Keewaytinook Okimakanak

OFNTSC 10th anniversary technical conference and trade show in Thunder Bay

At the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation conference taking place this week, Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Public Works Manager, Peter Campbell presented "Progress in Infrastructure 1995-2005: One First Nation's Experience" highlighting the work and changes that have occured over the years in Keewaytinook Okimakanak member First Nations (click here to view Peter's presentation). Denis Nault from the Keewaytinook Centre of Excellence also did a presentation about the Water Plant Operators' Training Program.

Click here to visit the conference web site to see all the different presentations and many of the powerpoint shows with the information about the topic. Some of the topics include:

From their conference web site ...

10th Annual Technical Conference and Trade Show
August 15 - 18, 2005
Valhalla Inn
, Thunder Bay, ON

Since 1995, when the Ontario Chiefs-in-Assembly provided our mandate, OFNTSC will celebrate over a decade of providing technical advisory services to all First Nations in Ontario. Our theme, “Much to be proud of - Much to be done,” embodies the essence of our successes over a ten-year period and sets the backdrop as we continue to strive for excellence in delivering technical advisory services and promoting self sufficiency to the 134 First Nation communities in Ontario.

Held in conjunction with the Aboriginal Water & Waste Water Association of Ontario (AWWAO) and Ontario Native Fire Fighters Society (ONFFS), we anticipate over 400 delegates the largest First Nation Technical gathering of its kind anywhere in Canada. This year's conference is unfolding into what promises to be a stimulating and exciting three day program that includes information packed workshops, an innovative trade show and an exhilarating fund raising golf tournament. In order to honor the past, celebrate the present and realize our future as a highlight to this conference we would like to invite you to a Gala dinner. This evening will be filled with fine dining, friends and entertainment, so please join us as we celebrate 10 years of successes!

Telecom Policy Review submissions posted on-line, Phase 2 to begin

The first phase of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel was completed yesterday with 102 submissions being received from consumers, community organizations, businesses, industry associations and telecom providers. All the submissions are available on-line (click here to view the list). Keewaytinook Okimakanak's highlighted the need for unite policies and programs that address the special needs of remote and rural communities. Click here to read Keewaytinook Okimakanak's submission.

The second phase of the Review Panel is now set up to begin accepting comments and arguements concerning the submissions received up to August 15. It is interesting to read some of the submissions from the groups in the cities that make statements such as "4.8 With respect to broadband for very remote and isolated rural areas across Canada, Industry Canada’s BRAND program appears to have been quite effective, but for rural areas close to metropolitan influence zones BRAND has been of no benefit at all. (OCRI, Page7)". There is going to be a lot of effort required to help the folks living their comfortable lives in the cities and near cities to understand the realities of living in remote and rural communities.

Everyone is now encouraged to write to the Panel and let them know that a two-way satellite connection that supports an internet connection (sometimes) is not really broadband. Remote and rural communities need broadband infrastructure that will carry video conferencing with quality of service that will support real interactive telehealth sessions with physicians!

The Telecom Review Panel was established by the Minister of Industry on April 11, 2005, to conduct a review of Canada’s telecommunications policy and regulatory framework. The Minister has appointed Dr. Gerri Sinclair, Hank Intven and André Tremblay as the members of the Panel. The panel is asked to make recommendations on how to move Canada toward a modern telecommunications framework in a manner that benefits Canadian industry and consumers.

The Toronto Star on August 15, 2005 as Why Broadband, Neutrality, Privacy Deserve Policy Boost - by Michael Geist ...

... The government must move to bridge this Canadian digital divide. Where cable and telephone providers are unwilling to offer commercial broadband services, federal, provincial and local governments should fill the void to ensure that all Canadians enjoy access to e-commerce, distance education opportunities, tele-health, and e-government services."

Globe & Mail  August 16, 2005 Page B5

Some of the country's top telephone companies are calling on the government to switch to a regulatory framework that leans more on market forces to guide competition, according to submissions addressed to a panel currently conducting a sweeping review of the telecommunications sector. 

The three-member panel is charged with identifying the pressing issues surrounding telecom policy by the end of the year. Interested parties had to hand in their proposals yesterday. 

From the submissions, it is clear cable and telephone companies remain on opposite sides of the regulatory fence. 

According to BCE Inc. and Telus Corp., current regulation is better suited to long-gone days when they were monopolies. The two companies insist competition will increase if there is greater reliance on market forces, saying regulation could be used when market power is abused.

