First Nations Resource Magazine - Fall 2014

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hea ling Using br eak danc ing


Fall 2014



s r e i r r a b k a to bre

Also: Developing the Ring of Fire

Shining a spotlight on an inspiring role model

Aiming to ignite reading amongst First Nations youth

hoPeforthefuture . ca


? GET INVOLVED visit or, contact us at

Why Read?

Why Read the First Nations Resource Magazine? Our magazines and website are the medias we use for our Creating Hope for the Future Awareness Campaigns. The purpose of our awareness campaigns is to empower and inspire First People to create a bright, self-sustainable future by highlighting and promoting useful and relevant programs and opportunities. We also publish and post examples of people and organizations who have gone forward and succeeded in different areas, as an example for others to follow. The programs we highlight and share are Health, Wellness, Prevention, Recreation, Arts & Cultural programs and we promote Higher Learning, Job, Career, Training, Business and Economic Development opportunities. The magazine is meant to inspire youth through stories of others accomplishments and successes to do more with their lives, and provide positive influences to others.

Who Are We? Our aim is to help build and strengthen Canadian communities. We do this by publishing articles that promote community awareness and alternative solutions to creating safer communities. We believe that information is the strongest resource to building a strong foundation for our future. This is why we take pride in the relationships we hold with various law enforcement and government agencies, community and youth groups, associations, and facilitators throughout the country. It is with their help that we are able to provide your community with relevant and quality information. We are one of Canada’s leading advocates for respectful, mutual beneficial partnership among industries, corporate Canada, governments, and First People since 2000. We try and assist organizations by spreading their message through our print and online media. By reading the First Nations Resource Magazine, you’ll be up to-date on the current events. To keep up to date on what is going on in the community visit

Sharing The Inspiration Share the magazine with your friends, family and communities. If an article inspires you...share it. Use the website to stay connected through Twitter and by sharing us on Facebook or through your favorite social media.





44 STEPHEN “BUDDHA” LEAFLOOR MAPPING THE BLUEPRINT TO THE SOUL How BluePrintForLife is using break-dancing to break barriers and help native communities hip-hop their way to healing.




This is the time for the people of Northern Manitoba.


Developing the Ring of Fire.


Securing a strong economic future through a business charter.


Flexible learning. Supportive environment. Personalized attention.


Unique Literary Award aims to ignite love of reading in First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth.


Building more than a greenhouse.


Meeting ultra-low discharge requirements for mining effluent.



ACTC team wins 2014 Saskatchewan First Nation Winter Games.


The next major gold deposit in the Red Lake gold camp?


Shinning the spotlight on an inspiring role model.


At the centre of Canada’s uranium exploration boom.




Where will the road take us: Building Canada’s workforce.


The greenest workforce.


Winner of the prestigious Skookum Jim Award.



Education delivered differently.


The Orca Quarry.


Environmental sustainability makes good business sense.

Mishkeegogamang Ojibway First Nation and Goldcorp sign cooperation agreement.


The Aboriginal Enriched Support Program.



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Wha t a rt can hea l

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Jacques Beauchamp Former Regional Police Office EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Christine Panasuk CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jonathan Beauchamp

Music is a very powerful force, something that Stephen Leafloor has been able to harness to his advantage. With a Masters Degree in Social Work, Stephen has used the elements of modern music to connect with and help youth in communities throughout the country. Rap music, which is one of the key components of the hip hop subculture (MC-ing/Rapping, DJ-ing, breakdancing and grafitti art) is very popular among today’s youth. Rapping usually consists of rhyming speech that is chanted. Stephen Leafloor’s use of music to help youth is not only inspirational, but a game changer for the world of Social Work. Music and art as a whole, are not only beautiful but they have the ability to change how we process things and interact with others. When your world is full of chaos and you can taste that rage..listen to your drum, let the music of life roll through you and ask yourself what art can help you heal?

