Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Wawatay News' May 29 issue has two more stories about K-Net's Work

The May 29 issue of Wawatay News contains two more news stories about the work being completed within the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations demonstration project.

This week's Kuh-ke-nah page in Wawatay News include the following articles:

Rick Garrick is researching additional stories for future articles. If you have a story that you want to share about this project and the work that is happening in your community to get connected, please send us an e-mail.

Various newspaper articles are being scanned and stored for reference purposes in this photo gallery.

Presentations, Meetings, Travel, Training keep KO Staff Busy

Since the last week in April, KO staff members have travelled to different events across Ontario and Manitoba sharing information, supporting other communities and working to further the development of broadband connectivity in First Nations.

Chief John McKay, Jesse Fiddler and Brian Beaton made the trip to Ottawa to attend the Smart Communities meetings with other project teams from across the country. Pictures of these meetings can be seen at Jesse set up the video conferencing connections for the Industry Canada booth at the SmartCity Summit and we were able to connect with some of the First Nations during this event. As well, we worked with some of the other Smart Communities projects to connect with the folks back in their communities to show case some of the work being done across the country. Check out the picture from the trade show at

Dan Pellerin, K-Net’s Network Manager, travelled to Thompson in Northern Manitoba to meet with community leaders from across that part of the country who are working together to put together a business case for Industry Canada’s BRAND initiative. Dan ended up on the front page of Thompson’s local newspaper for his presentation and discussions around telehealth. Thanks to Christine Penner-Polle who conducted demonstrations and provided a great explanation about the KO Telehealth work. Check out the front page story at

As well, John Moreau and Barb Wong made a road trip to Southern Ontario as part of their SchoolNet / RMO work, to visit a number of First Nation schools across the province in preparation for the installation of two-way satellite connections in some of these schools. Pictures of each First Nation and school are posted at In total, Barb and John were able to visit fourteen different First Nations and twenty different schools during their busy trip.

As part of the FedNor funded Internet-based Training project, K-Net staff is working with Wawatay newspaper staff to develop on-line resources that the north can use in their classrooms and communities. Alvin Fiddler and Mike Dube are working to build a linux server where they hope to create an on-line library of some back issues of Wawatay.

The week of May 5 saw Les Meekis and David McKay travelling to Poplar Hill for their community ICT planning meetings. Other unfortunate events occurred that resulted in Les developing a planning tool for First Nation workers to use to report and plan their activities for the final year of the Smart Communities Demonstration project.

Dan and Adi travelled on May 5 to Pickle Lake and Mishkeegogamong for the day. They met with Pickle Lake Town Council to discuss possible connectivity solutions. While at Mish, they visited the school to take pictures of the existing connections using the DirecPC unit that will soon be replaced by a two way satellite unit until a more permanent broadband solution is installed in their community.

NORTH Network was well represented by Irene Pal who visited Balmertown and Sioux Lookout offices to meet with telehealth staff across the province. While in Sioux Lookout, Irene provided Lars and John with training in using the Remedy software for documenting and tracking network issues. As well, Irene was able to get the technicians at NORTH Network in Toronto to fix a video conferencing problem with their quality that everyone was experiencing since January of this year.

Jesse and Steven lead a three day workshop in Sioux Lookout with four staff from Seven Generations Education Institute in Fort Frances. From the training and development workshop, Seven Generations staff were able to build a Linux server, load the KO open source e-learning platform and produce a web-based e-learning environment for their institute. Check out their product at  

That same week, Dan travelled to Toronto for meetings with Kativik Regional Government reps and other partners. He was accompanied on this trip by Bryan Orthner from the Smart Communities project in Northern Saskatchewan. Together they worked with John McNamara from the NORTH Network to install the new Accord bridge that will expand K-Net’s video conferencing services for network users.

On Monday May 12, representatives from RamTel came to Sioux Lookout to provide training on the installation procedures for their two way satellite systems. K-Net staff and contractors were on hand to participate in this training. As part of Industry Canada’s First Nations SchoolNet / RMO initiative, K-Net is installing 35 of these units as temporary solutions until the community develops more permanent broadband networks to serve their community members.

