Fort Severn Bi-Election 2012
Term July 31/12-June 30/13
The original large PDF files can be downloaded by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
FORT SEVERN FIRST NATION BAND MANAGER
The Fort Severn First Nations is located in northern Ontario, near Hudson’s Bay. The First Nation administers a number of programs and services, including several business ventures. The community is a remote “fly-in” community.
The First Nation Manager position requires strong management and supervisory experience, good interpersonal and communications skills, knowledge of the culture and traditions of First Nations and knowledge of government funding processes.
The position will provide leadership and management oversight to the all community programs, projects and personnel of the Fort Severn First Nation. This is a high profile position requires skills in program monitoring, coordination and providing technical assistance to the Chief and Council, program development, strategic planning, identifying budget requirements, recruitment and performance appraisal of professional and support staff, and capacity building.
Qualifications & Experience:
A competitive compensation package based on qualifications is offered for this key management position. Salary range offered: $55,000-$70,000, depending on experience. Complete with group benefits plan, pension plan and travel assistance provided. Applications sent by either fax, mail or email accepted.
Please forward your resume by May 30, 2007 along with three references to:
Mr. George Kakekaspan - Acting Band Manager
Fort Severn First Nation
Fort Severn, Ontario
Ontario Government Improves Access Into Far North Community - December 14, 2005
Funds Will Help Fort Severn First Nation Build New Harbour And Road
SUDBURY – The Ontario government is helping Fort Severn First Nation on Hudson Bay improve transportation infrastructure essential for the community’s well-being and growth, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.
“Our government is working with James Bay communities to help them achieve real progress on shared goals that will improve quality of life,” said Bartolucci. “It is vital that Far North communities maintain and improve transportation options.”
The Fort Severn First Nation is using a Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) investment of $590,320 to build a new harbour and seven-kilometre road to the community. The new facility replaces a deteriorating dock, and is being built in deeper water to better ensure safe navigation of the annual barge from Moosonee. Fort Severn, near the mouth of the Severn River on Hudson Bay, is Ontario’s northernmost community. It is accessible year-round only by air; however, the summer barge and a winter road provide less expensive ways to travel and ship fuel, building material, food and other goods and services.
“Many First Nation communities, including Fort Severn, are experiencing population growth,” said David Ramsay, Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. “An important aspect of our government’s commitment to improving Aboriginal communities is to ensure they have the opportunities and the means to deliver efficient and cost-effective services to their families, children and youth.”
“Today’s announcement supports our government’s commitment to work with Ontario’s Aboriginal communities to build northern prosperity in a way that respects heritage and cultural values,” said Bartolucci, who also chairs the NOHFC. “We recognize that infrastructure development is key to supporting the northern economy.”
This NOHFC contribution is part of the government’s Northern Prosperity Plan for building stronger northern communities. The Northern Prosperity Plan has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All.
Minister’s Office – Sudbury
MNDM/NOHFC – Sudbury
There are INAC announcements of new schools and crisis management but the students in Fort Severn continue to work out of temporary spaces being provided by the band. Temporary portable classroom units are now being shipped and constructed in the hope of having them ready for January 2006 while the band and INAC continue to meet about getting a new school built ....
Toronto Star - Nov. 5, 2005. 08:47 AM
School's out too often on native reserves Kashechewan pupils latest to lose classes - Mould, bad water common in North
LOUISE BROWN, EDUCATION REPORTER
On the northern edge of Ontario where the treeline meets Hudson Bay, the entire Grade 8 class of Fort Severn is repeating the year after a mould infestation shut down their school last year.
Junior high is now taught in the restaurant.
Down the coast of James Bay in Attawapiskat, an oil spill closed the school building five years ago. The 600 children are so weary of being scattered across 19 portables, with no fire alarms and 50 per cent more students than they were built to hold, that 30 families have moved away to cities so their children can attend proper schools.
Up here above the 50th parallel - where schools often shut down for weeks, even years, at a time because of mould under the floorboards, dirty water in the taps, contaminated soil and hazards rarely seen, let alone tolerated, in schools elsewhere in Canada - the students of Kashechewan are just the latest victims of educational upheaval.
At Muskrat Dam First Nation about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, there has been no running water this week because of a filtration breakdown. All 56 students have had their school day shortened by nearly two hours to reduce the disruption of having to use outside port-a-potties. "The children are getting stressed out," says education director Roy Fiddler. "I don't know how much longer we can keep the school open without water."