"There's no reason to treat telecommunications differently . . ." Lawson Hunter, executive vice-president of regulatory affairs at Montreal-based BCE, said yesterday in an interview. "In other sectors of the economy you don't see anywhere near the degree of government oversight that you see in telecommunications." 

Of course new rivals, such as Rogers Communications Inc., see it differently. Toronto-based Rogers, which introduced local phone service last month, said current regulatory policies are adequately equipped to encourage competition. 

"We've got solid competition in the wireless market, long distance market, Internet market -- quite frankly every market except the local telephone market," David Watt, vice-president of business economics at Rogers, said in an interview. 

"We encourage the policy makers to stay the course, and hopefully competition will emerge in the local telephone market," he said.

The telecom panel is examining a wide range of issues, from how the industry is regulated to the adoption of information and communications technologies services or ICT. 

BCE stressed the importance of ICT, saying greater adoption will help narrow the productivity gap with the United States. 

Among BCE's proposals is to provide incentives to encourage businesses to invest in ICT. It also wants the government to act as a role model, using ICT in areas such as health care and education.

"ICT investments pay dividends in terms of business operations and the bottom line, yet Canadian companies, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, have not embraced ICT to the extent they could and should," BCE said in a release. 

The review comes amid a sea change in the telecom industry. Internet protocol standards let companies like Rogers sell phone services over their cable systems, ushering in what could be the biggest competitive threat the phone firms have ever faced. 

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has opted to regulate the major carriers' new Internet-based calling products as it does their local phone services, a ruling the telcos are appealing. 

The CRTC, the federal communications regulator, embarked on a process earlier this year that will set the criteria for the eventual deregulation of the local phone market. But that's not fast enough for some. 

"Telus proposed that the government establish a panel to consider which telecommunications services should be deregulated immediately . . . ," the Vancouver-based company said yesterday in a release.

Ontario supports all weather road study in Far North announcement in Balmertown

The Honourable Rick Bartolucci announced this afternoon that the Province would contribute over $146,000 to conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability of building an all-season road to connect the KO communities with the Ontario highway system.

Chiefs and mayors attended the announcement in Balmertown. The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund announcement supporting the all weather road into the far north was video conferenced with representatives from Deer Lake, Keewaywin, North Spirit Lake, Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay attending. To learn more about the announcement, click here.  To see photos, click here.

All-Weather Road Would Link First Nation Communities to Northern Highway System

RED LAKE, August 09, 2005 – The Ontario government is helping connect Northwestern Ontario’s remote First Nation communities by investing in an all-weather road study in the Far North, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.

“The unique transportation issues faced by remote First Nation communities are amplified by the prohibitive costs of moving people and goods,” said Bartolucci.  “The McGuinty government is committed to working with First Nations communities and the federal government to address such long-standing challenges that hinder the health and prosperity of the Far North.”

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) will provide $146,297 to enable the Northern Roads First Nations Transportation Authority to undertake the first stages of planning for a proposed all-weather road system.  The system would extend northwards from the end of the existing all weather road north of Red Lake to Sandy Lake First Nation, linking Deer Lake, Keewaywin, North Spirit, McDowell Lake and Poplar Hill First Nations. 

These remote communities are currently only accessible by air service and by seasonal winter roads.  The mandate of the transportation authority is to manage and oversee all the activities associated with the planning, design, development, construction, operations and maintenance of the proposed all weather road. The project’s initial steps include assessing economic impacts and benefits, strategic planning and defining the roles and responsibilities. 

“Residents of our Far North hope for transportation infrastructure that we in the more populated regions of the province take for granted,” said Bartolucci, who is chair of the NOHFC.  “I am pleased we can help take these first steps toward the day when northerners can travel and goods can be delivered in remote communities on a road system that is available on a year-long basis.”

This NOHFC project is part of the government’s Northern Prosperity Plan for building stronger northern communities. The Northern Prosperity Plan has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All.



Laura Blondeau
Minister’s Office – Sudbury
(705) 564-7454 

Michel Lavoie 
MNDM/NOHFC – Sudbury
(705) 564-7125

Kuhkenah Network hub in Toronto relocates to teleco vault at 151 Front Street

Several short notices have been posted this past week on the Network News items concerning the complex move of all the circuits and equipment serving the Kuhkenah Network partner communities. All the routers, switches and connections have now been successfully relocated from the Education Network of Ontario's server room at 20 Toronto Street over to the Teleco vault at 151 Front Street.