Finally, Dan and John joined Windigo staff member, Ernie Buswa on a trip into Cat Lake to set up their C-Band satellite dish to provide a community broadband solution once all the circuits are installed.

Wawatay News' May 15 issue has two more stories about K-Net's Work

The May 15 issue of Wawatay News contains two more news stories about the work being completed within the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations demonstration project. Rick Garrick is researching additional stories for future articles. If you have a story that you want to share about this project and the work that is happening in your community to get connected, please send us an e-mail.

This week's articles include:

First Nation Computer Technicians Putting Skills to Work - Margaret Lawson, McDowell Lake band member and Laureen Kaminawaish, Sachigo Lake band member, share their experiences during and after the SLAAMB employment and training program delivered by K-Net Services staff.

Turning Point Offers Interesting Viewpoints, Ideas  - Mary Alice Smith describes the development and maintenance of the Turning Point web site where people from around the world share their thoughts, stories and actions.

Various newspaper articles are being scanned and stored for reference purposes in this photo gallery.

Jesse Fiddler, KO's Multi-Media Coordinator, to be honoured as an IT Hero

Northwestern Ontario Technology Association and Thunder Bay's Fast Forward Present:

Finding Direction & Celebrating Excellence

Featuring the presentation of the second annual ITAC Community IT Hero

Date: Thursday May 15th/2003 at the Victoria Inn, Thunder Bay
Time: 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Cost: NOTA Members $20.00, non-members $25.00, Students $15.00

Register online at

Come Celebrate Northwestern Ontario's 2003 IT Heroes!

Scott Dougall - Skystream Networks
John Fullerton - Northern
Joan Main - Confederation College
Jesse Fiddler - K-Net

Each winner will be giving a 10 minute presentation on their IT accomplishments.

About the Awards

As part of Canada's 2003 IT Week celebrations (May 2-11 2003), the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), in conjunction with Industry Canada, created the Community IT Hero Award to recognize individuals who have assisted their communities in a significant way through the use or application of information technology (IT).

This awards program achieves the grassroots objective of getting communities involved in IT Week through identifying and selecting heroes who have made a significant difference in the lives of people in their communities. The selection committee consists of people from communities all across Canada including local representation.

KO Hires Energy Expert and Trainee for Renewable Energy Project

Keewaytinook Okimakanak, (KO), created the position of an energy expert for an initial period of one year, (January - December 2003), to raise awareness, build capacity, promote and assist in the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and programs among First Nation (FN) communities in Ontario, as outlined in the Federal Government’s Action Plan 2000.  This will provide a mechanism for First Nation communities to become, within a very short time period, more actively involved in energy and climate change issues that affect them.  

Its intention is to promote and implement appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that help build local self-sufficiency, provide economic development opportunities, and develop indigenous capacity, all the while respecting local customs, traditions and beliefs.  From a First Nation’s perspective it is essential that renewable energy technologies and energy conservation measures promote self-sufficiency and be complimentary to local philosophies and beliefs.  The Assembly of First Nations believes this is not only the right thing to do, but it is also the best way to develop and implement practical solutions to local problems.

To reduce greenhouse gas production in the FN communities the energy expert will create awareness of energy production and use in global warming, the effects of using less energy more effectively and the mitigating effects of generating more of the energy needed for improved quality of life and economic development from renewable sources.  Developing First Nation capacity in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and techniques, identifying, facilitating and deploying  the knowledge is a priority.

The energy expert, Robin Hughes - Energy Advisor/Facilitator, will travel to many communities and to various Aboriginal meetings and functions to raise awareness of the issues involved.  He will use KO’s K-Net network and Tribal Council, technical and Band Council meetings to promote the objectives and progress of the program.  He will constantly review and modify proposed community approaches, activity plans and progress with elders, Band Councils, Tribal Councils and staff at KO to ensure that traditional knowledge, community customs and culture are respected and used to benefit the program.

When asked about the progression of the project Robin replied, “We have completed awareness presentations at North Spirit FN, McDowell Lake FN, Poplar Hill FN, Deer Lake FN and Keewaywin FN with Chief Council and many others. We’ve had a good response from the communities and the energy efficiency has their attention because it can save in their heating costs. They are very interested in renewable energy.”

