Keewaytinook Okimakanak

KO team joins NAN education reps in meeting with INAC education officials

NAN's Education Committee lead by Deputy Chief Terry Waboose and Education Advisor Dobi-Dawn Frenette, hosted a meeting with INAC's Regional Education team on Thursday, Nov 9 in Thunder Bay. INAC representatives attending this meeting included:

  • Katherine Knott; Director, Education; (519) 751-2243
  • Connie Charlie; A/Junior Program Officer; (807) 624-1566
  • Cheryl Kylander; Sr Education Officer; (807) 624-1522

Topics discussed during this day long meeting included:

  • Education Priorities: Nishnawbe Aski Nation
  • Education Priorities: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • 06/07 Funding
  • 07/08 Funding
  • Education Authorities
  • National Working Groups
  • Education Policy Framework/Systems and Jurisdiction
  • Special Education
  • Provincial/Federal Relations
  • Intergovernmental Relations
  • Post-secondary (including ISSP)
  • Data sharing
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation Education meeting
  • Moving Forward

Other issues:

  • Ojibway Cree Cultural Centre
  • Northern Nishnawbe Education Council
  • Keewaytinook Internet High School, presentation
  • Information Technology & Broadband Connections (First Nation SchoolNet Program)

Jim Teskey, KO Education Advisor and Brian Beaton, K-Net Coordinator attended this meeting and did presentations about KiHS and the First Nations SchoolNet initiatives.

Online economic development workshops starting Nov 16 - everyone welcomed

Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Research Institute is working with the KO Public Works department to facilitate the first series of five online workshops regarding economic
& business development.

The workshops will occur every Thursday morning (9:30-10:30AM, EST) starting November 16 and ending on December 14, 2006.  

Everyone interested in the topics being discussed can participate in the actual session via video conference. As well, there is an online discussion forum and video streaming component for those who need to watch the session online. Please visit the website for: online discussions, workshop schedule, feedback form, links, etc.

Presenters include NADF award winner for Youth Entrepreneur and Partnership (2005) and recent Business Plan award,  Darcy & Susan's Gas.

Please contact the KORI office at the number below to book your site for the video conference sessions. 

The first workshop topic - Tips for Proposal Writing, will occur on November 16, 2006 9:30-10:30 AM (EST)

KORI Contact: Terry Moreau
Phone: 877.737.5638 X 1266 Email:  

UN offical wishes to meet KO Chiefs on IP video

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, wants to open a dialogue with the Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak ... To see new photos from Rome, click here...

Tauli-Corpuz is an Indigenous person from the Phillippines who is participating at the World Congress on Communication for Development... She praised KO for its achievements in telecommunications during the forum on Indigenous Form... Other news from Rome... Indigenous peoples in Central America would like to broadcast the "Turning the Corner" video on their community television network along with other videos created by K-Net's Cal Kenny such as "Paddling to Wahaso."  They would like to get them translated into Spainish but are willing to show them in English to encourage First Nations youth in Central America to tell their stories using video...

People attending the World Congress from Africa, Asia, and Central America are impressed with  At least one delegate has already signed up to participate in the e-learning platform on digital education, a project between KORI and the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay...

Members of the Indigenous Forum want to keep the dialogue going after the World Congress closes its final session on Friday... They are exploring a variety of ways to keep the ideas flowing...

KORI's Brian Walmark is attending the World Congress in Rome...

"Turning the Corner" featured at Community Video Screenings at World Congress

KO's Turning the Corner video was selected for screening at the World Congress on Communication for Development this week in Rome, Italy. 

Videos selected include short subjects and public service announcements produced throughout the Third World.

KO's Brian Walmark is a speaker at a World Bank / FAO forum on Indiginous Peoples and Communication Policy. During a forum on health and communications, he spoke about KO Telehealth and the role of Community Telehealth Coordinators (CTCs) and the crucial role that they play in the promotion of telehealth at the local level.

He was invited to join a team of people from Africa, Central America and South East Asia to draft a resolution on supporting Indiginous Peoples and Telecommunications. To see photos of this event, click here.

Click here to watch the Turning the Corner - Effective Use of Broadband video at  

To find more online reference material including video resources about this work, visit the June 2005 KNEWS story at

KO staff travel to Rome to present at event on Communication for Development

Brian Walmark, KO Research Institute Coordinator is on his way to Rome to present the KO Telecom story at a Special session on "Indigenous People' Communication for Development" being organized by the World Bank and the United Nations.

The First World Congress on Communication for Development,  jointly organized by FAO, the World Bank and Communication Initiative is being  held in Rome, Italy,  from October 25-27, 2006.  The Congress is bringing  together about 500 communication professionals engaged in development  initiatives, policymakers, development practitioners, donor and NGO  representatives, and academics from around the world to share perspectives  and advocate for greater integration of communication in development policy  and programs. 

