Topic: Today’s News

National Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program Continues to Empower and Support First Nations Youth

Three years on since its inception, Futurpreneur’s targeted program continues to pave the way for economic resurgence and reconciliation, with direction from Cree-Saulteaux Director Holly Atjecoutay.

Toronto, Canada – June 27, 2022 – Budding Indigenous entrepreneurs, aged 18-39, in Canada who are seeking financial support, mentorship, and business-related resources can access all this and more through Futurpreneur’s Indigenous-focused startup program. 

Now under the oversight of Cree-Saulteaux Director Holly Atjecoutay, the Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program (IESP) – which launched in 2019 – has continued to grow exponentially in size and scope, attracting young entrepreneurs from coast-to-coast for its tailored programming led by a team with lived experience and mentorship services that have helped turn hundreds of ideas into flourishing businesses. 

Designed to guide young entrepreneurs through the intricate startup process, the IESP provides qualifying participants with financing (up to $60,000), access to resources and workshops, and matches them with an experienced mentor for up to two years.

The IESP has kickstarted over 100 young Indigenous entrepreneurs’ foray into the world of entrepreneurship and is one of several startup programs offered by Futurpreneur. Continuing to develop a robust offering that is Indigenous-centric remains a top priority for Atjecoutay, who along with her business qualifications also brings a combination of her lived experience and know-how as “a First Nations woman living within an urban center” to the program. 

A combination of her personal lived experiences and the collective experiences of her Indigenous team of experts has allowed for curation of a dedicated program that addresses specific issues and challenges that Indigenous entrepreneurs face and provides solutions to help overcome them. This includes resources and workshops dedicated to the empowerment of Indigenous youth through improving their financial literacy and business management skills.

Through IESP, “we want to focus on the positive and what our young Indigenous entrepreneurs bring. That is their value proposition, niche, and unique business models so that we can amplify that and support them in various ways,” Atjecoutay said. She also notes that although young Indigenous entrepreneurs will encounter challenges that there are “networks and systems in place to support them,” with awareness of such environments being another such challenge.

Focus on individuals & community

Enrolled in the program is entrepreneur and marketing expert, Kaeden Merasty, a member of the Cree Flying Dust First Nation Band and founder of The Indigenous Marketing Company. Through his startup, Kaeden provides an array of marketing, copywriting, and digital media services to Indigenous businesses. After earning a Bachelor’s in Commerce, with a specialization in both marketing and international business, Kaeden began operating out of the Swan Lake First Nation offices in Headingley and quickly built up the company’s clientele and brand image. With an emphasis on empowerment and equal opportunity IMC’s goal is to support Indigenous communities, and individuals, who may otherwise be marginalized – in his own words he wants “to help as many Indigenous people as [he] can.”

Located just outside of Winnipeg, Cru Barber & Co. is a full-service barbershop supported by the IESP. Founder Mitch McLeod started practicing on his brothers as children before receiving a cosmetology diploma and completing his apprenticeship to become certified. After relocating to Niverville in 2021, McLeod wanted to focus on cultivating a community atmosphere through an inviting and relaxing in-shop experience and by providing clients with confidence through premium quality grooming services. There are nods to McLeod’s Cree heritage throughout the branding and design of the shop. Pieces such as a bison skull, sage and smudge shells can be found throughout the space and the “C” in the Cru logo is a sweetgrass braid. “These touches make our Indigenous clients feel especially welcome and invites curiosity from our non-Indigenous clients. It’s great to be able to share my culture with people that may not have been exposed to it otherwise,” he said.

The IESP helps young Indigenous entrepreneurs begin the process of achieving their dream, with a long-term outlook that every business helped will continue to reap benefits within Indigenous communities as a whole. A main goal of Atjecoutay and the IESP is to “foster collaboration between Indigenous businesses to support one another, which will eventually bolster the economic resurgence that we’re working toward.” The economic resurgence Atjecoutay refers to is necessary now more than ever as Canada re-emerges from the Covid-19 Pandemic, especially within Indigenous communities. A recent CCAB report notes that 66% of Indigenous businesses say the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively impacted their business operations and that overall Indigenous firms have a less hopeful outlook over the next 12 months compared to other Canadian businesses.

However, as Canada re-opens there is reason for optimism, as well as change, in the form of the IESP, Atjecoutay, and the program’s business development managers (and other staffers) who highlight what options are available to new Indigenous entrepreneurs through their expertise and knowledge.

More details on Futurpreneur and the IESP program are available at

Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act receives Royal Assent

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe extends congratulations to  the five (5) First Nations that have ratified the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement. Bill S-10, Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act has now received Royal Assent. 