One Aboriginal trainee, Collin Meekis - Energy Facilitator, has been selected to apprentice to Robin, to work on all aspects of the project. Collin was selected for follow-on work through KO in subsequent years, if project extension or other funding is determined.  When asked if he is enjoying his new job Collin responded, “Definitely, I’m enjoying it. What we would like to see happen is better awareness of the energy resourses we use on a day to day basis and put that knowledge to use.  Collin also mentioned, “I want everyone involved to be comfortable with calling me if they have any questions, if I can’t help them I will find someone who can.”        
This first year of project operation is a pilot effort.  It is not expected that Collin will be in a position to completely take over from Robin
at the termination of this trial period.  It has been anticipated that over the next one to two years, Robins’ services will be required on a diminishing basis, eventually to an advisory role.  Robin, is key to the initial success of this proposal.  His job will be many-sided.  First he will have to initiate and give momentum to the program through integration of this renewable energy and energy efficiency Pathfinder Program into KO’s infrastructure and related activities.  It was important to acquire someone who is very knowledgeable in the field, who has experience working with First Nations across the region and who has the respect of community members, elders, Chiefs and energy and building stakeholders in the communities, in the Tribal Councils and in the region.  He will have general responsibility for carrying out most of the activities and specifically in training Collin who will  eventually take over the tasks and responsibilities.

Robin will provide, to all interested parties, information and documentation on Federal Government assistance and incentive programs. He will ensure provision of practical workshops and training to FN technical personnel and groups, interested community members and others on tools and the techniques and will  acquire or develop appropriate training materials, arranging for training venues and technical trainers when required and coordinating instruction and follow-up sessions to accommodate efficient training of technical and other persons from across the region.

The net will be cast wide in the identification process and will incorporate, for many communities, new energy-related projects such as building construction or renovations, upgrades or refurbishing of any power generation, heating and cooling equipment, potential renewable energy replacements for existing power generation and heating and cooling equipment, and any potential for co-generation with existing or new equipment.

The project will attempt to be pro-active in identifying areas of involvement.  He will follow-up on KO’s Technical Service’s housing assessment in Fort Severn FN by implementing either full or scaled-down versions of similar studies in several additional communities in the Treaty 9 and Treaty 5 areas.  Part of the  process will be project pre-feasibility analysis to determine if specific projects are viable.

Once potential projects are identified and other conditions are determined to be promising, he will make every effort to follow through on moving these projects towards completion by  searching out appropriate assistance in all areas of project development including funding, training and project implementation.  Projects that have been earlier identified in the Treaty 9 and Treaty 5 areas will be reviewed to determine their current feasibility in light of the current economic and energy situation in Ontario and new Provincial and Federal Government initiatives.

KO, primarily through the position of the Energy Advisor, but also using other staff, will track progress and provide input and encouragement where needed to facilitate successful completion. Once milestones have been reached, or projects have been completed or terminated, status reports will be prepared and submitted.  Throughout the duration  communities will be kept informed of upcoming plans and activities, the progress of  projects and  completed projects. This will be done through anouncements in K-Net, in Band and Tribal Council meetings and in public gatherings that are called for other reasons or for this specific task.

This Pathfinder Project is consistent with the direction of future training initiatives.  Robin has worked with members of the Seven Generations Education Institute out of Fort Frances, which is currently developing curricula for an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Certificate Program.  Robin will work with Seven Generations to promote awareness of their curricula, to identify potential candidates for the Certificate Program from communities across northern Ontario, and to work to place graduates in suitable work positions. Seven Generations is considering offering their course as a web-based distance learning course.  A close working relationship between KO and Seven Generations would be beneficial in bringing their different expertise together to develop and provide the necessary on-line training services.

Ron Alward is a Technical Coordinator from the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada who assisted with the workshop held in North Spirit FN March 14-16 as a demonstrator (wind turbines and solar PV) as well as an observer. Over 60 people attended.   There will be at least three new northern Ontario renewable energy and/or energy efficiency projects underway by June 2003.  These projects will either be completed by that time, or will be well advanced. Also 6 potential projects will be identified and an evaluation report completed for each.