GRAPHICS & ART www.DESIGNit.CA PRINTED IN ONTARIO, CANADA Dollco, a division of The Lowe-Martin Group CONTRIBUTORS Glen Kirby

Andrew Hall

Herb Wilson

Frank McKay

Don Baxter

Linda Leigh

Jacklyn Guay


Daniel Cole

Thomas Easton

Ryan Berube

First Nations Resource Magazine is published by Vantage Publishing Group Corp. and distributed free, all rights reserved. Contents and photographs may not be reprinted without written permission. The statements, opinions and points of view expressed in articles published in this magazine are those of the authors and publication shall not be deemed to mean they are necessarily those of Vantage Publishing Group Corp. or other affiliated organizations. The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, transparencies or other materials. Publications Mail Agreement No. 41927547 ISSN 1927-3126 First Nations Resource Magazine (Print) ISSN 1927-3134 First Nations Resource Magazine (Online) Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: 40 Colonnade Road Nor th Ottawa, Ontario K2E 7J6 Telephone: 1-888-724-9907

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH US! Send your feedback, ideas, stories, and suggestions to: or follow us on twitter: @creatinghopefor

Jacques Beauchamp Editor-in-Chief


- est 1990 -

Share your comments or suggestions with Jacques by sending him an email at:



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Šcopyright | zhu difeng

In a knowledge-based economy, this is the time for the people of Northern Manitoba


niversity College of the North (UCN) is a unique post-secondary option located in Northern Manitoba. The publicly-funded institution consists of two campuses, located in Thompson and The Pas, along with 12 Regional Centres throughout the north, nine of which are located in First Nations communities. The catchment area of UCN is massive, comprising of over a half a million square kilometers and is roughly the same size as the nation of France. It is extremely remote with a total population base of about 80,000 people. World demand for northern resources is at an all-time high and it’s going to continue to rise. Northern communities and utilities are also growing. There are going to be more ‘good’ jobs in the north than ever before. Northern grads mean northern opportunities. Northern bands, companies, communities, utilities and governments are also desperate for a generation of qualified, motivated northern graduates to step in and ‘run the North’. Most of these positions can only be filled by people with knowledge of the latest technology and practices for industry, management, government and supporting services. For current and potential students that are motivated and want them, they are just waiting for the learning and earning.


In a knowledge-based economy, this is the time for the people of northern Manitoba. Employment opportunities are there….right now…machine operators, computer techs, heavy machine drivers, lawyers, accountants, managers, cooks & caterers, office staff, bankers, geologists, pilots, air traffic controllers, produce managers, retail store managers, student counselors, civil engineers, law enforcement, sales officers, regional product representatives, office managers, investors, doctors, nurses, dentists, health care support workers, teachers, electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters…..the list of opportunities is endless and they all go through UCN. Eveleyn Scott, a resident of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation graduated from the faculty of Business in 2012 and summed it up best. “We are the future of the North. And the key to that future is knowledge. UCN offers a path to that knowledge – one that will shape your career direction, and help you achieve your goals, aspirations, and future”. After graduation Evelyn became a full-time employee within UCN in the Enrolment Services division. One key component to the success of UCN and it’s students is the ability to provide modern and technologically advanced infrastructure. In April 2013 UCN concluded a $16 Million upgrade to the campus in The Pas with the construction of a new research library, a 71 unit childcare facility and 24 – three and four bedroom housing units. Also in 2013 UCN opened new regional centre operations in St. Theresa Point, Swan River, Flin Flon and in Grand Rapids on the Misipawistik Cree Nation. As well UCN through its partnership with HudBay Minerals, University of Manitoba, the Government of Manitoba and the Northern Manitoba Sector Council, opened the first of its kind anywhere, mining academy in Flon Flon. Just a few weeks ago grand opening ceremonies were held in the City of Thompson where the doors were opened an entirely new campus – 90,000 square foot, four story Lead Silver certified building that includes: • 15 new distance learning classrooms; • Three computer labs; • A dedicated chemistry/biology science lab; • A multi-purpose physics/math/biology science lab; • 12-bed nursing lab with clinical simulation capabilities; • A 60 seat lecture theatre; • A new library; • A new student centre • A 73-space child care facility for infant, toddler, preschool and school-aged children.


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UCN Thompson was designed to accommodate future education and training spaces based on community need and will allow UCN to expand important program delivery and research capacity in the north. When asked of the students, they tell faculty and staff the factors that were key in making UCN the choice to attend included: High Academic Standards. All UCN instructors and administration are accredited and qualified to national or international standards. Latest Technology. UCN students have access to state-ofthe-art technology with our labs, libraries, classrooms and fitness facilities. Smaller Class Sizes. UCN classes are kept deliberately small so students can have more personal interaction with instructors and classmates. Interest and Time Frames. Students can graduate in five months or go all the way up to 5 years. UCN offers more than 150 courses in University Degree, College Certificate and Diploma programs that meet the needs and interests of students personal time line. Course Flexibility. If a student’s career goals change, UCN can help transition from a certificate to a diploma program or from a diploma to a degree. Learning Style. Some people are visual learners, others learn by listening and reading. At UCN, instructors provide the mix of teaching tools and methods students need to learn successfully. Hands-On. Everyone learns from actually doing it. UCN students get the hands-on time they need to succeed. Employers line up to give UCN students job placement. Depending on your course, you could be bird banding in the Natural Resources Management Technology program, student-teaching in the Early Childhood Education program, or tuning up an F150 in the Automotive Technician course. UCN operates under four faculties: Health, Education, Trades and Technology, and the faculty of Arts, Business and Science. University College of the North was established by an act of the Manitoba legislature on July 1, 2004, recognizing UCN as a degree-granting university college in Manitoba. Its mandate is to serve the post-secondary education and training needs of Aboriginal and northern Manitobans. UCN encourages you to visit its website at or email for more information. You can also contact the institutions Director of Communications, Jim Scott, at 204-627-8244 or email him at


