Posts By: First Nations Drum

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. 

Quotes

“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

INDIGENOUS LEADERS AND MEMBERS INVITED TO ATTEND NRT AND ITBC INFORMATION SESSIONS

August 21, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vancouver, BC – The New Relationship Trust (NRT) will visit 10 regions in BC this Fall to provide an
overview of its initiatives and to seek input from leaders and community members on how NRT can
better serve First Nations. The NRT Board and staff will share how NRT helps communities build
capacity and will gather feedback regarding NRT’s overall strategic direction and funding priorities for
the next three years.

“It’s once again time for NRT to visit communities across BC to discuss NRT’s priorities and direction,”
states Cliff Fregin, CEO of NRT. “NRT supports communities and individuals in BC with their unique
capacity building needs. During the 2018 Regional Engagement Sessions we will hear the priorities of BC
First Nations and will ensure we work towards addressing those priorities over the next three years.”
The feedback received during the sessions will contribute to NRT’s strategic direction and help focus its
efforts on five key areas: governance capacity, language & culture, education, economic development
and Elders & youth.

Accompanying NRT at each session will be the Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), who will provide
information about its services and products, and share information about its strategic plans and the
value of tourism.

“We, at ITBC, want to have a conversation with Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities on how to
engage in the tourism sector and the programs we offer to support the development of your unique
experience development. Tourism is a growing industry and will continue to grow as 1 in 3 visitors
coming to BC are seeking out an authentic Indigenous experience. Come and be part of the excitement
and a thriving and leading sector in BC,” states Tracy Eyssens, CEO of ITBC.

Full-day sessions begin at 9:00 am and are open to all Indigenous leaders and community members:

Prince George Tues, Sept. 18th Ramada Hotel Downtown

Fort St. John Thurs, Sept. 20th Stonebridge Hotel

Vancouver Mon, Sept. 24th Chief Joe Mathias Centre, North Vancouver

Prince Rupert Mon, Oct. 1st Crest Hotel

Terrace Tues, Oct. 2nd Nisga’a Society Community Centre

Nanaimo Wed, Oct. 10th Coast Bastion Hotel
Victoria Thurs, Oct. 11th Songhees First Nations Gymnasium

Williams Lake Mon, Oct. 22nd Ramada by Wyndham Convention Centre
Kamloops Wed, Oct. 24th Hotel 540
Cranbrook Mon, Oct. 29th St. Eugene’s Resort Hotel

 

For more information, please contact:
Terri Bell, Executive Coordinator Paula Amos, Director of Strategic Partnerships
New Relationship Trust Indigenous Tourism BC
Tel: 604-925-3338, Tel: 604-921-1070 ext. 223
Email: tbell@nrtf.ca Email: paula@indigenousbc.com
Website: www.newrelationshiptrust.ca Website: www.indigenousbc.com

Vines Art Festival

August 8-19, 2018 | vinesartfestival.com

Vines Art Festival, Vancouver’s unique multidisciplinary eco-arts festival, features over 70 performing and visual artists at parks throughout Vancouver: Trout Lake Park, Kitsilano Beach, CRAB Park, Granville Island, Roundhouse Community Centre, and Strathcona Park –  August 8th-19th, with the main event at Trout Lake Park on August 18th. In its fourth year, this 100% free, all-ages, event joins activism with the arts, not to mention it’s fun, interactive and celebratory!

Our featured artist duo is the Resilient Roots emerging artist, Jaz Whitford, spoken word performer from the Secwepemc Peoples, and Award Winning musician Sandy Scofield, who is Métis of Saulteaux and Cree Nations.

Resilient Roots is the heart of Vines Art Festival, bringing together emerging Indigenous artists who are also bearing their souls on the frontline grassroots movements, speaking out against the Pipelines and resource extraction, and combining art with activism – Artivism.

This year’s group is diverse and well spoken, with the emerging artists growing in their practice with the opportunity to work with an Indigenous mid-career artists to mentor them in creating a new, never-before-seen piece to be performed in the Finale of this summer’s festival on August 17th and 18th at Trout Lake Park!

