Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Kuh-ke-nah Smart First Nations articles in April 3 issue of Wawatay News

The April 3 issue of Wawatay News contains three 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:

  • KiHS Students Stay At Home While They Learn - representatives from each of the 13 KiHS partners First Nations form the Community Steering Committee for KiHS. They were meeting in Sioux Lookout the last week in March to discuss plans for next year's KiHS school program.
  • Meekis and Ostamas Share K-Net Experiences - Les (KO's Community Manager) and Darrell (Deer Lake's Multi-media Producer) set up an information booth at this year's Connecting Aboriginal Canadians conference.
  • This issue's showcase column features the year 2 Virtual Conference web site -

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

NOMS Dean impressed by KO's achievement's in Tele-Medicine and Tele-Education

The Founding Dean of the Northern Ontario Medical School (NOMS) had an opportunity to see first hand the innovative telemedicine and distance education solutions that one of NAN's tribal councils is implementing to overcome some of the obstacles to providing quality health care and schooling in Ontario's far north. During a two-day visit over March 31 and April 1, Doctor Roger Strasser, MD and two of his staff, along with representatives of Nishnawbe Aski Nation visited Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) in Balmertown and then toured the nursing station in Deer Lake First Nation.

"The achievements of Keewaytinook Okimakanak's K-Net, Telehealth and Keewaytinook Internet High School (KiHS) initiatives are remarkable," the Founding Dean of the Northern Medical School said. "NOMS can learn much from the experiences of KO with regard to the operational platform and educational framework of the Keewaytinook Internet High School, as well, KO’s expanding telemedicine capacity within telehealth."

Geordi Kakepetum, the Executive Director of Keewaytinook Okimakanak said he was impressed with the sincerity and objectivity of Dr. Strasser and his staff. "Roger came here to listen and learn, he asked many questions and was really interested in how our KO First Nations and partners have developed local solutions to regional problems that confront all NAN communities. We look forward to working with him."

During their visit to Deer Lake First Nation the representatives of the Northern Medical School toured the nursing station and observed a real-time telehealth demonstration, which included the examination of a patient in nearby North Spirit Lake First Nation. "This is exactly the kind of experience that our medical students will require if they are going to fully appreciate the opportunities and challenges of practicing in remote and isolated communities in the North," Dr. Strasser said after the tour.

Mayor Duncan Wilson of Red Lake praised both KO and NOMS as leaders who are making a great impact on the lives of all Northerners. "KO has demonstrated how much a group of dedicated people can achieve in just ten short years, when their hearts and minds are focused on the common good. I see the medical school as another force that will improve the quality of life in the north. It’ a great day when good people like you can come together to work toward a better future for all of us."

Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic of Nishnawbe Aski Nation believes that a bridge has been built connecting the Northern Medical School with KO. "What we are seeing here today is the kind of opportunity that exists when we all work together toward a common goal. We all want better health care and better educational opportunities for our children. Working together, KO and NOMS can become a model of cooperation for all people, Native and Non-Native in the North."

Kakepetum, the Executive Director of KO, thanked his staff in Balmertown, Deer Lake and North Spirit Lake for all their hard work and cooperation in making the NOMS / NAN visit a memorable one. "Everybody pulled together just the way they always do. I’m proud of our family here." The KO Executive Director also thanked Bearskin Airlines for their consideration with regard to the flights to and from Thunder Bay and the charter to Deer Lake.

By Brian Walmark, Education Advisor, Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Information Publications about the Kuh-ke-nah Project

Three new information publications describing the work being completed within the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations Demonstration project are available online and in paper format. They include:

Northern Ontario Medical School and NAN staff visit Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Dr. Roger Strasser, Carol Otte and Darcia Borg from the new Northern Ontario Medical School along with Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic and Brian Walmark from Nishnawbe Aski Nation travelled to Balmertown on March 31 to meet with Keewaytinook Okimakanak and our partners. The team along with KO staff are chartering up to Deer Lake to visit their community and the local Health Centre. Meetings with Red Lake doctors and hospital administration, along with the municipality of Red Lake is making this trip an opportunity for networking and learning about the needs of rural and remote communities.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak looks forward to partnering with NOMS in the development of a program that will see medical professionals working in the First Nations as part of their training experience.

Check out the pictures.

KO to participate in Canada's Information Technology (IT) Week - May 2 - 11

Keewaytinook Okimakanak is scheduled to participate in the opening video conferenced session for Canada's Information Technology (IT) week on May 2 (more information to follow). Watch the IT Week web site for additional information at

Canada's IT Week is a 10-day event where communities, businesses, employees, governments, teachers and students are encouraged to work in partnership and find creative ways to showcase and recognize their achievements in information and communication technology (ICT).