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“Consultation with First Nations is part of the day to day business for the management team of Bold Ventures�, stated David Graham, Director and Executive VP.


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Bold Ventures is a mineral exploration company in Ontario focused on the acquisition and development of highly prospective mineral properties within Ontario and Quebec. The company’s main emphasis in Northern Ontario is the Ring of Fire area in the James Bay Lowlands. Base and precious metals including chromite, nickel, copper and platinum group elements are the target at their Koper Lake Project, an exploration program being funded by KWG Resources Ltd. who is earning a majority interest in the mineral rights found within the property. The company has a number of claim groups located in and around the Ring of Fire and James Bay Lowlands area with several high potential drill targets that are ready for testing. The Company is using its extensive experience in this specific region to explore for large, economic mineral deposits.


In 2007, when the current Bold Ventures management team was managing Noront Resources Ltd, they discovered a series of mineral deposits. These include the Double Eagle (now known as the Eagle’s Nest) nickel-copper massive sulphide, the Blackbird chromite and the Thunderbird Vanadium deposits. As a result the area was dubbed the Ring of Fire as a result of the shape that the claim staking took as prospectors and companies followed the geophysical magnetic expression present on government maps combined with the flaming color of the nickel-copper core samples when reflecting in the sunshine. “Our First Nation relationships helped us to conduct exploration in a very remote area, where we made a number of significant economic mineral discoveries says,” Richard Nemis. “Bold Ventures is hoping to replicate that accomplishment and the First Nations will be a part of any success we achieve.” Bold Ventures management team has always engaged with local interests as a way of insuring good relationships and smooth operations. For Bold Ventures, First Nation consultation is common sense. Our basic attitude has been, “What if the First Nations were exploring in your back yard?” “Would you not want to be included, advised and accommodated?” stated Richard Nemis, President of Bold Ventures. First Nations people have inhabited the ROF region for centuries. Their cultural practices of hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering have carried on with minor disruptions over the years. After the discovery at Noront, a massive exploration rush by dozens of companies overnight caused real concerns for the local communities. The company immediately engaged with the local First nations and came to agreement on issues such as historical work, environmental stewardship, employment and business opportunities. Concurrently, the Government was putting the finishing touches on its first stage of modernizing the Mining Act in Ontario. This introduced a new permit process that insures the crown and industry engage in a meaningful consultation process before exploration begins. The First Nations people understand and are experts at working and living with nature. Coupled with their spiritual beliefs and close ancient ties with the land, First Nations seek respect from all people for what nature has provided. Having intimate knowledge of the local environment, weather, drainage, animal habitats and access goes a long way to enhance exploration and development work. Working with First Nations allows our exploration teams to proceed safely with less of a footprint, in an environmentally efficient manner.

Straight Lake


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First Nations also provide cultural guidance, history of the local area, and are a source of knowledge for future planning. They assist our company with fuel supply, lodging, and camps and are a very hard working people. In exchange, Bold Ventures provides training, jobs and economic opportunities. The Company hires First Nation contractors and suppliers and conducts business to mutually benefit all parties that get involved. We share our knowledge with the First Nations as they do with us. It could be described as a cultural and educational exchange.

First Nations Communities in the Far North: The Far North of Ontario is home to the largest population of Aboriginal peoples in the province. The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization that represents 49 First Nation communities, encompassing James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario’s portion of Treaty No. 5 (Nishnawbe Aski Nation, 2013). The communities are represented by Tribal Councils that are organized according to geographic location among other factors. The Matawa Chiefs Council has been involved and is in discussions with government and stakeholders regarding the development of the Ring of Fire. The Council is composed of the Chiefs of several First Nations located in Nishnawbe Aski Nation that will be closely affected by development in the region: Aroland First Nations, Constance Lake First Nations, Eabametoong First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation, Nibinamik First Nation, Long Lake #58 First Nation, and Webequie First Nation. Members of the Mattawa Council have stated that they are not against development, as long as they are involved in the process. Other communities that are part of the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council to the east and on the James Bay coast are closely monitoring this development.


