Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Renewed Funding For First Nations Schoolnet Program Announcement

LARONGE, Saskatchewan, March 14, 2003 --

On Friday, March 14, 2003, Rick Laliberte, Member of Parliament for Churchill River, on behalf of Industry Minister Allan Rock, announced renewed funding for Industry Canada's First Nations SchoolNet Program. The funds will be used to provide First Nations schools with Internet access, computer equipment, technical support and training.

Six regional management organizations that have been selected to manage and deliver the First Nations SchoolNet Program across Canada will also be announced.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the Pan-Canadian Northern Connectivity Conference and the second semi-annual First Nations SchoolNet Conference. Various municipal, provincial, federal and First Nations community representatives will attend the event on site or through videoconference. Everyone was invited to participate on-line through and joining in the live chat session that runs with the webcast.

The text of the official announcement, along with the background notes (in a PDF format) are available on-line.

Date: Friday, March 14, 2003Time: 9 a.m.Location: LaRonge Motor Hotel LaRonge, Saskatchewan

For more information, please contact:

Industry CanadaMedia Relations(613) 943-2502

Susan GoddardInformation Highway Branch(306) 780-5610

Keewaytinook Okimakanak Managers plan for final year of Smart project

Six Keewaytinook Okimakanak managers were able to get together with Carl Seibel in Thunder Bay on Thursday, March 13 to discuss plans for the final year of the Smart Communities Demonstration Project. Working with the information obtained from the first three First Nation ICT planning workshops held this year, the managers mapped out priorities and strategies to deliver on many of the community needs.

Support for the further development of KiHS in each of the KO First Nations and for the local schools’ ICT requirements was recognized as a priority. Telehealth development and migration to include all the First Nations across the region is another goal that will continue to be supported by the smart project. The Kuh-ke-nah Network will see ongoing upgrades and the introduction of more capacity for both IP video conferencing and IP telephony. Skills transfer, local human resource development and capacity building will be the focus of a series of gatherings being planned for the upcoming fiscal year. The KO Public Works team will be taking on the development of local GIS applications with each KO First Nation.

Lots to look forward to in the upcoming year and lots of work to be done by the KO Smart Team!!

K-Net Partners with Open Network Craft Project from B.C. for Broadband Training

Sandy McElroy, President of Pacific Rim Communications Ltd and partner in the Open Network Craft Project with the Gold Trail Open Network Society out of Ashcroft, BC, visited K-Net's Sioux Lookout operation on March 10 -12, 2003. Sandy met many of the K-Net partners during his visit to K-Net and conducted several meetings with different people to explore the training needs and directions for the training material being developed under this innovative e-learning program that has funding support from CANARIE. K-Net is partnering in this project to access these new training resources while using the new e-learning platform that was created for KiHS in our second adult on-line training program for the staff working in the First Nations.

From the project summary ... The Open Network Craft Project will pilot the provision of practical, craft-based training to enable workers in remote, rural and First Nation enterprises to independently promote, install and maintain broadband infrastructure. The project will include the analysis of the tasks involved and associated skill requirements, the design and pilot delivery of appropriate training materials, including delivery through the use of broadband technology where applicable. The online training and instructional materials and services will form the basis of a peer-to-peer mutual support network for non-specialist persons responsible for local network development and maintenance.

KO staff participate in workshop of the Smart Community program

Geordi Kakepetum and I participated in a workshop on the Smart Communities Program on March 3.  The workshop was part of a mid-term evaluation of the Smart Community program being conducted by Hickling Arthurs Low (HAL) Corporation for the Audit and Evaluation Branch of Industry Canada.
The background paper (powerpoint presentation) provided a working guide for the workshop outlining each of the questions that were asked of the participants.  About 20 people representing Smart Community applicants and recipients and various government interests in Smart Communities took part in the workshop. The resulting workshop proceedings (PDF document) were distributed to all the participants detailing the discussions and issues shared during the session and the rankings attached to the various contributions made by the workshop participants.

