Posts By: First Nations Drum

Dr. Evelyn Voyageur Receives Indspire Health Award

Dr. Evelyn Voyageur has inspired a generation of leaders while transforming Indigenous healthcare across Canada.

 
Dr. Evelyn Voyageur, a nationally recognized leader in Indigenous health, NIC Elder in Residence and faculty member, will receive the prestigious 2018 Indspire Award for Health.

Voyageur has dedicated her life to transforming Indigenous healthcare across Canada.

“She was raising awareness about the systemic and institutionalized racism faced by Indigenous people long before these issues were in the public eye,” said NIC nursing instructor Joanna Fraser. “She had the courage to speak out when there were not many people in the nursing profession taking action to reduce the stigma and oppression faced by Indigenous people.”

Voyageur lived the Truth and Reconciliation principles long before they were mandated, encouraging NIC nursing students to respect Indigenous voices and ways of knowing.

“Evelyn’s guidance, mentorship and wisdom as an Elder have deeply impacted not only my nursing practice but how I carry myself in this world,” said Dawn Tisdale, Evelyn’s former student at NIC, and leader of the Association of Registered Nurses of BC’s New Graduate program. “Evelyn’s leadership and heart have inspired a generation of leaders who have changed the course of healthcare in Canada. She has shifted our collective consciousness and paved the way for Indigenous nurses everywhere.”

Voyageur also influenced the development of NIC field schools to Kingcome and Rivers Inlets, giving student nurses and faculty from across Western Canada, physicians and professionals the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal health and healing from Elders in remote coastal communities.

“Dr. Voyageur is a strong supporter of a community-led health system,” said Fraser. “With her guidance this field school has been developed in relationship with community – with respect for Wuikinuxv protocols and knowledge.”

Her advocacy is recognized nationwide. In addition to the Indspire Award, Voyageur has earned a College of Registered Nurses of BC Lifetime Achievement Award, was named as one of the top 150 nurses across Canada and received an Award of Excellence in Nursing from Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Branch.

She is active in the Vancouver Island Health Authority Aboriginal Working Group, the New Hospital Projects Aboriginal Advisory Committee, the Ministry of Children and Families Aboriginal Advisory Group, the Canadians Seeking Solutions and Innovations to Overcome Chronic Kidney Disease (Can-SOLVE CKD) network and more.

“I have witnessed her ability to empower and mentor First Nations people to use their traditional knowledge and values in working toward the health of their own communities,” said Fraser. “For me, there has been no greater nurse, mentor and teacher in my life. She shares herself generously as a teacher and knowledge keeper.”

Learn more about NIC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at www.nic.bc.ca/health and view Dr. Voyageur’s full profile at www.nic.bc.ca/faculty.

PSAC Continues Its Thirsty for Justice Campaign to Address Water Crisis in First Nations Communities

On National Aboriginal Day 2016, PSAC launched its Thirsty for Justice campaign. It was launched as the result of a PSAC convention resolution, passed unanimously, that called on the union to engage in a national campaign on safe drinking water for First Nations communities.

The #ThirstyforJustice campaign is demanding that the Liberal government make good on its promise to fix the water crisis in First Nations communities and ensure that all Indigenous People have access to tap water that is safe to drink.

 

Grassy Narrows

For this campaign, PSAC partnered with the community of Grassy Narrows. The river water in Grassy Narrows has been contaminated by mercury for over 40 years and the tap water is not safe to drink. Grassy Narrows is only one of more than 100 First Nations communities that do not have access to safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

A Thirsty for Justice video was developed in collaboration with an award-winning documentary filmmaker and focuses on the community of Grassy Narrows. The community has been in a long-standing battle with the federal and provincial governments over the water issue while at the same time defending their territory from logging companies that wish to clear cut the land. The campaign also includes sample letters and talking points for use when talking to MPs about the issue, a petition, posters and other initiatives aimed at raising awareness and getting the government’s attention.

