Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Water Plant Operator Training manager explores e-learning options with K-Net

Paul Otis, Manager of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Water Plant Operator Training Program, spent the day in Sioux Lookout examining various e-learning strategies being used by the different KO programs.

The various e-learning demonstrations included a variety of communication tools that use the broadband network to support capacity building in remote and rural First Nations across Ontario. These include the use of:

  • video conferencing for point-to-point and point-to-multi-point training and meeting sessions with archiving and web streaming;
  • internet-based video camera monitoring and online point-to-point training support;
  • Macromedia Breeze presentation platform (chat, video, powerpoint, whiteboard, archiving, etc);
  • open source MoodleFN e-learning platform ( with multi-functions and features for participant records and learning modules;
  • Independent Learning Centre (ILC) correspondence courses for high school correspondence courses;
  • KO's new Meeting Space at for group sharing, presentations and discussions

Establishing a Kuhkenah Network connection at their training centre to enable the staff to develop and access these resources is now being planned.

For more information about the Water Plant Operator Training program visit

KO works with others to research the use of videoconferencing in First Nations

VIDEOCOM Research Project  (Video Communications on Broadband Networks) is a collaborative research initiative lead by the Susan O'Donnell from the National Research Centre and Sonja Berley from the University of New Brunswick.

VIDEOCOM is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's Standard Research Grants 2006-2009, with in-kind contributions from the National Research Council, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, and Atlantic Canada's First Nations Help Desk. 

VIDEOCOM is investigating video communications on broadband in First Nations communities, looking specifically at the social inclusion and citizen engagement aspects.

From the project overview ....

Video Communications on Broadband: Social Inclusion and Citizen Engagement

Every year, more Aboriginal communities across the country gain the capacity to use broadband for video communications. There is potential for Aboriginal communities to use video communications on broadband not only for distance learning and telehealth but also for becoming active producers of video content - for example collaborating on community-designed videoconferences sessions that build collective knowledge and producing collective videos to disseminate community views and information. 

Key First Nations organizations are playing a leading role in developing, using and facilitating video communications in Canada. For example, the Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) tribal council and K-Net in Northern Ontario use multi-site videoconferencing to conduct meetings, and they webstream the archived sessions for later use. KO uses broadband for an Internet High School that allows students to remain longer in their remote First Nations communities, and for various telehealth uses such as remote diagnosing of common health complaints that reduces the need for expensive and disruptive trips by air to hospitals in larger urban centres. Atlantic Canada's First Nations Helpdesk uses multi-site videoconferencing to facilitate communications between students in First Nations schools and webstreaming to disseminate videos created by students. 

The VIDEOCOM project is led by Dr. Susan O'Donnell of the National Research Council and the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, working with community research partners KO / K-Net / KORI in Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay, Ontario and Atlantic Canada's First Nations Help Desk in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The project is funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) from 2006 to 2009, with in-kind contributions by the research partners. 

VIDEOCOM will develop case studies of these two community organizations - KO/K-Net and Atlantic Canada's First Nations Help Desk - to explore how they are using video communications to facilitate the inclusion and engagement of Aboriginal communities and especially of groups such as Aboriginal women and Aboriginal youth. 

The research will be designed to assist the two organizations and their communities to continue to develop their capacity to conduct research and to use video communications to support their local inclusion and engagement activities.

Click here to read a paper entitled "Broadband Video Communication Research in First Nation Communities" by Susan O'Donnell and Sonja Berley that was presented at the Canadian Communication Association Annual Conference in Toronto this spring.

Industry Canada FedNor visits K-Net in Sioux Lookout for meetings

Carl Seibel, FedNor Telecom Officer spent Tuesday and Wednesday working with K-Net staff attending videoconferenced meetings and reviewing existing projects.

University of Vienna doctoral candidate researching for thesis work

Philipp Budka is visiting Sioux Lookout to learn about the possibilities of conducting his doctoral thesis and research about the Kuhkenah Network and the online MyKnet.Org community. Philipp describes himself as "a social anthropologist from Vienna, Austria" on his web site.

During this past week (July 7 to 16), Philipp sent time meeting with members of the K-Net team and various people who know about the work completed to support the development of K-Net and MyKnet.Org. He spent one day visiting the three communities in Lac Seul First Nation ( to learn about their network connections and attended the pow-wow in Wauzhusk Onigum First Nation.( over the weekend.

From Philipp's web site at

Beside providing resources about the anthropology of cyberculture, this website focuses on the use of information and communication technologies by indigenous groups, organisations and networks.

Arranged and maintained by Philipp Budka, a social anthropologist from Vienna, Austria, this site gives an overview on his work and education.

More private as well as professional activities are documented in Philipp Budka's blog (in German but with lots of pictures).

Philipp Budka can be contacted via e-mail:


Thunder Bay wireless loop upgrade and expansion as part of the "meet-me" project

The new antennaes are now being installed by the Thunder Bay team involving a partnership between Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Matawa. The team is working with Superior Wireless to install the Aperto antennaes that will deliver the quality of service required to host video conferencing services from the partner sites.