Posted by danpellerin on Tuesday August 02, 2005:
Circuit move from 20 Toronto to 151 Front is now completed.

Posted by adilinden on Tuesday July 26, 2005:
Cutover the Bell access to 151 Front Street. Move of the PVCs went smooth. However, some circuits are experiencing significant packet loss. Problem is being addressed by Bell tester.

We appreciate all the K-Net users' support and patience as we completed this move and apologize to everyone who might have experienced any brief interruptions to their service during this move.

This strategic move opens up more opportunities for Kuhkenah Network partner communities to be able to access other networks easily. Most major networks including Bell, Telus, AllStream, CANARIE, etc are located in this same facility providing direct routes to their partners, when proper arrangements are made.

An example of how this move will benefit K-Net is our direct fibre connection to the NORTH Network from 20 Toronto Street will eventually no longer be required resulting in significant cost savings. Another direct route to NORTH Network can now be established from the co-location facilities at 151 Front Street.

Thanks to Dan and Adi who have been working hard over the past few months to arrange this relatively seamless but critical transition of the Kuhkenah Network! Whenever K-Net users barely know that such a major achievement has been successful implemented without any interruption to their services, everyone can rest assure that we are in good hands.

KO staff travel to central Quebec to complete satellite connections in Obedjiwan

A new member of the National Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN) completed their community connections this past week with the assistance of Dan Pellerin, K-Net's Network Manager. Obedjiwan (or Opitciwan) First Nation with the assistance of the First Nations SchoolNet program's Quebec Regional Management Organization (the First Nations Education Council) successfully installed two roof mounted 2.4M C-Band satellite dishes to begin providing broadband applications for their community members.

Click on the links below for information about Opitciwan

Treaty Nine's 100 year commemoration ceremony video of speeches on-line

Several of the speeches from the morning ceremonies for the Treaty 9 Commemoration gathering on July 12 that took place at the Old Post site in Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation are now available on-line. These speeches highlight the understanding and realities about the relationship the First Nation people that live and work within this treaty region have with the rest of Canada. They include:

The Chiefs of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and guests gathered in Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the signing of Treaty Number 9. Click here for the agenda for this full day of activities. Click here to visit the Treaty 9 Commemoration Website for more information about this event and other celebrations that are taking place across Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Click here to view the webcast of the afternoon session that was broadcast live from the school site.

Satellite broadband applications highlighted in trip to Slate Falls video

Cal Kenny, K-Net's Multi-media producer, put together a short video documentary showing Deborah Davis, Director General of Industry Canada's Information Highway Applications Branch visit to Sioux Lookout and Slate Falls First Nation. The 3:20 minute video has Deborah speaking about the trip, the satellite connections in Sioux Lookout and Slate Falls First Nation and the applications that are now operational with the C-Band satellite resources in place thanks to Industry Canada.

Everyone is welcomed to view this video at
The video shows how the C-Band satellite network is being utilized to support a variety of broadband applications including telehealth, the internet high school, IP video, IP telephones, high speed data, etc. For more information about the C-Band satellite broadband network visit and watch the video about the opening of this service at

Feedback from member of Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet team in Ottawa ... "I found this video very well done as well as very impressive. Thank you very much for sharing it with us. It was also very nice to see the KIHS center over there and also the telehealth center. Furthermore, the scenery from the plane is truly amazing! Congratulations in showcasing your region."

Trillium Foundation and KO supports Lt Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps

The five Nishnawbe Aski Nation First Nations of Muskrat Dam, North Caribou Lake, Neskantaga, Kingfisher Lake and Fort Albany are establishing Literacy Camps with support from the Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camp initiative. Keewaytinook Okimakanak's summer student, Valerie Kakekaspan is working with the Literacy camp volunteers to set up a web site for this work ... see

Media Advisory - Support builds for Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps

TORONTO, July 21 /CNW/ - The Hon. James K. Bartleman will officially launch the Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camp initiative at a ceremony at Queen's Park on Friday 22 July at 11 AM. Ms Helen Burstyn, Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, will announce support for five literacy camps opening this week and next in First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. And the Morningstar River drummers and dancers will perform an Honour Song and dance.

