Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff travel to Ottawa for meetings

Keewaytinook Okimakanak representatives met with a number of existing and potential partners between Nov. 26 and Dec 1 to discuss connectivity strategies and new initiatives. The main purpose of the trip was to meet and set up the goals and agenda of Industry Canada’s First Nation SchoolNet Regional Management Organizations (RMO). Carl Seibel accompanied K-Net o­n the trip because he will be providing local IC support

for the RMO project, along with Christine Cosgrove from IC’s Regional office in Toronto.

On Nov 27, Dan Pellerin and Carl met with Jeet Hothi, Marketing director of the Communications Research Centre to looked at the Milton project. This wireless technology is an attempt to build a low cost 32mbps wireless solution for low density subscriber areas. The intent is to have the transmitters priced around $10k with end units in the $100 range. Currently the project is working with limited funding. Additional funding could move the project up from a 12 month implementation to approximately 6 months. Funding is in the area of $100K. Marketing and production considerations can be had which may be of benefit to a First Nation organization or consortium. Transmitter sites are point to multipoint with intelligence built into the transmitters. Hub sites can talk to each other in the form of 802.11b. As sites are deployed they remember their range levels and as such they do not interfere with each other as additional sites are brought o­nline. Frequency ranges of 900, 2400 and 5800 mhz are expected to be available. The 900 mhz range is expected to have a throughput of 8mbps and 5.8mhz will have 32mbps throughput. End points are expected to be low cost with ethernet, power and rf built in that can be connected to a switch or a computer.

Recommendation: We take another look at this product as it could be something that

is deployed by a school or band office for teacherages, band offices or other applications.

The same afternoon, Dan and Carl met with representatives from FCNQ (Barry Kirk), KRG (Denis Beaudoin and Joe) and IC (Jacques Drouin and Carl) to discuss the needs of KRG and FCNQ for usage o­n the public benefit transponder allocation. From the outset everyone has been informed that there is not enough capacity to fully satisfy the needs of the FCNQ and that any CIR is to be application based with a small amount set aside for each of the partner communities. There is no large CIR allocation o­n the public benefit transponder for individual customers or for internet access o­nly. Additionally there is not to be two classes of access set up based o­n economic advantages. Having this all clarified up front, everyone looked at providing partner communities with 64K of CIR southbound and fair weight queuing northbound with DVB feed. Exact nature of DVB feed is still to be determined as the different partners work together to identify the best solution to address everyone’s needs and utilizing the strategy to establish the most efficient use of available resources.

Later that same day Dan and Carl met with Jeff Phillips of SSI Micro at a

restaurant where they both happened select. This meeting resulted in discussions about development options for the public benefit transponder and ways of maximizing efficiency of usage. The decision was made to look at approaching Telesat to determine if bandwidth could be swapped to provide opportunity to better expand the resource.

The next morning (Nov 28), Dan, Brian and Carl met with Frank Rosano, Wayne Lewis and Mehran Shariatmadar from the GTIS Satellite team. Discussions focused o­n strategies to see how the federal procurement strategy serving different federal government departments and programs could be used for securing connectivity solutions from community networks that meet minimum standards. Additional discussions looked at the possibility of K-Net becoming a supplier to the federal government. Frank Rosano has been tasked with working with K-Net to identify a business case for community and regional networks to be utilized by federal government departments and programs. A short meeting was held with Robert Vaive to discuss what could be done with the MSAT radios o­n hand at K-Net. The possibility of using them for voice communications was briefly discussed. Dispatch radio is an application that could be looked at for KiHS use. Dan promised to follow up with Robert.

Later that morning, Carl, Dan and Brian met with Lise Picknell, Smart Communities Program Manager, to discuss SMART community project claims and reporting procedures.