The first WCCD is discussing the use of communication for  development in four main themes:

  • Governance,
  • Participation and Transparency, 
  • Health in a Time of Poverty and
  • Sustainable Development and Communication  Labs,

The objectives of the gathering include:

  • to demonstrate the value-added of communication for  development,
  • to provide data and evidence of the impact of communication in  development projects and programs, and
  • to reflect on how to incorporate  communication into development policy and practice.

Furthermore, a series of special events are also being organized on the  applications of Communication for Development to important developmental  issues.

Within this framework, a special session on "Indigenous People' Communication  for Development" is being organized by UNPFII, CIDOB, IFAD and FAO to promote  the mainstreaming of Community Development policies in support of Indigenous Peoples'
 development. The objectives of the session are:

  • To discuss the role  of ComDev in promoting sustainable development of IP
  • Define proposals for mainstreaming ComDev policies for IP
  • Agree on a priority actions and follow-up initiatives

Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Research Institute (Brian Walmark) is invited to be part of that session to contribute to the results  with your experience and to present the point of view of our organization/institution towards the mainstreaming of communication for development.

KO participates in Treasury Board's Blue Ribbon Panel on grants & contributions

On Oct ober 12, Treasury Board's Independent Blue Ribbon hosted a roundtable of national and regional Aboriginal groups to learn about their experience with accessing federal government grants and contributions. Keewaytinook Okimakanak's K-Net Service initiative was invited to share their experience with the panel members.

Federal government takes next step to restore accountability and to ensure effective and efficient program delivery - June 6, 2006

OTTAWA - The Honourable John Baird, President of the Treasury Board of Canada today announced the creation of an independent blue-ribbon panel to recommend measures to make the delivery of grant and contribution programs more efficient while ensuring greater accountability.

"People who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules want accountability from their government," Minister Baird said.  "With some $26 billion dollars going to grant and contributions each year, we owe taxpayers a thorough review of these programs as part of our ongoing efforts to restore accountability to government and to leave the legacy of political scandal in the past."

The government committed in its Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan to establish this independent panel.  It will have three main areas of focus:

  • reviewing the administrative requirements individuals and organizations must meet in order to access government grant and contribution programs;
  • examining the issues faced by government departments in managing these programs; and,
  • assessing whether instruments other than grants and contributions are more appropriate for funding some programs. 

"A top priority of Canada's new government is to restore the public's confidence in government," Minister Baird added.

"Examining grants and contributions is an important step in helping to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of these programs."

The three panellists were selected based on their extensive experience in the private or public sectors. They are Ms. Frances Lankin, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Greater Toronto; Mr. Ian D. Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer, Council of Ontario Universities; and Mr. Marc Tellier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yellow Pages Group.

"I am delighted these three distinguished individuals have agreed to provide informed and objective advice based on their knowledge of how government works and what Canadians need," Minister Baird concluded.  "Together, they bring a unique and valuable blend of political, not-for-profit, public sector and business experience.

 I am confident that their recommendations will reflect their sound judgment and ability to get to the heart of the issues."
The government intends to issue a new policy on transfer payments that will reflect recommendations of both the blue-ribbon panel and the Auditor General's May 2006 report on the Management of Voted Grants and Contributions.

In addition, the government will undertake two other initiatives to help government work better for Canadians: strengthen and streamline management by reviewing its procurement and financial management policies and repeal policies and regulations that inhibit the effectiveness of the public service.

Attached is a backgrounder with information on the Terms of Reference of the panel, biographical information on the panel members, and a fact sheet on grants and contributions programs.

- 30 -

For more information, contact:
Patrick Robert
Press Secretary
Office of the President of the Treasury Board
(613) 957-2666
Robert Makichuk
Media Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
(613) 957-2391

    KO Chiefs meet in Balmertown discuss tribal council programs and issues

    The early winter storm that hit Red Lake on Tuesday evening added another level of excitement to all the chiefs and KO staff traveling to Balmertown for the board of directors meeting on Oct 19 and 20. The meeting has now been extended to Friday to ensure all the business is discussed.

    Geordi Kakepetum welcomed two former board members who were recently elected as chiefs of their First Nation. Chief Sally Kakegamic of North Spirit Lake and Chief Eli Moose of Poplar Hill were recently elected to lead their communities and once again become members of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak board of directors.

    Other chiefs attending the meeting include:

    • Chief Royal Meekis, Deer Lake First Nation
    • Chief Roy Gray, Fort Severn First Nation
    • Chief Joe Meekis, Keewaywin First Nation
    • Proxy Albert James, McDowell Lake First Nation
    • Elder Fred Kakegamic, Keewaywin First Nation

    Check out the pictures at

    KO staff member continues to serve on NOSM board of directors

    Brian Walmark, Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Research Institute Coordinator, was recently reappointed as a member of the Northern School of Medicine Board of Directors, representing the city of Thunder Bay.