For Aboriginal Day in 2017, PSAC partnered with Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network (APTN) for its National Aboriginal Day Live program. As part of the partnership agreement, APTN aired a 30-second version of our campaign video.

As of March, 2018, the video now has over 160,000 views.

Although the Liberal government has promised to end boil water advisories by 2021, they have not committed enough money or resources to accomplish this goal. According to a recent report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the government’s actual and planned spending falls short of what’s needed by at least 30 per cent. That is why it is still so important to push forward with this campaign.

Visit ThirstyforJustice.ca to send a letter to your MP calling for immediate action and to share the campaign video.

 

World’s First Indigenous Law Degree to Be Offered at UVic


A new law program at the University of Victoria is the world’s first to combine the intensive study of both  Indigenous and non-Indigenous law, enabling people to work fluently across the two realms.

Students will graduate with two professional degrees, one in Canadian Common Law (Juris Doctor or ‘JD’) and one in Indigenous Legal Orders (Juris Indigenarum Doctor or ‘JID’). Their education will benefit areas such as environmental protection, Indigenous governance, economic development, housing, child protection and education—areas where currently there is an acute lack of legal expertise to create institutions that are grounded in Indigenous peoples’ law and to build productive partnerships across the two legal systems.

“This program builds on UVic’s longstanding commitment to, and unique relationship with, the First Peoples of Canada. The foundational work for this program has been underway for several years, building on Indigenous scholarship for which UVic is known internationally,” says UVic President Jamie Cassels. “This joint-degree program is also a direct response to a call of action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish Indigenous law institutes for the development, use and understanding of Indigenous Law.”

The provincial government included funding for the new program in BC Budget 2018, delivered Feb. 20, as one of several initiatives and another step in BC’s commitment to work with Indigenous peoples to build true and lasting reconciliation, anchored by the government’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“We appreciate the provincial government’s support for this unique and transformative program whose graduates will be leaders in numerous fields in their communities in BC and across Canada,” says Cassels.

The JD/JID program was conceived by two of Canada’s foremost Indigenous legal experts, both of whom are at UVic: John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, and Val Napoleon, Law Foundation Chair in Aboriginal Justice and Governance. Borrows describes the difference between common law and Indigenous law this way: Indigenous law looks to nature and to the land to provide principles of law and order and ways of creating peace between peoples; whereas the common law looks to old cases in libraries to decide how to act in the future.

“Indigenous law is the most vital and exciting legal work being done in the world right now,” says Napoleon, director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit. “UVic’s Indigenous Law Degree program will equip our students to take up that work at every level – local to national, private to public, and beyond. This is the very first law degree of its kind, and it is going to be a vital part of rebuilding Indigenous law to meet today’s challenges.”

The four-year JD/JID program includes mandatory field studies in Indigenous communities across Canada, introducing students to a diversity of Indigenous legal traditions. The first intake of students is being planned for September 2018, subject to approval under BC’s Degree Authorization Act.

The program will be supported and complemented by a new Indigenous Legal Lodge, to be built to house the JD/JID program and the Indigenous Law Research Unit. It will act as a national forum for critical engagement, debate, learning, public education and partnership on Indigenous legal traditions and their use, refinement, and reconstruction. The design will reflect and honour the long-standing relationships between the law school and local First Nations communities.

Senator Murray Sinclair, former judge and Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said of the joint JD/JID program and Indigenous Legal Lodge: “They are precisely what we had hoped would follow from the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and they promise to form the very best of legacies: a set of initiatives that reject and reverse the pattern of denigration and neglect identified in our report, and that establish the conditions for effective action long into the future.”

 

From Homeless to Helping Others: VIU Cowichan Student April Murphy’s Story

April Murphy, an Adult Basic Education student at VIU Cowichan, has gone from being unable to read to her children to becoming a leader in her classes. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

April Murphy, an Adult Basic Education student at VIU Cowichan, has gone from being unable to read to her children to becoming a leader in her classes. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

An Adult Basic Education student, Murphy overcame multiple barriers to succeed

DUNCAN, BC: April Murphy has battled illiteracy, homelessness, and addiction and mental health challenges.

