Keewaytinook Okimakanak

KO team particiates in research in community networks (CRACIN) gathering

Brian Walmark (KORI Coordinator - and Brian Beaton (K-Net Coordinator) participated in the fourth CRACIN ( gathering that is being held at the University of Toronto, March 3-5, 2006. The workshop entitled, "Integrating Research for Sustaining Community Networking Initiatives" is being hosted by the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto. A video conferencing connection between K-Net and UofT provided the opportunity for the K-Net participation.

Workshop Rationale and Objectives:

The objective of the CRACIN project is systematically to document and assess the benefits of community-based information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives in Canada in terms of their contributions to local learning, socio-economic development, and civic participation. With the progress made by its various case study and thematic study teams, CRACIN is well along the way of achieving this goal. However, as our research goes forward, the need to move beyond descriptions of local circumstances and understandings of developments within specific contexts towards more general observations, insights and conclusions drawn from the case studies becomes both possible and necessary. CRACIN is now at the stage of beginning to synthesize and integrate findings across our case studies, including lessons learned.

The central purpose of the 4th CRACIN Workshop is to report on the research of the various CRACIN studies (case studies and thematic studies) within an emerging integrative framework. The Workshop will bring together academic, community and government members, along with graduate student researchers and a handful of invited experts, to present and discuss the results of CRACIN’s on-going research in the context of a series of integrative research themes and questions designed to generate broader findings and conclusions regarding the benefits of community networking.

Workshop Agenda

Friday, March 3

9:00–9:30 Welcome and Introductions (Andrew Clement)

9:30–10:30 Roundtable on Analytical Frameworks for Community Informatics Research (Chair: Michael Gurstein)

In the context of on-rushing globalization and economic rationalization the role of the “local” and of primary ties such as those of family and community are being put increasingly into question. The significance of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) both as generators of and as possible means to respond to these challenges is of increasing interest. Community Informatics (CI) has emerged as both a field of academic research and as the basis for an ICT-enabled practice within this larger context of both interpreting and responding to the dilemmas of effective action and effective use in an Information Society. This Roundtable will explore the issues presented by these challenges and whether and how Community Informatics provides a conceptual framework for these responses and including whether, how and from what sources CI might develop or synthesize theory or theories for deepening interpretation and framing effective use in this domain.


  • Ann Bishop, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bill McIver, Institute for Information Technology, National Research Council


  • Andrew Clement, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
  • Leslie Regan Shade, Communication Studies, Concordia University

Background paper:

Supplementary materials:

  • McIver, Bill (2003) “Community Informatics for the Information Society,” in Bruce Girard and Sean O’Siochru, eds., Communicating in the Information Society, Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 33-63.
  • O’Neil, Dara (2002) “Assessing community informatics: a review of methodological approaches for evaluating community networks and community technology centers,” Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy, Volume 12, Number 1, 76-102.
  • CRACIN Executive (2006) CRACIN Integrative Framework Document, Draft, February 2006.

10:45–11:45 Rural & Remote Broadband (Chair: Michael Gurstein)

A primary framework for understanding the dynamic of Canadian political economy and economic geography is that of the relationships between centre and periphery, north and south, rural and urban. These relationships are often understood as ones of economic advantage, political power, development / under-development and so on. Based on the experiences with the CRACIN “rural” and “remote” case studies, this panel will explore how and whether ICTs in general and broadband in particular impact on these dynamics and whether technology may in fact displace the significance of these dynamics, replacing them for example with parallel statics of an ongoing and deepening ‘digital divide’. The panel will also explore the possible use of an ‘effective use’ approach to enabling those in remote and rural areas taking advantage of a broadband infrastructure.


  • Marco Adria, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta
  • Adam Fiser, Information Studies, University of Toronto “Everyone Together: K-Net as an Enabler of ICT Infrastructure in the Sioux Lookout District”
  • Frank Winter, Information Studies, University of Toronto, "Reverse English: KCDC's Strategy for Rural and Remote Broadband"
  • Katrina Peddle, Communication Studies, Concordia University, “Rural Community-owned Infrastructure; the Role of Governance”


  • Brian Beaton, K-Net

Supplementary materials:

11:45–12:45 Gender and Youth Perspectives on Community Networking (Chair: Leslie Regan Shade)

This panel will focus on gender and youth issues. Bell will present preliminary research on information about youth participation in various CRACIN case study sites, and highlight some potential areas for further research. Peddle and Bell will present recent work that applies feminist perspectives on technology studies to the concepts of community and publics with the goal of illuminating the central role of space in this relationship. Shade will provide an overview of how gender has been integrated into Canadian ICT policy and suggest some areas for future research with respect to gender analysis of CRACIN case site studies.


