Deer Lake

Deer Lake Christmas - 2001

Deer Lake is alive with the evidence of Christmas spirit everywhere. From Christmas concerts at the school and church, the annual Christmas parade to the Christmas Light Contest, Deer Lake is the place to be for Christmas. The David Meekis Memorial School held it's Christmas Concert on December 17 and featured music, drama and even a little bit of cross-cultural education. The Grade 9's performed the Mummer's Song which is a Newfoundland tradition where everyone dresses up in silly costumes and sings and dances. Joanne Parks, a teacher at the school, said, "I just wanted to share a little of my culture as well." All of the classes worked hard on their presentations which made for an enjoyable time for everyone who came out. The parade was a great success with a number of different organizations participating. The Harvest Pentecostal Church had it's Sunday School Christmas Concert, and like the school concert had a packed house. Banquets have been in full swing with the band, the school and the staff of the local Northern store each having one recently. With all of these events and others planned over the holidays--is it any wonder why I think that Deer Lake is the place to be for Christmas? Check out pictures of the Concert and some of the other events.

Deer Lake SMART Planning Workshop - Day 4

The K-Net local and out of town staff got together with the people of Deer Lake to talk strategy for economic development. Community members who were present had a lot of ideas on how the SMART project would be able to make a difference in the development of new opportunities. The day's agenda was introduced. Ricardo Ramirez and Galin Kora of Telecommons Development group started off the workshop by developing charts, spray diagrams and showing a slide presentation. We talked about visions for new initiatives, and how SMART could change the face of existing ones. Ricardo showed a presentation of how other learning centers are doing in other countries. He showed us slides of Peru and other improvished countries, and how technology has changes lives. The slides showed what they are doing with ICTs and about it. Deer Lake community members from different sectors gave a lot of input on potential strategies for developing our economy. The presentations and workshop brought out ideas for new Economic Development planning. Check out the pictures

Deer Lake SMART Planning Workshop - Day 3

Education and training was the topic for the day, with local and out-of town Kuh-ke-nah staff on hand to help with the workshop. The entire school staff attended the SMART Project Planning Workshop (made possible due to rumours of a hydro power outage). Teachers, Teacher Aides, Tutor Escorts and many others were all able to add their ideas and concepts for what SMART could do for their communities. Following the format of the previous day, everyone offered their input and information was collected for a spray diagram displaying everyone's suggestions. This information was then used to organize and group common themes together. The staff of the David Meekis Memorial School has had broadband access for awhile, and so has already learned some of the ways that technology can benefit them. New ideas for traditional cultural programming through the Internet and Video Conferencing came up as one of the priorities. The K-Net Internet High School is also one area that the school and community see as an area of opportunity. The community of Deer Lake is progressive and understands how SMART can benefit them, but the vision has grown and broadened after yesterday’s workshop. The Community Feast, hosted by the Deer Lake Smart Project staff and all their helpers, was a great way to finish off a very business day.

Deer Lake SMART Planning Workshop - Day 2

Deer Lake's "Focus On Health Day" began in the David Meekis Memorial School's Computer Lab. The Kuh-ke-nah Smart Program staff started off the workshop with opening remarks from Les Meekis. Ricardo made a presentation to the Deer Lake health team and interested community members about what the new technology can do to help implement the goals and expectations for local health services in Deer Lake. Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff were on hand to both provide assistance and gather community input. A spray diagram created on a flip chart paper detailed what community members felt was good health with ideas on how to get there (programs). Health staff in Deer Lake had a lot of ideas for programs and services they felt were necessary for community members. At four in the afternoon, we went online for a video conference with the KO First Nation Health Director and the Telehealth Program staff. Everyone was able to see how these new communication technologies will be able to affect their lives. Next week, be sure that you check out the Deer Lake SMART Planning Workshop Website. There you'll be able to find a detailed account of all our activities. For today, check out the pictures.

Deer Lake SMART Planning Workshop, 1st Day

We opened the conference with an opening prayer and asked the Creator to bless our time together and to give us the wisdom to learn from each other this week. Oscar Meekis, the E-Centre Manager, began with Introductions of all the attendees for the community meeting on Monday night. Les Meekis, Community Manager for the SMART Project, did a summary of the week's events. Les talked about our primary purpose in hosting this conference, which is to inventory existing programs and discuss with community members how the SMART Project will enhance these services. We also want to discuss how the SMART Project will enable new programs to begin in our communities. Dan Pellerin, Network Manager, joined us from Sioux Lookout via video conferencing for the evening session. He talked with us about the recent developments involving broadband Internet access for homes, and how our connections will be improved. Brian Beaton discussed some of the history of K-Net. There are many reasons that K-Net was successful in becoming the Demonstration project for the SMART program. The KO communities have been preparing for these types of developments already. Beginning with the original BBS system that was put in place, our eyes were already on what could be accomplished, and we had built the foundation for what would become the SMART project. Broadband access for the KO communities was already being planned for with projects such as TeleHealth and the K-Net Internet High School. We were able to look at the direction we want for the future of our community using these communication technologies. The workshop helped us to better understand the technology that is out there and how we might use it to better ourselves. Before the community meeting, people had a vague idea of what the SMART Project was. Now, they are thinking about how the SMART Project will affect their daily lives. The workshop helped explain what the SMART Project can do, and how we will take our place in this new world of information technology. See the pictures