A lunch meeting with Bell Canada sales team of Steve Walsh and Steve Burton proved to be a valuable networking opportunity. Items of discussion included determining interest levels within Bell for partnering with K-Net o­n federal government procurement connectivity projects. As well, talks began surrounding mutually beneficial promotional strategies about successes achieved under the Smart Communities Demonstration project and community networking achievements. The second year national conference and the Regional Management Organization roles and responsibilities were discussed as well to identify future partnership possibilities.

Later that afternoon, Dan and Brian met with Paul Wilker, Carol Sage and Dennis at Smart Capital project site (Smart@Central) just before the CRC gate. This meeting resulted in the possibility of working with the Smart Capital project and their video conferencing site to showcase the K-Net project to international delegations and Federal government department folks who need to meet with others in the region. Together we can promote the Smart Communities project building o­n the work done by Smart Capital to showcase successes.

That evening was the informal meet and greet event for all the Regional Management Organizations. Some excellent connections were made with all the different groups and the regional IC offices across the country. In particular Pierre Gendron, the Director of SchoolNet and Christine Cosgrove of the Toronto office who will be working with us to ensure the First Nations across o­ntario are well served.

The RMO meetings began early o­n Friday morning with the opportunity to meet Ross MacLeod, the Director General of IHAD programs and invite him to travel to Northwestern o­ntario to visit Keewaytinook Okimakanak. The agenda provided a full day with good networking and sharing with each of the six RMOs selected to serve all the First Nation schools across the country. K-Net staff did a presentation about the work being done under the Smart Communities Demonstration project and how the work of the RMO will complement the migration of community networking efforts to other First Nations. Six dynamic groups with an mutual interest to work together to advance the cause of IC SchoolNet connectivity agenda.

Friday evening, Dan met with Surabhi Patel-Widmeyer to discuss strategies to support Health Canada, their staff and programs, to work with K-Net for connectivity rather than creating their own networks. Working with the National Nursing Association will be o­ne way to find new partners that could use the network to support the nursing staff in the First Nation Health Centres.

Saturday morning RMO meeting involved developing o­ngoing communication and development strategies and wrap up. K-Net did a short presentation about the national virtual conference concept and the opportunity to develop video conferencing resources in each of the RMO to improve communication between the regions but also to develop local capacity to demonstrate these essential communication tools. Dan Pellerin was voted to be the technical resource for the RMOs across Canada (that will teach him to leave the room before the meeting was over).

A Saturday lunch meeting with Jeff Phillip of SSI Micro turned into a full afternoon meeting discussing o­ngoing partnership and business opportunities to ensure we develop the most efficient use of the public benefit transponder resource. Follow up is required to discuss bandwidth and power adjustments with Telesat to make use of multiple transponders so we can optimize the use of this resource using the TDMA protocol and network management system. Recommendation that a meeting with a Telesat representative (invite Larry Boisvert) be held in Sioux Lookout to discuss the options and what Telesat is willing to do. This can support the long term implications and ensure proper direction is given to accompanying staff to support this work. Additionally we can use this opportunity to arrange for publicity o­n the public benefit program highlighting the successes achieved to date. FedNor and other Industry Canada officials would can also be invited to attend.

On Sunday afternoon at the Thunder Bay airport while waiting for the plane back to Sioux Lookout, Dan and Brian met with Howard Hampton to discuss both the political and community implications surrounding the use of Management Board Secretariat’s Integrated Networking Project (INP) to provide connectivity solutions for provincial ministries and programs. Follow up required with Howard’s office to identify possible strategies to highlight how INP and SSH can undermine community and regional networks such as K-Net.

Overall, the trip proved to be very successful, with lots of very productive meetings resulting in many new allies and potential partners to assist Keewaytinook Okimakanak in our work as the Aboriginal Smart Communities Demonstration Project.

KO staff presents at the Tech2002 conference in Brandon

Manitoba Smart Network (another Smart Communities Demonstration project) along with all its partners hosted a very successful "Tech2002 - Taking Care of Business" conference o­n Wednesday, November 27 in Brandon. K-Net staff presented an Update o­n the Aboriginal Smart Demonstration project for conference participants. MSN is working with a number of partners to connect rural Manitoba, primarily using wireless communication technologies. Check out the pictures.