The success of this pilot project will be evaluated against achievement of the indicators at the completion of the trial period.  It is anticipated that a minimum of twenty people will receive the training to be renewable energy technicians including Collin, and will be able to complete a RETScreen Feasibility Analysis, R2000 as well as energy audits at the termination of the pilot phase.  KO wants to be a world leader in reduction of greenhouse gasses through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and construction of energy efficient homes.

KO is very aware of the climate change problems and is excited about being part of this Climate Change initiative.   Every year more problems are experienced moving fuels and supplies to isolated communities.  “This project would reduce some of the dependency on winter roads and fuel shipments while  reducing our input of greenhouse gas.  If objectives are being met, and funding resources are available, project extension is anticipated,” concluded Mr. Hughes.

Wawatay News features two more articles about K-Net

The May 1, 2003 issue of Wawatay News contains two more news stories about the work being completed within the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations demonstration project. Rick Garrick continues to research stories about how First Nations and community members are using ICTs. He is interested in featuring stories about your work with ICTs for future articles. If you have a story that you want to share about this project and the work that is happening in your community to get connected, please send us an e-mail.

This week's articles include:

  • is a unique on-line gathering place - Angie Morris and Willow Fiddler explain how they started creating their own web site and how they are now using this on-line resource to share stories and information with their friends across the region.
  • Leaders forging the way for Kuh-ke-nah Netowork - Geordi Kakepetum, Executive Director of Keewaytinook Okimakanak describes how the First Nation leaders directed the development of the K-Net starting back in 1994.
  • Kuh-ke-nah Network Operations - the side column features the on-line development and management tools that are used by the K-Net Technical team to monitor the network operations.

Various newspaper articles are being scanned and stored for reference purposes in this photo gallery.

K-Net Servers receive over Ten Million hits in April, 2003

The month of April was a busy time on the five main K-Net servers with 10,955,522 hits recorded. These servers include:

  • the main K-Net server linking visitors to the different sources of information about the work being done at Keewaytinook Okimakanak;
  • the Mail server that provides users with e-mail services;
  • the Hosting server that provides First Nations and organizations with access to their web sites and portals (including sites such as,,, etc;
  • the KiHS server set up for the internet high school students and staff; and
  • the Photos server that contains hundreds of photo albums with thousands of pictures of happenings across the north.

For more detailed reports about the user traffic everyone can visit the user monitoring pages and click on any of the servers and then the months to see the different growth patterns.

OHA Northwest Region Conference Learns about the Kuh-ke-nah Smart First Nations

The Ontario Hospital Association hosted their Region 1 Northwest Subregion Spring Conference in Thunder Bay on April 23 to 25, 2003. A presentation showcasing the work being done by the Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Smart First Nations Demonstration project was part of the first morning's panel discussion. The panel members shared their experiences and information concerning the use of ICTs to support the conference theme, "Building Bridges Toward Integrated Health Care in Northwestern Ontario".

Wawatay News Stories about the Kuh-ke-nah Smart First Nations Project

The April 17 issue of Wawatay News contains two more news stories about the work being completed within the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations demonstration project. Rick Garrick is researching additional stories for future articles. If you have a story that you want to share about this project and the work that is happening in your community to get connected, please send us an e-mail.

This week's articles include:

Various newspaper articles are being scanned and stored for reference purposes in this photo gallery.

KO Presentations to Nexus Tech 2003 gathering in Vancouver

The Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations presentation to the audience attending the Native Investment and Trade Association conference in Vancouver is now on-line in a PDF format (639K). As well, John Rowlandson, KO former Telehealth Project Manager presentation about KO's telehealth services is also available (1.2M PDF)

The technicians in Vancouver were able to get their equipment working with the hotel's IP connection and the video conference from KO's Sioux Lookout office was able to take place a day late. The slides could not be seen on the receiving end because the software being used would not accept that data. The video portion seems to have worked so most of the information was presented orally.

Thanks to the conference organizers and the folks at AlterNet Systems Inc for making this connection possible for us to share our story about connecting remote First Nations to broadband.