Encouraged from the 4th Annual Youth Symposium on Culture, Tradition, and Language
Community youth councils/groups in unity across Turtle Island are making a commitment to begin an annual Spring Cleansing of our communities and surrounding environment.
Contact your local youth council/group and receive support from your local Politicians, Chief and Councils.
Things to Bring: First Aids, Garbage Bags, Gloves, Hats, Rubber Boots, Safety Cones and Vests, Snacks, Sticks (Trash Pickers), Sun block, Water, Weather Permitted Equipment and Gear and a loving heart.
For more information, please contact OFNYPC member
Native community decries 'tax grab' at diamond mine - Ontario's new 13-per-cent levy 'lose-lose' for first nations, Chief tells government
ANDY HOFFMAN - MINING REPORTER - POSTED ON 10/04/07
A first nations community located near Ontario's pioneer diamond mine has slammed the provincial government's new diamond royalty, calling it a tax grab that will negatively affect aboriginal residents.
In a letter sent to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Chief Mike Carpenter of the Attawapiskat First Nation said the provincial Liberals' 13-per-cent levy on diamond mining revenue, unveiled in the budget last month, is a "win-win" for the government and a "lose-lose" for first nations.
De Beers Canada Inc.'s $1-billion Victor project is about 90 kilometres west of the Attawapiskat First Nations community on James Bay. The company, a subsidiary of diamond giant De Beers SA of South Africa, has negotiated an "impact benefit agreement" with the Attawapiskat peoples, agreeing to provide the struggling community with training and education, employment and business opportunities, environmental management and financial compensation from the mine.
Under Ontario's previous tax regime, the Victor project, under construction and expected to begin production in the second half of 2008, would have been subjected to a 5-per-cent tax on revenue under the province's "remote mine" rules. Non-remote mines are subject to a 10-per-cent tax.
Now Victor, expected to generate annual revenue of between $280-million and $290-million at full capacity, will be subject to a 13-per-cent royalty.
"You and your officials are well aware that the only diamond mine in Ontario, and thus the only one to be immediately impacted by your decision, is located in the traditional territory of the Attawapiskat First Nation. Given the obvious importance of this project to our community and to future exploration in our lands, we should have been consulted," Chief Carpenter wrote in an April 4 letter to the Premier.
"This increase constitutes little more than a tax grab by your government that will not benefit our first nation or others," he said.
Although the Victor project is the first Ontario diamond mine, projects in other provinces and territories are producing enough diamonds to place Canada among the top five producers in the world. Some diamond consumers even seek out Canadian gems because they are mined under more ethical conditions than those from some areas of Africa.
Jim Gowans, the president and chief executive officer of De Beers Canada, is scheduled to meet today with Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara in hopes of convincing the government to withdraw the royalty or to at least "grandfather" the Victor project, which he said could generate $7-billion for the province.
"The diamond royalty doesn't meet what I call the smell test for fairness. It's a bit surprising because that's one of the theme songs for McGuinty's government," Mr. Gowans said in an interview.
The executive, who has worked for a number of other Canadian mining companies including Inco Ltd., Placer Dome Inc. and Teck Cominco Ltd., said the royalty unfairly singles out diamond mining, and De Beers' Victor project in particular.
"It's very commodity-specific and Canada has had a history of being very measured in its tax regimes around resource development, very predictable and very collaborative," he said.
Mr. Gowans said that under the impact benefit agreement, the Attawapiskat have the potential to participate in the "financial upside" from the Victor project once its capital costs of $982-million are paid off, which is expected to occur during the second half of the mine's 12-year life.
He warned that the new royalty will cut into that benefit.
"This, in effect, transfers the upside from that isolated community back into the government's coffers. The amount of tax they make on one diamond mine in Ontario is not very significant. It is hugely significant to a single isolated first nations community," he said.
If the royalty remains in place, De Beers is likely to redirect much of the $15-million it spends annually on exploration away from Ontario, Mr. Gowans said.
The Ontario budget, which was tabled March 22, said the diamond royalty was needed to make the province competitive with other diamond mining jurisdictions. Indeed, the measure would bring Ontario into line with the Northwest Territories, where the bulk of Canada's diamond industry operates.
The budget said diamonds are different from other commodities because they are not traded on the open market and "require a unique and separate system for determining their value."
Officials from the Premier's and Finance Minister's offices did not return calls seeking comment.
While in Sioux Lookout, INAC Minister Prentice announced the funding for four water plant construction and upgrade initiatives that have been on the INAC books for a couple of years.