The line up of the Resilient Roots program includes Alex Taylor McCallum with mentor Nikki Ermineskin, Jaye Simpson with mentor Edzi’u, Jaz Whitford with mentor Sandy Scofield, Mitcholos Touchie with mentor Jonina Kirton, Valeen Jules with mentor Rosemary Georgeson, and Crystal Smith with mentor Ronnie Dean Harris.

Our featured artist duo is the Resilient Roots emerging artist, Jaz Whitford, spoken word performer from the Secwepemc Peoples, and Award Winning musician Sandy Scofield, who is Métis of Saulteaux and Cree Nations.

Jaz is an anti-professional, working as a street musician, slam poet with a focus on decolonization and indigenous autonomy. they are a defender of the sacred and use their craft as a tool to decolonization and land sovereignty. they reside as a guest on unceded and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nation peoples, otherwise and colonially known as Vancouver. they and their fire are from the Secwepemc nation of the south central interior.

Jaz has been presented by Vines Art Festival, Vancouver Verses Festival, Spartacus Books, Savage Society, Vancouver Poetry Festival and Vancouver Public Library. Jaz also sang with Arcade Fire in the 2018 Juno’s. They are in a mentorship with Sandy Scofield, creating their unique bluesy sound and they look forward to releasing their first album soon.

Jaz in the recording session with mentor Sandy Scofield in preparation for their first album to be released at Vines Festival 2018.

Sandy Scofield is a multi-award winning composer, musician and singer. She has studied classical, jazz, African, Indonesian gamelan and electro-acoustic music. A Métis from the Saulteaux and Cree Nations, she hails from four generations of fiddlers, singers and musicians. Among her four recordings to date, she has won five Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, a Canadian Folk Music Award, an Indian Summer Music Award (U.S.A.), a Western Canadian Music Award and received three consecutive Juno nominations. Over the years, she has mentored innumerable First Nations singers and songwriters in the way of rudimentary music theory, vocal techniques, songwriting craft and music-industry protocol. She has toured to festivals on five continents with the the International Rainforest World Music Festival in Borneo, 2011 making the fifth.  She has composed for dance, film, television and theatre, with the Aboriginal Welcoming Song for the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the highlight to date.

Upon interview with the two featured artists, Jaz says

“The importance of this mentorship to me is upholding indigenous values and teaching methods through a one on one relationship and community based teaching style.”

Sandy Scofield highlights that the mentor relationship is that of historical cultural practices of passing down knowledge in generations, is elated to be sharing studio time in this mentorship, and is proud of how gifted Jaz already is!

Jaz in the recording session with mentor Sandy Scofield in preparation for their first album to be released at Vines Festival 2018.

 

 

Premier Savikataaq congratulates ITK President

Premier Joe Savikataaq today released the following statement

“On behalf of Nunavummiut, I want to offer congratulations to Natan Obed on his reelection
as President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. His work over the last three years has put the culture, challenges and priorities of Inuit on the national and international stages.

I look forward to continuing our strong working relationship, advocating for Nunavut Inuit. We are stronger together. I’m confident we can use our common voice to ensure fair recognition and representation of Inuit in initiatives like suicide prevention, the Indigenous Rights’ Framework, the Arctic Policy Framework, and improvements to the Nutrition North program.

Thank you for your work so far, and all the best as you move onto your second term.”

Ministers Philpott and Champagne announce the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge, launching in fall 2018

News release

August 7, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada is making major investments in housing in Indigenous communities to reduce overcrowding, improve building quality, and address housing shortages. At the same time, it is looking for ways to accelerate change by providing opportunities to test new ideas, build partnerships, expand financing options, and invest in the well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Today the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced the creation of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge, to be launched in fall 2018. This follows up on a commitment by the federal government to engage with Indigenous communities to design a challenge specific to their needs and led by Indigenous community leaders.

The Ministers announced that the Government of Canada will award a total of $30 million in prize money for new builds over three rounds. The Challenge will fund creative approaches for the design and construction of Indigenous-led home and community innovation projects for First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples living in rural and urban communities.