“On behalf of the Anishinabek Nation, I would like to extend our congratulations to the five First Nations on  Bill S-10, Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act, receiving Royal Assent today. This marks yet another  important milestone towards enactment. With Bill S-10 becoming law, communities are one step closer to  realizing the true potential of the Agreement,” states Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe.  

On June 9, 2022, Bill S-10 was before the Senate for its first reading and by June 16, had completed its third  reading. The Bill was before the House of Commons on June 17 for its first reading and received unanimous  consent for approval on June 22. 

The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement outlines four areas of jurisdiction: Leadership Selection,  Citizenship, Language and Culture, and Operation and Management of Government. These jurisdictional  pillars will make sections of the Indian Act concerning governance and membership non-applicable. This is  significant progress that will enable First Nations to invest and promote the revitalization of fundamental  governance principles in their communities that prioritizes identity, culture, and language. 

Now that Royal Assent has been received and the law has officially come into force, the leadership of the  signatory First Nations eagerly anticipate enactment and the essential resource allocation they critically need.  We further urge the government to ensure expedient enactment to guarantee these communities have their  funding agreements by October 2022.  

Up to $29,550 for Education and ECE students!


Can you help us to spread the word in your community?

FPCC is looking for B.C. First Nations students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree or studying Early Childhood Education.

The Youth Empowered Speakers program provides up to $29,550 for students between the ages of 18-30 to support:

  • Post-secondary tuition
  • Living expenses
  • Paid internship
  • Language mentorship

The application deadline is July 11th.

You can support the next generation of language teachers in your community by encouraging youth to apply!

How to apply
Visit the program page on our website to view the information webinar, guidelines and application link.

We are here to assist
We encourage applicants to contact us for assistance with the application process. Please email Hannah Green, Language Programs Coordinator, at

The Rideau Hall Foundation embarks on multi-year initiative to support substantial increases in Indigenous teacher representation across Canada

Seed funding from the Mastercard Foundation will help ensure that at least $45 million is invested in First Nations, Inuit and Métis teacher training

The Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF) is humbled to announce the Indigenous Teacher Education Initiative, with an aim to grow the number of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis teachers in the education system by 10,000, and to enable systemic changes in support of more meaningful and sustainable Indigenous teacher employment opportunities. Towards this goal, the RHF will be investing in excess of $45 million into community-driven and innovative strategies towards increasing the representation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis teachers in classrooms.

“The RHF is undertaking this work because the need for more Indigenous teachers is widespread in rural and urban communities from coast to coast to coast. While being transformational for students and Indigenous communities, First Nations, Inuit and Métis teachers are also essential to Canada’s reconciliation journey. We are working to ally and support pathways for new Indigenous teachers and towards a more representative workforce in K-12 educational systems,” says Bill Mintram, Director of Indigenous and Northern Relations at the RHF.

This initiative will be supported by several partners, including the Mastercard Foundation, which has made a significant lead philanthropic investment towards this initiative’s future impact.

“Our work at the Mastercard Foundation aims to support Indigenous youth on their journeys through education and on to meaningful livelihoods in accordance with their aspirations. This initiative with the Rideau Hall Foundation helps to advance both important objectives,” said Jennifer Brennan, Head, Canada Programs for the Mastercard Foundation. “We are committed to listening and acting in the direction of Indigenous youth and their communities. Enabling a new generation of Indigenous educators will contribute to building Indigenous education systems and create a hopeful future for Indigenous learners.”

This relationship-based initiative will be built with direction from a National Advisory Committee on Indigenous Teacher Education, to be co-chaired by nationally recognized leaders in Indigenous education and RHF Board Directors Roberta Jamieson, OC, and Dr. Mark Dockstator. The RHF looks forward to engaging in partnership with key delivery organizations and faculties of education across Canada towards building accessible, sustainable, and meaningful pathways for more First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples into the teaching profession in the years ahead.

Please visit our website for more information.

About the Rideau Hall Foundation

The Rideau Hall Foundation is an independent national charitable organization established to mobilize ideas, people, and resources across the country to tap into our national spirit and help ignite our shared potential.  Working towards a better Canada, the RHF celebrates what is best about Canada while working with partners to meaningfully improve lives and foster the conditions for more Canadians to succeed and thrive.

Learn more about the RHF at and follow us on Twitter @RideauHallFdn.

About Mastercard Foundation 

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit:

CAP denounces exclusion from proposed reconciliation council

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is deeply disturbed by a proposed bill excluding the voice of urban Indigenous Peoples across the country. Bill C-29 looks to establish a council that would report on the state of reconciliation in Canada, but fails to include the voice of CAP and its constituents. 