At nearby North Caribou Lake First Nation, all 140 students missed three weeks of school this fall while mould was removed from under the floors.
And the displaced children of Kashechewan, who have been out of school for three weeks in a tainted water crisis that has seized the national spotlight, will face an uphill battle catching up, warns Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), which represents 49 northern reserves, including Kashechewan.
"When you're already behind, as our children are, it doesn't take many missed days of school to get completely lost. I'm worried some of our children might miss their school year," he said.
And with many native children already lagging three years behind in school, educators say school closings are the last thing these children need.
"Our schools are in a crisis situation with health and safety, there's such a serious problem with mould, building structure, water quality and crowding," says former teacher Goyce Kakegamic, NAN's deputy chief of education.
In Kashechewan, more than 700 people were airlifted last week to Sudbury, Cochrane, Timmins, Ottawa and Sault Ste Marie after the Cree reserve declared a state of emergency Oct. 14 after E. coli bacteria was found in its water.
Some of the children hope to resume classes Monday in Cochrane, using an empty school donated by the local Catholic school board. But plans remain unclear for the other students.
One Thunder Bay psychologist who has worked with northern children for 20 years found that by Grade 8, the average child on one remote Ontario reserve has missed the equivalent of almost two years of school because of school closings prompted by substandard conditions. Several northern educators say it is common for schools to be closed up to 30 days per year because of equipment breakdowns.
"Even in the poorest neighbourhoods in Toronto, students don't have to deal with schools that routinely close down because there is no heat or clean water - and these factors absolutely have an impact on children's learning," said Mary-Beth Minthorn-Biggs.
She measured Grade 8 pupils' reading levels in Fort Severn in June and found they had dropped by two grades since the school building closed in 2004.
Why are northern schools in such disrepair?
Many are old, the climate is harsh and the exploding birth rate among Canada's First Nations - twice the national average - leaves even new schools bursting at the seams, say educators.
Too, an unlucky blend of conditions often leads to a "perfect storm" for mould that can cause respiratory problems and headaches, explains one engineer who tests northern schools for health hazards. Schools often are built on low-lying muskeg that floods heavily during spring thaw, causing humidity that gets trapped behind porous drywall and in damp crawl spaces beneath the floor, accelerated by poor air circulation and lack of maintenance.
Often the community lacks the skills to maintain the school buildings and lacks the funds to fly in outside experts.
Moreover, schools on reserves are federally funded at about half the level of provincially funded schools, leaving many scrambling to pay salaries with little left for upkeep, says Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton, whose northern riding of Rainy River includes about half Ontario's northern reserves.
"There's an atrocious double standard in education funding on reserves that leads to Third World conditions in many schools," said Hampton.
He cites Summer Beaver, a northern fly-in reserve that changed hands this summer from provincial to federal funding; its school budget was cut to about $1 million from $1.8 million.
But Indian and Northern Affairs Canada official Katherine Knott says she is "absolutely concerned about the disruption to students in Kashechewan ... The sooner we get started delivering the program, the better."
In the short run, First Nation communities in Ontario's north say their schools need emergency funding from Ottawa to remove mould, improve water and expand buildings that are crowded and run down. They also need more funding for teacher training, special education and parenting programs.
But in the long run, government handouts are not the answer, says Grand Chief Stan Beardy.
As long as many First Nation reserves remain virtual welfare ghettoes - ranked by the United Nations at 63rd for quality of life on the international Human Development Index - native children will lag further behind.
"We'll continue to be a burden to society as long as we're denied economic opportunity," said Beardy, who says private companies draw about $20 billion a year from NAN territory through mining and logging and tourism, yet First Nations receive less than 2 per cent back in transfer payments.
He said Ottawa must enforce Section 35 of the Constitution and enable First Nations to share in the economic prosperity of the lands on which they live.
"We're looking for economic participation," he said. "We're looking to share in resources, not more handouts."
Meanwhile, Kashechewan father Gary Wesley has shipped his two sons to Timmins for school.
Attawapiskat principal Vince Dumond braces for another winter of absenteeism from students getting sick walking between portables in wind and temperatures that plunge to -45C.
Fort Severn father George Kakekaspan will continue to commute from Fort Severn, where he works as band manager, to Thunder Bay, where his wife now lives with their children.
"A lot of families up here have been torn apart because they move so their kids can go to school," he said. "We should be entitled to the same right as any other Canadians to have our children go to school in a safe, healthy environment."
Fort Severn First Nation Chief Roy Gray was at the NAN office in Thunder Bay Tuesday October 11, 2005 assisting community member's fundraising efforts to have her mother’s hydro reconnected.
