Community News

Maamowi Wiichii'itwin (Working Together) Walk from Pikangikum To Winnipeg

Press Release Maamoowi Wiichii'itwin (working together) Walk from Pikangikum, Ontario to Winnipeg, Manitoba gets underway today with 55 enthusiastic particpants prepared to make the 600 kilometre trip. July 25, 2001 Today over 55 people of the community of Pikangikum, Ontario began the 600 kilometre Maamoowi Wiichii'itwin (working together) Walk. While increasing awareness of the plight of First Nations people living in isolated northern communities, the Walk hopes to raise $100,000 to build a Recreational Centre in the community. "Our community is completely without any form of recreational facilities for our youth." stated Chief Louis Quill at the start of the walk. "Through our efforts we are hoping to raise funding to help get our much needed recreational centre under way." he stated. The walkers plan to cover 20 - 25 kilometres per day completing the walk in Winnipeg roughly around August 10th. "We have set a challenging pace," said Leo Quill one of the walk's organizers, "but we are a strong and determined community who face difficult living challenges every day. We want the people of Canada to see that by working together we can solve the social problems faced by First Nation people." "Canadians are not getting an accurate view of First Nations communities," Quill stated, "although we do have alcohol and sniffing problems among our youth, many good things are happening in our community too. We want the people of Canada to see that we are just like many other communities in this country, trying to solve our own problems." This community has been plagued by six suicides this year. Establishing a Recreational Centre in the community to provide the youth of Pikangikum with positive alternatives would greatly reduce the risk of suicide for the youth in Pikangikum. "We encourage people to join our Maamoowi Wiichii'itewin Walk as we journey to Winnipeg, "stated Chief Louis Quill, "Walking together and working together we begin the healing journey of the Pikangikum people". For more information contact Kevin G Suggashie/Samson Keeper, Working Together Walk Telephone (807) 773-5578 Fax: (807) 773-5536

ABORIGINALS WILL RISK ANOTHER OKA...

Aboriginals will risk another Oka for real input on governance, says top chief By SUE BAILEY HALIFAX (CP) - If "drastic measures" are needed - including another crisis like the 1990 Oka standoff - for real input on Indian Act changes, so be it, says Canada's top chief. "We lived through Oka, we lived through Ipperwash, we lived through Burnt Church," Matthew Coon Come, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said Thursday. "And we're here to stay. We're not going to go away. We're going to continue to push the government for our issues. They'll have to deal with treaties. They'll have to deal with aboriginal title. Because it's in the constitution. Because the courts (have) recognized those rights." Crippling poverty, substandard housing, social chaos and rampant joblessness on First Nations are fuelling frustration, Coon Come said. Protests like the Oka fight over a Quebec town's plans to extend a golf course on native-claimed land; the 1995 Ipperwash land claims clash in Ontario; and last year's lobster wars at Burnt Church, N.B. could take other forms across Canada, he suggested. "I think there are some people that are willing to take drastic measures. If you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose. You've got no job, your land is taken away, you've got no future." Talk of road blockades and other disruptive peaceful protest is very real, he added. And the assembly, Canada's largest native advocacy group representing about 700,000 of 1.4 million aboriginals, will support such action, he said. "I can't dictate what young people and chiefs and councils can do, if that's the avenue that they take. "I think the reaction will depend on the federal government that hasn't listened to First Nations or respected the Supreme Court or constitution recognizing aboriginal rights and how to implement them." Three hundred chiefs gathered for the meeting this week voted Wednesday to give Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault an ultimatum. They've given him 30 days to abandon ongoing consultations with aboriginals this summer on how to revamp the 1876 Indian Act. The chiefs have boycotted the process, saying it's too rushed and narrow to allow real input on legislation expected to be introduced this fall. Should Nault refuse to include the assembly's 633 chiefs in a broader, longer-term consultation, an "aggressive strategic plan of action" has been promised across Canada. Nault has offered to meet with the assembly to discuss its proposal, but has said talks with other chiefs and aboriginals will continue. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/010719/6/7n9f.html