  • Brandi Bell, Communication Studies, Concordia University, “Integrative Theme Report on Youth and Community Networking”
  • Katrina Peddle, Communication Studies, Concordia University, “Gender and Community Informatics: Rethinking the Feminization of Community”
  • Leslie Regan Shade, Communication Studies, Concordia University, “Stirring Up the Pot? Integrating Gender into Policy, Practice and Evaluation”


  • Ann Bishop, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Supplementary materials:

2:15–3:15 Community Learning (Chair: Andrew Clement)

‘Learning’ has been a perennial feature of Knowledge-based Economy / Society discussions for decades. Most usually under the term ‘life long learning,’ it has figured prominently in government policies promoting the widespread adoption of ICTs. But the meanings given to learning vary widely among the various parties involved, most notably community based organizations attempting to draw upon the available funding programs to address the complex, dynamic and situated learning needs of their diverse constituencies. This session explores the linkages (and tensions) between the policy language around ‘community learning’ and the practices in developing community learning networks. It is based most directly on the ongoing CRACIN research in three leading exemplars – Keewatin Career Development Corporation (KCDC), K-Net Services, and St. Christopher House.


  • Adam Fiser, Information Studies, University of Toronto, “Lifelong Learning in the Little North: K-Net as an Enabler of Human Resources Development in the Sioux Lookout District”
  • Susan MacDonald, Project Administrator, CRACIN, “Learning to Ride a Bicycle While Building It: St. Christopher House and its CLN Project”
  • Frank Winter, Information Studies, University of Toronto, “Learning, Lifelong Learning, Community Learning and Community Learning Networks in Canada”


  • Ann Bishop, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Rob Mastin, Office of Learning Technologies, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
  • Judi Snively, St. Christopher House


Supplementary materials:

3:30–4:30 Breakout Discussions

  • Rural & Remote Broadband (Gurstein)
  • Youth and Gender (Shade)
  • Community Learning (Clement)

4:30–5:00 Breakout Reports & Wrap-up (Chair: Longford)

Saturday, March 4

9:00–10:30 Community Innovation and Emerging Technologies: Open Source Software & Community WiFi (Chairs: Andrew Clement & Serge Proulx)

Open Source Panel:

  • Stéphane Couture, LabCMO / Université du Québec à Montréal “Free Software and Community Groups in Quebec”


  • Randall Terada, Operation Springboard

Community WiFi Panel:

  • Alison Powell, Communication Studies, Concordia University
  • Matt Wong, Information Studies, University of Toronto, “Marking, Locating, and Designing for Public and Private Wireless Internet Spaces”


  • Michael Lenczner, Ile Sans Fil
  • Steve Wilton, Wireless Nomad
  • Prabir Neogi, E-Commerce Branch, Industry Canada
  • Bill McIver, Institute for Information Technology, National Research Council

Background Paper on Open Source Software:

Supplementary materials on Open Source software:

  • Coleman, Biella, “The (copylefted) Source Code for the Ethical Production of Information,
  • Luke, Robert, Andrew Clement, Randall Terada, et al (2004) “The promise and perils of a participatory approach to developing an open source community learning network,” Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference 2004: Artful integration: Interweaving Media, Materials, and Practices, Toronto, 11­19, 2004.

Backgrounder on community WiFi:

Supplementary materials on community WiFi:

10:45-12:15 Civic Participation (Chairs: Moll)


  • Diane Dechief, Communication Studies, Concordia University, “Recent Immigrants as an “Alternate Civic Core”: Providing Internet Services, Gaining “Canadian Experiences”
  • Ken Werbin, Communication Studies, Concordia University, “Where is the 'Community' in 'Community-Networking Initiatives'? Stories from the 'Third-spaces' of 'Connecting Canadians'
  • Alison Powell, Communication Studies, Concordia University, “Wireless Community Networks and Open-Source software development as emerging forms of civic engagement”
  • Nicolas Lecomte, LabCMO / LICEF & Université du Québec à Montréal, “Communautique's e-government consultations: specific issues for civic participation with ICTs?”