Now the 33-year-old Vancouver Island University (VIU) Cowichan Adult Basic Education (ABE) student is well on her way to getting her high school diploma, after which she plans to enter the Community Mental Health Worker certificate program so she can help others overcome similar life situations. She hopes sharing her story will inspire others to see the possibilities.

“I went from being my own worst enemy to being my own best friend,” says Murphy. “I didn’t realize how good life could be if I was good to myself. The community at VIU has been amazing throughout this process. I don’t think I would be half as successful if it weren’t for the staff here cheering me on and pushing me to do better for myself.”

Growing up in the Cowichan Valley, Murphy’s educational struggles began at an early age – she dropped out in Grade 5 without ever having learned to read.

“It felt like a burden to bring myself to school she says. “It was tough. After I dropped out, I ended up in an alternative school for six months, and then after that I was just homeless.”

Murphy lived on the streets of Victoria until she got pregnant at age 18 and returned home. After giving birth to her second son, she decided it was time she learned to read so she enrolled in literacy courses at The Reading and Writing Centre – Malaspina’s storefront literacy program in downtown Duncan.

“My oldest son was going to be in Kindergarten and I wanted to be able to read the bedtime stories the teacher sent home,” remembers the mother of four. “But I had this big block about learning because of my earlier experiences – I was so afraid of failing.”

After reaching a certain reading proficiency, Murphy was able to enrol in adult upgrading courses through what was then Malaspina University-College. She experienced a major hiccup in her educational journey after suffering from a grand mal seizure in 2013, which caused epileptic psychosis. In 2016, after struggling for years to regain her mental health, she bumped into Joanna Lord, one of her Adult Basic Education Instructors at VIU Cowichan, while out and about in the community. Lord talked her into coming back to school.

“Joanna has been awesome – she’s definitely been given a gift to inspire people to do the best they can,” says Murphy. “Summer [Crosson, another Adult Basic Education instructor] is the same, she has a way of helping you see that you can do this. All of the staff at the Cowichan Campus bring a lot of hope to people, I find it like a family network.”

Lord, who met Murphy in 2010 when she first signed up for upgrading courses, says her story is one of incredible resilience and determination.

April is the epitome of an ABE student, overcoming multiple barriers to continue her education, and acting as a role model for her children and extended family,” says Lord.

Crosson says Murphy has become a leader at VIU and she looks forward to watching her take on new leadership roles in the community.

“Her enthusiasm, kindness and sense of humour are a welcome contribution in the classroom – she contributes to a sense of teamwork and solidarity amongst her fellow students,” says Crosson.

Murphy’s next step is to take the Community Mental Health Worker program and become a shelter worker.

“We need more community support workers in the Cowichan Valley, the homeless population is only going to continue to rise,” she says. “I just want to give back to this area, which has given so much to me.”

To learn more about Adult Basic Education courses at VIU Cowichan, click here. To view this press release online, visit VIU News.

 

The 2018 Indspire Award Recipients

Arts

Greg Hill
Kanyen’kehaka, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario

Greg HillOver nearly thirty years of work as an artist and curator, Greg Hill has been a unique voice for Indigenous issues in his art, and an advocate for other Indigenous artists as a curator. The first Indigenous curator at the National Gallery of Canada, since 2000 he has dramatically increased the representation of Indigenous artists in the permanent collection and on display in the galleries, nearly doubling the collection in the years since he became the inaugural Audain Chair and head of the Department of Indigenous Art. Greg has curated major retrospective exhibitions and written catalogues for some of the most acclaimed Indigenous artists in Canada including: Norval Morrisseau, Carl Beam, and most recently, Alex Janvier. Greg was co-curator for Sakahan: International Indigenous Art, the National Gallery’s largest ever exhibition and the only recurring global survey of contemporary Indigenous art in the world. Greg is now hard at work on the next one coming in the fall of 2019.


