Posts By: First Nations Drum

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

Premier’s lack of action on Muskrat Falls commitments a step back for reconciliation, says President Lampe

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe is questioning why the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to ignore the recommendations of the Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC) on ways to mitigate human health concerns related to methylmercury throughout the Muskrat Falls reservoir as well as in the Lake Melville ecosystem.

“The Premier and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has done very little to ease concerns over the potential impacts of Muskrat Falls on our health, culture and way of life,” says President Lampe.

On October 26, 2016, following an 11-hour marathon meeting with Labrador’s three Indigenous leaders, the Premier committed to resolving several key issues surrounding the pending flooding of the Muskrat Falls reservoir. All leaders also agreed to establish the IEAC in order to seek an independent, evidence- based approach – utilizing best available science along with Indigenous traditional knowledge – to determine and recommend options for mitigating human health concerns related to methylmercury.

The IEAC, one month after being formally established, issued its first set of recommendations in September of last year. It issued a second set of recommendations on April 10 of this year.

“We have inquired repeatedly, through emails, telephone calls and correspondence, as to when the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador intends to respond to the recommendations,” notes President Lampe. “All we are getting is lip service, which leads us to believe the Premier’s commitment was an empty one.”

It appears as though the Province is intentionally delaying its response to the recommendations to ensure there is not enough time to implement them before full impoundment, says President Lampe.

“The Premier talks about the importance of reconciliation with the province’s Indigenous peoples, yet he continues to show very little respect to our concerns – despite making commitments to the contrary. His government’s refusal to respond to the IEAC’s recommendations is a step back for reconciliation.”

Victory for First Nations Rights Says AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Federal Court Ruling to Halt Construction of Trans Mountain

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde released the below statement in response to today’s decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to halt construction of the Trans Mountain expansion project. 

“Today’s federal court decision is another victory for First Nations.  It’s unfortunate that First Nations must litigate to protect our inherent rights, title and jurisdiction.  In this case, the government did not even meet the duty to consult standard as articulated by the courts.  On behalf of the AFN, I remind all governments that the Crown also must meet the minimum standards set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Our right to self-determination, inherent rights and title and Treaty rights have been affirmed as legal rights in Canada and internationally.”

“The decision confirms yet again why we need to work together on a better approach that leads to better decisions and better outcomes – an approach that implements and enforces rights and title, including free, prior and informed consent as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is how we avoid conflict and costly legal battles and advance reconciliation. This is how we can grow a stronger country for our children.”

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

President offers condolences on the passing of Carol Brice-Bennett

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe says he was saddened to hear of the passing of Carl BriceBennett, who was instrumental in gathering much of the data that helped pave the way for the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
“Carol was a well-respected anthropologist and researcher who devoted much of her life documenting Labrador Inuit history,” says President Lampe. “On behalf of the Nunatsiavut Government and Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, I extend my condolences to Carol’s family and friends.”

Ms. Brice-Bennett passed away on Sunday, surrounded by family, in Montreal where she was born and retired in 2015.

After graduating in anthropology at McGill University and Memorial University of Newfoundland, Ms. Brice-Bennett contributed to early research on Inuit land claims. Best known for the study “Our Footprints are Everywhere: Inuit land use and occupancy in Labrador” (1977), she also authored four additional books on Labrador Inuit history and culture, and completed the text on a reference book for use by secondary schools in the Labrador School Board. She also served as chair of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Ratification Committee, leading up to the final vote that established Nunatsiavut.


(Ottawa, ON) – In conjunction with the National Capital Pride week, The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is reaching out to our LGBTQ+, Trans, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit individuals to ensure you know you are valuable, deserve full inclusion in our communities and always have a safe space at NWAC.

NWAC recognizes members of the Indigenous LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit community need increased, specialized services and advocacy and NWAC is dedicated to improving our commitment to you. We acknowledge these
individuals are continuously left out of the conversation. We sincerely apologize for the remaining gaps in our services and advocacy and promise to fill these to properly reflect the strength and diversity of our communities.

As a group that exists at the intersections of queer and/or transphobia as well as colonial racism, members of the Indigenous LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit communities are disproportionately impacted by violence. Marginalization
dramatically decreases the availability and the accessibility of supports and services, meaning Indigenous people who live within these marginalized groups face additional obstacles to accessing basic services.

NWAC is making dedicated efforts to be more inclusive of Trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people. A new era is here as NWAC embarks on establishing renewed relationships with these communities and by revising our mandate to be inclusive of not only all Indigenous women and girls, but also inclusive of TwoSpirit and gender-diverse individuals.

Additionally, NWAC’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 is gender-diverse inclusive and we are in the process of updating our by-laws and developing education materials for our staff to ensure all of our future work is gender inclusive.

This includes an engagement framework that is trauma-informed and culturally-appropriate to help us understand the specific issues impacting gender-diverse Indigenous people. We are collaborating with
community partners who are at the forefront of this work to ensure we properly implement greater diversity and representation.

NWAC is fully committed to creating safe-spaces for Trans, Two-Spirit, gender-diverse, and LGBTQ+ members
of our communities to empower and include all on our path to reconciliation. We must stand together and unite
to work towards a decolonized future.

Remote Inuit communities will benefit from first-time access to modern high-speed Internet

Internet access is more than just a convenience: citizens, communities, businesses and institutions need it to find information, offer services and create opportunities. That’s why the Government of Canada is helping all of Nunavik’s 14 Inuit communities and 28 institutions get online with new or improved high-speed Internet access.

Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Persons with Disabilities, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a joint federal-provincial investment of $125.2 million in high-speed Internet today at the Kativik Regional Government office in Kuujjuaq. The Government of Canada, through the Connect to Innovate program, and the Government of Quebec, through the Ministry of economy, science and innovation, which mandated the Société du Plan Nord to carry out this project, will each invest $62.6 million in the project. The Kativik Regional Government will contribute $500,000.

The government funding will be allocated over three years to the Kativik Regional Government, the territorial government for Nunavik, to build subsea fibre optic backbone infrastructure along the eastern coast of Hudson Bay, reaching as far north as Puvirnituq, which would be one of the most northerly fibre optic connections in all of Canada. The fibre optic infrastructure will initially connect four Nunavik communities, enabling residents to have access to high-speed Internet service packages on par with those available to Canadians in major cities by 2020. The funding will also go toward building a backbone network to serve Kuujjuaq, the territory’s capital, while also deploying state-of-the-art fibre-to-the-home infrastructure in 10 communities.

This investment will help residents of these communities connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age.

To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $160 million to bring high-speed Internet to Quebec’s rural and remote communities under Connect to Innovate.

The Government of Canada’s $500-million Connect to Innovate program is investing in building the digital backbone of high-speed Internet networks. Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities. These highways carry large amounts of data that are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to function in a digital world. 


“Access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury; it’s essential. High-speed Internet service is a basic tool that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of where they live. Our communities need this service to do business, upgrade their education and build stronger communities. Thanks to our Connect to Innovate program, more people will be able to participate fully in the digital economy and have access to middle-class jobs.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“For northern Quebec communities, digital investment through the Connect to Innovate program enhances opportunities for residents of all ages. This important investment will support students and youth in learning and residents in day-to-day life with connected devices. It will also support businesses and institutions by giving them the technological tools they need to succeed in the digital economy. It’s all part of our government’s plan to help create opportunity in all communities, including remote communities in the North.

– Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Person with Disabilities

“We are proud to support this important project by the Kativik Regional Government that will enable more households and businesses to connect, thereby contributing to Nunavik’s economic growth and the vitality of the Nord‑du‑Québec region. Just like electricity was a driving force in the 20th century, access to broadband Internet is today a powerful driver of digital and socio-economic development. That is why our government, in the Quebec Digital Strategy, set itself this target: 100 percent of Quebec residents having access to broadband networks within the next five years.”

– Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier of Quebec, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

“Thanks to financial support for the Société du Plan Nord, our government is able to support this digital infrastructure project in Nunavik, which will contribute to integrated and coherent development in the region covered by the Plan Nord. We reaffirm our commitment to seizing the opportunities presented by digital transformation of the economy—not only by supporting this project but also by focusing, through the Digital Strategy, on high-performing, modern infrastructure throughout Quebec.”

– Jean Boucher, Member of the National Assembly for Ungava and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks

“The Tamaani Internet phase 5 project, associated with the Connect to Innovate program, will lead to faster and greater Internet services for residential, business and government users, allowing for increased education, skills development and job opportunities. It will also improve videoconferencing, bringing us closer together. The Government of Canada, through the Connect to Innovate program, and the Government of Quebec, through the Société du Plan Nord, are helping us to reduce the gap between the north and the south in terms of Internet services and to further develop Nunavik’s economy and human capital.”

– Jennifer Munick, Chairperson, Kativik Regional Government

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec will each provide funding of $62.6 million for the project, and the Kativik Regional Government is contributing $500,000.
  • Connect to Innovate is one of several Government of Canada measures to improve telecommunications services for Canadians. Others are a $100-million investment to improve coverage and connectivity in rural areas with low-earth-orbit satellites; Connecting Families, an initiative that will provide many low-income Canadians with low-cost Internet and up to 50,000 computers to eligible households through the Computer for Schools program; a five-year plan for wireless spectrum release to promote competition and help drive down prices for Canadians and to deliver better quality and coverage; and consultations to prepare Canada for 5G, the next generation of high-quality wireless systems that will enable e-health, connected cars and smart cities.
  • Connect to Innovate is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.
  • The Quebec Digital Strategy is a social project that aims to bring together the government’s various actions in accelerating the development of a true digital culture in all regions.
  • To provide needed impetus for the Quebec Digital Strategy, the government took additional actions in November 2017 when it updated the March 2017 Quebec Economic Plan. These include the announcement of $300 million in support over six years to carry out initiatives aimed at ensuring access to high-speed networks in every region of Quebec.

Provincial Elections 2018 No need for slogans on First Nation issues, just political courage

Wendake, August 23, 2018 – With the start of the provincial electoral campaign, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) is reminding the political parties and especially their leaders that it will be of extreme vigilance and demand firm commitments on their part on priority issues that are all too often absent and ignored during electoral campaigns.

The first commitment required by the AFNQL is that the next Quebec government hold a meeting with First Nations Chiefs on their issues within a hundred days after its election.

“Nobody will deny the fact that in the rest of the country, First Nations issues have been subject to an unprecedented focus, in Quebec, succeeding governments seem to be in the habit of giving forward the responsibility of finding responses to our expectations”, noted Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL. “We have a responsibility to listen and respond when we feel there is infringement on what we consider to be our most fundamental rights. It is a duty that we intend to fulfil throughout the campaign that is beginning”, says Chief Picard.

“I don’t think First Nations will be charmed by slogans when it comes to their issues. They just want a government with the political courage to move into action”, insists the Chief of AFNQL, who intends to send in the coming days, a letter to each political party detailing the concrete commitments expected of the next government.

The implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Quebec, cannabis legalization, public security, revenue sharing, the Viens Commission and other issues are just a few examples where a real and profound change is required on the part of the provincial government to come to a true relationship between First Nations and Quebec.

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