  • Bill McIver, National Research Council
  • Ariane Pelletier, Communautique


Supplementary materials:

  • Longford, Graham (2005) “Community Networking and Civic Participation: A Canadian Perspective,” in Geoff Erwin, Wallace Taylor, Andy Bytheway, and Corrie Strumpfer, eds., CIRN 2005: 2nd Annual Conference of the Community Informatics Research Network – Proceedings, Cape Town: CIRN 2005 Conference Committee, 355-376.
  • Kavanaugh, Andrea and Scott Patterson (2002) “The Impact of Community Networks on Social Capital and Community Involvement in Blacksburg,” in Barry Wellman and Caroline Haythornthwaite, eds., The Internet in Everyday Life, London: Blackwell Publishing, 325-344.
  • Pigg, Kenneth and Laura Duffy Crank (2004). “Building Community Social Capital: The Potential and Promise of Information and Communication Technologies,” The Journal of Community Informatics, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 58-73.

Working Lunch for CRACIN Executive & Government Partners – to discusses possible processes whereby CRACIN research findings/recommendations can feed into federal policy development and program design related to community-based ICT initiatives – Rm 212

2:00-3:15 Roundtable on Sustainability & Policy (Chair: Longford)

The purpose of the roundtable discussion on sustainability is to focus CRACIN members’ attention on the issue of sustainability and to facilitate group dialogue and reflection on the ingredients of sustainable community networking, with a view to identifying the various approaches to sustainability represented across the case studies and to formulating a set of policy recommendations. The roundtable will begin with presentations by community partners in response to the following questions:

  1. What are the key ingredients of your organization’s ability to sustain itself? (For example: funding/revenue; governance; people; skill sets, etc.)
  2. What sustainability challenges does your organization currently face? How can these be overcome?
  3. What role does public policy play in sustaining your organization and its activities? What policy changes would assist your organization in sustaining itself and its activities?


  • Steve Chan (Vancouver Community Network)
  • Brian Beaton (K-Net)
  • Judi Snively (St. Christopher House)
  • Michael Lenczner (Ile Sans Fil)
  • Nicolas Lecomte & Ariane Pelletier (Communautique)
  • Katrina Peddle (Concordia University)

Resources & Background Material:

3:30-4:30 Breakout Discussions

  • Community Innovation (Clement & Proulx)
  • Civic Participation (Longford)
  • Sustainability (Moll)

4:30-5:00 Breakout Reports and Wrap-up (Chair: Leslie Regan Shade)

Sunday, March 5

9:00-10:30 Wrap-up and Next Steps (Chairs: Clement, Gurstein, Moll & Shade)

10:45-12:00 CRACIN Core Research Team Business Meeting

COO hosts First Nation youth gathering in Six Nations to discuss education

Keewaytinook Okimakanak, through Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet and the Ontario Regional Management Organization, sent a team of youth to this year's Chiefs of Ontario 3rd Annual First Nations Youth Symposium in Six Nations.

The SchoolNet team is made up of participants in this year's Youth Employment initiative that participated in the Cisco Academy of Learning ITE1 program and successfully completed the course. Angie Fiddler, the project coordinator and Angus Miles, the ITE1 Training Coordinator travelled to the gathering along with Cal Kenny and Kanina Terry to present these youth with their certificates and document this event. As well, Angus will be working with those youth who are now working through the Cisco ITE2 course, helping them complete their lessons. Click here to check out the pictures from this event

The Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council invited youth from across Ontario to attend this gathering that is being held this weekend, February 24-26, 2006. Click here to check out last year's gathering

This event is being jointly hosted in Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation.

This year’s theme is focusing on Education and providing First Nations youth with the opportunity to learn of First Nation approaches to education, balancing traditional values in pursuit of education, the importance of languages, and other relevant topics. In addition there are planned presentations and discussions from youth regarding the challenges and opportunities before them.

All First Nation youth 16-29 years of age were invited to attend this symposium. However, youth under 18 are required to have a chaperone. The Chiefs of Ontario were not covering the cost of travel for participants and therefore the participants were encouraged to seek sponsorship for this event. First Nations were encouraged to support their youth to attend by assisting in costs for travel. Accommodations for out of town participants are being provided.

The symposium is intended to bring together youth, educators, traditional elders, and technical experts for the opportunity to dialogue and share information that will participants and First Nations youth in general. This gathering is intended to provide a framework for the OFNYPC to develop a strategy to lobby on issues pertaining to education.

Traditional Land Use planning and GIS mapping part of KO training

This past week, five KO First Nation representatives from Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Keewaywin, North Spirit Lake and Poplar Hill participated in a Geographic Information  Systems (GIS) workshop in the SLAAMB boardroom in Sioux Lookout. Click here to see some pictures from the workshop.