“Reconciliation must include all Indigenous Peoples across Canada regardless of where they live,” says CAP National Chief Elmer St. Pierre. “The majority of Indigenous people now live off-reserve and in urban areas. Their voices play a critical role in understanding the numerous challenges Indigenous people face on a daily basis. Denying CAP and its constituents a place on this essential council would be a tremendous loss in the efforts towards reconciliation.” 

Bill C-29 looks to address the 94 calls to action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. In its current form, the legislation would create a council comprised of several directors but only three positions for National Indigenous Organizations. In doing so, the proposed bill would discriminate against hundreds of thousands of Indigenous peoples living in urban areas. 

“The federal government must include all Indigenous peoples when creating legislation and engaging on vital issues,” says St. Pierre. “The exclusion of any Indigenous voices is a step in the wrong direction.” 

CAP demands the federal government rework bill C-29 to include the majority of Indigenous peoples now living off-reserve and in urban areas. The exclusion of any Indigenous voices is a step in the wrong direction. 

FortisOntario Inc. and Wataynikaneyap Power

In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, FortisOntario is pleased to be rolling out the $10,000 Future Generations Scholarship program available to the Wataynikaneyap Power Project’s 24 owner First Nations.* This scholarship represents respecting First Nation way of life and what we leave behind for future generations to come, or chinagatamaageyeg (Anishinabe, “to leave something behind for others”). Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for the Future Generations Scholarship:

•               Enrolled in a post-secondary or trade program for the 2022/2023 school year, with a minimum of two years remaining in their studies

•               Interested in pursuing a career in the Ontario energy sector

•               Respect the values of the Wataynikaneyap Power Project, the Project’s Guiding Principles, and willing to champion the Wataynikaneyap Power Project in public forums

•               A member of one of the Wataynikaneyap Power Project’s 24 First Nation owner communities*

*The following First Nations are owners in the Wataynikaneyap Power Project: Bearskin Lake, Cat Lake, Deer Lake, Kasabonika Lake, Keewaywin, Kingfisher Lake, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Lac des Mille Lacs, Lac Seul, McDowell Lake, Mishkeegogamang, Muskrat Dam, North Caribou Lake, North Spirit Lake, Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Sachigo Lake, Sandy Lake, Slate Falls, Wabigoon Lake, Wapekeka, Wawakapewin, and Wunnumin Lake.

The Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project is an unprecedented First Nations-led project to build approximately 1,800 kilometres of transmission lines in Northwestern Ontario to connect remote First Nations communities to the Ontario power grid. The project will reinforce the existing transmission grid to Pickle Lake and will expand grid service north of Pickle Lake and Red Lake to ultimately connect 17 First Nations. These communities are currently provided electricity through diesel generation.

Scott Hawkes, President and CEO of FortisOntario, remarks, “FortisOntario is offering this Future Generations scholarship to support First Nations’ post-secondary education goals. As a partner in the Wataynikaneyap Project, we encourage First Nations youth to pursue educational opportunities, and on this day of celebration, we embrace the diverse culture of Indigenous peoples.”

“We are delighted that FortisOntario has provided this opportunity to support a student from the owner communities. Future generations are the reason we are building this transmission line. This is their project. They will receive maximum benefits in the Project, and this will provide for generations to come,” Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power, also remarks. “Our youth are strong and resilient, and I look forward to seeing their applications!” 

Please see for more information! I am sending this in case it is of interest to your audience. If you no longer wish to receive news on the Wataynikaneyap Power Project, please reply “unsubscribe”. 

About FortisOntario Inc.

FortisOntario is an electric utility, which owns and operates Canadian Niagara Power Inc., Cornwall Street Railway Light & Power Company Ltd., and Algoma Power Inc., serving a combined approximate 66,000 customers. FortisOntario also owns regulated transmission assets with approximately 3,460 kilometres of distribution and transmission lines, and meets a peak demand of approximately 257 MW. FortisOntario also act as project manager for the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project. For further information visit FortisOntario is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. For further information visit

Media Contact

Kristine Carmichael, Director of Corporate and Customer Services

FortisOntario Inc.


About Wataynikaneyap Power

Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company majority-owned by a partnership of 24 First Nations in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board. FortisOntario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., acts as the project manager through its wholly owned subsidiary, Wataynikaneyap Power PM Inc. The 24 First Nations also established Opiikapawiin Services to lead the community engagement and participation for Wataynikaneyap Power LP. To connect remote First Nations communities to the electrical grid, Wataynikaneyap Power will develop, manage construction, and operate approximately 1,800 kilometres of transmission lines in northwestern Ontario. For further information, please visit: or

Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey Launch

The Nunatsiavut branch of the Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey is launching on June 23 at 11:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Illusuak Cultural Centre in Nain and will be livestreamed on the Nunatsiavut  Government Facebook and Instagram pages. 

