Keewaytinook Okimakanak

First Nations in Quebec (SOCAM) learn about K-Net

Dan Pellerin, K-Net’s Network Manager, attended a two day ICT conference hosted by SOCAM (Société de Communication Atkamekw-Montagnais) in Quebec City on Jan 30, 31, 2002. He wrote the attached report from Quebec. Interesting two days here, lots of presenters, politics, optimism and aspirations. K-Net was referred to time and time again as the model to aspire to. The video conference went well. People saw and talked with Brian Beaton and watched him jump when I called up the IP phone sitting beside him on the table. Discussions were held concerning how K-Net uses the network and how they see others participating and creating networks. Unfortunately the Fort Severn site had technical problems so Chief George Kakekaspan was not able to participate. Everyone hoped to be able to talk to them to understand their local network. Next time. Telehealth applications were shown by Christine Penner-Polle and Donna Williams from their health office in Balmertown. A shot of the inside of Donna's ear was seen on a 15 foot screen.. (way too much detail for me..), as well as a scar using the patient camera. The document camera was used to transmit an image. Raymond Mason and Darrin Potter talked about the the KIHS program and about changes to the community. People at the conference were able to ask questions throughout each live session. Great work everyone and apologies to those who were unable to get on as we ran out of time... *actually went into other people's time*. Other presentations at the conference were made by RamTel corporation and by Industry Canada representatives. At the beginning of day two there was a mixup in the travel schedules so Ernie Dal Grande was unable to attend to do a presentation. However.... Ernie was brought in via Video Conference so he was able to discuss his work at FNHIB and the telehealth initiatives. Yay to video. INAC representative Alain Drolet explained how he and a colleague were acting as technology conduits and helping communities with IT issues and bringing the private sector to the table. Their version of Carl Seibel at FedNor. Had a meeting with SOCAM and the Industry Canada representative to discuss and animate a meeting about a development strategy and to get to know who the players are at both the Federal and Provincial level. Some items learnt from attending this gathering are: * the challenges are very similar as in the NAN region, with multiple telcos to deal with... * People are looking at K-Net and hoping to create what we have done. There was discussion with the provincial Min of Education and Health about the network they were going to build. People listened and one fellow really did a passionate and eloquent piece on the aggregated model, even drew out a picture I made for him showing him the difference between aggregated and thin pipes. Later they discussed a structure to manage this.. (legal council brought this up). When the discussion started going around in circles, one fellow said... "Yesterday I watched the K-Net network ... there was telehealth, schools, people using a network and having opportunities. This is what I want for our communities. Let’s concentrate on this and worry about governance structures later." Very nice compliment for us. Imitation is the best form of compliment. Everyone is to be congratulated on the hard work and for carrying out the vision. Makes me proud to be an ambassador for K-Net.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak Hosts Water Treatment Operator Training

January 14, 2002 marked a historic date for the evolution of training for Water Treatment Plant Operators in the north. Keewaytinook Okimakanak in conjunction with the Keewatin Patricia District School Board, Northern Waterworks Inc. and the Municipality of Red Lake played host to the first of a series of Water Plant Operator evaluations designed specifically to provide data that will ensure future training is specific to their needs. Keewaytinook Okimakanak is presently pursuing options for the establishment of a permanent training centre located in Red Lake that will be designed to provide the communities with an affordable and sustainable source for training services. The long term objective of this project is to ensure that all northern communities have a safe, reliable source for drinking water being operated and maintained by Provicially Certified Water Treatment Plant Operators. Read the newspaper article and see the picture in the January 16, 2002 issue of the Red Lake District News.

FIRST NATIONS CONNECT Conference - Feb 11 to 14, 2002


February 11 to 14, 2002 in Thunder Bay, ON
Conference Poster Keewaytinook Okimakanak’s Kuh-ke-nah Network (K-Net) and Nishnawbe Aski Nation are inviting representatives from each Nishnawbe Aski Nation community to a conference to explore strategies and applications that will support building a NAN wide network that connects all the First Nations using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). We are asking that each NAN First Nations send one local champion who will participate in all aspects of the conference to determine the best strategy to have your community connected to this network. All the conference information is being made available on-line at as it is produced for distribution. Be sure to visit for the latest updates. For Conference Registration Information, please contact: Cheryl Bechard Keewaytinook Okimakanak Box 340, 127 Mine Road Balmertown, ON P0V 1C0 Tel: 1-800-387-3740 Fax: 1-807-735-1383 Conference Questions? Call 807-735-1381 or 800-387-3740 and ask for David OR 807-737-1135 (Toll Free: 1-877-737-KNET (5638) and ask for Brian