From May 2-11, 2003, citizens are encouraged to partake in IT Week by hosting workshops, open houses, seminars and conferences.

Presentation to APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (APECTEL)

Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff presented a paper and a powerpoint presentation to the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (APECTEL) in Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia. The March 25 Broadband Workshop agenda, provided delegates with background information about the issues and developments concerning the deployment of broadband infrastructure in rural communities.

"Why Broadband for APEC Underserved and Unserved Rural Communities - Why Not!" was a paper prepared by Brian Beaton discussing some of the socio-economic benefits for bringing broadband services into rural and remote communities. The internet based video connection with the conference site was established using a software tool called Multimedia Conferencing System (MCS) and a separate Document Conferencing software package along with a live chat session. Due to the internet connections in Malaysia, everyone was able to see and hear the presentation fairly well but the return feed to Sioux Lookout from Malaysia could not provide a video image and the sound was garbled so the live chat was used as the prompt for the exchanges. The powerpoint presentation ended up being controlled by the technician in Malaysia because the document server was not set up at the conference site.

In preparation for the session there was a three hour testing of the system the week before the event where the powerpoint presentation was sent over to the firm organizing the A/V portion for the session.  Eric Tsang from the Communications Research Centre in Ottawa attended the event in Kuala Kumpur and wrote about there being problems with the audio but overall the presentation went well. Various people from Industry Canada including Susan Johnston, Kathy Fisher and Vicki Schouten worked on including the Keewaytinook Okimakanak story on the agenda.

2nd Annual National Connecting Aboriginal Canadians Forum

KO SMART Staff members participated at the 2nd Annual CAC today, showcasing the programs within the Smart communities, people from all over stopped over at our booth and asked questions about the ICTs that were on display and the demonstrations being done at that particular time.

A live webcast has been set up for people interested in seeing what is going on at the CAC at  

Check out Les Meekis' report and Darrell Ostamas' photo gallery.

KO staff Participate in e-Learning Conference hosted by KTEI.NET

Barb Wong, Keewaytinook Okimakanak's SchoolNet Program Administrator and Craig Hardy, Keewaytinook Internet High School Teacher joined other educators from across the province at Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute's conference in Sudbury on March 20 and 21. The agenda for the eLearning Conference - "Learn Today For Tomorrow" listed a number of resource people and topics that supported KTEI efforts to work on a strategic plan for introducing elearning in First Nations across the region.

Barb set up the Keewaytinook Okimakanak information booth and met with First Nation school reps to complete their school's ICT SchoolNet survey. She was able to discuss various connectivity solutions and ICT needs with the people attending the gathering.

Craig Hardy conducted a workshop about the Keewaytinook Internet High School and his teaching experience working with the students in the Fort William First Nation classroom.

Two more Wawatay stories about K-Net's work featured in March 20 issue

This week's issue of Wawatay contains stories about:

Be sure to check out the stories on-line or pick up this week's issue of Wawatay to read these articles.

International Virtual Conference from Peru invites KO's participation

The International Virtual Forum entitled "ICT in rural areas: Pending challenges" is taking place on-line from March 17 to April 1 2003. Everyone is invited to participate in the various on-line discussion forums to share their thoughts, stories, best practices and lessons learned. Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff produced a paper entitled "Socio-Economic Impact of ICT in Remote First Nations" for Session 6 scheduled for March 31 to April 1 containing some of the work being done in the KO First Nations. Do register and share your stories within this international environment.

"The development and use of ICTs can hopefully help different cultures to become better integrated, improve government throughout the world and lead to greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Nonetheless, although there have already been numerous national and international initiatives taken to reduce the digital divide in many different parts of the world, these need to be properly analyzed in order to ensure that the necessary resources and investment are made available for future projects in such a way as to benefit "global" society.

New or emergent technologies have presented a challenge not only for regulating bodies and the State in general but also for society as whole. Technology advances by leaps and bounds, setting us ever more demanding challenges.

It is for these reasons that OSIPTEL (the Peruvian Telecommunications Regulatory Agency), together with REGULATEL, (the Latin American Forum of Regulatory Agencies) have decided to organize this International Virtual Forum: "ICT's in rural areas: The pending challenges" creating a space for dialog between the business sector, public institutions, the academic world and the civil society in general, in order to share experiences and opportunities for contributing to the economic and social development of ICT's in rural areas of developing countries."