This will be official launch of the Nunatsiavut branch of the Qanuippitaa? Inuit Health Survey; this follows the  national launch for the program, which took place in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, in 2019. 

Indigenous Leaders, Celebrity Actors and Rockers, Allied Organizations and Business Leaders Ask Minnesota to Support Dropping Charges or to Appoint Attorney General for Remaining Line 3 Cases

Defendants continue carrying hundreds of charges for peacefully resisting
Enbridge’s reckless damage to Minnesota’s environment

Today dozens of Indigenous leaders, backed by celebrities including Jane Fonda, Mark Ruffalo, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and the Indigo Girls, as well as over 100 organization and business leaders from Minnesota and beyond, released a letter [being published on] asking the Walz-Flanagan Administration, county prosecutors, and Minnesota leadership to:
Do everything in your power to support dropping the charges against water protectors. For any charges not dropped, we specifically call on the Walz-Flanagan Administration, under Minn. Stat. § 8.01, to appoint Attorney General Ellison as special prosecutor for the most egregious cases, including those in which the State is extending inconsistent plea offers to water protectors. 
Over 750 people were arrested – some of them multiple times – and hit with thousands of criminal charges during the peaceful resistance to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in 2021. Some were also hit with rubber bullets, pepper balls, and hands-on “pain compliance” – human rights abuses that were addressed by two UN agencies, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.
300 Cases Remain Open Including Highly Questionable Felony Charges
About 300 of the cases against Indigenous water protectors and other Line 3 defendants remain open, including dozens of highly questionable felonies. Excessive felony charges have included “attempted assisted suicide” for defendants who entered empty pipes during protests (and left very much alive), and “theft” of both the pipeline and “time.” Although a number of these were dropped or dismissed in various jurisdictions, similar charges remain in other counties. One fifth-generation Aitkin County resident, Shanai Matteson, faces a jury trial in mid-July for allegedly “conspiring, aiding and abetting criminal trespass on critical public infrastructure pipeline” at an event she did not attend. 
The charges stem from an unprecedented arrangement in which the Canadian multinational Enbridge corporation paid Minnesota state and local law enforcement more than $8.6 million to arrest, subdue and surveille community members resisting the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, which was hurriedly built in 2021 even as legal challenges by tribal governments and community groups were pending. The single largest recipient of these reimbursements was Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Meanwhile, nearly 100,000 people have signed a petition to the Walz-Flanagan Administration with the same request. Drop the Charges and Flood the Courts rallies have been held at multiple courthouses, including in Duluth, Hubbard, Aitkin, Itasca, Carlton and Wadena counties. While exiting jail and being greeted by supporters in Pennington County, some people were re-arrested without explanation.
Allies of the defendants argue those accused of interfering with construction were supporting treaty rights, protecting the global climate, and attempting to prevent Enbridge’s reckless construction practices that resulted in multiple aquifer breeches and “frac-outs” – spills of drilling fluid in delicate, pristine ecosystems, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Enbridge continues to face legal challenges for this misconduct.
Dozens of Cases Dropped in Hubbard County; Some Moved to Tribal Court
It appears the pressure to drop charges is having some effect. Defendants and their supporters say that in the last month alone, dozens of cases have either been dropped, or resolved on “stays of adjudication.” All but 64 of 441 Hubbard County cases are closed. Aitkin County has the highest remaining open case count (78). 
Still, eight months after oil started flowing through Line 3, more than 300 people are still dealing with charges. Two dozen face felonies they say were trumped up after peaceful protests; Indigenous women and supporters who claim they are entitled to exercise – and obligated to enforce – treaty rights.
Defendants claim it was often law enforcement who abused rights and behaved violently toward them – and toward the land that agencies like the DNR are charged with protecting. While the arrests of Indigenous Water Protectors infringed on treaty and first amendment rights, some of those cases are being heard in tribal court, even as legal teams argue all Indigenous cases should be transferred there. 

