Posts By: First Nations Drum

Lakehead University’s Achievement Program will now help Nipigon students realize their full potential

September 25, 2018 – Thunder Bay, ON

Nipigon students will have a greater chance of attending university thanks to a memorandum of understanding signed with Lakehead University on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Current and future Grade 4 students from George O’Neill Public School and St. Edward Catholic School who are eligible will now have the opportunity to enroll in the Achievement program. Students who are eligible to participate, attend special on campus programming at the University and meet certain criteria to earn financial support toward their first year of tuition at Lakehead University. 

Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson signed the memorandum of understanding with Nicole Morden-Cormier, Interim Director of Education at Superior-Greenstone District School Board, and Maria Vasanelli, Interim Director for Superior North Catholic District School Board.

“The Achievement Program is Lakehead University’s commitment to supporting access to postsecondary education by providing opportunities for students who experience socioeconomic barriers,” Dr. McPherson said.

“This program is about hope and opportunity, and encouraging students to see themselves as Lakehead University graduates at an early age. It’s about changing attitudes and expectations,” she added.

Lakehead introduced the Program in 2011 to help students obtain a postsecondary education at the University. Eligible participants enrol in grade 4 and continue with the Program until grade 12, with annual opportunities to earn financial assistance by completing specific requirements at their school, community and at Lakehead University.

At the end of those nine years, the accrued value of each student’s financial support will help fund their first year at Lakehead University. Lakehead provides additional spots each year, based on available funding, for eligible students to enrol.

Morden-Cormier said the Superior-Greenstone District School Board is pleased to partner with Lakehead University to bring the Achievement Program to students at George O’Neill Public School. 

“We know that students who feel a strong sense of belonging are more likely to succeed. Lakehead University’s Achievement Program has been designed to do just that – to ensure that students become familiar with and feel welcome at the University beginning in grade 4,” she said.

“This program reflects our strong belief in providing equity of access to education as it offers children who might otherwise not have been able to attend University the opportunity to experience it. We believe that this program will have a significant impact on our students.”

Vasanelli said: “Superior North Catholic District School Board is pleased to partner with Lakehead University in providing a progressive opportunity to our students. It is partnerships such as these that strengthen the community in supporting students to reach their potential through relevant education.”

The First Peoples’ Cultural Council’s CEO Receives Order of British Columbia

Brentwood Bay, B.C. – We are proud to announce that FPCC’s Chief Executive Officer Tracey Herbert has been appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the province’s highest form of recognition. Tracey received this honour at Government House in Victoria on September 20, 2018.

Tracey Herbert is the CEO of First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC), a First Nations-run provincial Crown Corporation that supports the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts, culture and heritage in B.C. She is a member of the St’uxwtews First Nation (Bonaparte Band). Tracey is honoured, as an Indigenous woman, to receive this award and recognition at a time when the profile of Indigenous languages and the importance of revitalization is increasing.

“My passion for language and culture comes from being raised by my grandparents, who instilled the Indigenous values of deeply respecting knowledge keepers, and giving back to your community,” said Tracey. “I have been privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to our Indigenous communities and hold Indigenous people up throughout my career.”

Prior to joining FPCC in 2003, Tracey served as elected councilor for the Bonaparte Band, and worked in community development at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.

Tracey has been a tireless advocate of Indigenous language revitalization at the provincial and national level. For the past 15 years, she has led FPCC in providing funding and resources to First Nations communities, monitoring the status of Indigenous languages and developing policy recommendations for First Nations and government.

Tracey’s leadership in language preservation, program development, and technology tools has shaped policy and influenced government, contributing to the development of federal language legislation in Canada, which is expected to be introduced in 2019.

Under Tracey’s leadership FPCC has achieved the following successes:

  • Development of innovative programs to support the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages and arts in B.C.
  • Advocacy for Indigenous languages, resulting in a $50-million investment by the provincial government for Indigenous language revitalization in 2018.
  • Development of the award winning Our Living Languages exhibition at the Royal BC Museum in 2014 showcasing the work of B.C.’s Indigenous language champions and presenting the critical level of endangerment of B.C. First Nations Languages on an accessible, public platform.

Tracey is technician for B.C. on the national Chief’s Committee on Languages and Chair of the National Assembly of First Nations Costing Committee for the development of the national legislation on Indigenous languages.