CANADIAN CHIEFS THREATEN PROTESTS OVER INDIAN ACT

Canadian Chiefs Threaten Protests Over Indian Act By Julie Remy TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian Indian leaders threatened civil disobedience on Thursday, possibly blocking highway traffic from coast to coast, if the federal government doesn't work closer with First Nations leaders in overhauling the historic Indian Act. Indian Affairs minister Robert Nault has outlined plans to amend the 1871 Indian Act with the aim of improving Indian self governance, notably by making band councils more accountable and updating the voting system on reserves. But a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations in Halifax, Nova Scotia, voted unanimously on Wednesday to protest against Ottawa's way of overhauling the act, saying the changes are being imposed on aboriginal peoples without due consultation. "First Nations of Canada shall be forced to engage in an aggressive strategic plan of action at the local, national and international levels" the assembly of chiefs said in a draft resolution to be adopted on Thursday at the two-day meeting. "We will block the highway form Prince Edward Island to Vancouver," Lawrence Paul, chief of the Millbrook First Nation in Nova Scotia said on Wednesday. Ghislain Picard, leader of some 100,000 natives in Quebec and Labrador, told Reuters from Halifax on Thursday that bands would increase their pressure on Ottawa if the government did not change its plans within a month. "If it's what needs to be done to prove our commitment, we would consider (blocking roads)," he said. Picard said the native leaders gathered in Halifax, representing some 700,000 Indians across Canada, wanted to be part of the consultation process to change the act, which he described as "a colonial legacy that needs to be abandoned." He remained suspicious of Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault's offer to "convene a meeting in the coming days to discuss a work plan." "This announcement must be considered, along with the affirmation, that the consultation is still going on, and our resolution was very firm: the process must stop now if the minister really wants to sit at the table," he said. But Ottawa said it was determined to proceed. "National consultations will go forward as scheduled. First Nation peoples and chiefs who have already participated and who plan to participate in consultations have been and will continue to be the backbone of this process," Nault said in a statement. Although Canada's 1.4 million aboriginal peoples receive some C$7 billion annually from the federal government, they remain plagued by poverty, often-deplorable living conditions, high rates of suicide and health problems. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/010719/5/7njv.html

CHIEFS URGED TO STAND FIRM ON RIGHT TO GOVERN SELVES

Wednesday, July 18, 2001 Back The Halifax Herald Limited Chiefs urged to stand firm on right to govern selves Indian Act changes aimed at political, fiscal accountability Tim Krochak / Herald Photo Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come talks to native leaders in Halifax on Tuesday. By Michael Lightstone Amid calls for unity and firm resolve, Canada's native leaders appear unsure on how best to fight Ottawa's plans to legislate the way First Nations should govern themselves. Delegates at a national aboriginal convention in Halifax on Tuesday heard proposed changes to the Indian Act, dealing with the political and fiscal accountability of native bands, are misguided and hurtful. But forming a united front of chiefs attending the Assembly of First Nations annual conference is proving to be difficult. Some native leaders are already talking to the federal government about the controversial proposals, while others say a native-run agenda is needed to set the tone of future negotiations on any changes to the law. The Indian Act has remained largely unchanged since it was passed in 1876. Ottawa is holding public consultations on planned amendments this summer, but many bands - including those in Atlantic Canada - have refused to participate. National Chief Matthew Coon Come said natives must stand together if they hope to determine their own destiny. The assembly's executive committee presented a proposal for a strategy dealing with Indian Act amendments. A separate proposal was submitted by elders, though it closely resembles that of the executive committee. "We will need to mobilize as never before," Chief Coon Come told delegates. "We will have to become a political force to be reckoned with." Aboriginal governments have been taken to task for stories of fiscal mismanagement and serious election problems. Critics have charged the Chretien Liberals are pushing for change simply to placate stinging attacks from the Canadian Alliance. Motion calls for ouster of Coon Come Chief Coon Come said the only legislation Parliament needs to pass "are laws that recognize our rights to govern ourselves." He said most First Nations have rejected Ottawa's process to overhaul the Indian Act but acknowledged some are taking part in talks, "allowing the (Indian affairs) minister the opportunity to say his act is based on consultations with First Nations." Among the assembly's governance proposals: - revise the timeline so the process is slowed down; - form a joint planning committee with the federal government; - appoint a council of experts made up of native and non-native advisers; and - set up a joint legal team with Ottawa to draft legislation and assess legal implications. Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault was invited to address the conference but declined. In a July 16 letter to chiefs, he said "no item is off the agenda" and called on native leaders to work with the government. "There are a variety of opportunities now before us to improve the process to accommodate the differing interests involved," Mr. Nault said in his letter. Ottawa hopes to introduce new legislation in the House of Commons this fall. Assembly Vice-Chief Ghislain Picard, who represents Quebec and Labrador, urged his colleagues to boycott public consultation meetings. He said chiefs should have a plan B, should the organization's governance proposals be rejected. Delegates are to vote on the Indian Act issue before the conference ends Thursday. One native observer who is not a delegate said it's almost impossible to reach a consensus on what to do about Ottawa's plans for the Indian Act. Dwight Dorey, who heads a national group of off-reserve aboriginals, said regionalism and community interests will probably always come into play. "That's pretty evident in the debate here," he said in an interview. "And the extent of that debate is only within the Assembly of First Nations." President of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Mr. Dorey leads about 800,000 off-reserve natives and Metis. He said his organization has discussed Ottawa's proposals and is preparing a response. "I'm currently in the process of working out the final details of a consultative process with the minister regarding the whole governance initiative," he said. http://www.herald.ns.ca/cgi-bin/home/loadmain?2001/07/18+169.raw

