Community News

For Immediate Release - Bearskin Airlines & Wasaya

Thunder Bay, ON - Bearskin Airlines and Wasaya Airways have entered into negotiations to allow Wasaya Airways to acquire the Sioux Lookout northern routes and operations presently operated by Bearskin Airlines. By rationalizing routes and entering into joint commercial agreements, it is the expectation of both airlines that the traveling public will be better served. Negotiations are ongoing and if the anticipated agreement is reached, changes may be in place by year end. Wasaya has been operating for twelve (12) years in cargo and charter operations from bases in Pickle Lake, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, and Thunder Bay. Recently, they have been operating a charter operation with limited passenger services to selected Northern Ontario locations. Wasaya Airways employs over 170 people. Bearskin Airlines is one of Canada’s largest privately owned commuter airlines. Founded in 1963, and named after the Northern Ontario community of Bearskin Lake, the company maintains major bases of operation in Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout and employs over 400 people. Any questions should be directed to Tom Morris, President and CEO 16/09/02 Tom Morris, President, and Chief Executive Officer Tel: (807) 474-2305 Fax: (807) 577-0432 Cell: (807) 624-8600 Email:

INAC Minister Robert Nault visits Deer Lake

September 13, 2002, at 9 a.m., Minister of Indian Affairs Robert Nault and his team including Frank Beardy (Special Representative for Infrastructure & Economic Development), Arun Dighe (Assistant Regional Director, Northern Ontario) and Patti Skillen (Special Advisor to the Minister, Ontario Region) arrived in Deer Lake. They were greeted and welcomed by our Chief Royal Meekis. From there they went to the Band Office where a meeting was held. During the meeting, Band staff prepared a meal for the special visitors and for the community members. At approximately 10 a.m., buses loaded with school children, teachers arrived to meet with the Minister. They brought signs, banners and posters they made at the school. The signs welcomed the Minister into the community and thanked him for the new school. Some time passed before the meeting was over and the Minister was able to come out of the Band office. The school children and teachers formed a big circle where Minister Nault and his group went around greeting everyone with handshakes. Minister Nault made the announcement that everyone was waiting for: “We have made a commitment to build a new school in Deer Lake. The school material will be hauled through the winter road. Construction will start in the spring, 2003 and it will take approximately one year to build it. So go to school, stay in school and listen to your teachers.” After that speech, Nault took a tour around the community. He visited the nursing station, KiHS and other places. On the tour, the Minister saw and heard lots about the community expectations and developments. He told Oscar Meekis, Deer Lake e-Centre Manager, "I really like what I am seeing here" as he watched the KiHS students doing their Grade 9 and 10 courses (see the Honourable Robert Nault's visiting the Deer Lake KiHS classroom). Back at the Band office, people prepared meals for them and the rest of the community members joined in the celebrations. The Minister and his group departed about noon on their way to another community. See the pictures of the minister's visit to Deer Lake.

Sandy Lake Remembers 09/11

At 1:00pm Sandy Lake Community members and elders gathered at the gravel pit with the chief and council to reflected on what happened last September 11th. Some elders talked, others prayed. There were two flags flapping proudly in the air, a Canadian and an American flag. The community members lined up to touch the flags out of repect and as a form of a memorial for the people who perished in the 9/11 attack. Afterwards, we all stood in a circle to have a final prayer. It was a moment that was for the American people asking for God to stand with them, to comfort them. Then the people stayed for a weiner roast and shared stories and shared each others' company. As I was sitting there observing what was taking place a sense of God was there. He is everywhere, he is the all powerful, he is the one that will take care of this situation and his law and judgement are final. A thought came to my mind that we should always pray for the widows and the children that are left fatherless or motherless. That is also what is written in the bible. I was moved that our community being small still made time for a memorial of the 911 attack.

Broadband for Rural and Northern Development Pilot Program

The Government of Canada's Broadband for Rural and Northern Development Pilot Program is a new initiative created to assist communities that are currently without high-speed data services access. With a specific focus on First Nations, rural, remote, and northern, this is the first step toward the Government of Canada's commitment to high-speed connectivity for all Canadian communities by 2005. For more information, visit The Broadband for Rural and Northern Development Pilot Program is an important part of Canada's Innovation Strategy. Broadband connectivity supports innovation at the local level, empowering Canadians to become more skilled and their communities to become more competitive. The program will demonstrate the benefits of broadband access in areas such as health care and education, and in unleashing communities' economic potential. Deadline for the first round of applications is OCTOBER 31, 2002

Weagamow Lake's Hunters' Festival Sept. 16-21,2002

Weagamow Lake is holding our annual family awarness week, a time to gather with your family and have fun playing different activities and dancing. Annual Hunting week, where the Chief and Council will be giving out cash prizes has an entry fee of $300.00 per boat.

