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Divided First Nations Rally Behind Chief

Divided first nations rally behind chief 'We will not end up like Stockwell Day,' Sault says as challenge to Coon Come fades By KEVIN COX Wednesday, July 18, 2001 – Page A7 HALIFAX -- Assembly of First Nations national chief Matthew Coon Come easily fended off a phantom leadership challenge yesterday with an impassioned plea for unity at a time when the Assembly of First Nations appears deeply divided over issues of governance and financial accountability. Drummers had barely stopped pounding out the welcome song at the assembly's annual meeting when rumours began circulating about a non-confidence motion demanding the removal of the chief after his first year in office. The motion said many chiefs had questions about Mr. Coon Come's "leadership, political activity, religious convictions and ability to perform the job." But after Mr. Coon Come gave a powerful speech urging native leaders to stand together against attempts to assimilate and marginalize aboriginal people, two Ontario chiefs, Lyle Sayers and Leon Jourdain, whose names were on the recall motion as mover and seconder, insisted they supported Chief Coon Come. Chief Coon Come received a standing ovation from about 1,000 delegates after Larry Sault, chief of the Iroquois and Allied Indians, expressed his support for the national chief. "I have no problem with the national chief. I support him, and I will continue to support him. . . . We will not end up like Stockwell Day," Mr. Sault said, referring to the beleaguered Canadian Alliance leader. In his address, Mr. Coon Come acknowledged that some native organizations want to pull out of the Assembly of First Nations and represent themselves. But he urged the chiefs to stand together against challenges to native rights that he said threaten the existence of aboriginal people. "There are forces that would like to see us, first nations, eliminated from the face of the earth. . . . It will be attempted through the continual passing of laws that strip us, point by point, of our powers to govern ourselves as peoples," Mr. Coon Come said. "It will be attempted through the introductions of systems and institutions whose inappropriateness and ineffectiveness will leave us to a state of division and turmoil and make us doubt our own existence as peoples." Over the past year, native bands have gone through bitter debates over allegations of financial mismanagement and lack of accountability for the way public money is spent. As well, issues such as the growing native fishery have caused rifts between those who want to sign deals for boats and apply for licences with the federal government, and those who want to manage their own fishery based on their treaty rights. Native leaders also appear divided over how they should deal with sweeping proposals from Ottawa to alter the Indian Act and allow bands greater autonomy. Many chiefs are furious about the proposals because they say that Ottawa should not be telling natives how to govern themselves. Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault said in an open letter to the assembly yesterday that 160 sessions have been held to consult with native people on the changes, but the AFN pulled out of the discussions on April 30. Many chiefs are demanding the assembly follow through on its earlier vow to boycott the consultations and to develop its own plan for self-government. The assembly, however, will vote today on a proposal that calls for negotiations with the federal government to establish a "middle ground" for an agreement that would address problems with the Indian Act and provide changes that support economic development and fiscal initiatives. British Columbia vice-chief Satsan Herb George said it is important that native leaders tell the federal government how they want to govern themselves. "We need the opportunity to have that discussion and do the analysis," he said. But chiefs from Ontario and Quebec insisted that Ottawa is trying to eliminate its responsibility for native bands, and they demanded native leaders boycott the consultations on changing the Indian Act.¤t_row=6&start_row=6&num_rows=1

Mail Server failure

The UPS for the mail server at failed during the night of Friday July 20, 2001. The defective UPS has been replaced and normal mail operation has been restored as of 9:49 AM today, Saturday July 21, 2001.

Please be patient with inbound mail as a lot of mail has been queued elsewhere. For the next few hours all backlogged mail will arrive in your inbox. It is quite common for messages to arrive out of sequence, with newer mail arriving prior to older mail. This is normal and to be expected.

Poplar Hill is building their Smart Business Centre

Poplar Hill First Nation is working with a number of partners to construct their new Smart Business Centre. Wawatay News (June 28 edition) carried a story about how Poplar Hill's new business centre is being supported. Plans include wiring all the Hotel rooms so people will have high speed Internet access when they visit the community.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation mourns the passing of leader, Bill Mamakeesic

With the sudden death of Bill Mamakeesic on Wednesday, July 11 in Thunder Bay, Nishnawbe Aski Nation has lost another well known leader. Bill was the first Chief of Keewaywin First Nation in the late 1980's. Bill worked hard with the elders and community members to begin building a new community on the traditional lands of the people in that region. Later as Deputy Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Bill expanded his vision across NAN for strong and healthy communities in each of the portfolios and especially in education for which he was responsible.

