KO team visits First Nations setting up equipment and broadband connections

Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Kuhkenak Network (K-Net - http://knet.ca) Coordinator is travelling to First Nations along Highway 11 and 17 over the next two weeks to meet with community leaders, education and health directors and local technicians. The meetings are an opportunity to discuss the development of local broadband connections and partnerships.

The journey began on Thursday, April 19 with the evening drive to Thunder Bay.

Friday (April 20):

Meetings began with breakfast with Carl Seibel, FedNor Telecom Officer and later with Brian Walmark to discuss upcoming projects and work to completed. The regularly scheduled INAC's First Nations SchoolNet meeting with Suzanne Lebeau took place from the KORI (http://research.knet.ca). A chance drop-in visit with Carmen Blais, Dilico Health Director provided an opportunity to connect via video conference her with Penny Carpenter to discuss K-Net's work with Ontario's Smart Systems for Health Agency (SSHA) and getting all the Aboriginal health centres and programs connected to that network. Meetings with KORI staff provided an update on the Thunder Bay Meet-me project and other potential developments in the areas of economic development and online gathering session facilitation. Meetings with Jamie Ray provided an opportunity to discuss and further plan the development of the First Nations libraries connectivity strategy.

Weekend (Sunday, April 22):

A short visit at the Red Rock First Nation near Nipissing provided information about the health programs being offered at the local Band office. Their Dilico health programs are available out of the health office located in Nipissing.

A quick drive into Rocky Bay First Nation and Sandpoint First Nation provided some pictures of the locations of the health and administration buildings serving those community members.

Continued driving to Long Lac, passing the turn-offs to Aroland, Long Lac 58 and Gingogaming. These communities were visited this past winter by Jamie Ray, with their local schools, health centres and band offices connected into the network and being supported by Matawa First Nations Management.

Monday (April 23):

Drove from Long Lac to Constance Lake First Nation (www.clfn.on.ca), spending the day with Jacob Moore, the local Network Technician. Got to briefly meet with Chief Arthur Moore, Raymond Ferris (Councillor), Terry John-George (Executive Director), Monica Peunish (Acting Director), Hannah Myers (Health Director) and Elizabeth Moore (Eagle's Earth Administrator). Was gifted with a wonderful tour of the band's new Eagle's Earth development - http://eaglesearth.com). Set up a video conferencing unit at the radio station and introduced Jacob to the K-Net team in Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. Constance Lake First Nation has a 10M fibre connection installed by Northern Tel under a K-Net contract that was funded by FedNor.

Drove to Cochrane for the night.

Tuesday (April 23):

From Cochrane, drove to Taykwa Tagamou (New Post) where a 10M fibre connection was installed by Northern Telephone under the FedNor funded e-Community 2 initiative. Worked with the Health Centre staff and a community volunteer (Kevin Archibald) to run network cable from the 10M connection over to the health centre telecom room and into their patch panel. Set up the video conferencing equipment in the health centre's public education room. New Post has a 10M fibre connection installed by Northern Tel under a K-Net contract that was funded by FedNor. Did some training with the local team before leaving at the end of the day for Matheson.

Wednesday, April 25:

From Matheson, drove to Wahgoshig First Nation to meet with Chris St. Germain, the community's GIS/GPS Technician as well as their IT Technician. Met with members of the Lands and Resources, Health, Education and Band Administration teams. Working with Chris, we were able to get the video conferencing equipment working in the Health Centre as well as in the Band Office. Wahgoshig First Nation has a 10M wireless connection installed by Northern Tel under a K-Net contract that was funded by FedNor. Left Wahgoshig in the evening and drove to Kirkland Lake.

Thursday, April 26: