Nishnawbe Aski-Nation

NAN Grand Chief Beardy sends an open letter to candidates in 2006 Federal Election


As the Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), a political territorial organization that represents 49 First Nations, covering an area of 2/3rds of the province of Ontario, I have been requested to seek further clarification on your position on a number of issues of importance to the people in the NAN territory. This is notwithstanding and in addition to the clarification your party/riding has already provided to the Assembly of First Nations on over-arching national issues.

As you are aware, there are number of ridings in the NAN territory in which First Nations represent a large population. More and more, First Nation voters are expressing the need for a government that will be in tune with their needs. This is in light of the fact that there exists such a large disparity between them and the larger Canadian population.

There are many issues facing the people of NAN (many of which that are comparable or surpass those of other First Nations in Canada). The two most critical for the people of NAN are as follows:

Alarming Rate of Youth Suicide:

In 2005 there were 24 completed youth suicides. We are only weeks into the new year and we have already lost 3 youth to suicide.

In the fall of 2004, Health Canada announced a $65 million to address the issue with First Nations across Canada. The program framework has since been developed by Health Canada, but the consultation process to roll out funding in Ontario is just beginning.

This has been frustrating as our need is very, very urgent. We are also concerned that the Health Canada funding will probably be distributed across the First Nations generally, while our experience is that major targeted community development investment to high risk communities is the only approach that works.

In addition, protocol hurdles currently enforced at the regional level are hindering time sensitive interventions needed in the communities when this kind of crisis occurs. Flexible, timely, targeted community based suicide prevention funding must be a priority with the new federal government.

NAN has put a proactive suicide prevention program in place called the NAN Decade for Youth and Development which the Chiefs mandated in 2000. The youth are asking for opportunities economically, socially, politically and culturally, but, again, funding for this type of programming has been very minimal.

Discussions to address the issue with the Province of Ontario have been favourable yet, the federal government continues to lack interest. This is unacceptable given that we are dealing with the lives of human beings and families.

We are interested in determining how you view role in this issue as leader of your party/riding.

The Need to Develop Approaches to End a Dependant Economy

As part of our unique approach to address socio-economic conditions, based on the abundance of lands rich in untouched natural resources (found mostly north of the 50th parallel), NAN has a made it known that we have a vested interest in developing a region specific framework based on building a natural-resources driven economy and on rights as affirmed in s. 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada, 1982.

Over the years, we have been working with your provincial counterparts to move this forward.

We are interested in determining how you view your role as the leader of your party/ riding.

To assist you in determining your views on these issues, I have enclosed a questionnaire for which I would like your response by January 18, 2006. I will be sharing an analysis of the responses of all parties as they are provided to me so that the people in NAN are prepared to make an informed decision on election day.

I would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation and I look forward to your timely response.


Stan Beardy, Grand Chief
Nishnawbe Aski Nation

1. If elected, would your party/riding be committed to ensuring that targeted funds be made available for community development/suicide programming in communities that are facing multiple youth suicides (over and above the $65 million already provided regionally)? If elected, is your party/riding committed to discussing with NAN methods for more meaningful. federal participation in the issue of NAN youth suicide? What specifically do you propose?

2. Does your party/riding support the principle that the ability to control the natural resources on the lands is directly linked to the vitality, autonomy and future of NAN First Nations? If not, why or what other methods would you propose?

3. If elected, is your party/riding committed to participating in a NAN specific tripartite process/forum on lands and resources as currently being discussed between NAN and the Ontario government and committed to pending cost-sharing arrangements involved? Within this process, is your party/riding committed to developing and endorsing a Joint (Tripartite) Treaty Statement in commemoration of 100 years of Treaty No. 9?

4. What is the position of your party/riding specifically with respect to developing northern transportation and infrastructure, developing an economy in the north through intergovernmental collaboration and other procurement strategies. If elected, what would your party/riding commit to doing to support these? (detail a response for each). In addition, is your party/riding willing to support the negotiation of a resource revenue sharing agreement for the NAN territory between Canada and Ontario?

NAN Treaty Education Process to host 3-day conference in Thunder Bay

From the NAN web site ...

NAN Treaty Education Process will host a Treaty Conference for NAN Chiefs and members in Thunder Bay January 17 - 19, 2006.

Click Here for the DRAFT conference agenda


Day One

Opening Prayer Elder
Opening Remarks Grand Chief Stan Beardy
Deputy Grand Chief Dan Kooses
Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic
Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler

Historical Overview Fred Kelly *to be confirmed

James Bay Treaty # 9 Overview Luke Hunter, Simon Frogg, Ben Cheechoo

Aboriginal & Treaty Rights Mr. John Olthuis, OKTLaw *to be confirmed

Impacts of Mikisew Cree Case Mr. John Olthuis, OKTLaw *to be confirmed

Overview of NAN Processes Alanna McKenzie, Terry Waboose, Carol Ann Audet

Treaty Discussions Ben Cheechoo, Frank Beardy, Greg Spence (Including Interview Summaries to date)

Treaty Commemoration Statement Negotiations *same as above 1670 Rupert’s Land Case Mushkegowuk Council Representative

Day Two

Break Into Groups Elders, Men, Women, Youth, Leadership


“What was intended by the treaty signatories for future generations?” – Historical

“What does the treaty mean to us today?” – Modern and by sector – lands, health, housing, etc.

Day Three

Development of a Treaty Statement

May be very broad, encompassing sectors, rolled from each group (there may be commonalities which can be agreed upon by all groups).

– Example: NAN Elder’s Treaty Statement On Health.

Bartleman announces efforts to expand summer literacy camps in First Nations

During the NAN Education Committee Conference this past week in Thunder Bay, the Honourable James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario announced his plans to expand the number of literacy camps in First Nations next summer ...

from ...

Kakegamic and Bartleman Attend NAN Education Committee Meetings

Posted by 12/8/2005 11:22:12 AM

NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic and the Honourable James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario attended NAN Education Meetings held this week to address both positive developments in Aboriginal education and areas requiring vast improvements.

NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic and the Honourable James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario attended NAN Education Meetings held this week to address both positive developments in Aboriginal education and areas requiring vast improvements.

Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic commented on the need to close the gap between Aboriginal education and education received by the rest of the province, highlighting the fact that while NAN communities only have schools, other urban cities have many other resources such as school boards and consultants.

During his presentation Bartleman remarked on how  he looks forward to expanding the youth literacy camps which took place this past summer in five NAN Communities to include an additional 15 First Nations next year.

The literacy camps ran in the NAN communities of Kingfisher Lake, Fort Albany, North Caribou Lake, Neskantaga and Fort Hope.

The Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camp initiative is led by a steering committee representing seven organizations belonging to the Lieutenant Governor’s Literacy Coalition. These organizations include Scouts Canada, the YMCA of Greater Toronto, Frontier College, the National Indigenous Literacy Association, PhotoSensitive, the Toronto District School Board, and World Literacy Canada.

Selection committee calls for applications to Daniel Beardy memorial hockey fund

Applications to Open for Beardy Hockey Fund


Parents Stan and Nellie Beardy, along with members of the Daniel Beardy Memorial Hockey Fund Selection Committee, announced an open call for applications for the annual award and scholarship fund at a news conference Friday October 14, 2005.



THUNDER BAY, ON Friday October 14, 2005:  Parents Stan and Nellie Beardy along with members of the Daniel Beardy Memorial Hockey Fund Selection Committee announced an open call for applications for the annual award and scholarship fund today at a news conference at Fort William First Nation Community Centre.

“The intent behind the memorial hockey fund is to build confidence and instill the idea in youth that with determination and the proper support their goals are unlimited,” said father Stan Beardy who is also the Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation – a political organization representing 49 First Nation communities across Ontario.  “Not only will the fund promote the success of young hockey stars, but it will celebrate Daniel’s life and the positive values he stood for.”

The hockey fund was established March 2005 to promote the success of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal hockey stars, while celebrating the life of Daniel Beardy who passed away August 2004. 

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal hockey players between the ranks of ‘AA’ and Junior or active players in remote communities are eligible to apply for the various awards and scholarships distributed annually by the fund.  All applicants must be residents of Ontario and full-time students.  The Daniel Beardy Memorial Hockey Fund Selection Committee will choose applicants who best demonstrate commitment to hockey practice and game requirements, community involvement.  Selection will also be based on the applicant’s ability to act as a role model to other youth on and off the ice.

The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. November 4, 2005.

Some of the major sponsors of the Daniel Beardy Memorial Hockey Fund include Muskrat Dam First Nation, Northern First Nations Hockey Tournament, Wasaya Airways LP, Shaw Family Bakeshop, Independent First Nations Alliance, and Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund.

Daniel Beardy played goalie for Fort William First Nation North Stars – a local Junior ‘A’ Hockey team that won the 2003-2004 Superior International Junior Hockey League Championship.  Beardy, who had been playing hockey since he was five years of age, was voted the top goaltender of the league for the same season.  He had a “goals against” average of 2.06 in the regular season which ranked him second among all goalies in the Canadian Junior ‘A’ Hockey League.  He lost only one game in the 21 he played. 


For more information please contact

Jenna Young,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Communications Officer
(807) 625 4952 or (807) 628 3953.

NAN host annual Day of Prayer for suicide prevention


THUNDER BAY, ON Monday September 12, 2005:  Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic will host the fourth annual NAN Day of Prayer in Thunder Bay this week.

DATE:            Wednesday September 14, 2005

TIME:             10:00 a.m.

LOCATION:   Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Main Boardroom, 710 Victoria Avenue East Victoriaville Mall, Third Floor (Centennial Square entrance/Victoria Ave. entrance)

NAN Day of Prayer is a spiritual event designed to raise community awareness and support of the rising number of suicides among First Nation people, particularly in NAN territory - an area covering two-thirds of Ontario spanning East to Quebec's border, West to Manitoba, and North of the 51st parallel to the coasts of James and Hudson's Bays.

Community members, including elders, women, and youth across NAN territory are expected to participate in the event.

* * *

For more information please contact:
Jenna Young
Communications Officer
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
(807) 625 4952
(807) 628 3953 (cellular)

Ten NAN youth participate in mentoring project in Toronto

NAN Press Release ... NAN Youth Participate in Mentoring Project

Ten youth from Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory are participating in a youth mentoring project focused on nurturing entrepreneurship among First Nations in Toronto, ON August 24 - 27, 2005.

TORONTO, ON:  Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler today acknowledged the participation of thirteen business executives from Toronto’s downtown core in a youth mentoring project involving ten youth from Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory – an area covering two-thirds of Ontario and home to 49 First Nation communities.

The four day educational program taking place this week in Toronto, was developed jointly between NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy and POA Educational Foundation Chairman Aditya Jha. 

“This is just another example of how we need to place more importance on our youth by empowering them with knowledge and experience that will allow them to succeed,” said Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler who holds the portfolio for NAN Decade for Youth and Development – a program dedicated to giving NAN youth a voice in the decision-making processes affecting the future of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, while seeking ways to encourage participation of young men and women within NAN communities.

“It’s a great experience and opportunity for NAN youth to work closely with successful business people in a setting so different from many of their home communities,” said Fiddler. “It’s also a great way for the urban community to familiarize themselves with our territory and people – especially the many potential entrepreneurs and leaders we have among our youth.”

Project Beyshick will focus on nurturing entrepreneurship among First Nation people.  The program involves ten youth participants from NAN territory – an area spanning West to Manitoba, East to Quebec, and from the 51st parallel North to the coasts of James and Hudson’s bays. 

These youth will be paired with and job shadow senior business executives of corporations and organizations that best match the students’ personal goals and interests.  They will also participate in recreational events including a visit to Niagara Falls and baseball game.

“I don’t think governmental approaches should be our only answer - if we nurture the youth that will be the real morale booster,” said POA Educational Foundation Chairman and President of Toronto-based Osellus Inc. Aditya Jha.  “Our goal is to nurture entrepreneurs amongst First nation Youth and these Executives will be the great link.”

The following NAN youth will be participating in Project Beyshick: 

  • Vivian Miranda Kakepetum from Sandy Lake First Nation, Lakehead University Business;
  • Autumn Yesno from Eabametoong First Nation, Confederation College Hotel Management;
  • Brent Waboose from Ginoogaming First Nation, Confederation College Entrepreneurship;
  • Lisa Moonias from Marten Falls First Nation, Confederation College Business;
  • Mark Meekis from Sandy Lake First Nation, Confederation College Restaurant Business;
  • Vanessa Moonias from Marten Falls First Nation, Lakehead University Nursing;
  • Melissa Archibald from Taykwa Tagamou First Nation, Ecole Secondaire Cochrane High School;
  • Myra Beardy from Sachigo Lake First Nation, Wahsa Distance Education Centre – Sachigo Lake;
  • Rowena Moonias from Marten Falls First Nation, Sir Winston Churchill High School C.V.I. – Thunder Bay;
  • Tracy Prevost from Taykwa Tagamou First Nation, Ecole Secondaire Cochrane High School.

Some of the corporations with executives participating in the program include TV Ontario, AMJ Campbell Van Lines, Trillium Health Care Centre, TD Bank Financial Group, ICICI Bank Canada, Bell Canada, Osellus Inc., and GlobalMaxx Technologies.

Project Beyshick will run from August 24 through to August 27, 2005 complete with a Thank You Dinner recognizing program participants at 6:00 p.m. Thursday August 25, 2005 at the Boulevard Club, 1491 Lakeshore Boulevard West, Toronto, Ontario.  Nishnawbe Aski Nation host Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will welcome The Hon. James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse as they address project participants, representatives from POA Educational Foundation, and NAN Chiefs and Tribal Council Chairs.

Project Beyshick is jointly funded by POA Educational Foundation and Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) through Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario’s (FedNor) Local Initiatives Contribution Agreement.


For more information please contact

Jenna Young,
Communications Officer
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
(807)625 4952


Read the Toronto Star article about this initiative ...
 Aug. 27, 2005. 08:22 AM

Immigrant extends a hand-up to native youth


Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Aditya Jha pause on the patio of Toronto’s Boulevard Club during a Project Beyshick reception this week.

After Aditya Jha made his fortune by selling his Toronto educational software company to Sun Microsystems for more than $100 million (U.S.) in 2001, he was flooded with requests for donations.

But Jha, who came to Canada in 1994, turned out to be a picky philanthropist. Just writing cheques is not his cup of tea; he prefers to be personally involved in causes he supports. So his conscience was pricked when he went to a black-tie dinner last fall at which Stan Beardy, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, was speaking.

"My people are suffering," Beardy told the crowd.

"That really affected me," says Jha, 49, who was born into a family of modest means in Nepal and educated in India.

"I thought, I have been here such a short time and Canada has been so good to me. How come people who have lived here for centuries aren't sharing in this country's economic prosperity? Something's wrong here."

Last December, Jha flew to Thunder Bay to consult with Beardy and other native officials, and together they devised Project Beyshick — a program that would pair native youth with Toronto's corporate chiefs in an effort to foster entrepreneurship and business skills.

This week, the program became a reality, as 11 young people from remote communities arrived in Toronto.

For 2 1/2 days, they lived the same dizzying schedules as the big wheels whose jobs they were shadowing. For some, like Myra Beardy, it was their first trip off the reserve.

"Everything in Toronto is so tall. It's hard to see the sky," says Beardy, 17, who was confounded by the tech jargon and big figures thrown around in meetings at Bell Canada, where she followed executive vice president Mike Cole.

Autumn Yesno was initially nervous about meeting Denis Frappier, executive vice president of AMJ Campbell Van Lines, but he soon put her at ease.

"He's very nice and welcoming, and pretty cool for a big boss," says Yesno, 22, who sat in on meetings to discuss company efforts to comply with employment equity regulations and plans to buy wireless handheld devices.

Vanessa Moonias learned about teamwork watching her mentor, Trillium Health Centre CEO Ken White. "He's very down-to-earth and worked with people to get things done," says Moonias, 23.

Tracey Prevost, who lives on a reserve with a population of 300 near Cochrane, was placed with Isabel Bassett.

Lunching with the TV Ontario head, attending her high-level meetings and calling her by her first name were all pretty cool. But they didn't match the thrill of being on the set of the TVO Kids shows — The Space and Gisele's Big Backyard — both of which the 18-year-old watched while growing up.

"That was mind-blowing awesome!" says Prevost, the first person in her family to finish high school — a feat she credits to her mother's encouragement and the shows' educational emphasis.

Education is important, but it's not always enough, says Jha, who is married with a 6-year-old son. "You need exposure to opportunities and to power to give you that `aha!' experience."

That's where his program comes in. It's funded by POA Foundation, a name that incorporates his first initial as well as those of Payman Hodaie and Omid Hodaie, business partners who prefer to stay out of the limelight. (Jha prefers not to reveal how much they spent on the project.) The foundation has also contributed to Trillium Health Centre and Ryerson University, among others.

Jha's philosophy is straightforward. "We all hesitate to admit the power of money, but that's reality. No community gets respect in this country unless it has made serious money," says Jha, who is busy building a new information technology company, Osellus Inc.

But he admits he knew little about Canada's native community until that fateful dinner. "I was too busy running my business," he says with his trademark grin, adding that he has since educated himself on the issues.

"We're spending billions to alleviate poverty in the world when we have third world conditions right here."

`The idea is to change mindsets. If they can walk away with just one thought, it should be: "I can do it, too. I can dream big."'

Aditya Jha

Jha personally approached about 40 executives to take part, including those at RBC Financial Group and GlobalMaxx Technologies. Each readily agreed, though time conflicts forced some to decline in the end.

The program has the enthusiastic support of Alvin Fiddler, deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, whose territory comprises 49 communities and covers two-thirds of Ontario.

Developing business acumen in young people is critical to its survival and prosperity, he says. The territory is the next frontier for resource development, such as forestry and mining. The province recently pledged to build all-weather roads linking some communities now accessible only by air.

"It will bring a lot of development. We have to manage the change so that it becomes a positive experience for us," says Fiddler, who attended a dinner reception for the youth and executives Thursday night at the tony Boulevard Club. "If we don't train our young people to build their knowledge and skills, we'll get left behind again."

Lt. Gov. James Bartleman, the dinner speaker, praised Jha's "pure altruism."

"He has been very far-sighted in organizing this. What I like about this is that you have somebody who is from one of the newest cultural groups to come to Canada, from India, who is helping out our aboriginal people."

Nishnawbe Aski Nation leaders, who picked the nine female and two male youth participants, weren't exactly flooded with applicants at first, because of fears about what would be expected.

Those chosen were already self-motivated and on the right track, having avoided the pitfalls common in their communities, including high rates of suicide, teen pregnancy and dropout.

Prevost, articulate and poised, says most of her friends had babies by age 14 and resigned themselves to never leaving the reserve. But she wanted more.

"I come from a very negative background with lots of drugs, alcohol and physical abuse, but I soldiered through it."

Her stint at TVO sparked an interest in broadcasting, though Prevost admits to almost falling asleep during a particularly boring meeting — she excused herself, went to the washroom and threw cold water on her face to stay awake. She counts herself lucky to be paired with Bassett, the only female CEO to take part in Project Beyshick.

"I'm in awe of Isabel," Prevost says. "She's the first woman I met with such a strong handshake. I got the feeling right away she was confident and powerful."

Bassett was impressed with Prevost, too: "She's very strong. I wasn't that secure at her age."

Learning is a two-way process, says Hari Panday, CEO of ICICI Bank, who mentored Mark Meekis, 26. "This was so rewarding," Panday says. "I learned more in the last two days about First Nations people than I ever knew."

Meekis, who joined meetings discussing multi-million-dollar loans and the opening of a new branch, learned the importance of time management.

"He has one meeting right after another. Like right now, he's still working," said Meekis, as Panday checked his Palm Pilot during lunch.

Jha hopes to make the program an annual event, boosting youth to 50 next year and taking it international by offering placements in the U.S. and India.

His goal is simple: "The idea is to change mindsets. If they can walk away with just one thought, it should be: `I can do it, too. I can dream big.'"

That has happened for most of the participants, including Prevost.

"You know, the sky's the limit now," she says. "No one's going to hold me back."

Treaty nine commemoration story, interviews from elders, youth and leaders

In addition to the speeches given that day by the First Nation leaders during the morning and afternoon sessions (click here for the links to these video clips), the team from Keewaytinook Okimakanak were able to interview a number of key people during the event. Together with these interviews and speeches, a lot of great video material was captured. This material is being put together into a production that will be used in the First Nation schools to tell the true story of this treaty for future generations. A new web page containing all the video material from this gathering is now available at

Click here to see the introduction to the upcoming production.

Click here to watch the interview with elder Edward Sutherland and his granddaughter Carrie.

Click here for Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse's interview.

NAN Decade Recreation Training Sessions and conference

Aboriginal Recreation Conference 2005
August 22-26, 2005
Pelican Falls First Nation High School, Sioux Lookout

The Decade Recreation Department in partnership with the Intergovernmental Committee will be hosting Recreation Planning Sessions at this conference.

These sessions will focus on training that will equip individuals with the tools and skills to effectively sustain recreation programs in communities. Potential trainers include, but are not limited to recreation workers, youth council, teachers, students and community volunteers.

Train-the-Trainers planning sessions are also being organized in NAN communities.

NAN is currently seeking interested applicants and host communities for these different sessions. Please not that travel expenses cannot be covered due to budget restrictions, however there is no cost for the training.

MOre information is available at the new NAN recreation website at as well as by contacting

Catherine Cheechoo
Decade Recreation Coordinator
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Fax: 807-623-7730

NAN Youth to be recognized at the Treaty 9 Commemoration celebrations

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation Decade for Youth and Development selected seven youth to be honoured at the upcoming Keewaywin Conference with Youth Achievement Awards. Celebrations at Mishkeegogamang begin this weekend with the "2nd Annual Intertribal Powwow - Celebrating our youth and their achievements" (July 8, 9, 10 and 11). Then on Monday there is the 20km "Youth Commemorative Walk and Friendship Feast" that starts at the Missabay Community School and ends at the historic treaty signing site. On Tuesday is the full day of events scheduled for the Commemoration of the Signing of the treaty. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, the Chiefs of Nishnawbe Aski Nation will be meeting in assembly where the following youth will receive their awards ...

  • Kayla Gregoire, 15, Mattagami First Nation - Athletics/Recreation
  • Kevin Christopher MacDonald, 21, Webequie First Nation - Education/Academics
  • Conredge Solomon, 21, Kashechewan First Nation - Leadership/Community Involvement
  • Paige Mawakeesic, 18, Wawakepewin First Nation - Arts & Culture
  • Miranda Carey, 25, Moose Cree First Nation - Youth Council Award
  • Talon Neekan, 10, Mishekeegogamang Ojibway Nation - "Leaders of Tommorow" Honourary Youth Award for ages 14 and under
  • Scott Allen Iserhoff, 13, Constance Lake First Nation - "Leaders of Tommorow" Honourary Youth Award for ages 14 and under

For more information about these special NAN Youth role models check out the NAN Decade for Youth web site at