Nishnawbe Aski-Nation

NAN Education Committee meeting next week in Thunder Bay

NAN Education Meeting  
Regency C, Victoria Inn, Thunder Bay
March 20-21, 2007


  • Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation Education Committee
  • Dr. Emily Faries - NAN Education Jurisdiction
  • Katherine Knott, INAC Region Director of Education
  • Rosie Mosquito Oshki Pimache Win Education & Training Institute
  • Ministry of Education – Aboriginal Education Unit

Group Discussion: What do you view as a quality education system within Nishnawbe Aski Nation? 

There will be eight strategic plan items that each group will have an opportunity to review and add input into. What does this mean to your community? To your school? What is working? What isn’t working? Where are the gaps?

  1. To ensure provision of appropriate special education funding and programming for NAN students
  2. To promote Education Capacity Development in NAN First Nation Communities
  3. To help ensure availability of adequate, needs-based funding for education programs and services within NAN.
  4. To support the availability of appropriate curriculum in NAN First Nation schools.
  5. To document Education capital backlog within NAN First Nations
  6. To document the Post-Secondary funding requirements and analyze current INAC funding policies
  7. To actively support and provide input to the Education Jurisdiction negotiations and the codification of NAN education laws.
  8. Open Comment Table


Meeting WORD Documents:

NAN sponsoring community members to attend Regional Cancer Conference

NAN press release ...

NAN Accepting Requests to Attend Regional Cancer Conference

As the proud lead sponsor of the Canadian Cancer Society's regional conference Together Strong…a conference for everyone touched by cancer, NAN is accepting submissions from NAN members interested in attending three day conference in Thunder Bay March 23-25, 2007.

Together. Strong. will gather cancer survivors, people living with cancer, family members, health care professionals, and caregivers for a weekend of information sharing, discussion, and healing.

As part of the sponsorship, NAN has been awarded 7 spots for delegates representing NAN territory (this includes conference registration cost and meals during the conference).

The goal to have a wide representation from NAN territory.

Registration deadline is Friday March 16, 2007.

Please contact Jenna Young at for more information.

NAN staff search for funding for training & First Nations Film School for youth

NAN press release ...

NAN Film Premiere First Step in Youth Empowering Initiative

THUNDER BAY, March 7, 2007: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald together with NAN Youth Council members Catherine Cheechoo and Serene Spence debuted the short film The Four Directions Project to kick off a youth empowering initiative based on story-telling through film during a news conference today.

“Young people have valid real stories that the world needs to hear,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald who developed the initiative to bridge the arts and youth portfolios at NAN – both of which she’s responsible. “Story-telling through film gives young people the opportunity to tell their stories and heal through that process – it’s empowering to them.”

The short film entitled The Four Directions Project explores cultural rebirth, healing, and hope against the backdrop of the four sacred directions and themes of song, dance, prayer, and dreams. Catherine Cheechoo, Serene Spence, Brent Wesley, and Jocelyn Formsma’s stories and poems are featured in the six minute film which was shot mainly in Thunder Bay and Moose Factory (one of NAN’s 49 First Nation communities).

“The draw to this project for me was the opportunity for a different kind of expression”, said Catherine Cheechoo who’s poem is featured in the short film. “The experiences relayed in my poem I’m sure are experienced by many other young women – it’s just another way young people can relate.”

The Four Directions Project is the first phase in a NAN initiative to empower youth through film. Phase 2 will involve researching options to secure funding for film training for young people. Archibald is hopeful Phase 3 will mean a First Nations Film School available to young people throughout the North.

The Four Directions Project’s official premiere will take place at the Weeneebeg Film Festival in Moose Factory Saturday March 10, 2007.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is an Aboriginal political organization representing 49 First Nation communities within James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario First Nations part of Treaty 5 – an area spanning two-thirds of Ontario with a total approximate population of 45,000 members on and off reserve.


For more information please contact: Jenna Young, NAN Director of Communications at (807) 625 4952 (807) 628 3953 (cellular).

NAN Women's Conference - March 17th & 18th in Thunder Bay!