Additional Notes concerning the realities of living in Ontario's most northern community ...
1. Eggs per dozen - $ 4.05
2. Loaf of bread - $ 4.59
3. Fresh milk - 4 l @ $14.95
4. Sugar - 2kg @ $ 7.95
5. Tide Laundry - 3.2kg @ $23.59
6. Enfalac - 235ml @ $ 3.75
7. Diapers - 30 @ $ 24.95
52's @ $ 43.59
8. Pop - 1 can @ $ 1.75
9. Rice - 1.4kg @ $ 11.98
10. Gasoline is $ 1.60 when shipped by barge or winter road
Gasoline is $ 2.75 when flown by air.
Due to the harsh environment with winter conditions reaching up to -50 degrees plus wind chills, the cost of harvesting wood is expensive as people have to go anywhere up to 25 miles. The costs of one cord of wood is $ 330.00 and on average a house will burn 1 - 2.5 cords of woods per month depending on size and for people to pay for electrical bills which cannot be covered as shelter components have been used up is not possible. On average, monthly bills for hydro are $ 100 to $ 200.00 / month.
These are the problems that we have, another example is that people on CMHC homes have to pay rent of $ 385.00 /month for 3 bedroom unit and $ 425.00 for a four bedroom unit $ 485.00 for 5 bedroom unit. On top of this is the cost of heating fuel which on average is $ 300 per month of furnace fuel plus the cost of electricity is $ 150.00 as all C.M.H.C. units use furnaces for heat. The total shelter costs exceeds the maximum shelter allowed.
People have to contribute from there regular benefits should they not want to fall behind with there bills which puts them below the Social Safety Net.
Because of these issues, Fort Severn cannot implement programs such as housing rental program or even to charge user fees for water and sewage services.
The maximum shelter allowances are:
Benefit Unit Size: Max Shelter Allowance
6. Or More 694.00
People depend on hunting and traditional activities to supplement the incomes and they need to freeze what they harvest.
The prices used are based on last years costs of wood and heat and this year with the increasing cost of gasoline and fuel oils, the costs will go up significantly.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAN COMMUNITY MEMBERS FUNDRAISE TO HEAT HOMES
THUNDER BAY, ON Wednesday October 12, 2005:
Fort Severn First Nation Chief Roy Gray was in Thunder Bay yesterday assisting one community member’s fundraising efforts to have her mother’s hydro reconnected.
“We’ve had 15 homes disconnected in the last month and as Chief, I’m supporting community efforts to find ways to settle these accounts and have the heat turned back on,” said Chief Gray during his visit to Thunder Bay where he sold crafts on behalf of the Fort Severn family at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation office.
Chief Gray is selling moccasins, mandelas, and other crafts to help raise funds to settle one family’s $8,000 hydro bill that has accumulated over approximately three years.
“The cost of living is so extremely high that far north,” said Gray of his community that rests on the coast of Hudson’s Bay at Ontario’s Northern tip. “The average hydro bill for Fort Severn is between $100 and $400 a month.”
The community fundraising comes one week after the federal government announced a $2 billion program to help with heating costs for “the most vulnerable in society”.
Chief Gray participated in discussions with Hydro One Remote this past summer in hopes to negotiate a payment deal for the many families who are now living without heat.
“Our people depend on their freezers to preserve caribou meat and other foods harvested on our traditional territory,” said Gray. “Being without power is a little ironic, considering much of the hydro power generated in Ontario is on the traditional territories of Northern First Nation communities.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Victoria Avenue office in Thunder Bay will sell the remaining crafts on behalf of the Fort Severn community members.
Fort Severn is one of 49 First Nations part of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. It is the most northern community in Ontario.
For more information please contact:
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
(807) 625 4952
(807) 628 3953 mobile
Chief Roy Gray was re-elected for another term as Fort Severn's leader. Dennis Bluecoat takes on the role as Deputy Chief. New councillors include Connie Thomas, Kenny Thomas and Mike Bluecoat.
Congratulations to everyone who ran for election and best wishes and lots of successes to the Fort Severn Chief and Council for the upcoming term.
The May 19 issue of Wawatay headlines "INAC insists on fourth study in effort to save mouldy school"
The reporter included an interview with the local MP, Roger Valley who clearly understands Fort Severn's concerns with the present school and its location with his comments in a side bar article about his visit to Fort Severn.
Wawatay News Vol.32 #10 (May 19, 2005)