PRESS RELEASE ...
ASRA Encourages a Visit to the Chiefs and Champions Website
April 20, 2007
Saanich Territory (Victoria, BC) – The Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Association of BC (ASRA) is encouraging our stakeholders to visit Canada’s first free on-line sport community and social network for Aboriginal athletes and coaches.
The internet is providing many opportunities and it now includes a place for the stakeholders in Aboriginal sport and recreation a place to share ideas, stories and words of encouragement. The website, www.chiefsandchampions.ca accompanies a break-out television show which premiered on February 15, 2007 on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and already has the profiles of many of Canada’s most prolific athletes and coaches.
“This is a tremendous idea that will definitely assist sport and recreation administrators in connecting with their stakeholders,” said Adam Olsen, ASRA Communications Coordinator. “It is vital that information is shared freely and this is another place for this interaction to occur. Hopefully this website will succeed in attracting athletes and coaches of all levels to introduce themselves and their ideas in an effort to further promote excellence in Aboriginal sport and recreation.”
Visit the Chiefs and Champions website today and create your on-line profile. Take the opportunity to share your story and get involved in the discussion!
“It is ASRA’s hope that all the members of our network join this on-line community. We are encouraging our stakeholders to connect with each other and other sport and recreation people from across the country,” said Olsen. “Let’s get as many people from BC profiled on this site as possible, who knows who you will connect with!”
Connect with the information today! Visit www.chiefsandchampions.ca, create your profile, and link yourself with possible scholarships, bursaries, youth publications and directories. For more information please contact ASRA by e-mail at email@example.com. or by phone at 250-544-8172.
Join ASRA’s e-mail distribution network and stay tuned in to all the exciting programs and services we offer. Visit us on-line at www.asra.ca to join our network.
Manitoba woman wins international award for protecting boreal forest
Steve Lambert, Canadian Press - April 22, 2007
WINNIPEG -- Sophia Rabliauskas has seen what mining, hydroelectric dams, logging and other projects have done to aboriginal lands. And she doesn't like it.
"We know the land that's being destroyed, the devastation that it leaves behind with communities and people," the quiet 47-year-old said in an interview. "People that depend on the land... have been displaced from their communities and are still suffering today."
"(My goal) is for our people to use the land the way they have always used it."
Rabliauskas has spent years trying to get permanent protection against development for residents of the Poplar River First Nation, an isolated community on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
She was recognized for her efforts Sunday, as the North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize -- an award that has been handed out every year since 1990 to one person from each continent in recognition of grassroots environmental work.
Only three other Canadians have won the award, including Matthew Coon Come, who led the Quebec Cree battle against hydro dam development in northern Quebec.
Rabliauskas's work paid off partially in 2004, when the Manitoba government offered interim protection of the 8,100-square-kilometre area -- larger than Prince Edward Island.
The province has announced its intention to offer permanent protection to Poplar River, and has also launched land-use planning consultations with aboriginal leaders on a vast 83,000-square-kilometre area that covers much of the east side of Lake Winnipeg, including Poplar River.
Rabliauskas, whose duties have included working as a band councillor, said the award belongs to all Poplar River residents.
"We know exactly what we want and we've been working on this for years. To actually see the result of work that's been done... I'm very proud of our community," she said.
The east side of Lake Winnipeg includes a huge section of pristine boreal forest, which environmentalists say plays an important role in the ecosystem.
"I like to talk about (the boreal forest) as a green halo that runs across the top of the Earth," said Kim Fry, a Toronto-based forest advocate with Greenpeace who calls the boreal an important habitat for fish, fowl and caribou.
"The majority of the world's freshwater is stored in the lakes and rivers and waters of the boreal forest."
"What a lot of Canadians don't realize is that . . . the majority of the waterfowl -- the ducks, the songbirds -- that travel through southern Canada are actually on their way up to the boreal. And that's where they make their nesting grounds."
Some areas of the Canadian boreal forest have been clear cut for lumber or have had been dug up for mining. Some forestry operations run just south of the Poplar River area.
Rabliauskas's husband, Ray, a land-use co-ordinator with the Poplar River band, said the jobs that come with such development are a high price to pay.
"We get a lot of support from communities up north whose lands have been flooded (by hydro dams) and communities in the south whose lands have been logged out. They warn us and tell us, 'What you're doing is really important, and don't let what happened to us happen to you.'