Business & Commerce

Nicole Bourque-Bouchier
Mikisew Cree First Nation, Alberta

Nicole Bourque BouchierNicole Bourque-Bouchier is a business leader, philanthropist, and an advocate for Indigenous women’s economic empowerment. As co-owner and Chief Executive Officer of The Bouchier Group, one of Alberta’s largest Indigenous-owned companies, she is one of the most influential women in Canada. In 2015, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Not only does Nicole empower other women through her example as a woman with the top job in a male-dominated field, she is also actively engaged in elevating other Indigenous women. In 2013, Nicole spearheaded an ad series called Paving Pathways to Success, Applauding Aboriginal Women in Business, where eight local women were recognized for adding value and awareness to Indigenous women’s economic security in the region.Nicole exemplifies Indigenous reciprocity through the more than $3 million that she has contributed through both The Bouchier Group and personally to local organizations, initiatives, and Indigenous communities in the Fort McMurray region.


Culture, Heritage & Spirituality

Kye7e Cecilia Dick DeRose
Secwepemc Nation, British Columbia

Despite being discouraged from speaking her language at St. Joseph’s Residential School, Kye7e Cecilia DeRose is a champion of language revitalization. Since 1980, she has been teaching Secwepemctsin to students of all ages and has helped develop university Indigenous language programs. In the 1980s, Cecilia sat on the Katie Ross Inquiry, which recommended that interpreters be provided to Indigenous people and that public servants be provided cross-cultural training. Cecilia then undertook the interpreter course and was available to interpret and provide cross cultural training for the hospital, RCMP, and courts. Cecilia recently created a Hide Tanning Kit and Instruction Book and has assisted in developing and teaching a course on Secwepemc ethnobotany. Cecilia lives by what her father told her the first time she was taken by the missionaries to residential school: “Always be proud to be an Indian.”

 


Culture, Heritage & Spirituality

Theland Kicknosway
Walpole Island Bkejwanong Territory, Ontario

At just fourteen years old, Theland is a singer, dancer, activist and an educator of Indigenous culture and history. Known as the Cree Drummer who led the current Prime Minister and Cabinet into Rideau Hall in 2015, Theland has used his spotlight to elevate Indigenous issues. In 2017, he completed his third annual 130km run from Ottawa to Kitigan Zibi in partnership with Families of Sisters in Spirit to raise awareness for the children of missing and murdered Indigenous women. He is also a facilitator of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise where he lends his wisdom and compassion to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people learning about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. In grade three, he wrote a letter to his school explaining why an annual pow wow would be an excellent teaching opportunity for the school and as a result, in 2017, Century Public School celebrated its fourth annual pow wow.


Education

Dr. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams
Lil’wat Nation, British Columbia

Dr.LornaDr. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams is Professor Emerita of Indigenous Education, Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Victoria and Canada Research Chair in Education and Linguistics. She built her career on the principle that quality education for Indigenous children must be characterized by strong cultural teachings alongside a Euro-Western education. As a child, Wanosts’a7 lost her language as a result of her residential school experience, but relearned it with the help of her family and community. She eventually helped to develop the writing system for Lil’wat and co-authored the first curriculum and learning resources for teachers to teach the language in school. At the University of Victoria, Dr. Williams initiated and led the development of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and a Master’s in Counseling in Indigenous Communities. She also initiated, designed, and implemented a mandatory course in Indigenous Education for all teacher education students, leading to the requirement that all teacher education programs in British Columbia include an Indigenous Education course.


Health

Dr. Evelyn Voyageur
Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, British Columbia

Dr.EvelynDr. Evelyn Voyageur is a survivor of St. Michael’s Residential School, a fluent speaker of Kwakwala, and an active matriarch in the Kwakwaka’wakw culture. She has dedicated her life to improving the health of Indigenous peoples through her more than five decades in the nursing profession. In the early 1980s, Dr. Voyageur founded the Native and Inuit Nurses Association of British Columbia to help educate those who work with First Nations communities, and from 1999 to 2003, she supported survivors at the Indian Residential School Society. Since 1980, she has been active in the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, and was its President from 2010-2012. In 2003, she earned her PhD in Behavioural Science in Psychology. Dr. Voyageur has been working to transform curricula to bring cultural awareness to nursing programs at the University of Victoria and North Island College, where she is the current Elder in Residence.
 


