value of the Boreal forest as a sustainable storehouse of carbon shows that Boreal conservation is critical to the fight against global warming."
The study considered 17 ecosystem services, including the value of carbon uptake and storage. The Mackenzie region is part of the Boreal Forest, the world's largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon, making it one of the world's best defenses against global climate change.
"This report is the first watershed-based natural capital review in Canada, if not the world", said Mark Anielski. "Canadians want sustainable development, but we also value clean air, clean water, and the countless other services that nature provides. Our country has been richly endowed, but these ecological services do not count towards our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - the traditional measure of economic progress. We need to start counting the value of our natural capital so we can make informed stewardship decisions that balance broader ecosystem and cultural values with sustainable economic growth."
The values of the Mackenzie watershed for the Boreal forest and other land covers are preliminarily estimated at $448 billion per annum if they were in pristine condition, that is, undamaged by industrial and human disturbance. The estimated GDP of the Mackenzie driven mostly by the extraction of mining, oil, gas, forestry and agricultural sectors watershed was estimated at $41 billion in 2005.
Based in Ottawa, CBI brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst by supporting a variety of on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal by governments, industry, First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and others.
The executive summary and full report are available on the CBI website: www.borealcanada.ca
For further information: Christine Choury, Director of Communications, (613) 230-4739, ext 222, Cell: (613) 355-6513; Andrew Dumbrille, Canadian Boreal Initiative, (613) 762-2525
Status: Short-term Service Contract Position
Location: Sioux Lookout, ON
Position: Workshop Facilitator - March 2007
The primary responsibility is to facilitate a three-day training session on the newly developed Healthy Families Healthy Nations Curriculum. The curriculum is based on family violence prevention. Participants will consist of service providers from the remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario. The goal of the training is to teach northern service providers to deliver the Healthy Families Healthy Nations Curriculum in their home communities.
Deadline: Friday February 16, 2007.
Please submit an outline of your experience as a facilitator. Include your fees for service, expectations and details of past accomplishments.
Bids can be sent to:
Equay-wuk (Women's Group)
16 Fourth Avenue North
Sioux Lookout, ON P8T 1C4
Fax: (807) 737-2699
Funding provided by the Government of Ontario. The views expressed herein are those of Equay-wuk (Women's Group) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Ontario.
A DISTRICT ( F.N. ) Hockey Tournament is scheduled for April 2 - 7th, 2007 at the Sioux Lookout Memorial Arena!
It has three ( 3 ) separate divisions, including
In the mens hockey division is an "elite" division( junior and "AAA" calibre of play ) which has an open ice body checking!
The whole idea for this hockey tournament is attract a family atmosphere, and activities for the whole family ... men can sit in bleachers with their children and watch "MOM" play hockey! She scores!!!
Book a team now...visit our homepage at http://www.districthockey.myknet.org
More rules and regulations will be posted soon.
Thank you, and hope to see you all there!