    NOSM’s new Board of Governors

    Six new members have joined the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. At the annual member’s meeting the audited financial statements were approved, amendments to the corporate by-law were ratified and new members sworn in.

    Barbara Beernaerts, was nominated by the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, Dr. Amar Cheema, was nominated by the post-graduate medical trainees, Austin Hunt, nominated by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, Jeanne Naponse was nominated by the Union of Ontario Indians, Neil MacOdrum was nominated by the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and Elizabeth Moore was nominated by the Nishnawbi Aski Nation.

    Dr. Jean Anawati, Helen Cromarty, Ron Chrysler, James Gordon, Dr. Peter  Hutten-Czapski, Jeremie Larouche, Dr. Neil McLeod , Dr. Dermot McLoughlin, Dr. William McMullen, Tracey Ross, Lou Turco, Dr. Stephen Viherjoki, Brian Walmark and Carl White were re-appointed.

    K-Net staff join BC First Nation IT capacity building think tank

    The two day First Nations IT capacity building "think tank" workshop (Sept 29 - 30) was hosted by the First Nations Technology Council in Vancouver, BC. Brian Beaton, K-Net Coordinator participated via video conference from KO's Sioux Lookout office. Susan O'Donnell from the National Research Council also joined the session via video conference from New Brunswick. Bridging and archive services were made available to the gathering by K-Net within Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet program.

    From a message written by John Webb for workshop participants ...

    The provincial BC government has a plan to connect all 203 First Nations in BC to broadband networks over the next couple of years. They realize that just making broadband available is only part of the job. An accompanying capacity building program is now being planned to ensure that the communities have the resources in place to begin to use information and communications technology effectively.

    The participants in the workshop reviewed the government's draft plan for capacity building and provided suggestions and directions for the team at the First Nations Education Steering Committee ( for the implementation strategy.

    The draft plan that secured the provincial funding included ...

    • Each community taking part in the project will be provided with a Tele-centre consisting of a suite of PCs. (2 to 5 depending on size of community), a scanner and printer. 
    • The band will be asked to provide a building or room for the computers accessible by band members and provide heat, light and washrooms. 
    • A band member will be brought to Vancouver or other provincial centre for, an intense train-the-trainer program.
    • They would then return to their community to become trainer/operator of the tele-centre and in the case of a community where the government is establishing the broadband, a wireless network. 
    • Continuing education and support for both this individual and community members would be supplied using online applications and tools such as Apple iSight video conferencing technology. 
    • The government would pay the community member an annual honorarium to staff the centre on a part time basis for two years. 

    Discussions at the workshop included presentations from participants and the use of the open space workshop process to explore topics including:

    • the feasibility of this government plan,
    • what the initial training should consist of,
    • what the next level of training should be,
    • what tools we need to continue to support the Tele-centre and the training needs of the community, and
    • generally any other wisdom that the participants could impart to this project.

    Many of us have been talking about the issue of First Nations ICTs for a number of years.  I do not expect to be given a second chance at this and I appreciate greatly the support and council you folks will bring to this project.

    John Webb
    Executive Director, Communities and External Initiatives
    Office of the CIO
    Province of British Columbia
    tel: (250) 952-0671  fax: (250) 387-1940

    First Nations Connectivity Research Project

    The Province of BC is committed to bridging the digital divide for First Nations communities to provide access to e-Health, e-Learning, and e-Business opportunities. To accomplish this goal, the 2006 provincial budget included a commitment of $15 million over two years to work with federal partners to provide broadband, last-mile connections, computers and training for First Nations in BC. Providing broadband infrastructure is a high priority for First Nations organizations and several provincial and federal ministries. The School of Communication, at Simon Fraser University, has extensive technology research expertise and is ideally suited to design and conduct an evaluation of the impact of providing First Nations with high speed connectivity. This multi-year project will assist in providing a third-party evaluation of the First Nations Connectivity Project, baseline information on the impact of connectivity to first nations, and identify gaps and issues with connectivity. Please visit our research wiki for more information and to participate in the project.

    UofT speech pathologist visits K-Net to plan research project with remote FNs

    Dr. Alice Eriks-Brophy from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto spent this past week in Sioux Lookout learning about Keewaytinook Okimakanak's K-Net Services and meeting with potential partners in a research initiative she is leading. The project involves examining the use of video conferencing as a means for delivering speech and language assessments with First Nation schools.