Visit the project web site at for more information and pictures of the installs.

A meeting with Superior Wireless on Friday, July 7 provided everyone with the latest update on the progress of the work for this project.

KO purchases new office facility in Thunder Bay to support programs

216 Algoma Street is now the new official home for the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Research Institute. Click here to see some pictures of the new building.

Wawatay Native Communications Society's Thunder Bay office moved into the building in the middle of June. The KORI team completed their move at the end of June.

All the broadband connections are now in place supporting the high speed data, IP telephones and the IP videoconferencing. Click here to see the pictures of the connections.

There is still some unpacking to complete and arranging of furniture but everyone seems very pleased with their new facilities.

Everyone is invited to stop by for a coffee anytime.

K-Net survives 7 hour blackout in Sioux Lookout without loss of network services

The Kuhkenah Network Operations Centre backup power system performed 100% last night when the main hydro line from Dryden had a massive failure starting shortly before 5 pm. 

When the blackout began the switch over from the battery system to the generators went smoothly. The generator at the satellite hub site kept the 38 satellite served communities across the northern parts of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba online. The generator at the K-Net Operations Centre kept all the servers and services online. The battery supply for the fibre hub kept that circuit operational and the Bell Canada system was able to remain online throughout the 7 hour blackout.

The back-up system is now certified as full functional! 

Thanks to Industry Canada FedNor for the investment in the backup system.

Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak meet at their Balmertown office

The Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak are meeting in Balmertown as a regular board of directors meeting for their organization on July 5 and 6, 2006.

Click here to see some pictures of the Chiefs and guests.

The six Chiefs of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak include:

  • Chief Royal Meekis, Deer Lake First Nation
  • Chief Roy Gray, Fort Severn First Nation
  • Chief Joe Meekis, Keewaywin First Nation
  • Chief Eli James, McDowell Lake First Nation
  • Chief Isaac Linklater, North Spirit Lake First Nation
  • Chief Jacob Strang, Poplar Hill First Nation

Guest presenters include:

  • Grand Chief Stan Beardy, Nishnawbe Aski Nation
  • Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic, NAN
  • Bill Nothing, Acting Executive Director, NAN

KO partners with KRG and KTC in application for more satellite bandwidth

On Friday, June 30, the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network consortium submitted their business case requesting two additional transponders to Industry Canada's National Satellite Initiative. The business case proposes to build a second redundant hub in Montreal, construct local loops in all the partner Aboriginal communities and purchase 2 additional transponders from Telesat Canada to support broadband applications and bandwidth demands over the next ten years. Telesat Canada is partnering with the consortium to make this project possible.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak is also working with Industry Canada FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to raise the funds necessary to complete the work proposed. This includes local community networks in those unserved communities and the purchase of the bandwidth necessary to deliver these services.

From the business case Executive Summary ...

The project submission is a result of a partnership established between the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), the Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC) and Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO). Each organization serves as an operating partner in the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN). Kativik Regional Government will be the lead agency for the project.

NICSN represents 8 underserved and 35 unserved communities in the northern regions of Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario with a combined population of 46,000 people. In order to deliver an ”equivalent to terrestrial” service, NICSN has been able to raise $8 million of the $31 million dollars as their contribution to the overall project.

We are requesting $22,138,670 from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund in order to deliver the required equivalent to terrestrial services and applications in these communities.

The project being proposed will enable the purchase of two additional transponders to augment existing capacity, and will deploy a second hub to eliminate the single point of failure which exists now. This redundant hub will support the increased demand for critical applications on the satellite network. Broadband applications such as telehealth, distance education, justice discovery and remand hearings, as well as access to government and business products and services, have exceeded existing capacity for effective delivery. The satellite network, presently operating at full capacity, cannot support any further expansion of existing applications or introduction of new ones without scaling up.

As the additional transponders are allocated, the network staff at K-Net Services in consensus with the operators will assign transponder capacity to the network operators in support of the various application demands of their clients and communities. Traffic assignments will be done from the hub site in Sioux Lookout as it does not require travel or site visits. The second hub will be located in Montreal.

The augmented bandwidth will allow for the current and requested demand for multi-site videoconferencing and will have the capacity to support multiple, simultaneous videoconferences. Benefits will accrue from reducing travel costs by shifting them to service provision, thus increasing the quality of life for citizens living in remote areas. Access to services will be improved using Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) currently in place to a fuller extent. Additionally, this will ensure the remote communities will be able to participate fully and equitably with those in the rest of Canada and become healthier places to live, work and play as a consequence of this investment.

K-Net discuss broadband opportunities with Aroland, Long Lac 58 and Gingogaming

Visiting the band offices and schools in the three Matawa member First Nations provided an opportunity to discuss the introduction of the new wireless broadband connections that will be put in place in the band offices, health centres and schools in each of these communities.

Developing local and regional support systems that will promote the operation of a community broadband network is one of the goals in each of the First Nations.