Wanosts̓a7 Dr. Lorna Williams, Professor Emerita of Indigenous Education, University of Victoria –

“I was honoured to nominate Tracey for the Order of B.C. Her leadership in the field of arts, language and cultural revitalization has changed the approaches to language preservation and revitalization. Though her work to promote the value and beauty of B.C. languages, she has contributed to a significant shift to a better understanding by First Nations peoples and all British Columbians about why we need our languages for reconciliation, nation building and to strengthen us as individuals.

Tracey’s greatest legacy is that the Indigenous people’s voice is finally heard in telling their stories in song, art, music, exhibitions, performance and giving voice to how history is told and languages recovered, revitalized and maintained as they want it to be. The walls have been breached thanks to her persistence and respectful collaborations.”

National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde 

“On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, I congratulate Tracey Hebert on her prestigious and highly deserved appointment to the Order of British Columbia. This is a clear and strong recognition of her life’s work for First Nations peoples in BC and across the country. Tracey has dedicated decades of service working on a range of issues in a variety of fields. In particular, her efforts to strengthen and revitalize First Nations languages will make 2019, the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages, a truly landmark year worthy of celebration. Tracey’s passion for our people, our cultures and our youth are inspiring, and we commend her on this appointment to the Order of British Columbia.”

Grand Chief Edward John, First Nations Summit Political Executive 

“An unfortunate part of our collective history includes not only the historical banning of Indigenous cultural practices, but also the use of Indigenous languages. This had tremendous negative impacts on Indigenous peoples and communities in BC. Tracey Herbert’s work provides but one example of our collective efforts to overcome the detrimental effects of this dark time in the history of BC. She is a very worthy recipient of this honour as she has been instrumental in not only promoting the preservation of Indigenous culture and arts, but also promoting the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages in BC.  We applaud her for these significant efforts and are pleased that she is being recognized for her significant body of work by being bestowed with the Order of BC”.  

Hon. Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

 “I hold my hands up to Tracey Herbert for her exceptional contribution to Indigenous language revitalization in British Columbia. Her recognition by the Order of B.C. is well deserved and her commitment and hard work on behalf of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council has not gone unnoticed. As a government we are proud to support work in such a critical area.”

Quebec English Electoral Debate: The AFNQL Underlines the Recognition of First Nations as a Solution to Labor Shortage

Wendake, September 18, 2018 – “First Nation issues are finally getting a nod in the electoral campaign but we want to hear more than just a few references,” stated Chief of the AFNQL Ghislain Picard, reacting to the English debate held yesterday.

During the debate, when questioned about labor shortage, Liberal and Parti quebecois leaders said they would turn to First Nations. “We need to bring Seniors in the workforce, (and) First Nations”, said Philippe Couillard. “Labor shortage is a real issue and there are number of ways to address it: First Nations for example… Ghislain Picard said since there were labor shortage in the regions, could we not maximize the employment of the youth from the First Nations and Inuits? I think it’s a great idea,” added Jean-François Lisée.

“Up to now, we have heard a lot of talk about immigration as a solution to the labor shortage, but very few dared to venture into the realm of First Nations demographic reality, which is that 55 per cent of our population is 25 years old and under. Yesterday, I was glad to hear two of the political party leaders recognize that we have an active population ready to work”, commented Chief Ghislain Picard, who wants to remind the political party leaders that 100 days into the new administration, the AFNQL will invite the next government to a formal meeting with our Chiefs Assembly. “For First Nations, employment, training, jobs, and a host of other sectors related to economy, need measures and a plan. Also, we can’t talk about economy if we don’t talk about access to lands and resources. But first, we need to talk,” concluded Chief Picard.

About the AFNQL The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. Follow us on Twitter @APNQL.

First Nations-Driven Implementation Essential, Says AFN National Chief on Federal Investment in Early Learning and Child Care

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, together with AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, support the National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework as one opportunity for First Nations to develop and implement their own early learning and child care systems.

“Healthy children are raised in healthy environments,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “First Nations children will have enhanced opportunities for success when they have identities built from strong connections to their nations, languages, cultures and history. This framework is reflective of direction and input by First Nations experts in health, education and early childhood education. It can now be used as a guide for First Nations to create their own early learning and child care systems based on their vision for their children and families. The implementation is crucial and I look forward to continued participation by First Nations to determine how this will roll out in our nations.”

Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, released the National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework in Ottawa today. The Framework was developed with input by First Nations, Métis and Inuit. As part of its release, Minister Duclos announced $1.02 billion over ten years for early learning and child care initiatives specific to First Nations as well as additional resources for innovation and governance development.

“The work toward achieving this framework is first and foremost about our children, our most precious resource and the focus of all we do,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart who is the portfolio lead for the AFN in this area. “We welcome the commitments made by the federal government today and look forward to using this framework as a guide to implement First Nations approaches and design. First Nations want to care for their children and must drive the design and delivery of all early childhood programming, and this includes ensuring a strong connection to language and culture. This new approach must support First Nations entities that do this work to ensure proper costing, design and delivery.” 

The AFN established a national expert working group on Early Learning and Child Care following direction by Chiefs-in-Assembly in 2016. The working group is comprised of First Nations experts from across the disciplines of health, education and early childhood. The working group led a First Nations regional engagement process to identify and confirm key principles, priorities and actions of a First Nations early learning and child care framework and action plan. This effort helped inform the co-development of the National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

Lakehead University Student’s Art Featured on New Coin

Mary McPherson pictured with Scene of my Elders Emerging from an Inauthentic Past, a drawing she did last year.

Mary McPherson pictured with Scene of my Elders Emerging from an Inauthentic Past, a drawing she did last year.

Photo courtesy of The Royal Canadian Mint

Photo courtesy of The Royal Canadian Mint

A fourth-year visual arts student at Lakehead University says it feels incredible to have designed one side of a new coin for the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Royal Canadian Mint asked Mary McPherson to participate in the design process for the new coin.

She was thrilled when the Mint chose her image of Tecumseh, a legendary Shawnee war leader who allied himself with the British and heroically led hundreds of First Nations warriors into battle at such places as Fort Meigs and most famously, Detroit.

Released on Tuesday, Sept. 4, the new coin recognizes the 250th anniversary of Tecumseh’s birth.

“It feels incredibly different than the work that I usually produce,” said McPherson, who is Ojibway and a member of Couchiching First Nation.

“I’ve never had an artistic experience quite like this one. I feel extremely grateful to have had the honour of drawing Tecumseh and having the design immortalized on a coin.”

McPherson said she learned a lot during the process.

“What I particularly realized throughout the duration of this project was how Tecumseh had, according to Dickason and Newbigging, ‘sided with the British, not because he liked them particularly but because he saw them as the lesser of two evils,’” she said.

“Tecumseh fought for the wellbeing and independence of his people. He had also united Indigenous nations, in resistance to a divide-and-conquer mentality, while maintaining the essential notion that the land was to be shared among all peoples and was not something to be owned.”

The MM on the right side of the coin represents McPherson’s initials. McPherson said her Lakehead University education helped her immensely with this process.

“Through Visual Arts and Indigenous Learning, I was able to improve my drawing skills, research skills, and time management skills, which aided me in completing this project.”

For more information about the coin, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website.


Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Expands Office Adds Indigenous Policy Leader and Community Engagement Specialist

(HALIFAX, NS) – The Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for NS and NL, Morley Googoo has enlisted Indigenous leaders Rhonda Knockwood and Shannon Monk to support his office’s vision and mandate to 2020.

Knockwood is in the process of relocating from British Columbia on the completion of a term with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government (Ucluelet First Nation) as a Political Advisor and Chief Negotiator.  She joins the NS-NL Regional Office as Chief of Staff and brings with her a robust career that includes working with Indigenous organizations across the country.  Knockwood was Chief of Staff for Shawn Atleo’s term as AFN Regional Chief for BC from 2003-09.  Following this, she performed consulting work with the Atlantic Policy Congress of Atlantic Chiefs and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians while living in Sipekne’katik. Knockwood returned to British Columbia to complete her graduate degree and worked as the Director of Operations with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government and will conclude her term as a key organizational advisor at the end of this month.  Knockwood currently serves as the volunteer Board President of the First Nations Education Foundation and will complete her Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business this October.  The program is the only accredited masters level program in North America that is centrally focussed on Indigenous business, economic development and governance.

Regional Chief Googoo announced at AFN meetings in Ottawa this week that Knockwood will be joining his office in Oct. “Rhonda’s commitment to creating a new narrative for Indigenous people is an invaluable asset to my office and to all First Nations.” He said adding, “Her experience in policy development and Indigenous governance will help to propel, guide and inform our dynamic discussions as we move toward a Nation-to-Nation government.” 