INAC Announcement of First Nation water treatment plant operators training

Keewaytinook Okimakanak hosted the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Honourable Robert Nault and other community leaders on Friday March 7 in our Balmertown office. Minister Nault delivered a national announcement (see news release) detailing the creation of a water treatment plant operator training program.

The event was chaired by Geordi Kakepetum, Executive Director of Keewaytinook Okimakanak and linked with other First Nation sites from Northwestern Ontario via video conference over the Kuh-ke-nah Broadband Network (K-Net). The video conference session was webcast live from K-Net with the on-line audience being able to provide instant feedback using the live chat window and the discussion forum available below for this event.

Pictures from the event are available on-line. The archive of the highlights from the webcast will be posted as they become available.


Media Advisory

EVENT:   Infrastructure Training Announcement
WHERE:   Keewaytinook Okimakanak Sub-office
                 127 Mine Road, Balmertown, Ontario
WHO:       The Honourable Robert D. Nault, PC, MP
                 Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
WHEN:    Friday, March 7, 2003, 12:30 p.m.

The Honourable Robert D. Nault, PC, MP will announce a major investment in support of training of First Nation water treatment plant operators.

Tony Prudori
Communications Officer
DIAND Ontario Region
TEL: (807) 624-1535

KO Staff Demonstrate Broadband at NAN Chiefs' Meeting

Keewaytinook Okimakanak set up an information and display booth at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Chiefs' conference ( at the Travelodge (Airlane) Hotel in Thunder Bay. Members of the KO Smart team shared stories and information about the work that is taking place as part of the Kuh-ke-nah Network of Smart First Nations Demonstration Project.

As well, we webcast different parts of the NAN Chiefs' meeting on the internet over the three days. Everyone was welcomed to join the Chiefs' Meeting along with some special meetings that we hosted over the three days with different guests. Check out to see what happened at the Airlane Hotel during this event. Everyone was invited to actively participate in this on-line event from wherever they had access to the internet.

Pictures from the different meetings and happenings show the following:

  • the Community Access Program Workshop (Valhalla Inn);
  • the Matawa FN Management Broadband Business Planning Session (Matawa office complex);
  • the KO information booth at the NAN Chiefs' meeting (Airlane Hotel);
  • meeting with Industry Canada CAP Director and Ontario Region Director (Airlane Hotel);
  • KO Chiefs' meeting (Valhalla Inn);
  • NAN Youth Council video conference session with KO First Nation youth (Airlane Hotel);
  • Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come presentation to NAN youth (Airlane Hotel);
  • Tour of Fort William First Nation KiHS classroom;
  • Video conference meeting with Industry Canada Director General of IHAB, Office of Learning Technology, NAN and KO FN e-centres.

Several other meetings took place throughout the week. KO staff met with Bell Canada reps, Ministry of Education rep, Superior Wireless, Expertech, FedNor, different First Nation community leaders and Lakehead University.

The NAN Chiefs in Assembly passed Resolution 03/49: SUPPORT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NAN BROADBAND REGIONAL NETWORK FOR FIRST NATIONS which among other things directs government programs and services along with other agencies to utilize local community networks.

Others from across Canada were invited to join the live chat session about the meetings and the on-line discussion forum available for their thoughts and comments. We demonstrated and highlighted how broadband connectivity and broadband applications are positively affecting the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations.

Everyone's support and involvement was welcomed. Be sure to check out the other events that are now archived at the same web site. Leave your comments and ideas about these events and the information available so we can continue to develop this on-line virtual conference resource. Watch for the upcoming on-line events that we will be webcasting. Share this on-line resource with others who might appreciate learning about these opportunities and information.

Thanks for your continued support and interest in our work ...

Sun transit outages for satellite sites.

This affects the satellite communities of:
* Fort Hope
* Webequie
* Weagamow Lake
* Slate Falls
* Sachigo Lake
* Fort Severn
* Kasabonika

Between the dates of February 22nd and March 3rd, 2003, short periods of network unavailability will occur as the sun passes directly behind the satellite.