Law & Justice

Paul Chartrand
St. Laurent, Manitoba

Paul Chartrand Paul Chartrand is a legal practitioner and a retired Professor of Law who has lent his expertise to some of the most significant developments in law and policy for Indigenous peoples in recent history. In 1991 Paul Chartrand was appointed one of the seven commissioners to Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The resulting report included 440 recommendations for transforming the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and governments in Canada and has become a framework for reconciliation. The report has led to historic initiatives like the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For nearly three decades, Mr. Chartrand participated as a representative and an advisor to Indigenous organizations in the process leading up to the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The creation and adoption of UNDRIP is a significant milestone in the protection and promotion of Indigenous rights not only in Canada, but around the world. The Declaration was officially adopted by the Government of Canada in 2016.
 


Public Service

Dr. Mike DeGagné
Animakee Wa Zhing #37, Ontario

Mike DeGagne Dr. Mike DeGagné is President and Vice Chancellor of Nipissing University.  He hopes to “indigenize the academy” and is especially committed to helping Indigenous students find and achieve their life’s purpose. Dr. DeGagné has over 25 years of leadership experience in public service. He was an Executive in the federal public service, serving with Health Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.  His career began in the addictions field, and continued to comprehensive claims negotiation. In 1998, Dr. DeGagné became the founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. In that role, he worked on a national level to encourage and support community-developed, community-delivered, and culturally-based initiatives addressing the intergenerational effects of abuses suffered in the Indian Residential School System. For his dedication to this work, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2014 and Member of the Order of Ontario in 2010.


Sports

Michael Linklater
Thunderchild First Nation, Saskatchewan

Michael Linklater Michael Linklater is the top-ranked three-on-three basketball player in all of the Americas. In 2010, he led the University of Saskatchewan Huskies basketball team to their first CIS national championship. In 2017, he played with Team Saskatoon in the 3×3 World Tour Final in Beijing. Perhaps even more impressive than Michael’s athleticism is his commitment to being a positive role model for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. He is the owner and head coach of Prime Basketball Development, where he teaches young basketball players how to become champions on and off the court. He also travels to First Nations communities and hosts individual and team development clinics. As a kid, Michael was bullied relentlessly for his braids, so when his sons suffered the same racism, the proud Nehiyaw (Cree) started an international movement called Boys with Braids to teach Indigenous youth and those who work with them, about the cultural significance of long hair for Indigenous men.


Youth – First Nation

Ashley Callingbull
Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta

Ashley In 2015, Ashley Callingbull became the first Canadian and first First Nations woman to be crowned Mrs. Universe. In the ensuing media frenzy that followed her historic win, she began to use her platform to be a voice for Indigenous issues. During the federal election happening at the same time, she helped push the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to the forefront of political discussion. She shares her own story of using her Cree culture to overcome childhood physical and sexual abuse to show young people going through the same thing, that there is hope. Ashley is deeply rooted in her culture and through her visibility, has managed to break down stereotypes of Indigenous peoples. In addition to her work in the community, she is an accomplished actor, appearing on APTN’s Blackstone, was part of the first First Nations team on The Amazing Race Canada, and is a spokesperson and model for the Nike N7 organization.
 


Youth – Inuit

Dr. Donna May Kimmaliardjuk
Igluligaarjuk, Nunavut

Dr.Donna Dr. Donna May Kimmaliardjuk is the very first Inuk to become a heart surgeon.  Currently in her fourth year of a six-year residency program at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, she was accepted in 2014 as one of only ten cardiac surgery residents in all of Canada. In 2016, Dr. Kimmaliardjuk joined the National Aboriginal Council on HIV/AIDS as the Inuit representative, where she provides the council with a unique and crucial perspective combining her knowledge of medicine and Inuit culture. While earning a Bachelor of Sciences Honours at Queen’s University, she served as president of the Queen’s Native Students’ Association for two years and was a student representative on the Queen’s University Aboriginal Council. Through her hard work and dedication, she is not only bridging the gap for Inuit accessing medical services, but she is leading the way for the next generation of Inuit youth to follow in her footsteps.
 