Furthering his office’s role of community engagement Regional Chief Googoo has also recruited Shannon Monk, an accomplished First Nations community liaison who recently acted as the Indigenous lead on the Canada C-3 project.  She has been engaged by the Federal and several Provincial governments, corporations and several non-profit organizations as an outreach facilitator with Indigenous communities.  As part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mandate she coordinated and hosted a series of 30 national conferences with Residential School survivors, service providers, and First Nations leaders.  As a Policy Analyst with the Assembly of First Nations she has travelled to more than 150 First Nations communities across the country to assess and report on the impact of Residential schools.  As CEO of Sakatay Global, Monk developed the Indigenous Circle Approach to Cultural Confidence™ as a framework for reconciliation and has provided extensive training to government and business.  Monk holds a degree in Arts, Education and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Queen’s University with a focus on Indigenous Policy and Governance from the School of Policy Studies.

Regional Chief Googoo praised Monk’s career and her addition to his office. “Shannon has an incomparable record for Indigenous community outreach across Canada. Her in-depth perspective will bring an innovative and strategic insight to working with communities in NS and NL as we work together to address their needs.”

About the Assembly of First Nations

First Nation leaders (Chiefs) from coast to coast to coast direct the work of AFN through resolutions passed at Chiefs Assemblies held at least twice a year.  The AFN National Executive is made up of the National Chief, 10 Regional Chiefs and the chairs of the Elders, Women’s and Youth councils.  Regional Chiefs are elected every three years by Chiefs in their regions.  Chiefs, who are elected by the citizens and members of their respective communities, elect the National Chief every three years.

The role of the National Chief and the AFN is to advocate on behalf of First Nations as directed by Chiefs-in-Assembly.  This includes facilitation and coordination of national and regional discussions and dialogue, advocacy efforts and campaigns, legal and policy analysis, communicating with governments, including facilitating relationship building between First Nations and the Crown as well as public and private sectors and general public.

September 13, 2018 —Whitecap Dakota First Nation, SASKATCHEWAN —Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada is proud to support economic development opportunities and growth in First Nation communities.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, along with Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation, gathered in Whitecap to celebrate the ground-breaking of a new hotel and conference center.
The Dakota Dunes hotel project will feature Indigenous themes and décor, with 155 rooms, a fitness center, business center, pool and restaurant.

Once completed, the hotel is projected to generate annual revenue of approximately $8.5 million and create 150 new full-time and part-time jobs within the community. The hotel is also expected to stimulate the local economy by contributing to spin-off businesses and increased visitors to area attractions such as the casino and golf course.

“I’m thrilled to be celebrating the ground breaking for a new hotel and conference centre in Whitecap Dakota First Nation. The Dakota Dunes hotel project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved through partnership and collaboration to foster economic growth and opportunities in Indigenous communities.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

“The Dakota Dunes Hotel is an integral part of our vision that will see Whitecap become a premiere tourism destination resort in Western Canada. The hotel will also generate another 150 jobs and continue to build Whitecap as a major employer in the region. This is a truly an exciting day for our First Nation as we continue on our economic path of building a sustainable community.”

Chief Darcy Bear
Whitecap Dakota First Nations’ Chief

“BMO is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the exciting Dakota Dunes hotel project. This initiative will generate significant economic impacts for members of the community. BMO has provided dedicated and growing support to Indigenous clients since 1992. We are pleased and proud to be working with Whitecap Dakota and commend their leadership for executing on a solid business strategy.”

Stephen Fay
Head, Indigenous Banking North America, BMO

“On behalf of SIGA, we’re very excited to be partnering with the Whitecap Dakota First Nation to help bring this new hotel development to Dakota Dunes. This project will have significant benefits, including supporting the creation of 150 new jobs, increasing tourism to the area, and further enhancing the customer experience at one of our premier gaming destinations.”

Zane Hansen
President and CEO, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority

Quick Facts
• This project is a prime example of collaboration between the federal government, the private sector, and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
• Indigenous Services Canada has contributed $8.6 million to this project through the Community Opportunity Readiness Program. The total estimated cost for the construction of the hotel is $38 million.
• During the construction phase, the hotel project is estimated to create approximately 230 jobs, and once operational in 2020, up to 150 jobs in the community.
• The hotel is expected to generate $230 million in economic benefits for the
Saskatoon regional economy over ten years and generate $13 million in annual government fiscal benefits.