The workshop is part of the CORDA funding for the KO Traditional Territories project,  initiated by the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Public Works department, lead by Robert Hunter.

The KO Traditional Territories Project has three primary objectives:

  1. to begin to increase community capacity in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology by increasing the skills and knowledge of local First Nation Multi-Media Technicians through the delivery of basic GIS skills and software training;
  2. to create foundation Traditional Territories Maps (within a GIS environment and accessible to community members on-line through their First Nation website) for the Keewaytinook Okimakanak member First Nations (Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Keewaywin, MacDowell Lake, North Spirit Lake, and Poplar Hill);
  3. to generate community awareness in GIS and ownership in the content and process of the evolving KO GIS Network.

Voyageurs North owner Tom Terry lead the first day of the workshop, providing information about:

  • Coordinating basic GIS skills and planning for local GIS representatives;
  • Designing data collection strategies;
  • Coordinating the Community GIS technicians to build awareness, determine acceptable scope, and generate ownership in the evolving direction and capability of the KO GIS Network.

The final two days of the workshop involved a ESRI trainer from Toronto providing ArcView Software training for the GIS technicians from each KO First Nation.

Sioux Lookout District teachers of Native children gather at Winnipeg conference

The Kekeenamawkayo 2006 - “Closing the Gaps” conference took place in Winnipeg this past week (February 14 to 16, 2006). Click here for a copy of the Jan 15 version of the Program at a Glance (WORD document)

Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program supported this event through their Ontario Regional Management Organization. Cal Kenny from K-Net travelled from Sioux Lookout to attend the event and gather some video footage and interviews with some of the presenters. Both the Keewaytinook Internet High School (lead by Darrin and his team of KiHS staff) and the Grade 8 Supplementary Courses (lead by Fernando) were highlighted in a day long workshop about e-learning. The Keewaytinook Okimakanak Research Institute (lead by Brian Walmark) presented their findings about the online professional development series on Special Education, Literacy and Child Development hosted by the KORI team. A video conferencing connection was installed in the meeting room for connections to other sites and demonstration purposes. Brian's presentation is posted online within the new K-Net Online Meeting Space and can be accessed by signing up at

Click here to see some pictures from this gathering

KO team joins SLAAMB's Career Fair in Sioux Lookout

Staff from the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Sioux Lookout office set up a display booth at Thursday's Career Fair that was held at the Queen Elizabeth District High School. The booth highlighted the work being done at Keewaytinook Okimakanak and provided the career fair participants with a glimpse of the possible career opportunities available within the organization.

Hosts of the display were Marie Carson (Fort Severn band member) and Kanina Terry (Lac Seul band member). Click here to view the pictures taken during this event.

Click here for more information about this event.

The various presentations and information sessions were video conferenced and web cast so others could watch them over the internet. The archives of these sessions are available online at

KO online applications well received at Wiky Education Conference

KORI’s Brian Walmark was one of thirty workshop leaders invited to the "Striving for Education Excellence In First Nation Communities," an education conference sponsored by the Wiky Board of Education (February, 3-4, 2006). Brian conducted a day long workshop dealing with on-line education. He focussed on the applications created by K-Net Services, the Regional Management Organization (RMO) Ontario for Industry Canada’s First Nations SchoolNet program.

Brian provided workshop participants in Wiky with a tour of the K-Net website including First Nations SchoolNet, G8, and KiHS. Participants were exposed to the Special Education, Literacy and Early Childhood Development on-line workshops and many registered. Some participated in a "live" session with a dozen other First Nations schools across the north from Fort Francis to Timmins to Bearskin Lake. Others viewed archived sessions on-line. Over three hundred and fifty principals, teachers, teaching assistants and the general public attended the two-day conference. Conference organizers want to make this into an annual gathering.  For more information, click here.

Guelph University graduate student partnering with KORI to complete her research thesis

Aliya Pardhan, a University of Guelph graduate student, traveled to Sioux Lookout on Friday, Feb 3 to meet with the K-Net team and other health service providers. Aliya's research project title is "Exploring Key Stakeholder Perspectives for a Collaborative First Nations Health Research Protocol". She is flying to Fort Severn with Wesley McKay (from KORI) on Sunday to meet with community members and learn about their experiences and needs in terms of effective health research and appropriate protocols.

As well, Aliya is working with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Research Institute - to contribute to KORI's research protocol guide for health research protocols that support communities.