Broadband Network Technician Employment & Training Project - Year 2

Keewaytinook Okimakanak is partnering with 16 Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities to deliver a Community Broadband Network Technicians employment and training project. The fifteen week, Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board funded project is employing a local technician from 16 First Nations. Each technician will work with the different organizations to help them prepare for the introduction of broadband infrastructure and services in their community. Starting September 9, 2002, an on-line training support program is being introduced to each of the project participants as a pilot e-learning environment. The new K-Net e-learning tool is adapted from the similar on-line tool developed for the Keewaytinook Internet High School. Training content and support is being provided by K-Net Services staff. First Nation workers include: Leroy McKoop,, Bearskin Lake FN Harlon Wesley,, Cat Lake FN Jeremy Sawanas,, Deer Lake FN Angus Miles,, Fort Severn FN Gerald Anderson,, Kasabonika FN Blue Mason,, Keewaywin FN Gary Albany,, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwog FN Margaret Lawson,, McDowell Lake FN Sean Kakegamic,, Muskrat Dam FN Martina Kanakakeesic,, North Caribou FN Paul Campbell,, North Spirit Lake FN Gabriel Wassaykeesic,, Poplar Hill FN Sarah Tait,, Sachigo Lake FN Michael Meekis,, Sandy Lake FN Lana Bighead,, Slate Falls FN Crystal Barkman,, Wapekeka FN This training project and the development of the e-learning training tool is part of the services funding under the Aboriginal Smart Communities Demonstration Project, a partnership between Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations with funding support from Industry Canada's Smart Communities Program, FedNor, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund (NOHF), INAC, HRDC - OLT, Health Canada's CHIPP project and SLAAMB.

Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School opens doors

The Doors of the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay opened its doors to allow students to further their education. As of August 27, at least 250+ students have enrolled and are slowly reviewing the basic reality of living in a urben world. Students and staff at the DFCHS have recently been told at least another 50 or so students are yet to be returning to attend school in DFC. Check out some Pictures of students at DFC in the coming weeks on Wawatay News. *If you would like to see your friends picture there i'll walk around search for them and boom, send it to the newspaper and then u can keep and cherish it forever... And hey, it's free... Just email me at

"Respect For Our Children" - A Father Walks to Ottawa

The following is a Press Release from Calvin Skead, a father of four children from Wauzhushk Onigum Nation, outside Kenora, Ontario. He is walking to Ottawa to create awareness of past injustices inflicted on First Nation children across this land. A group of people including many children greeted Calvin as he arrived in Dinorwic Thursday, August 29, 2002 just after 1pm (see the pictures of this stop). “CREATING AN AWARENESS: RESPECT FOR OUR CHILDREN” Since time immemorial my ancestors secured for my great grandchildren and their great grandchildren the land base of Wauzhushk Onigum territory. It is the same vision of protection for those yet to be born that I am now walking to Ottawa. This journey began on the morning of August 22, 2002 from Pow Wow Island in Wauzhushk Onigum. I wish to create an awareness of past injustices inflicted on First Nations children by foreign laws designed to assimilate Aboriginal Nations. Many of us survived the ordeal of assimilation policies that were forced on us but many children did not. Hundreds of children succumbed to these injustices. It is those children’s lost lives that I am honouring on this journey. They are the ones that will prevent further destruction and assault on our Nations. They are the ones that will bring a constant reminder to what foreign laws can do. This journey will remind all people and governments that First Nations have traditional laws and structures that included a complex child welfare law. The past must be acknowledged because it is being repeated through the proposed Governance Act. My intent and focus is not the governance act itself but rather what it represents and signifies. The Governance Act will restrict our efforts in reviving our own laws regarding child care issues. This Governance Act will conflict with our own traditional child welfare laws and will ultimately decide the strength and continuance of our Nationhood. I ask all people to write messages denouncing the Governance Act and to support our traditional laws. It is important that these messages be wrapped in red ribbon to be picked up by me along my journey so I may deliver them to Ottawa. Our traditional people must be approached to help everyone understand the implementation of traditional laws as they were intended by the Creator. Our children need the hope for a better tomorrow. "RESPECT FOR OUR CHILDREN" Headquarters Contact Number 807-548-4106. Donations are greatly appreciated and can be made as follows: Respect the Children’s Fund Account # 1191136 Transit # 787 Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 111 Main St. South, Kenora, ON P9N 1T1 Contact: Marina Meeks 807-468-8933 ext. 226

He's Alive Campmeeting -A huge Success

The New Life Pentacostel Church in Weagamow Lake have completed a successful outdoor campMeeting which was held throughout the weekend of July 18, 19, 20, & 21. During the Thursday evening, The First meeting was held inside the Church and throughout the weekend, It was held outdoors. The guest speaker at the CampMeeting was evangelist John T. Wood who is originaly from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The guest singers were Silas Woodhouse and Band from Fairford, Manitoba and a few from Winnipeg that included; Morris Mckay, Sharon Thomas & Welferd More assistent pastor at House of Prayer in Wnpg. And also David Mamakwa from Kingfisher Lk. was there to help in the music ministry throughout the whole blessed weekend. There were also visiters from Sachigo Lake, Kasabonica Lake, Kingfisher Lake and Wunamin Lake.

Cribbage Tournament in Webequie

Webequie First Nation's Neebin Odaminowin 2002 will be hosting a first ever Cribbage Tournament during it's Summer Festival on July 30 - August 3, 2002. The Cribbage Tournament will begin in a Pool "A" and Pool "B" round robin Qualify Round to determine who advances to A-Side or B-Side Championship playoffs. The cash prizes for A-Side are $250.00 & $150.00 and the B-Side are $100.00 & $ 50.00. The entry fee to play in the tournament is $ 20.00. Limited to 16 players. First come, first serve registration. The Cribbage Tournament rules will be provided for the participants. For more information you can contact Gilbert Jacob, Coordinator at (807) 353-6531.