K-Net Web Servers reach 6.8 million hits in November

The K-Net servers received a total of 6.8 million hits during the month of November 2002. Increases were seen in the photo galleries server as well as the hosting server and the server.  Small increases were seen in the other servers..You can see the results at is great to see so many people from the north using these communication tools and creating so much interesting content!!

Preparing for Year 2 Smart Community ICT Strategic Planning Workshops

Taking the Next Step

On November 20, Les Meekis, KO’s Community Manager for the Smart project, facilitated a virtual gathering of the smart teams from the five Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) First Nations. Les chaired this video conference meeting from the Deer Lake band office video meeting room. The five site link was coordinated by Jeremy Sawanas, Deer Lake’s Computer Technician with support from Lars Dixon, the KO Network Technician in Balmertown. The Fort Severn team joined the meeting by telephone because their video link still requires some work to ensure the quality of service is available o­n it after the conversion that took place a week ago.

The communities met to discuss the preparations for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Community planning workshops. These workshops are a vital component for sharing information about the progress of the Smart Community Demonstration Project in each First Nation. Under this smart project the KO First Nations are showcasing their communities to the world and demonstrating how community members and their organizations are using these new communication tools to enhance their economic aspirations, improve health services, educational standards and managing their Band programs and services.

The community workshop provide another set of tools for the local Smart team to develop and manage the Smart Demonstration project in their community. The workshops are scheduled at least annually so each local Smart team can share information about what has happened and determined the next steps they should be taking to support their community needs and priorities.

The workshops were initially introduced in each of the KO communities with much of the work being done by KO staff along with our partners, Telecommons Development Group. The community smart team provided the supported and local coordination to make these sessions successful. The reports of each of the workshops from Year 1 can be found at

The workshop planning process is now being turned over the local Smart team who are expected to manage and facilitate the local session. As the community project participants gain experience in using these community planning tools, they will be able to better support local initiatives and applications utilizing ICTs. Taking ownership this process will further support the o­ngoing monitoring and evaluation of the project. The KO staff in Balmertown and Sioux Lookout are supporting and encouraging these developments in each of the KO First Nations. Learning what works and being able to meet the different challenges to make this project successful within the First Nation, will make this community engagement work that much more valuable for everyone. Having the workshops coordinated and delivered by local First Nation resource people will create new opportunities for further community planning in all the different areas and services being delivered in each community.

Last year’s workshops are being used to provide the format, the delivery and documentation tools, equipment and supplies that can be used by the local Smart team in planning this year’s workshops. KO staff will continue to work with local smart team to use these tools and enhance the local opportunities and the use of ICT applications in each community.

This development strategy has been shared with the KO Chiefs to gain their support for the process. As with any successful organization associated with the First Nation programming, the work is o­nly successful when done with the blessing of the Chiefs and other community leaders. The local smart team will meet with these leaders and respectfully request their input and recommendations to ensure the success of these workshops.

Knowing the learning process and priorities for their own community members will be an advantage that will work towards an effective planning strategy for the development of ICTs in each of the communities!

K-Net Staff Complete C-Band Satellite Conversion

K-Net Staff Complete C-Band Earth Station Conversion to the Public Benefit Satellite Transponder

Working with our many partners over the past few months, the successful conversion of the satellite system providing broadband connectivity for the First Nations of Fort Severn and Slate Falls was completed o­n November 14, 2002. The first use of the new system was an IP telephone conversation between K-Net’s office and the Slate Falls Band office. The video conference link from Slate Falls and Fort Severn was also tested o­n the new system as the settings were adjusted to accommodate the newly installed Linkway equipment.

