Thunder Bay- Students and Staff at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay are mourning after a death of elder Johnny Tait of Sachigo Lake First Nation.
Tait, who has been working at DFCHS since its opening in 2000 was a leader, teacher and a guide throughout the hardships that the students had to take. He was one of the must respective people we've known. His love, devotion and courage helped all those around him to have a great success.
Despite his illness, he managed to hold on and tell everyone about God and what he can do. He accomplished his father's will on February 3 at around 1:30 am EST.
The following night, NAN hosted a memorial singing night at the DFCHS gymnasium where about half of the students showed up to encourage and support the family.
The next morning, all students were taken to the Jenkens Funeral home to attend a viewing of the body, which was followed by a service. Everyone that knew Tait, came out to show their last respect to their friend and brother in Christ.
Tait's body has been taken to Sachigo Lake where they'll have a service there on Thursday.
Tait, will be sadly missed by his fellow workers and most importantly, the students he worked with at DFCHS.
Gone, but not forgotten....
An anonymous fan submitted the following report ...
Over the weekend three teams from two different communities came to Weagamow Lake to play in our broomball tournament. There were three local teams participating in this event.
The teams from Weagamow were called the Renegades, the Raiders along with one other. The two Muskrat Dam teams were named the Wings and Muskrat Dogs. The one team from Mishkeegogamang called themselves the Falcons.
The Falcons were awesome, they won every one of their games. The Falcons took all the money home.
Good job Falcons ... come back to Weagamow soon.
PS:J.M and I.M from Oz, come back soon. Good going Falcons !!!!!! Your team is good and you know it.......
The conference was an incredible experience. There were hundreds of people involved in Aboriginal health from all over Canada. Between 30 and 50 attended my presentation.
I heard may good things about NAHO, that they were accomplishing a lot in a short time, and that it was seen as a dynamic, highly functional organization. Valerie Gideon, who was working as a Health Information Policy Analyst in the Policy & Research Unit within the organization (informatics, telehealth, FNHIS, etc) has been recently promoted to Director of the Aboriginal stream within the organization. She is very excited about our project and is promoting it as a "success" story.
We also had some adventures connecting to North Spirit Lake for the demonstration portion of my presentation. The technicians there did not have a 3 port NT1 device to be able to use the 3 ISDN lines. So we were only able to connect at 128kbps. The image was okay for the presentation as long as there was little movement (tough with the young person). The sound transmission was good.
Julie and her grandson in North Spirit Lake did a great job of showing how telehealth was benefiting her community. Audience participants came to me and told me that it was very grounding to see what accessing services can be like at a community level.
Webequie First Nation had its General Band Election in January 2003.
The elected Chief and Councillors are as follows:
Chief Gordon Wabasse
Councillor Elsie MacDonald
Councillor Roy Spence
Councillor Harry Wabasse
Councillor Mike Mekanak
Councillor Alec Suganaqueb
Councillor Cameron Shewaybick
Effective as of February 02, 2003.
NAN Education Electronic Newsletter
The $60 million new special education funding promised by the federal government almost two years ago has been approved by the Treasury Board and may be released directly to the First Nations as early as next month. Wendy Martin-Johnson, a policy analyst with the Chiefs of Ontario, told members of the COO Education Committee, that the Department could release the funds almost immediately upon Treasury Board approval.
The funds will be distributed directly to the First Nations. Ontario’s portion of the Special Education funds will be disbursed according to the pilot project in the province with modifications to meet the needs of students. Details to follow.
Bob Nault’s Education Blue Print to be released
The Final Report of the National Working Group on First Nations Education is expected to be released sometime in mid-February according to senior INAC officials. Few details are known. Members of the Working Group have signed confidentially agreements not to discuss the contents of the report prior to its release. Earlier this month, however, Minister Nault told the editorial board of the Edmonton Journal that one of the Working Group’s recommendations included a call for all Native schools to be administered by provincial school boards.
Med School Curriculum Update
Over twenty NAN members attended a curriculum development workshop for the Northern Medical School (NOMS) in Sault Ste. Marie earlier this month. Participants were divided into 12 to 15 working groups, which provided ideas and ranked priorities for the new medical school. Goyce Kakegamic, Deputy Grand Chief of NAN, addressed the assembly at the last dinner of the workshop. He spoke of NAN’s on-going commitment to NOMS and reminded those in attendance that NAN’s support was conditional on three issues, (1) a role in governance, (2) a role in the development of curriculum and (3) a guaranteed number of seats for Aboriginal medical students. Earlier, Ron Wakegijig, a traditional healer at Wiky stated that he was against any special consideration for Aboriginal candidates for the medical school. NOMS will be hosting another curriculum workshop that will focus exclusively on the concerns of Aboriginal People in the North later this spring.
Upcoming NAN Education Committee Meeting
Funding has been provided by the Governance Secretariat (PCU) to host a NAN Education Committee Meeting on February 18, 19 and 20th. During the Education Committee Meeting, the Governance Secretariat (PCU) will provide an update on the status of their deliberations in the education jurisdiction. They are seeking the advice and counsel of the members of the NAN Education Committee. The PCU is particularly interested in the opinions of grassroots educators concerning the current process. Negotiators representing Canada will also address the members of the NAN Education Committee.
In addition, the Education Committee will hear updates on the upcoming release of Special Education funding. There will also be a discussion about the serious problems confronting all of our communities regarding the matter of secondary school funding in our territory.