"Reclaiming Our Gifts & Glories to Share with our Families"

On March 17th & 18th, the NAN Women’s Council is hosting a “Reclaiming our Past Glories & Gifts to Share with our Families” Conference in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The purpose of this conference is to give First Nations Women from the NAN Communities an opportunity to participate, network, and to build capacity around Crisis Managment, Volunteerism, and Consensus Building. In order to register for this conference, First Nations Women from the NAN communities must send a letter of interest, explaining the following:

  • Where you are from?
  • Why you want to come?
  • What type of volunteering you do in the community or why you would like to volunteer in the community?
  • What your thoughts and feelings are on crisis prevention?
  • What you feel you can do as a woman for your community.

For more information, and to receive a registration form, please contact Christine Simard or Colleen Berry at 1-800-465-9952 or via email at or

NAN demands operating standards for mining developments in FN territory

Nishnawbe Aski Nation press release

NAN Calls for Fair Trade Standards in Mining

THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 5 - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler delivered a statement to participants of the Rapaport International Mining Conference today in New York City calling on diamond exploration and mining companies to meet basic operating standards in terms of accommodation and consultation with First Nations within NAN territory - an area covering two thirds of Ontario.

"There needs to be a meaningful dialogue between Chiefs and councils, the Province of Ontario, and with industries regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. "When it comes to extraction and exploitation of the natural resources in the backyards and traditional territories of our people, clear and agreed upon standards must be implemented."

During the conference Fiddler distributed the following standards he hopes will end the failure of both the Government of Ontario and industries to acknowledge the various supreme court rulings, including Mikisew (November 2005), regarding the need to consult and accommodate First Nations prior to exploration:

  • Respect for aboriginal, treaty rights and basic human rights outlined in international conventions and Canadian law
  • Free, prior, and informed consent of affected First Nation communities
  • Respect for moratoriums
  • Ensure exploration and mining operations are not located in areas of disputed land claims, unresolved community overlap areas, or other places of conflict
  • Ensure exploration and mining projects do not force communities off their lands
  • No dumping of mine wastes into oceans, rivers, lakes, or streams
  • Ensure exploration and mining projects are not located in sacred or spiritual sites, community protected areas, fragile ecosystems, and conservation or ecological value
  • Ensure community land use planning takes place before exploration and mining commences
  • Ensure projects do not generate sulphuric acid or other persistent pollutants in perpetuity
  • Mining companies cover all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine sites
  • Fully disclosed information regarding social and environmental effects of projects
  • Ensure First Nations equitably share in wealth generated from the exploration and development of their traditional lands
  • Safe working conditions
  • Respect for aboriginal workers' rights and culturally sensitive labour standards
  • Allowance for independent monitoring and verification of the above

Delegates of the conference participated in discussion and debate with leading NGOs, government development experts, and leaders of the diamond trade regarding ethical sourcing, corporate responsibility, and what the diamond industry can and should do to help the poorest people in the world.

The Rapaport Group drives sustainable economic development in the poorest countries of the world and is committed to using economic power and strategic positioning in the diamond and jewellery industry to help artisanal diggers and other disadvantaged groups obtain economic self sufficiency.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is an Aboriginal political organization representing 49 First Nation communities within the territory of James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario First Nations of Treaty 5. This area covers over two-thirds of the province of Ontario and is home to approximately 45,000 people.

For further information: Kristy Hankila, Communications Assistant, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4902, (807) 472-9604 (mobile)

NAN Decade for Youth Council hosting Suicide Prevention workshop

NAN press release at


THUNDER BAY, ON:  Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Decade for Youth and Development program and Decade for Youth Council will host a sacred fire lighting ceremony during the opening ceremony of the second annual Sacred Teachings Youth Suicide Awareness Conference next week in Thunder Bay. 

DATE: Monday February 5-9, 2007
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Best Western NorWester Resort Hotel, 2080 Hwy 61, Thunder Bay, ON

Some of the other highlights of the five day conference include a gala dinner with a special performance by Cree band CerAmony Tuesday February 6 at 7 p.m., an open youth forum for all youth delegates on February 8, and a Powwow on February 8 at 7 p.m.

Over 200 delegates will participate in the conference, including youth aged 15-30 from 29 NAN communities as well as 8 other First Nation communities across Ontario and territory and front-line workers from all parts of Ontario.

There were 25 youth suicides in NAN territory in 2006 which is almost double the national average.

* * *

For more information please contact:

Kristy Hankila
Communications Assistant
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
(807) 625 4902
(807) 472 9604 (mobile)

Seven Sacred Teachings Youth Suicide Awareness Conference 2007

NAN Decade Youth deparment is now accepting registrations for Seven Sacred Teachings 2007

The Seven Sacred Teachings Youth Suicide Awareness Conference will take place from February 5-9, 2007 at the Best Western NorWestor Resort and Hotel in Thunder Bay.