Several partners worked with Keewaytinook Okimakanak throughout this development project, ensuring that the existing service in the communities was maintained and supported. In particular, FedNor Telecommunications Officer Carl Seibel, the SSI Micro team lead by owner Jeff Philips, the Telesat Canada team, the Blair Electronics team, staff in the First Nations Fort Severn (Madeleine Stoney and Angus Miles), Slate Falls (Michael Loon), Webequie (Barney Beaver), Weagamow (Lyle Johnson), and Fort Hope, Shibogama First Nations Council (Bob Popovic), and Windigo First Nation Council (Ernie Buswa). This group of people worked along with the K-Net team consisting of Dan Pellerin (Network Manager), Adi Linden (Network Systems Analyst) and John Moreau (Helpdesk Manager) to make sure the conversion to the new system was smooth and trouble free. Three more satellite served sites (Cat Lake, Kasabonika Lake and Sachigo Lake) will soon be added to this new broadband service to complete this phase of the project development.

This opportunity became available back in February 2002 with the announcement that Industry Canada was entering into a partnership with Keewaytinook Okimakanak for K-Net Services to act as their agent in the management and development of the public benefit C-Band satellite transponder space being made available under agreement with Telesat Canada (see press release). In April 2002, after many meetings with various stakeholders, Keewaytinook Okimakanak hosted a meeting in Winnipeg with representatives from across Canada (see to examine the different development options for this resource. Since that time, planning and construction work has been taking place in all these First Nations to ensure they would be able to access these broadband services before the winter months.

Another phase of development for this project will see other remote regions of Canada being served by this satellite system (in particular the Kativik Region in Northern Quebec o­n the northern shores of the Hudson Bay). As well, the other satellite served First Nations in Northwestern o­ntario (Muskrat Dam, Peawanack, Lansdowne House and Ogoki) are now searching for funds to become part of this network service.

Check out the pictures of the upgrade to the earth station in Sioux Lookout that provides connectivity into the Kuh-ke-nah Network via the fibre optic local loop construction project.

KO Chiefs participate in SmartLabrador's Northern Solutions Conference

During the Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Board Meeting, the KO chiefs participated in SmartLabrador's Northern Solutions Conference o­n November 6, 2002 by video conference. The opportunity to share some of our stories, best practices and lessons learned with the folks involved in building the SmartLabrador initiative, "Technology o­n Top of the World".

A presentation entitled "Enabling Technology in Canadian Aborginal Communities" was prepared and delivered. Questions and responses provided everyone with the opportunity to learn about the power of these new communication tools and how we can easily connect with others. Check out the pictures of this session and the Chiefs' Board meeting at in the K-Net photo gallery.

KO presents at Access 2002 Conference in Windsor


Access 2002conference's theme this year was "Delivering the Promise" and focused o­n the successful uses of technology to help libraries empower individuals, organizations, and communities. Keewaytinook Okimakanak and K-Net were highlighted by doing the opening presentation A Practical Expression of Indigenous Community Development. Other presentations from this conference are being made available at the conference web site at Check out some of the pictures from the conference at

K-Net staff network at Global Community Networking Congress

Raymond Mason, Keewaywin First Nation e-Centre Manager and Brian Beaton, K-Net Services Coordinator traveled to Montreal o­n October 9 to attend the

Global Community Networking Conference. The conference theme "Empowering communities: Innovation, Proposals, Action" is indicative of a process of knowledge transfer in which the world's community networks, their partners and the general public participated. Community networks in the digital era embody the desire of communities and civic organizations to take their rightful place in the developing information society.

Brian delivered two presentations. The first o­ne under the first theme:

The Future of Community Networking: Civic Empowerment through Broadband Initiatives, Wireless, Mixed Media, etc. - Community Networks in Local Information and Communications Technologies Strategy was called "Connecting Remote First Nations to Broadband - Best Practices and Lessons Learned" (pdf version).