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. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate?tf=tgam/common/FullStory.html&cf=tgam/common/FullStory.cfg&configFileLoc=tgam/config&vg=BigAdVariableGenerator&date=20010718&dateOffset=&hub=headdex&title=Headlines&cache_key=headdexNational¤t_row=6&start_row=6&num_rows=1

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
james.benson@knet.on.ca

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.

Wellington School Grade 8's Celebrate their graduation

Pictures of the students and some of the families at the Wellington School Grade 8 Graduation ceremonies held on Tuesday, June 19, 2001 can be seen at http://216.211.97.41/general/2001-06-19

Muddy Water Music Festival- July 18,19,20,21

MUDDY WATER MUSIC FESTIVAL
P.O. Box 258
Tel: (807) 774-3421
Sandy Lake, Ontario
P0V 1V0
Fax: (807) 774-1040

Information Sheet

The Muddy Water Music Festival will be held on July 18, 19, 20 & 21, 2001 in Sandy Lake First Nation.

Sandy Lake is located in North-western Ontario approximately 65 miles east of the Ontario-Manitoba border and 216 miles northwest of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Our community is an isolated reserve with only fly-in transportation year round.

Sandy Lake has a population of 2034 people.

The annual event started in 1983. It was started by a group of young people to establish inspiration and self-esteem. The first annual event was held at a location called “Paradise Valley” in Sandy Lake. It was held there for a few years before being moved to another location by the old school that had the “Fort” at the time. It was also held there for a few years before it was moved again to its present location called Ghost Point. The Ghost Point site is a great location for this annual event, because it has a very nice scenery and away from the general public. The Ghost Point site is also used during treaty days.

It is our opportunity for inspiring musician to show their talents. Young, inexperienced musicians get to share the same stage with the same equipment as professional bands. Spectators of all ages get to enjoy and appreciate a kaleidoscope of music. The festival will help to continue to develop and strengthen community and inter-community relationships with our participating communities.

The Muddy Water Music Festival Event has always had a host band from the reserve. Some of the host bands in the past are “Who Cares”, “Rathouse Band”, “Bear Paws” and “Jam Shack”. This year’s host band will be the MUSKEWABO BAND.

The summer of 2001 will be the eighteenth anniversary of Sandy Lake First Nation’s annual celebration of the Muddy Water Music Festival. The event of this kind is the only major regional musical event in an isolated reserve, north of Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

The Muddy Water Music Festival itself runs entirely about eighty volunteers. Most or all of the volunteers are young people who arrange everything from setting up the accommodations to nailing down plywood to being M.C.’s for the event.

We all expect, as usual, plane loads of fans from other Nishnawbe-Aski Nation communities creating a population boom at Sandy Lake First Nation. Our relatives, friends and associates also come from across the border from Winnipeg, Wassagamach, St. Theresa Point, Red Sucker Lake and Garden Hill, Manitoba.

It is in this time all the communities who participate that they become one, united and see what we can accomplish through our international language of music.