It builds on the successful launch of the Smart Cities Challenge in fall 2017, which attracted 20 applications representing Indigenous communities or focusing on Indigenous peoples.

From start to finish the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge will be led by an Indigenous Steering Committee, composed of seven First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous experts.

Each year, a select number of applicants with proposals that require further development will be recommended by the Indigenous Steering Committee to receive support through an Innovation Lab so they can advance their proposals and compete in a later round of prizes.

All proposals must be led by Indigenous communities or organizations and focus on improving Indigenous community well-being. Emphasis will be placed on designs that can be replicated in other communities, among other criteria. The Challenge will be launched in fall 2018 and the call for proposals will be open until winter 2019.

More information is available here: Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge.

Ministers Philpott and Champagne announce the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge, launching in fall 2018

The Government of Canada is making major investments in housing in Indigenous communities to reduce overcrowding, improve building quality, and address housing shortages. At the same time, it is looking for ways to accelerate change by providing opportunities to test new ideas, build partnerships, expand financing options, and invest in the well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Today the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced the creation of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge, to be launched in fall 2018. This follows up on a commitment by the federal government to engage with Indigenous communities to design a challenge specific to their needs and led by Indigenous community leaders.

The Ministers announced that the Government of Canada will award a total of $30 million in prize money for new builds over three rounds. The Challenge will fund creative approaches for the design and construction of Indigenous-led home and community innovation projects for First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples living in rural and urban communities.

It builds on the successful launch of the Smart Cities Challenge in fall 2017, which attracted 20 applications representing Indigenous communities or focusing on Indigenous peoples.

From start to finish the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge will be led by an Indigenous Steering Committee, composed of seven First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous experts.

Each year, a select number of applicants with proposals that require further development will be recommended by the Indigenous Steering Committee to receive support through an Innovation Lab so they can advance their proposals and compete in a later round of prizes.

All proposals must be led by Indigenous communities or organizations and focus on improving Indigenous community well-being. Emphasis will be placed on designs that can be replicated in other communities, among other criteria. The Challenge will be launched in fall 2018 and the call for proposals will be open until winter 2019.

More information is available here: Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge.

Congratulations on the re-election of National Chief Perry Bellegarde

 

(Ottawa, ON) – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has been granted intervenor status in the B.C. government’s reference case at the B.C. Court of Appeal regarding the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.

“The AFN has a long history of participating in judicial proceedings where our peoples, their rights and traditional territories are concerned. Any decision in this reference case could have far-reaching impacts for First Nations across the country and the AFN is uniquely positioned to provide a national perspective on these potential impacts,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “It is essential we be there and it’s positive that the court recognizes our unique role.”

In April, the B.C. government provided draft legislation to the provincial Court of Appeal asking it to rule whether the province has the authority to regulate and place restrictions on companies that move diluted bitumen through the province. The province is specifically asking if the proposed law is within B.C.’s jurisdiction; if it can apply to substances transported from another province; and if any existing federal law invalidates the regulations.

“The AFN will insist the court consider First Nations’ perspectives on their relationship to the lands and natural environment, and the way these relationships are uniquely and inextricably connected to First Nations health, well-being and our cultural, social and economic vitality,” National Chief Bellegarde added. “The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and free, prior and informed consent must be front and centre in any laws, policies and regulations that impact First Nations.”

The AFN has participated and intervened in many judicial proceedings that raise issues of Indigenous and Treaty rights and other constitutional issues facing First Nations. The AFN, for example, was an intervenor in the court case that led to the landmark Tsilhqot’in decision. The AFN utilizes all avenues to ensure rights, justice and fairness for First Nations are upheld. The AFN pursued for more than a decade its complaint against Canada at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for the federal government’s unfair treatment of First Nations children in the child welfare system.

The B.C. reference case – Proposed Amendments to the Environmental Act – is expected to begin in March, 2019. The AFN received notice of its intervenor status in June of this year.

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

Building stronger communities across Nunavut with federal Gas Tax Fund

August 10, 2018 | Iqaluit, Nunavut – Investing in local infrastructure supports the unique needs of northern communities. The governments of Canada and Nunavut are investing in modern public infrastructure that will help create jobs, while improving Northern Canadians’ quality of life and contributing to stronger communities.