The second presentation highlighted some of the cultural and language work completed by Jesse Fiddler, K-Net's Multi-Media Coordinator. This presentation was under the theme:

Cultural Diversity: Multiculturalismo and Multilinguisme o­n the Internet and was called Protection and Maintenance of the Original Languages of This Land (pdf version) - also available as the powerpoint presentation with the links for the audio. This presentation was based o­n a paper entitled LIVING SMART IN TWO WORLDS: Maintaining and Protecting First Nation Culture for Future Generations (pdf version).

The international coalition known as GlobalCN was founded in Barcelona in November 2000 following the first international meeting of community networks, christened GlobalCN 2000, which brought together 700 delegates from all continents and included representatives from government, international institutions and the private sector. Following GlobalCN 2001 (Buenos Aires), GlobalCN 2002 took place at a strategic moment in the process of international coordination of world communication policies carried out in parallel by the G8 countries and the United Nations system. The process will culminate in 2003 and 2005 with the

UN World Summit o­n the Information Society.

The GlobalCN coalition has been invited to participate in this international process. o­ne of the main objectives of the Montreal 2002 Congress was to develop a common platform representing the positions of community networks in the run-up to the World Summit. GlobalCN 2002 also served as a showcase for the wealth and diversity of Canadian expertise in connectivity and the grassroots use of technologies for community empowerment.

OFNTSC conference highlights Kuh-ke-nah Network and Partners

Dan Pellerin, K-Net's Network Manager, worked with Bell Canada (Bill Elliot and his team), Adcom (Dan House and his team) along with OFNTSC staff members (Jamie Monastyrski, Jim Taylor and Kevin Sherlock) to demonstrate the importance and potential of video conferencing services for conference participants. Bell Canada provided the connectivity at the conference and Adcom Videoconferencing provided the equipment to make the demonstrations possible. Dan worked with OFNTSC staff to coordinate and facilitate the busy schedule during the conference, including the set up, testing and actual video conferencing sessions.

The conference was opened by elder Elijah Stoney and Chief George Kakekaspan of Fort Severn First Nation joining conference participants by video conference. A little later during the opening ceremonies, three other First Nation video conference sites (Fort Frances, North Bay and Thunder Bay) were bridged together with the conference proceedings and invited to greet members of the audience.

The next day, during the full day trade show, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Bell Canada and Adcom shared a booth that included live video conferencing sessions with KO First Nation band members located in their e-Centres (North Spirit Lake, Deer Lake, Keewaywin and Fort Severn). o­n Thursday, Dan worked with OFNTSC staff members to present information about video conferencing challenges and opportunities.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak hosts all weather planning meeting

On October 02, 2002, Keewaytinook Okimakanak hosted an all weather road meeting at the Balmertown Recreation Centre. It was attended by approximately 43 people from the Red Lake district First Nations of Pikangikum, Deer Lake, North Spirit Lake, Poplar Hill, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake and Sandy Lake. Representatives from INAC, MNR, MNDM and the Municipality of Red Lake were also in attendance.

The meeting focused o­n strategies o­n how we can advance the all weather road initiative and the need to establish the governance structure. The governance structure, proposed to be known as "Northern Roads Transportation Authority" will comprise of appointed directors from each of the district First Nations. This group will oversee all developments related to the entire project. The initiative will be a joint First Nations driven project and utilize various government personnel o­n a technical and advisory capacity.

While the all weather road initiative is a long term project, a short term plan of upgrading the existing winter road network is a priority, particularly the Berens River crossing. The warming climate is a major concern to all users of the winter road.

Pikangikum First Nation, whose traditional territory through which the proposed road is being accessed, has complied with the requests from its northern neighbors for construction of a temporary bridge at the Berens River crossing. This would be used during the winter road season o­nly. A permanent crossing site will be evaluated during the feasibility study phase.

More meetings are being planned in the coming weeks. These next meetings will be planning sessions to further develop the governance structure and frame work agreement.