Deer Lake Businesses, Homes and Organizations get Broadband Connectivity

As part of the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations demonstration project, the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations are constructing a local cable system to carry high speed data. Over the past few weeks, contractors working with Blair Electronics were in Deer Lake upgrading their existing cable system. The original Deer Lake cable system was built in 1999 for television service only but now it is also carrying high speed data (for data, video and voice services). This week, Keewaytinook Okimakanak staff (Adi Linden and Lars Dixon) travelled to Deer Lake to install the routers, switches, modems and video equipment required to complete the local community broadband network installation. While in Deer Lake, Adi and Lars worked with Oscar Meekis (Deer Lake's e-Centre Manager), Cory Meekis (Deer Lake's Computer Technician), Arlene Meekis (Deer Lake's Multi-Media Producer) and Sonya Nothing (Deer Lake's CAP worker) providing them with the training and support they require to install and support the use of the network, , install modems and support the various applications (health, education, local government, etc). Managing the local cable business (as it relates to the high speed data connections) is an important part of this development. Check out the pictures Adi took of the Deer Lake cable installation.

Deer Lake Hydro Dam Challenges

In a late morning of October 16/01, notification was made of complications at the Ontario Hydro Power Plant located Northeast of the community (Severn river). We are sorry about not being able to provide the actual name of the falls. On further notice, one of the two power turbines was not functioning as it was supposed to. A crew from Hydro with a diver were salvaging lots of debris from one of the turbine intakes. As they did the same on the outtake, the diver located the problem of finding a cone that broke off from the malfunctioning turbine meters down the flow. The plant is now operational with only one turbine until the second one is repaired. click here for pictures

Loss of a Respected Elder, mother, grandmother and friend

Sadly after a brief fight with cancer, my mother Palidia Meekis took her last breathe in the early hours of Saturday, September 8th, 2001. She went home to join my father in the arms of an angel leaving behind seven daughters (Marita, Bertha, Noreen, Colleen, Erma, Janina and Wanda) and two sons (Bob and Robby) as well as numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren too many too mention. The funeral was held on Monday September 10th, 2001 at 1:00 pm in the Deer Lake Full Gospel Church followed by the United Church beside where she was buried. My mother was the greatest, she loved us all unconditionally and taught us to be strong. She will be greatly missed and I know it's going to be tough for awhile but it gives us comfort that where she is, she's happy and whole. This poem was on the card at her funeral: as well as my dad's first memorial earlier this year: The Broken Chain We little knew that morning God was going to call your name In life we love you dearly, in death we do the same it broke our hearts to lose you you did not go alone for part of us went with you you left us peaceful memories your love is still our guide and though we cannot see you you are always at our side Our family chain is broken and Nothing seems the same but as god calls us one by one The chain will link again This poem touched my heart because our family has lost someone every year in the last three years. The message I have for all is not to take your family for granted, tell them you love them. You never know what the tomorrows may bring. Last but not least, I would like to thank all that assisted us with the meals, transportation, support, singing, volunteers during the wake and the funeral. and to the Sandy Lake, North Spirit Lake, Keewaywin, Cat Lake, Koocheching people for coming to be with us as well as the Chief and Council of Deer Lake. Rest in Peace Mom August 23, 1942 - September 08, 2001

Sarah Meekis' Memorial Feast in Deer Lake First Nation

On Wednesday, September 5, Douglas Meekis and his family hosted a community feast for the entire Deer Lake community, in memory of Sarah who passed away a year ago. Family members came from Sandy Lake and other communities to attend this special event. Visitors, including the Honourable Robert Nault and his entourage, were welcomed by everyone. All the guests feasted on a wide variety of delicious bannock, soups, moose dishes and fried walleye along with a big collection of desserts. There was lots of friendly laughter and visiting along with the hymns and sharing of memories and prayers for a very special wife and mother. The event ended with a candy throw where everyone was able to leave with a sweet. Pictures of this special celebration are online at

Rick Leon Meekis Memorial Canoe Trip - Deer Lake

Eleven young people from Deer Lake First Nation along with two Leaders/Trainers set out from the end Nungesser Road on July 21 to paddle back to their community. The pictures from the trip tell the story of their wilderness adventure. The trip information sheet provides the details about the trip (also available as a Word document. The map of the route (click on the trip to view the later version) provides a glimpse of the 200km effort made by these young people in memory of their friend, Rick Leon Meekis who wanted to make this trip last year.