KO Chiefs Meet in Winnipeg - Dec 18, 19, 2001

The Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak held their regular Board meeting in Winnipeg the week of December 17. A Christmas feast was held and presents were given to each of the chiefs from the KO staff (beautiful vests with their First Nation's crest hand sewn by Linda Kay Peters). See the pictures of the KO Board meeting and Xmas feast. Guest presentations were given at the meeting by the following resource people: * Nishnawbe Aski Nation leadership (Grand Chief Stan Beardy, Deputy Grand Chiefs Raymond Ferris and Goyce Kakegamic) * Nishnawbe Aski Nation staff (David Paul Achneepineskum - Executive Director, Maggie Chisel - Health Planner, Mike Morris, Far North Fire Management Program Coordinator) * FedNor (Carl Seibel and Mitch Diabo) * SLAAMB (Bob Bruyere) KO Staff presentations / updates included: * Telehealth and Health - Orpah McKenzie and John Rowlandson * Economic Development - David Neegan * Public Works - Peter Campbell and Barry Strachan * Finance - Penny Carpenter * Education - Jim Teskey * Smart Project - Brian Beaton

Northern Chiefs Christmas Float

Northern Chiefs put in a float for the Annual Red Lake Parade of Lights. After a brief moment or two of panic in the afternoon when we realized the converter wasn't working... we managed to find a generator and all was fine once again. The Parade of Lights started right after our Kids Christmas party, and ended with ANOTHER visit with Santa at the Community Rec Centre. Fun was had by all the kids and staff who participated!!

K.O. Kids Christmas Party

Keewaytinook Okimakanak hosted a Kids Christmas party for the staff's children on Friday December 7th. The kids enjoyed "The Grinch", hot chocolate, hot dogs and a visit with Santa.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff meet with National Chief Matthew Coon Come

Keewaytinook Okimakanak issued a press release "USING BROADBAND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AND SERVICES IN KEEWAYTINOOK OKIMAKANAK FIRST NATIONS" today during the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) press conference on Parliament Hill. The AFN released their proposal to establish a National First Nations Broadband Network along with their press release entitled "Assembly of First Nations joins Brian Tobin’s push for national high-speed communications network". After the press conference on Parliament Hill, the media and other participants were invited to attend a video conference session held at Telesat Canada’s office in Ottawa and Keewaytinook Okimakanak’s office in Balmertown. Pictures of this video conference are available.