INAC press release ...
INAC ANNOUNCES $12.8 MILLION FOR WATER PROJECTS IN TREATY 5 & 9 FIRST NATIONS
SIOUX LOOKOUT, ONTARIO (April 11, 2007) — The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, today announced $12.8 million for water treatment plant upgrades and construction in one Treaty 5 and three Treaty 9 communities located in Northwestern Ontario.
"Today, I am pleased to announce these projects that will address water quality issues in four communities, including Keewaywin First Nation, one of the 21 communities identified one year ago as most at risk for waterborne health hazards in my Plan of Action for Drinking Water in First Nations Communities," said Minister Prentice.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) will provide funding as follows:
"The government is making substantial progress ensuring there is a reliable supply of safe, clean drinking water in First Nation communities," said Minister Prentice. "Last month I tabled a report in Parliament that details the improvements that have been made over the past 12 months on water quality on reserve. That progress is continuing.
For more information please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Jim Prentice
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Backgrounder - Progress on Water Treatment Plants in Treaty 5 and 9 Communities
Keewaywin (Approximately $8.9 million for construction of water treatment plant)
Keewaywin's new water treatment system will be a conventional chemically-assisted filtration system with granular-activated carbon filtration. Construction is expected to begin in January 2008. Keewaywin First Nation is a remote Cree community, 350 kilometres northeast of Sioux Lookout, that is accessible year-round by air. Total membership is 654 people, 354 of whom live on reserve.
Fort Albany (About $2 million for upgrades to the community's water treatment system)
INAC has been working with Fort Albany First Nation and other business partners to repair or replace some key components of the water treatment plant, the low lift station, and the wastewater pumping station. Scheduled completion date is October 2007. Fort Albany First Nation is a Cree community, 450 kilometres north of Timmins and 700 kilometres northwest of North Bay. The community's membership is 3,880 people, with 2,354 on reserve.
Attawapiskat (Approximately $1.1 million towards water treatment plant repair project)
The project involves repairing and replacing some of the key components of the community's water treatment plant. This work will improve the quality of water, and is scheduled for completion in July 2007. Attawapiskat First Nation is 350 kilometres northwest of Moosonee and is accessible year-round by air. This Cree community's total registered population is 2,870 people, 1,454 of whom live on reserve.
Moose Cree (Close to $800,000 for repairs and upgrades to Moose Factory water treatment plant)
In July 2006, an evaluation was conducted on damage to the water treatment plant's intake structure. It was determined that repairs were required to maintain a reliable water supply. While repairs were completed in October 2006, the long-term operation of the intake structure requires additional upgrades, scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2007. Moose Cree First Nation is located 300 kilometres north of Timmins. The First Nation has a membership of 3,632 people with 1,638 on reserve.
North Spirit Lake School News -from the principal
Children and community come together to build a better education and community for the children.
The children and community members have been immersed in model of education that is more a kin to their well being than current educational models
Land based education is key to regaining and retaining all of our traditional values ... our hopes and dreams are connected to the land.
This type of education foster critcal thinking and creativity though patterns, thereby exercising the most important organ in the body, the brain.
For our students, it re-connects everyone back to our values of caring, kindness, love, bravery, courage.
For the Teachers and Teacher's Assistants, it gives them a chance to see children exercise strengths and then more importantly capitialize on these strengths through the integration of the regular school program.
Chief Sally Bunting/Kakegamic states "that our schools are for our children and they must be given the opportunity to succeed on their terms". This learning and teaching model reaches our community and students with great success.
This type of educational model cannot operate without the community from all levels, from day care children to our elders. Therefore all of the commnity is involved in the process as demostrated in the past few weeks.
Every Friday is planned to close out with community based activities set on the land. Planning is essential and the school and community has to resource the activities. Many of the resources to make the program fluid come existing Welfare, Health or Recreation program, thereby creating community success.
As an example, recently the children and parents set nets through the ice and collected the fish. This activity was resourced by the Health program, it integrated the Language and values into the day's activities and then everyone had a big community feast.
Extensions of this is making community crafts at the school on Wednesday evening, where all the community comes to make crafts such a key chains, more importantly the community comes to the school to share and talk about thier stories.
The new principal, Mr. Conrad Bobiwash is one part of the process, as a helper and leader. He comes from Blind River, Ontario near Sault Ste Marie. He has initiated and led child based and community based programming across North America.
This process is very close to our way of learning and is very natural, thereby fostering individual change and excellence in education.More importantly, this model teaches all our children and community about the value of education.