NAN Students Abroad
The Education Unit is seeking a mandate from the NAN Chiefs to look at the feasibility of setting up a foreign exchange program for high school students in the territory modeled after the successful Nunavut Students Abroad program. As part of that program, Inuit students participate in an exchange program that takes them for six weeks to a Canadian city followed by an exchange to an African country. Participants learn valuable skills in public speaking and government. They tour various cities in Canada, Europe and Africa.
No New Money for AETS
Dianne Cunningham, the Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, has rejected calls from the Grand Chief of NAN to increase funding for the Aboriginal Education and Training Strategy (AETS). Grand Chief Stan Beardy had written to the Minister requesting additional funding for the Aboriginal Post Secondary Institutes in Ontario to deal with the Double Cohort. Currently, Ontario provides Aboriginal Post Secondary Institutes with $800,000 annually in the Start-Up and Development Fund. This is a far cry from the $7 million annually provided to Ontario’s colleges and universities to educate Aboriginal people.
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The Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council Education Unit, under the direction of Mr. James Teskey and the Learning Through the Arts ( LTTA ), Royal Conservatory of Music's program manager Mr. Conrad Bobiwash hosted the LTTA workshop at the Red Lake Conference Center over the weekend (January 31 to February 2).
All five of the KO First Nation operated schools had teachers, artist practitioners and education staff taking part in the workshop. In all, over thirty particpants joined us for this workshop. One outcome of the workshop is that each participant will be able to take the information back to the community to provide more relevent education to support our children more effectively in the classroom.
The LTTA program was shared with all the particpants. The partnership between the KO and LTTA was explained to particpants. After this, the hard work of getting down to writing lesson plans from the existing community resources was completed. As an example the Poplar Hill teachers and artist practitioner will be studying the local animals in the community (excluding the Rez dogs) and developing the language usage in the near future.
All five of the communities will start to implement the lesson plans immediately in their schools. Congratulations goes out to all particpants from all the communities on making our first workshop a great success.
Six representatives working with the Smart Communities demonstration project traveled to Toronto to take in this year’s 100th Annual Conference of the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference 2003. This January 30 - February 1, 2003 event is the highlight gathering of librarians, associations, exhibitors and everyone who meet to share, plan and create new opportunities for libraries across the country.
Each of the KO First Nation reps (Madeleine Stoney - Fort Severn, Raymond Mason - Keewaywin, Darlene Rae - North Spirit Lake, Corey Meekis - Deer Lake) are taking on the challenge of establishing public libraries in their local e-Centres. Susan Owen from Poplar Hill is coordinating this work for her community but was unable to attend this event. Les Meekis, the KO Smart project’s Community Manager, is supporting this development in partnership with other organizations (Ontario Library Services North and the OLA). Brian Beaton was invited to do a presentation in the Saturday session entitled “Building the 21st Century Community: Communities and Libraries Working Together”. Co-presenters in the session were Carrol Lunau and Mary Cavanagh who are both working on developing the Smart@Library initiative for the SmartCapital project in Ottawa.
The conference is a great opportunity to meet other people involved in developing and supporting public libraries in Ontario. The exhibitions and sessions attended all proved to be valuable experiences for networking with others, learning about and discovering new contacts and resources for the development of these public libraries in remote First Nations across Ontario.
The KO team was able to meet with the Telecommons Development Group (TDG) during this trip to further plan the upcoming Community Engagement Workshops and next year’s project evaluation and final report. Don Richarson, Helen Aitken and Galin Kora traveled from Guelph to work with these members of the Smart team for on Friday morning.
The month of January proved to be a busy month for six of the K-Net servers (the main portal, the mail server, the personal homepage server, the hosting server for other First Nation web sites, the KiHS server and the photo gallery). There were more than 8.5 million hits on these servers during this month.
The mail server required a major upgrade as a result of the volume of traffic flowing through it. This upgrade was successfully completed overnight on January 31.
The personal homepage web server (myknet.org) also was recently upgraded to accommodate the increased volume of traffic on it. This particular service is proving to be one of the most popular sites with users on it accounting for over 2.7 million hits in January.
A partnership comprising the Federal and Ontario governments, Mckenzie Forest Products and the Slate Falls First Nation will jointly invest $8.4 million in the construction of a new permanent, all-season road linking the First Nation to the existing road system.
An announcement was made on January 21, 2003 in Sioux Lookout by the Honourable Robert D. Nault, federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Mines, the Honourable Jim Wilson, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, company and First Nation officials. All parties then travelled to Slate Falls to make the announcement to the excited community members and celebrated with a feast.
In a first ever partnership to expand all-weather roads into remote areas, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is investing $2.5 million in the construction of a 50.7km all-weather road that will link the community to the Vermillion River Road which connects to Hwy. 516 Northeast of Sioux Lookout.
The Ernie Eves government, through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, is also contributing $2.5 million to the project. Funding is being provided through the NOHFC's recently announced Far North Assistance Program which encourages the upgrading and development of infrastructure to support economic growth, and improve the quality of life for it's residents.
Other Partners in the project are Mckenzie Forest Products, which is investing $3.4 million in it's share of the construction project, and the Slate Falls First Nation, which will manage the construction project.
Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2003 and is expected to be completed before the end of March 2005. Slate Falls is located on the western shore of Bamaji Lake, approximately 140 km north of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The community, with a population of approximately 200 residents, is accessible primarily by air transport year-round, and by winter road during the coldest winter months.