During his second term as Chief of Keewaywin in the mid 1990's, Bill worked with the other Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak supporting the development of K-Net. He always looked for ways to ensure that the communities could prosper and grow. Bill worked to protect the Native language and encourage young people to contribute to their communities. The vision he shared with Keewaytinook Okimakanak involved providing the tools for the people to have meaningful lives wherever they chose to live.

Geordi Kakepetum recalls how “Bill always advocated for more services, activities and opportunities that would benefit the young people in his community and across Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Everyone remembers different accomplishments and efforts that Bill put forth on behalf of the Nishnawbe Aski.” One recent effort included Bill's representation of the Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak on the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council Board of Directors for the past several years.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak extends its sympathy to Bill's family, the people of Keewaywin First Nation and across Nishnawbe Aski Nation, as we honour and remember Bill.

News coverage of the Launch of the Kuh-ke-nah Network

Various local and regional newspapers and radio stations provided coverage of the launch of the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations. Read the on-line July 7 article in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal entitled "Red Lake-area First Nations to get 'connected'" and the July 11 front page story in the Sioux Bulletin "Northern Chiefs launch Smart First Nations Project". Other stories are available in the Red Lake District News (July 4 and 11 issues) and are being written for the Northern Ontario Business and Windspeaker. Wawatay News (July 12 issue) published an article about the launch entitled "Kuh-ke-nah Network Grand Opening".

Thanks to everyone for making this event so successful! Be sure to watch the Launch web site for more information about this event.


Several weeks ago, our primary file server died! The motherboard needed replacement and unfortunately the parts were going to take more that a few days. Fortunately our server had hot swappable drives so, with the support KNET staff, we removed one of the drives and placed it into one of the extra KNET servers. I built the server using Windows NT to mimic our primary server while it was down. In addition, with a conversion over to the KNET network to access broadband (which we were going to do eventually), we were able to share out this drive within a virtual private network and have Windigo staff access all of their data. It worked incredibly well and provided an off-site location for our data. Thanks to the KNET staff for their help in ensuring our staff were up and running with minimal delay! Allan Morrison

New Life Campmeeting 2001

New Life Campmeeting 2001

Where: Weagamow Lake, Ontario
When: July 19, 20, 21, 22, 2001
Guest Speaker... Peggy Kennedy
She well be Ministering in the Word This Year... For more Info Please Send your emails To

Celebrating the Launch of the Kuh-ke-nah Network of SMART First Nations

On Friday July 6, Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations will be celebrating the launch of the Kuh-ke-nah Network of SMART First Nations. See the invitation to attend the celebration at our Balmertown office

Similar celebrations will be occurring in each of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations (Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Keewaywin, North Spirit Lake and Poplar Hill). The offices in each community will be connecting with each other using the video conferencing services over the Kuh-ke-nah Network. Everyone is invited to stop by the office in your community to participate in the celebration of this launch.

The Kuh-ke-nah SMART project is a three year initiative that officially began in April 2001. The project will demonstrate how Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are being used by the communities to support their economic and social development. Funding for this multi-million dollar project is being provided by Industry Canada's Smart Communities and FedNor programs, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, Office of Learning Technologies (HRDC) and the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board (SLAAMB).

Partnerships with a number of different corporations, businesses, organizations and governments are making this project a nationally recognized undertaking. Representatives from many of these groups will be attending the gathering in Balmertown. Watch the K-Net web site for further updates on this launch.

“Kuh-ke-nah” is the Oji-Cree word for “everybody” in English. Keewaytinook Okimakanak Chiefs and staff want to invite everybody to work with us and share in this exciting development.

National Aboriginal Day at Pakwash Park

Northern Chiefs Office in Balmertown celebrated National Aboriginal Day at Pakwash Park, which is located just south of Red Lake. Several of the staff and their families camped overnight at the campground, while other staff and families arrived at the park for breakfast and lunch on June 21st. The children had a wonderful time fishing and playing in the water, while the rest of the people enjoyed the beautiful weather by relaxing in the sun, hiking in the park, and thoroughly enjoying this special day. Check out the pictures of this gathering.

Elizabeth Pahkala
Health Secretary

Our First Graduation at Gawiianiniiganiitamagoyak Children's Centre.

On Monday, June 18, 2001, we held the first graduation ceremony at our new Children's Centre.Ten children, 4 years of age, have graduated. They have began their education towards becoming our Future Leaders.