Aliya's professor, Ricardo Ramirez writes about her works ... "An important accomplishment we already have in hand is the approval by the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board of Aliya Pardhan's application to involve human participants. Her application was adjusted in accordance with the KORI community research guidelines. To my knowledge this is a first at this university. ... I also wish to thank KORI for the amazing support you have provided us in getting this project off the ground."

INAC official visits KIHS in Balmertown and North Caribou Lake

Roger Howse, Education Program Officer at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, traveled to Balmertown on Tuesday, January 31 to learn about Keewaytinook Okimakanak education programs. Discussions about how to ensure the Keewaytinook Internet High School ( is sustained and adequately funded included a half day charter into North Caribou Lake First Nation to visit the local school, KiHS classroom and Wahsa Distance Education Learning Centre. While in North Caribou, a video conference with the KIHS classroom in Fort William provided an opportunity for Roger to meet with Craig Hardy, KIHS teacher for his home community.

The Ontario Regional Management Organization with Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program discussions included a video conference with Joe Poirier, Program Officer at the First Nations SchoolNet in Ottawa and Carl Seibel, Telecom Officer with FedNor in Thunder Bay.

Freda Kenny, KIHS Vice-principal was able to join the meeting via video conference from the KIHS classroom in Keewaywin First Nation.

Click here to check out the pictures from Weagamow visit

Metis Nation of Ontario reps travel to meet K-Net team in Sioux Lookout

Members of the Metis Nation of Ontario team including Doug Wilson - Director of Health Services (Ottawa), Andy Lefebvre - Economic Development (Timmins) and Troy MacVay, Information Systems (Ottawa) traveled to Sioux Lookout to meet with the K-Net team on Monday, January 30.

The meeting included video conference sessions with Carl Seibel at FedNor in Thunder Bay and with Randy Johns from his office in LaRonge Saskatchewan. Discussions about the network and the development of a mental health service delivered using video conferencing were the highlights of the meeting.

Click here to see some pictures from the meeting

Eighteen First Nation youth successfully complete Cisco Academy course

Keewaytinook Okimakanak is working in partnership with several organizations to support First Nation youth across Ontario to obtain certification as computer technicians.

The recently completed Cisco IT Essentials 1 (ITE1) course that ran from November 2005 to January 2006 had twelve First Nation youth successfully complete the program. Three youth passed the course the first time it was delivered in the winter of 2004-2005. Three other First Nations youth successfully completed the ITE1 Instructor training program in 2004 and are now delivering this course from their communities to other youth.

The course is delivered online using a variety of e-learning communication tools. Most of the participants are working as Computer Technicians in their home community and are employed under a Youth Employment initiative coordinated by members of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak team with funding from Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program.  

Instructors for the ITE1 course are:

  • Angus Miles (Lead instructor), Fort Severn First Nation (ITE1 and ITE2 instructor certified)
  • Aaron Hardy, Fort William First Nation (ITE1 and CCNA1 instructor certified)
  • Jamie Ray, Flying Post First Nation (ITE1 and CCNA1 instructor certified)

The 2005-2006, ITE1 graduates include:

  • Leon Keeper, Pikangikum First Nation
  • Darren Nadjiwon-Elliot, Cape Croker First Nation
  • Benjamin Sabourin, Pic Mobert First Nation
  • Denise Mckay, Deer Lake First Nation
  • Delphine Matthews, Big Trout Lake First Nation
  • Manley Wapioke, Shoal Lake #39 First Nation
  • Jamie Michano, Pic River First Nation
  • Jason Tait, Sachigo Lake First Nation
  • Jeremy Sawanas, Deer Lake First Nation
  • Robert Shawana, Wikwemikong First Nation
  • Eric Sutherland, Fort Albany First Nation
  • Willie Lazarus, Attawapiskat First Nation

The ITE1 2004-2005 ITE1 graduates included

  • Robert Semple, Kasabonika First Nation
  • Zach Morriseau, Fort William First Nation
  • William Solomon, Fort William First Nation

Angus Miles is now working with Aaron Hardy to deliver the ITE2 Cisco Academy training program to those ITE1 graduates interested in getting this certification.

Other partners involved in the development of this training opportunity include the Keewatin Career Development Corporation and the Aboriginal Human Resource Development department that funded the Train-the-trainer program working with the Education Network of Ontario and Centennial College.

Many of these youth will be attending the upcoming Chiefs of Ontario gathering in Six Nations where they will meet to continue the ITE2 training as well as participate in the First Nations Youth Education gathering.