The Government of Canada delivered the first of two $8.25-million annual installments of the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) to Nunavut. In total, the territory will be provided with over $16.5 million this year through the fund.

The GTF is a long-term, indexed source of funding that supports local infrastructure projects across the Territory each year. The City of Iqaluit is planning to put its share into rehabilitating and upgrading roadways and drainage systems to improve road safety and protect the environment. In the Hamlet of Kimmirut, residents will enjoy higher quality drinking water thanks to an improved water treatment system. In Coral Harbour, the funding will go towards replacing the original lighting on the arena with solar panels to reduce energy dependency and carbon dioxide emissions.

Roads, drinking water and community energy systems are only three of the 18 project categories eligible for funding under the program. This wide range demonstrates the flexibility of the GTF in allowing communities to direct their allocations to their most pressing local needs.

Courtesy of Infrastructure Canada

Innu Nation challenges University Of Toronto Associate Professor Deborah Cowen – Muskrat Falls Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Offensive and Factually Incorrect

NATUASHISH, NL – Labrador Innu leaders issued an Open Letter today to University of Toronto Associate Professor Deborah Cowen in which Innu Nation asserts that Cowen made false and misleading statements in a letter issued July 31st, 2108, requesting Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada call a temporary halt to the Muskrat Falls Project in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gregory Rich, Grand Chief of the Innu Nation said “Not only are Associate Professor Cowen’s statements in relation to Innu false, Innu Nation and our membership are astonished that Associate Professor Cowen has the gall to talk about Indigenous Rights yet she deliberately did not consult with us”. “Her actions are nothing short of disrespectful and arrogant and we want an explanation,” continued Grand Chief Rich.

“Innu Nation respects and values academic freedom of opinion”, said Deputy Grand Chief Etienne Rich. “However, it is clear that Associate Professor Cowen does not have the same respect for Innu and our right to equal consultation or regard for the truth for that matter and she and those who signed the letter could have done better.”

In addition to the absence of consultation with Innu, Innu Nation also said that the statement that the Independent Experts Advisory Committee (IEAC) seconded the 2016 Harvard Study in its recommendation to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is also untrue.

And that furthermore, Innu Nation undertook independent scientific review of the measures proposed for soil and vegetation removal and voted to oppose the IEAC’s recommendation based on research that indicates that disturbing the vegetation and soil will likely lead to an increase in methylmercury beyond what is predicted from flooding alone. Innu Nation is extremely concerned that the extensive measures proposed by the IEAC are unproven, having never been done elsewhere in the world.

The probability of increased environmental damage is not acceptable to Innu Nation and Innu leadership say that as their research is equal to that of what has become known as the Harvard Study (Schartup, et al) that they will not risk the health of their people and their lands to test a theory of the magnitude proposed for Muskrat Falls by the IEAC.

The Muskrat Falls Project is in the heart of Innu Nation territory. Innu Nation has been in intensive Land Claims Negotiations for 30 years and in 2011, finalized the Tshash Petapen (New Dawn Agreement) following extensive consultation with Innu community members. The Tshash Petapen Agreement resulted in a Land Claims Agreement-in-Principle, Redress for Upper Churchill development on Innu land and an Impacts and Benefits Agreement (IBA) for the Muskrat Falls Project.

“We never agreed with the recommendations of the political “Make Muskrat Right” campaign,” stated Grand Chief Gregory Rich. “And we did not endorse formation of the IEAC simply to validate the political or academic aspirations of other groups, we expected recommendations based on science and we didn’t get that so we exercised our right to reject the IEAC’s recommendation – as did four of six leading experts on methylmercury and human health – the two scientists who voted for it were previously involved in research that supports the Harvard study so their position comes as no surprise to us.” added Grand Chief Rich.

Innu Nation is asking Associate Professor Deborah Cowen to take responsibility within her academic circles for her ill-informed statements to the media and that she and others who signed onto the Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau apologize to the Innu Nation for the lack of consultation and misstatement of facts.