KO hosts First Nations Governance Act Information Session

“Don’t ever block a white man from bringing his machinery up north”, were the words spoken to Geordi Kakepetum by the late Chief Tom Fiddler. Geordi shared these words with over 30 representatives at the KO First Nations Governance Act Information session. This 3 day session is being hosted by Keewaytinook Okimakanak with representatives from each of the KO First Nations. On October 23, 2001, Band Councillors, Elders and Youth representatives from each of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations gathered in Cochenour Hall for an information session on the First Nations Governance Act Initiative. Ross Mamakeesic along with Peter Campbell read over the letters from Robert Nault and translated it into Oji Cree. More information about INAC's efforts can be found on-line at The participants also reviewed the history of the Indian Act and the history of “governance”, which means how a community is run and the rules that apply in its day-to-day operation. We also touched on a few topics from Traditional Land Use to the Corbiere decision and various issues. Continue to watch for updates on this 3 day gathering being held at the Cocheneur Hall from October 23 to 25, 2001. Pictures from this session can be seen at DAY 2: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 The day began with our elder and Band Councillor, Fred Meekis from Deer Lake opening the meeting with a prayer. The grouped discussed about the difference between the different governance initiatives being undertaken within the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. These initiatives include the First Nations Governance Act Initiative and NAN Governance and Education Jurisdiction Program, Some of the participants shared their comments and questions about the Indian Act. Clarifications about what the proposed changes to the act included. After lunch, the elders and the youth were encouraged and supported to share their comments about this process, as it would affect them and their communities. Some of the elders in attendance added their questions and concerns about the difference between the Indian Act and the First Nations Governance Initiative. Ross Mamakeesic, the session coordinator interviewed some elders. They shared their experience including the fact that elections were not customary. Participants were divided into small groups with facilitators and recorders. Members of the groups moved about to see what other groups were outlining concerning the issue of governance as it affects the First Nations and what was best for the people. Sometimes groups met each other.....played games....and transferred information. One of the central concerns shared by many people is the loss of language and traditions of our people. Goyce Kakegamic Deputy Grand Chief of NAN also made a few comments of the First Nations Governance Act and the Indian Act. He also made a clear statement about that the Governance Act is an amendment to the Indian Act. He clarified (on behalf of NAN) are they not against change, they want change. They also recognize change is required and going to happen. The chiefs want partnership and direct input into designing this change which involves any amendments to the Indian Act. Day 3: Thursday, October 25, 2001 The day began with Chief Albert James of McDowell Lake opening the day with a morning prayer. Ross Mamakeesic made some opening remarks providing everyone with a summary about the morning sessions that are being held at the Cochenour Hall. Elders, Chiefs, Band Councillors, Band members, youth, and even an infant showed up. There were 68 people who showed up during the day. Geordi Kakepetum thanked the people for taking the time to listen and for showing their concern and interest in this important matter and for the upcoming events. He also asked one of the Elders present, Aglaba James from McDowell Lake to share a few words with the people. INAC officials provided a slide presentations on the Communities First: First Nations Governance Initiative. They answered any questions that were asked, made clarifications and also wrote down a few concerns from the people of Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations. There was a discussion concerning the election of the community leadership, with some people making suggestions on the leadership selection process. Some of these discussions included: * The two main issues focused in this process included the legal standing and capacity and accountability to the First Nation members. The most difficult issue seems to be the legal standing and capacity because there are some mixed messages. * The proposed changes are leaning more to a corporate or municipal status for the First Nation organizations. The concern seems to be an administrative advantage for Department Indian and Northern Affairs Canada by reducing its responsibilities to the First Nations. James Cutfeet responded that they are not here to defend the issues that are being presented.....we are here to gather your views ... referring to the Governance Act. Overall, this was a very informative event. On October 31st, 2001, the initial phase of the community consultation process will be over. INAC officials will gather the information that they collected together. They will then complete a validation phase with the First Nations who participated in this process. When this process is complete they will draft a bill to present to the House of Commons. After the bill has been drafted, the parliament will review it (along with the dialogue with the First Nations). Then the plan is to see the passage of the new legislation that would also include the development of any regulations or First Nation laws that may be needed to implement the new legislation. It is estimated that this process will take 2 to 3 years to complete. For more information on this Governance Act look up the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Ottawa at Notes taken by Cory J. Meekis, Deer Lake First Nation

KO Fitness Team takes First Place on 21 Day Challenge

The “KO” fitness team took first place on the 21 Day Challenge. The challenge organized by the Red Lake Community Centre had 13 teams consisting of 5 members per team. Each member was awarded two points for every 10 minutes of fitness activity over 21 days. The KO team of David Neegan (captain), Penny Carpenter, Orpah McKenzie, Lars Dixon and Cheryl Bechard edged runner-up team “Trimming the Pork” by 12.6 points. The key factor in KO’s victory over “Trimming the Pork” is Orpah’s fire wood expedition on Nungessor Road which allowed KO to over take top spot during the final week. Each KO team member received a water bottle holder, one month free membership to the Red Lake Community Centre, pencil and a zipper tag. Watch for the team pictures in the Red Lake District News. Congratulations to all that participated. The results are as follows: KO 382 Trimming the Pork 369.6 The Panthers 323.4 Jabajenapen 296.4 Deb’s Devils 291.2 RLMPS Teachers 291.2 Rob’s Rowdy’s 260.6 Wack - M 239 Sidder Boys 232.8 Pantheon 179.2 Heart Games 162.8 Golden Girls 161.6 The Fall Follies 0

Keewaytinook Okimakanak presents at Emerging Technologies Conference

Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff completed three presentations in Thunder Bay during the week of October 1, 2001. The first presentation about the development of the Kuh-ke-nah Smart Demonstration was to the Board of Directors of 807NorthwestNetwork on Oct 2 during their annual planning meeting. On Oct 3, a similar presentation was planned for Contact North's Emerging Technologies Conference. The panel discussion on "Bringing High Speed Networks to Small and Remote Communities" resulted a short presentation describing the work Keewaytinook Okimakanak completed to date and the challenges for all small communities to prepare their business cases to become "smart". The original powerpoint presentation entitled 'From Potential to Practice' is available for everyone to review. As well, the National Broadband Task Force presentation was given on Oct. 4 by myself and Carl Seibel of Industry Canada's FedNor program.