Please check out the NAN Decade Website at for information on registration, and updates on workshops and guest speakers

NAN lobbies INAC for Safe Water program implementation process

NAN press release ...

NAN urges safe drinking water implementation process

     THUNDER BAY, ON, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy says without an implementation process, recommendations outlined in the federal safe drinking water report released Friday don't solve the complex problem of water emergencies across NAN territory - an area covering two-thirds of Ontario and home to 49 First Nation communities.

     "We knew going into the process of developing this report that the Government of Canada's objectives were only to produce recommendations, however with increasing water emergencies throughout NAN territory what we need now more than ever is an implementation process for clean drinking water on the short and long term," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "I look forward to working directly with NAN leadership and Minister Prentice on a priority basis to implement the best options outlined in the report in a way that ensures proper health standards are being met in each community."

     Beardy's comments come after Friday's release of a final report from the safe drinking water expert panel which hosted public hearings across the country this past summer.

     A representative from NAN presented to this panel in Thunder Bay August 2006. The panel did not visit any First Nation communities in NAN territory.

     Currently between 19 and 20 NAN communities are under boil water advisory, including Pikangikum, Attawapiskat, and Marten Falls in the past three months for reasons regarding lack of capacity of water treatment plants, filtration and turbidity levels, contaminated intakes, and traces of carcinogens.

     "When nearly half of NAN's communities are on boil water advisories there's something really wrong here," said Beardy. "We need immediate solutions, not 77 pages of text."

     Some of the short term solutions include repairs to existing water and sewage treatment plants and proper staffing, training, and certification for community operators.

     "Without appropriate staffing resources, including skills training, our communities have to rely on testing and treatments from external operators which can tend to be sporadic," said Beardy.


/For further information: please contact: Jenna Young, Director of Communications - Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952, or (807) 628-3953 (mobile)/

Bartleman recognizes NAN First Nation partnerships in speech to Ont Legislature

NAN Press Release ...

NAN First Nations Recognized During Monumental Speech

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario James K. Bartleman recognized NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy and the many NAN youth who participated in his Aboriginal Literacy initiative during an unprecedented address to the Ontario Legislature Thursday December 7, 2006.

The Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Initiative was implmented in 2004 to address lower than average literacy rates among First Nation students in Ontario.

There were three phases to this initiative, including book drive, school twinning, and summer camps in communities across NAN.

By engaging a strong partnership network, His Honour James K. Bartleman was able to collect 850,000 useable books to establish and fill libraries in schools throughout NAN territory. He then developed a pen-pal system where NAN schools were twinned with schools in the Greater Toronto Area. Students were able to share resources and cultures, breaking down barriers between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth. The third phase was introducing summer literacy camps in many of NAN's 49 communities. These very successful camps included traditional educational components as well as cultural practices.

Mr. Bartleman is the first Lieutenant Governor to be asked to speak to the Ontario Legislature.

For more information on the Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Initiative please visit the following web site:

Posted by: Communications and Media

NAN leader challenges diamond industry to respect First Nation territorities

See the CBC News story after Deputy Chief Alvin Fiddler's document ...

Canada's Blood Diamonds? What DeBeers and the Canadian Governments Are Doing To Aboriginal Communities and the Environment in Canada’s Boreal Forest.

This holiday season, when more diamonds are sold in America than any other time of year, the Hollywood movie “Blood Diamond” is causing many people to reevaluate purchasing ‘conflict diamonds’. They will be looking to buy diamonds from other places in the world where responsible companies are treating local people and the environment fairly and responsibly. And mining companies will be trying to sell them diamonds from Canada.

Unfortunately, many Canadian diamonds are anything but conflict-free; ongoing aboriginal rights and environmental concerns should make consumers think twice before purchasing a Canadian diamond, too.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which means the people and the land, represents some 45,000 Cree and Ojibway people scattered over 49 communities in Canada's Boreal Forest—the world’s largest intact ecosystem and Earth’s last line of defense against global warming. At 1.4 billion acres, the Canadian Boreal Forest is one of the largest unspoiled forest ecosystems remaining on Earth, a mosaic of interconnected forest and wetland ecosystems, teeming with birds, fish, plants and animal life. Canada’s Boreal Forest is also a potential treasure chest of timber, oil and gas, and minerals, including diamonds and is under heavy development pressure.