Associated Links
Community Opportunity Readiness Program
ISC Key Priority: Economic Prosperity
Whitecap Dakota First Nation

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says First Nations will Drive a Reset of National Dialogue on Rights

(Ottawa, ON):  Following a successful two-day national policy forum, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated that AFN will press for a reset of a process launched by the Government of Canada on First Nations’ rights.  Delegates at the national policy forum, and an AFN resolution from July 2018, insist that the process and solutions lie in a First Nations led process.  

The National Policy Forum on the Affirmation on the Rights was held to support First Nations’ leadership in all territories before Chiefs meet again in Assembly at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly December 4-6 in Algonquin territory.

“We’ve heard clearly from delegates from many territories that any proposed decision, policy or legislation impacting First Nations’ rights, title and jurisdiction must respect the right to self-determination,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “First Nations must work together in accordance with our protocols and responsibilities to get it right, and getting it right, means our work cannot be rushed. Many First Nations are telling Canada to stop and work together in ways that truly affirms and implements rights, title and jurisdiction, and to commit to a First Nations driven process guided by First Nations’ laws and customs.”

More than 500 First Nations leaders and delegates gathered on Algonquin territory in Gatineau, Quebec September 11 and 12 for a national policy forum on Affirming First Nations Rights, Title and Jurisdiction.  First Nations leaders from across the country discussed the federal government’s proposed approach to rights and reconciliation legislation.

Presentations included an overview of rights recognition and affirmation to date, initiatives, resolutions and current perspectives of First Nations citizens and leaders. 

“We all want to move beyond the Indian Act’s control and reconstitute ourselves as Indigenous peoples and Nations with fundamental inherent rights,” said National Chief Bellegarde.  “We are self-determining nations with jurisdiction to take control of where we are and where we need to go as people and as nations.  Out of respect for treaties and the vision of our ancestors, we are willing to work in partnership, but First Nations will not accept a prescriptive and rushed process that doesn’t respect self-determination or the duty to consult. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a road map to reconciliation.  Our leaders have put their hearts and minds together to listen and learn and to dialogue, and I look forward to further discussion and deliberation at our Chiefs Assembly in December.”

Dialogue from the forum will result in a comprehensive report and will help inform deliberations and decision-making by Chiefs at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly December 4-6 in Algonquin territory at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa. 

Current AFN Resolutions 08/2018 Implementing Canada’s Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework and clarifying the role of AFN and 39/2018 First Nations Determination to the Path to Decolonization confirm support for First Nations rights holders to lead the process and direct AFN to call on the Government of Canada to work with First Nations before adopting and implementing any legislative or administrative measures that affect them. 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

AngajukKât, Inuit Community Corporation Chairs to be sworn in as members of the Nunatsiavut Assembly next week

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe today congratulated all candidates who were successful in their elections yesterday for AngajukKâk in four Labrador Inuit communities, as well as the chair of the NunaKatiget Inuit Community Corporation in Happy Valley-Goose Bay/Mud Lake and the Sivunivut Inuit Community Corporation in North West River.

“It takes a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication to serve in public office, and I commend all successful candidates for taking on that challenge,” says President Lampe. “I also want to thank those who were not successful for putting their names forward, and to wish them all the best in whatever they do.”

The following will be sworn in as Members of the Nunatsiavut Assembly next week in Hopedale:
Nain Julius (Joe) Dicker (won by acclamation)
Hopedale Marjorie Flowers (incumbent)
Makkovik Winston Andersen
Postville Glen Sheppard
Rigolet Charlotte Wolfrey

Inuit Community Corporation Chairs
NunaKatiget (Happy Valley-Goose Bay/Mud Lake) Patricia Kemuksigak
Sivunivut (North West River) Maxene Winters


Minister Philpott to announce significant investments to support health programs and services in Norway House Cree Nation Norway House Cree Nation, Manitoba – Please be advised that the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, will join Chief Larson Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation, to announce significant funding in support of Indigenous and community-based health services for Norway House Cree Nation.

Date: September 7, 2018

Time: 11:00 a.m. (CDT)

Where: Fisherman’s Coop Waterfront Stage