Youth – Métis

Tracie Léost
St. Laurent, Manitoba

Tracie LeostAt just nineteen years old, Tracie Léost is a young Indigenous leader, activist, and track and field athlete. In 2014, Tracie won three bronze medals under the Métis flag at the North American Indigenous Games in Regina. In 2015, after learning of the disappearance of more and more Indigenous women and feeling a growing sense of frustration about the lack of political will to launch an inquiry into the issue, Tracie set out on a four-day 115km run to raise awareness. She raised over $6,000 for the Families First Foundation and garnered international attention. In September 2016, the Government of Canada launched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Now in her second year in the Indigenous Social Work Program at the University of Regina, she continues to advocate for Indigenous peoples.

 


Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Gloria Cranmer Webster
‘Namgis First Nation, British Columbia

Gloria CranmerDr. Gloria Cranmer Webster is recognized for her work in cultural reclamation, artifact repatriation, and language revitalization. In 1921, the federal government confiscated masks, regalia, and other treasures from a Potlatch ceremony hosted by Chief Dan Cranmer, Gloria’s father. As Assistant Curator at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, Gloria helped to return the collection to her community. In 1975, Gloria returned to her home in Alert Bay to lead the design and construction of the U’mista Cultural Centre, which would house the Potlatch Collection. The Centre remains a place for cultural revitalization for the community and the many visitors who travel to the island to learn about Kwakwaka’wakw culture. Dr. Cranmer Webster is also a champion of the Kwak’wala language. At a time when it was on the verge of extinction, Gloria, along with the Old People and Dr. J. Powell, a linguist from the University of BC, developed an orthography and a series of twelve language books, which paved the way for its preservation.

Leading by Example Exceeding Personal Expectations

Tanis Flett receiving her Diploma

Tanis Flett receiving her Diploma

 

Graduating is a major accomplishment and there’s great joy in donning your cap and gown and receiving your parchment. It’s a day when you look back on the challenges you’ve overcome – the late nights studying, driving through storms to get to class, and remembering the people you met along the way and the fun memories you’ve made. For Tanis Flett, a graduate of the Social Work Diploma program in June of 2017, it is also proof that her hard work and determination has set her up for a successful future.

Tanis Flett is a 29 year-old, mother of four who lives in Sucker Creek First Nation with her husband. Flett was a stay-at-home mom for eight years, and when her youngest child started kindergarten she decided it was time to return to school full-time. Flett credits her husband and his support in her success. She chose to study with Northern Lakes College because of accessibility. The High Prairie Campus is only 20 minutes away from where she lives, and it was easy to travel back and forth.

During her studies at Northern Lakes College, Flett was involved with several committees including the Student Union, the Student Association, Academic Council, and the Community Education Committee. Flett appreciates the support, “I had incredible instructors. The people in the Student Association and staff at the College were great. I really appreciate their support. It was a really good four years.”

Flett was very excited and relieved when she made it to graduation day. Graduating alongside her sister, Kim Flett-Letendre was a proud moment. Flett recalled when she was attending a convocation ceremony a few years earlier and watched a Social Work student being called up to receive multiple awards. This was an awe-inspiring moment for her and she set a goal for herself to be that person one day. Her hard work paid off; on her graduation day Flett received three awards, including the Governor General’s Collegiate Bronze Medallion for highest academic achievement. “I hope that my children will see my hard work and effort as an example for themselves to succeed in life. I believe in leading by example. If you work hard, you can achieve anything you want,” she said.

Today, Flett works for the Social Development Department at Sucker Creek First Nation. In her work, Flett continues to aim high and says that her education has given her the skills and tools to handle challenging situations that life has in store.