WHO    The Hon. James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor
             Deputy Chief Alvin Fiddler, Nishnawbe Aski Nation
             Ms Helen Burstyn, Chair, Ontario Trillium Foundation
             Mr Rob Stewart, CEO & Executive Commissioner, Scouts Canada
             Morningstar River aboriginal drummers and dancers

WHAT   Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps launch
              Announcement of support by the Ontario Trillium Foundation

WHERE  The Lieutenant Governor's Suite
                Room 131, Legislative Building, Queen's Park

WHEN   Friday 22 July / 11:00 AM

The Lieutenant Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps initiative is run by a steering committee representing seven organizations that belong to the Lieutenant Governor's Literacy Coalition: Scouts Canada, YMCA Ontario, Frontier College, the National Indigenous Literacy Association, PhotoSensitive, the Toronto District School Board and World Literacy Canada.

For further information: Nanda Casucci-Byrne, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Tel. (416) 325-7781,

Industry Canada Director General visits Sioux Lookout and Slate Falls

Deborah Davis, Industry Canada's Information Highway Applications (IHAB) Branch Director General and James Fulcher, Director of Program Analysis and Development at IHAB are traveling to Sioux Lookout today to meet with Keewaytinook Okimakanak and our partners.

Their visit will include a trip over to Slate Falls on Monday morning to meet with the local leaders about their new community broadband network. Debbie Korobanik of Windigo First Nations Council will join the KO team and the guests from Industry Canada for this trip. Photos on-line here

Making broadband connections work in Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation

Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation is developing their  community broadband telecommunications network. The community obtained FedNor funding in 2004 to begin planning and building their local community network. The Mishkeegagamang project also helped provide some support funding for the development of the Pickle Lake broadband cable system which began operating in the summer of 2004 (Click on the KNews story - Pickle Lake gets assistance for high speed internet services - Aug 2004).

A K-Net T1 connection was installed by Bell Canada in the local nursing station in the fall of 2004 as the first step. The nursing station was networked (Health Canada and KO Telehealth) so all the computers and the new telemedicine suite could be on-line. In January of this year, the telehealth facilities were staffed and operational (click here for pictures of the Mish telehealth opening).

The Mishkeegogamang Broadband Community Network is using a wireless design to connect the various locations across this dispersed community. Access to the Bell tower and getting the proper radio equipment that can manage video, audio and high speed data traffic with Quality of Service (QOS) did result in some delays in completing this project. In the end, Superior Wireless' team and the K-Net team (Dan and Adi) were able to put together an operational network in time for the 100 year commemoration ceremonies of the signing of treaty nine that occurred this past week.

On Tuesday, the First Nations SchoolNet team were in Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation for these celebrations. Several activities were able to be supported using this community broadband network including:

  • Video taping of the entire event at the old post site (click here for pictures);
  • Taped interviews with elders from across Nishnawbe Aski Nation about the treaty and its historical significance to the Nishnawbe Aski (working in partnership with Wawatay Native Communications Society, Shibogama First Nations Council and Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre staff);
  • Information display booth about the ICT applications being supported by Keewaytinook Okimakanak;
  • Establishing a wireless broadband connection at the site of the afternoon ceremonies that included the IP video conferencing unit (for the webcast), IP telephones for connecting to others, and computers for high speed data connections;
  • Webcasting and archiving of the entire afternoon session (click here to watch the archive - NOTE: the first 2 hours and 30 minutes is mainly set up so SCROLL forward to 2:36 to get to the start of this 3 hour event);
  • Using the archived sessions to web stream the various guest speakers (click on the name to watch their presentation), including:

One event that happened that day that highlights the importance of broadband communication networks was when an INAC communications officer was trying to get pictures from the event to the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal to include with their press release. Because he was not able to contact his INAC co-workers at the ceremonies, he called K-Net to see if there was a way to get pictures to the editor.

While speaking on the IP phone with Jamie Ray and Jeannie Carpenter who were setting up the network at the ceremony site, the editor of the newspaper called the K-Net Sioux Lookout office. He was able to speak directly with Jamie and Jeannie by teleconferencing the two together using the IP phone network. While they were trying to figure out how to get some pictures for the newspaper article, David Paul Achneepineskum, NAN's Executive Director walked into the tent site and was seen on the live internet webcast that was being broadcast over the network. The team was then able to ask David Paul about who would have pictures to share and he suggested Jenna Young, NAN's Communication Officer. Jeannie took on the task of getting the pictures from Jenna, zipping them together into an e-mail to the editor and sending them over to the newspaper and to the K-Net office where they were posted.

This is a great example of broadband in action by being able to see David Paul to get his help (video), to speak with people at the site (audio) and to send the information required (data). All this was done in less than an hour. Click here to see the pictures that were sent.