Quotes from Ojibwe Indigenous Leaders
Tara Houska, Giniw Collective Founder, tribal attorney, Couchiching First Nation Citizen“Though the news cycle has largely forgotten the brave folks who stood up for Anishinaabe treaty territory against Line 3 tar sands, we have not. I hope the Governor and Attorney General haven’t either, because we remember their inaction as we were surveilled, harassed, and in some cases tortured by police and Minnesota’s DNR who have billed over $8.6M in Enbridge funds at this point. There’s something they can still do, at this time — for those of us still in Minnesota’s courts, for those of us facing disparate treatment by county attorneys and sometimes outrageous charges like felony assisted suicide and felony theft: appoint AG Ellison to these cases, show us that equity matters. We stood up for your water, for your children. Stand up for us.”
Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth Executive Director, Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg of the White Earth Reservation Enrollee
“As defendants young and old, of all races and many places start heading to trial, this letter asks Minnesota to drop the charges, or at least appoint the attorney general to the most egregious. There were over 1000 Enbridge-funded arrests of people standing with us, trying to stop the tar sands giant from doing exactly what they did: cause profound and permanent damage to our beloved waters. Who is the criminal here, and who is enabling that criminal to get away, while prosecuting the real heroes?” 
Taysha Martineau, Camp Migizi Founder, Water Protector and MMIW Activist, Gitchigumi Scouts Co-Founder, Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Anishinaabe “Our communities are built upon the backs of people who fought for change. We owe it to those who have sacrificed to honor those willing to create change by means of direct action.”

Under The Northern Sky ‘Whispers In The Wind’

 National Indigenous Peoples Day which takes place on June 21 and the wider National Indigenous History Month in June is a significant time for Indigenous people in Canada.

 This special day was established in 1996 by the Canadian government as a symbolic national holiday to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. In 2009, the House of Commons also passed a motion to designate June as National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Before this special holiday and month were recognized, Indigenous people were more or less seen as insignificant communities that occupied the fringes of society and did not require any special status or recognition. It was far worse in my parents and grandparents time when they were basically looked upon as a forgotten people and savages that did not really exist in any meaningful way.

There is a great amount of Indigenous history in this country that has to be acknowledged. If it weren’t for Indigenous leaders fighting to protect their homelands, so much of the northern wilderness would have been changed and destroyed by mining, forestry and hydro developments without any regard for the protection of the environment, ecology or even the people that lived on these lands. If First Nation leaders had not spoken up, the terrible history that my parents and others had to live through would all have been forgotten. There would have been no sense of justice or acknowledgement for the suffering my people had to endure for the simple fact that we happened to be a different culture than the one that colonized this country.

This year’s events are saddened for myself personally and the people of my home community of Attawapiskat. In rapid succession within a month, we lost three prominent Elders including my aunt Martha Paulmartin and Elders Anna and Dominic Nakogee. These are individuals that grew up in a very traditional lifestyle on the land and who were raised by parents and Elders who only knew an old and ancient way of life on the James Bay coast. These Elders fluently spoke the James Bay Cree dialect and they knew so much of the history, traditions and customs of our people. I am comforted and reassured in the fact that they all raised a prominent group of sons and daughters that all carry their language and the histories of their families.

The great legacy that these Elders leave behind is in their humble nature and their never ending sense of kindness, warmth and strength. Even after having endured periods in their youth of difficulty, discrimination and poverty, they still shared a sense of joy and happiness with others. Whenever I met these Elders, they were always happy to share a bit of history of our families, to speak our language and to make anyone and everyone laugh with the fun stories they shared. Through laughter and fun, they made every bit of knowledge a memorable experience.

Their passing reminds me how we should all remember their example of love and inclusion in the face of adversity. Even as the world changed in so many ways, Elders Martha, Anna and Dominic were always there to remind those around them to stay close to the land, to remember one another and to live life as harmoniously as possible. Their example remind me to always remember my past, to remember where I come from but also to stay strong and resilient to fight for future generations.

 We all share the historic benefits and burdens of this country and the recognition of Indigenous peoples history is just a step in the right direction of that shared past. I feel that this national holiday is a way for us to move out of the darkness of the past and walk together into a brighter future as a more inclusive nation of what we call Canada. Whether we know it or not, we all rely on one another to build this country while at the same time hearing the voices of our ancestors whispering in the wind to protect the land, the water and the very air we breathe.

That spirit of cooperation and the memory of my Elders and my ancestors is what this holiday and this history means to me.

Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again SKONKWEHÓN:WE Á:RE

Watch now for free on

Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again shares the powerful story of Mary Two-Axe Earley, the Mohawk woman who fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement.

Mary Two-Axe Earley : Je suis redevenue indienne SKONKWEHÓN:WE Á:RE

Mary Two-Axe Earley : Je suis redevenue indienne témoigne de la percutante histoire d’une figure incontournable de la défense des droits des femmes au Canada : Mary Two-Axe Earley. Pendant plus de 20 ans, Mary a lutté contre la discrimination sexuelle à l’égard des femmes des Premières Nations, en particulier dans la Loi sur les Indiens du gouvernement canadien.