FNESS Youth Engagement Initiative – Fire Prevention: Be a Firefighter

Participants at Fire Prevention: Be A Firefighter workshop, GOV 2017, Kelowna Fire Department. Kelowna, BC.

Participants at Fire Prevention: Be A Firefighter workshop, GOV 2017, Kelowna Fire Department. Kelowna, BC.

 

The First Nations Emergency Services Society of BC (FNESS) has the mission as a professional community-minded, highly skilled and committed team, to work with First Nations in promoting, developing and sustaining safer and healthier communities. We believe that our youth are the future of society and that if young people engage in doing something with a purpose, they will build tomorrow’s communities.

FNESS is proud to be involved with youth with the well-established FNESS Youth Engagement Initiative. Every year the FNESS Fire Services department motivates youth to learn about practical fire safety knowledge, firefighter skills and careers in the fire services. Many young people join the Regional FNESS Fire Prevention Youth Boot Camps and the Fire Prevention: Be A Firefighter workshop. The latter is delivered in partnership with Gathering Our Voices Indigenous Youth Leadership Training (GOV).

For the past 2 years FNESS has partnered with schools, school districts, local fire departments, both municipal and First Nations led, to deliver this amazing event to First Nations youth. In 2017 FNESS had the honour to partner with Kelowna Fire Department to participate as facilitators at GOV, where over 100 youth attended and demonstrated their drive and excitement. Also, FNESS partnered with Penticton Indian Band Fire Department, Penticton Fire Department, West Kelowna Fire Department, and School Districts 23 and 67 to host two regional Fire Prevention Youth Boot Camps.

During GOV 2018 FNESS will be attending as an exhibitor at the career fair and as facilitators to deliver the most coveted Fire Prevention: Be A Firefighter workshop. FNESS has partnered with Richmond Fire Rescue to offer the best experience for our First Nations youth participating at the GOV 2018. It is an honour to be able to be part of one the greatest youth initiatives in BC, where thousands of delegates from all First Nations across BC come together to get inspired and motivated through diverse career oriented workshops at the GOV.

This year’s GOV is in Richmond, BC at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel from March 20th to March 23rd. The Fire Prevention: Be A Firefighter workshop will be on March 21st and March 22nd. Make sure you register for our workshop before it’s at capacity. Registrations open in February at www.gatheringourvoices.ca.

Chiefs Council Launches GoFundMe Campaign to Quash Oil Tanker Moratorium Act and Great Bear Rainforest


LAX KW’ALAAMS, BC, January 24, 2018 – The Chiefs Council represents over 30 communities engaged in the First Nations-led Eagle Spirit energy corridor proposed from Bruderheim, Alberta to tidewater in northern British Columbia. Its members have unextinguished Aboriginal rights and title from time immemorial and continuing into the present, or have treaties over the land and ocean of their traditional territories. Having protected the environment as first-stewards of their traditional territories for millennia, the Chief’s Council is vehemently opposed to American ENGOs dictating government policy in their traditional territories—particularly the illegal imposition of the Great Bear Rainforest and the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act proposed by the liberal government.

Today the Chiefs Council wishes to announce that it has set up a GoFundMe page to assist with legal and administrative costs needed to quash the Government’s unilaterally imposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act and the Great Bear Rainforest—both of which were established largely through the lobbying of foreign-financed ENGOs and without the consultation and consent of First Nations as required by the Constitution. We have and will always, put the protection of the environment first, but this must be holistically balanced with social welfare, employment, and business opportunities. These government actions harm our communities denying our leaders the opportunity to create a brighter future for their members.

The Chiefs Council understood that liberal government was supposed to be supporting reconciliation–not perpetuating past failed colonial policies designed subjugate and marginalize indigenous peoples. It is a sad comment that this action is required to taken by Canada’s poorest people against a federal justice department with an indigenous minister. When the federal government possesses unlimited financial resources, such heavy-handed unilateral action clearly is not consistent with the Crown’s fiduciary duty to Aboriginal peoples.