    Join at / Research / Speech-language Pathology

    Remote Delivery of Speech-Language Pathology Assessments for Aboriginal Children in Northern Ontario using Videoconferencing

    This project will examine the feasibility of conducting speech and language assessments of Aboriginal children referred for possible communication disorders living in remote areas using videoconferencing technology.  The project will validate a protocol to examine the potential of obtaining an unbiased assessment of speech and language using videoconferencing and will examine the role of technology in enhancing the effectiveness of community-based speech and language intervention.  The project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services and has received substantial technical, equipment and resource support from K-Net.  The project represents a collaboration among professionals, local community personnel, researchers and telehealth and Internet connectivity providers in the Sioux Lookout Region of northern Ontario and other southern regions of the province.  The project will also include a capacity building component whereby the participating Aboriginal community members will receive training in the nature and assessment of communication disorders in children and the appropriate procedures to be used in the assessment of children using videoconferencing.  It is hoped that this project can lead to the implementation of innovative telerehabilitation-based speech-language pathology services in Aboriginal communities.

    Speech-language pathology (SLP) services are limited by a system-wide shortage of trained professionals, while the demand for such services is high.  Individuals residing in remote or isolated northern communities, including Aboriginal communities in particular, may experience serious obstacles in obtaining access to appropriate assessment and intervention services.  Speech and language skills are crucial components for academic, vocational and social skills. Deficits in speech and language propagate through a child’s life with increasingly negative consequences for learning, employment, social and personality adaptation. Early identification and intervention services for children with identified speech and language difficulties has been shown to result in long-term improvement in communication development and educational achievement for these children.  Any means of reducing wait times for assessment and service provision had great potential benefits for these children and their families.  These benefits should be extended to all children residing in Ontario, including those living in northern Aboriginal communities where access to service if often delayed or even non-existent. 

    The application of technology to the assessment of children in remote, isolated, and/or Aboriginal communities has great potential in removing barriers to appropriate services for these children.  Ontario has developed a strong telehealth network that has been used extensively in providing medical assessment and treatment to individuals living in remote areas. Providing pediatric rehabilitation services to children and youth in First Nations and Aboriginal communities is very different from providing these services in other rural communities and requires careful research and training of all involved.  Videoconferencing has not commonly been used in Canada for performing assessments of children referred for potential speech and language difficulties, and for Aboriginal children in particular.

    The incidence of children and youth with speech and language difficulties in Aboriginal communities is reportedly very high, while the waiting list for initial assessment and treatment is lengthy and may exceed 12 months in areas where SLP services are not available. In Northern Ontario, SLP services have become more difficult to obtain recently since Federal funding for transportation for SLP services was discontinued.  In addition, the recruitment of medical and rehabilitation professionals for isolated First Nations is an ongoing challenge.  The need for alternative delivery of SLP services has therefore become more urgent than ever.

    The College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) has developed a position statement on the use of telepractice approaches in providing services to clients with speech, language, or hearing difficulties.  The use of teleconferencing meets the College’s requirement for face-to-face assessments through interactive, real-time visual and auditory access to the individual being served.  Nevertheless, the potential for such technology to introduce bias in the assessment process, particularly when the child being assessed and the professional doing the assessment represent different cultural backgrounds, is high.  Sources of bias in the SLP assessment process may stem from the referral source, the examiner, the procedures and materials used in the assessment, and the interpretation of performance, all of which have a potentially significant impact on placement decisions and the perceived need for services.  To date, no standard test protocol to assess Aboriginal children referred for potential speech and language difficulties has been developed, nor has the capability of teleconferencing to provide an unbiased, valid assessment of Aboriginal children presenting with a variety of communication and behavioural characteristics been sufficiently explored.

    In this project, the feasibility of conducting remote speech and language assessments of children of various ages and from various Aboriginal communities through statistically evaluating the results of face-to-face versus remote assessment results.  Speech and language assessments will be carried out through videoconferencing technology with children who have been referred for assessment due to concerns regarding their speech and language development.  The children will be located in communities served by the KO Telehealth North Network.  The researcher will be present at the near site to interact with the child, and will assist in the administration and scoring of the assessment.  The remote site SLP will be located in various southern locations where compatible videoconferencing technology is available.  This SLP will direct and administer the assessment in real time as it progresses using videoconferencing and will record and score the responses of the child.  The results of the assessment from both sites will be compared and the degree of correspondence between the obtained scores will be evaluated.  The project will include measures of client satisfaction obtained from parents and teachers of the children who participate in the assessment and intervention phase of the study. Unbiased assessments would strive for inter-rater agreement levels of 95% or higher across all sections of the assessment with the exception of articulation measures, where 85% agreement will be acceptable. Data from the pilot project will be used to further develop a proposal aimed at the development of a major implementation study of SLP services in First Nation Community schools.