This generally lasts about 7 to 15 minutes. Below is a chart of expected start and end times for the outages.






Max C/N

FEB. 25





FEB. 26





FEB. 27





FEB. 28





MAR. 1





MAR. 2





MAR. 3





MAR. 4





MAR. 5





MAR. 6





Thanks to SSI Micro for providing the table.

Dan Pellerin
Network Manager
K-Net Services.

Planning for the use of ICTs in Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations

This year, the Community ICT Planning Workshops are being planned and hosted by the local Smart teams in each of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations. Simultaneous sessions are being held in Fort Severn and North Spirit Lake beginning the week of February 10.

On the first evening of the week long workshop some participants from each of the two communities met to discuss the plans for the upcoming sessions. In Fort Severn, Madeleine Stoney (e-Centre Manager), Barney Turtle (Multi-Media Producer), Angus Miles (Network Technician) and Anne Koostachin (CAP Worker) have worked with the different community programs and boards to plan a full session for everyone involved in Health, Education and Economic Development activities in their community. In North Spirit Lake, Darlene Rae (e-Centre Manager), Arnold Thompson (Multi-Media Producer), Paul Campbell (Network Technician) and James Rae (CAP Worker) are coordinating the workshops for their community.

Tuesday, Feb 11, will bring the local health teams together to discuss how they wish to see ICTs used in their workplace and in the development and provision of services for community members. The folks involved providing education services and programs in the communities will come together on Wednesday. The workshops wrap up on Thursday with interested community members, businesses and leaders discussing various economic development efforts and how ICTs can be used to complement and support their efforts.

INAC Minister Nault Making National Announcement using Kuh-ke-nah Network

On Saturday February 8, INAC Minister Nault will be making a national announcement that will be broadcast from the Keewaytinook Okimakanak boardroom in Balmertown starting at 2 p.m. EST.

Final details are being worked out by the minister's office inviting the media to a video conference meeting location in Ottawa. Other media sources are invited to participate in person at the KO office in Balmertown. Ken Williams and Keren Pugliese are the Ottawa contacts for the minister’s office.

The video conferencing session will be streamed over the Internet from the web site. Some of the remote First Nations in the region are being invited to participate in this event.

KO Staff Attend Library Association Super Conference 2003

Six representatives working with the Smart Communities demonstration project traveled to Toronto to take in this year’s 100th Annual Conference of the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference 2003. This January 30 - February 1, 2003 event is the highlight gathering of librarians, associations, exhibitors and everyone who meet to share, plan and create new opportunities for libraries across the country.

Each of the KO First Nation reps (Madeleine Stoney - Fort Severn, Raymond Mason - Keewaywin, Darlene Rae - North Spirit Lake, Corey Meekis - Deer Lake) are taking on the challenge of establishing public libraries in their local e-Centres. Susan Owen from Poplar Hill is coordinating this work for her community but was unable to attend this event. Les Meekis, the KO Smart project’s Community Manager, is supporting this development in partnership with other organizations (Ontario Library Services North and the OLA). Brian Beaton was invited to do a presentation in the Saturday session entitled “Building the 21st Century Community: Communities and Libraries Working Together”. Co-presenters in the session were Carrol Lunau and Mary Cavanagh who are both working on developing the Smart@Library initiative for the SmartCapital project in Ottawa.

The conference is a great opportunity to meet other people involved in developing and supporting public libraries in Ontario. The exhibitions and sessions attended all proved to be valuable experiences for networking with others, learning about and discovering new contacts and resources for the development of these public libraries in remote First Nations across Ontario.

The KO team was able to meet with the Telecommons Development Group (TDG) during this trip to further plan the upcoming Community Engagement Workshops and next year’s project evaluation and final report. Don Richarson, Helen Aitken and Galin Kora traveled from Guelph to work with these members of the Smart team for on Friday morning.