At present, less than ten percent of the Boreal is protected from industrial development. Unless something changes, corporations will carve it up without regard to the impacts to the people or the environment.

While few American’s have ever heard of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation or the Boreal Forest, scientists will tell them what the peoples that live there already know: it’s critical to the earth in so many ways, and must be protected.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation, along with many other First Nation communities throughout the great Boreal Forest have been in the grip of a diamond exploration boom led by companies like DeBeers.

That and other intensive resource development is causing environmental devastation.

A complicit Canadian government seems to be turning a blind eye.

We need and welcome responsible resource development, but with an emphasis on the word responsible.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities are among the poorest in the world, ranked 69th in the U.N.'s Human Development Index, with the lowest life expectancy in Canada, the highest youth suicide rates in the world, and an unemployment rate of more than 60 percent.

With diamonds on our lands our communities should be wealthy.

Instead the hunt for theses rare gems from the heart of the earth has meant only conflict and strife for us.

De Beers plans to develop massive open pit diamond mining projects in our traditional territory but it is not honoring our treaty rights or working with us to win our consent for the projects.

Their army of airplanes, helicopters and claim stakers have been trespassing on the traditional lands of many of our communities, despite our calls for moratoriums on diamond exploration.

The link between diamond exploration and aboriginal and treaty rights violations fits the pattern of diamond conflicts in Africa. In these former European colonies, the scramble for control of diamond mining territory has helped to fuel a cycle of conflict. Will the cycle be repeated in our lands too?

Before they can claim to have done the right thing in Canada, DeBeers and other Canadian diamond mining companies must demonstrate a different attitude and pattern of behavior. They must allow us to determine where, when and how diamond mining will take place, if at all.

They must also work with us and the Canadian governments to protect the great Boreal Forest ecosystem and make sure it continues to provide clean air, clean water and abundant wildlife for our communities and for the world.

The battle over diamonds will be largely fought in the US, where annual sales of diamond jewelry represent almost half of the $55 billion sold world wide.

The time is now for U.S. consumers to connect the dots and weigh in. Tell De Beers, other diamond miners and Canada that unless things change, Canadian diamonds are no better than conflict diamonds from Africa.

Alvin Fiddler
Deputy Grand Chief Nishnawbe Aski Nation  



First Nations leader slams Canadian diamonds
Friday, December 8, 2006 - CBC News

A First Nations group in Ontario is trying to dissuade Americans from buying Canadian diamonds this holiday season, saying the jewels are mined at the expense of its people.

Alvin Fiddler, deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, said De Beers Canada in particular is causing environmental devastation and disrupting his community of 45,000 Cree and Ojibwa in northern Ontario.

"They're not clean diamonds; they're not conflict-free diamonds," Fiddler told CBC News. "People are paying a price for these diamonds and it's our people in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Our people, our children, are languishing in poverty while these resources are being extracted from their territory."

Fiddler this week had an editorial published in the diamond industry trade publication Rapaport News, in which he outlined his concerns about Canadian diamond exploration and mining. He says several communities have called for a moratorium on mineral exploration on land where the legal title is under dispute.

"The battle over diamonds will be largely fought in the United States, where annual sales of diamond jewelry represent almost half of the $55 billion sold worldwide. The time is now for consumers in the United States to connect the dots and weigh in," Fiddler wrote in his editorial.

"Tell De Beers, other diamond miners and Canada that unless things change, Canadian diamonds are no better than conflict diamonds from Africa."

Linda Dorrington, a spokeswoman for De Beers said the company is making an effort to negotiate with First Nations in Canada but said land rights need to be decided by government. The company has one project underway along with exploration work within Nishnawbe Aski territory.

"We encourage the government and these groups to continue to work together to get these matters settled," she said.

Fiddler said the diamond company should stop work until the government settles the land claims.

The trade in diamonds originating in conflict zones, sometimes called "blood diamonds," has helped pay for wars in Africa that have killed millions in Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo.

Under heavy criticism from human rights activists, governments, non-governmental organizations and industry enacted the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2002, which tracks diamonds from the mine to the store.

Jewelers are bracing for more consumer scrutiny this season with the opening of the new film Blood Diamond set amid the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. Industry officials have launched a high-profile campaign, saying the Kimberley Process has curbed the "blood diamond" trade.

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