Due to the remote location and swampy ground conditions, exploration time frames can be lengthy. The James Bay Lowlands are challenging weather wise, producing extremely cold winters and very hot summers along with nasty bug seasons. The exploration teams need to be hardy and able to operate in these remote areas and conditions. First Nations knowledge and skill sets can be a real compliment to the exploration effort. The First Nations have long established communities in the ROF region. Community populations range to up over 1,000 people per village. Ontario’s Far North accounts for a major percent of the province’s Aboriginal population. The majority of the reserves in the Far North of Ontario are dependent on external sources of revenue. Mineral Exploration and mining development can have a tremendous positive economic impact for First Nations in the entire region. In Ontario, Aboriginal employment accounted for nearly 10 percent of total mining jobs in 2011 (Dungan and Murphy, 2012) Mining development has also created a number of economic and career opportunities for Aboriginal people through ancillary and supply services. The Ring of Fire, located 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, has emerged as one of the most significant mineral regions in the province. It has been estimated that the Ring of Fire has mineral potential known to be worth 60 billion dollars and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. Chromite is a key ingredient of stainless steel. The region also holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper, gold and platinum. Projections estimate that full time employment could reach well over 3,000 jobs annually. Recently, the Ontario government announced that it is prepared to commit up to $1 billion to develop strategic all-season industrial and community transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire. Ontario is also calling on the Federal government to match this funding to build the infrastructure required for this important project that will create jobs and boost the northern economy. The approach


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and priorities with respect to this investment will be established in partnership with First Nations, governments and industry partners through a recently formed development corporation. The Ring of Fire represents one of the most significant mineral regions in the province, and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. A multi-generational opportunity, the Ring of Fire will create thousands of jobs and enhance economic opportunities in this region for years to come. It is hoped that an infrastructure network will be realized throughout the region that will connect the isolated communities in this area with the rest of Ontario and drastically improve living conditions as a result.


The St’a’timc have always felt a strong connection to their land, which can be found in the Coast Mountains and Fraser Canyon regions of British Columbia. In a Declaration signed in 1911, the St’a’timc re-affirmed their nationhood and title to their lands, which include some of the most breath-taking rivers, mountains, and lakes in the province. These waterways in turn power much of the hydro-electricity in BC.


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The 11 autonomous St’a’timc communities have a total of approximately 6,000 members. The St’a’timc communities are: Xwisten, Sekw’el’was, Xaxlí’p, T’ít’q’et, Ts’kw’aylaxw, Tsal’álh, N’Quatqua, Xa’xtsa, Samahquam, Skatin and Líl’wat. Together they negotiated the St’a’timc (PC) Settlement Agreement with BC Hydro, an 18-year effort that resulted in all 11 signing the Agreement in 2011. Ten of the communities went on to sign the St’a’timc (PC) 2011 Trust Agreement on July 27, 2011. The key benefits of that Trust Agreement include funds, to be held and utilized for 99 years, to compensate for

the damage done to the communities and the environment when a series of three hydroelectric power projects - the first dating back to the 1920’s - were built in their traditional territory. This Trust Agreement provides resources for the communities to support a better future for their children and their children’s children. After helping to reach the agreement with BC Hydro, Rodney Louie, a member of the Tsal’alh Community looked around and asked, “What’s next for the St’a’timc?” Taking the long view, Louie is at his best when contemplating his community’s economic future, while honouring its fiercely independent history. Today, as the Executive Director for the St’a’timc Chiefs Council, he is charged with implementing the vision of the Chiefs of the 11 autonomous communities that comprise the St’a’timc.


To make the Chiefs’ vision a reality, Louie approached Deloitte, a professional services firm that has a long history of supporting the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada through their business practices, to assist in the creation of St’a’timc Eco-Resources, the St’a’timc economic development corporation. Just as political governance among the St’a’timc communities is a necessary and time-consuming process, developing the right process to establish St’a’timc Eco-Resources was required. As Louie later reflected, “What was the right process to engage the St’a’timc people, who are concerned with territorial integrity, environmental considerations, and creating opportunities for their young people? And how should the governance structure for the company provide the Chiefs with the right level of strategic and political input, while enabling management to make decisions based solely on business considerations?” Working with Ernest Armann, the Implementation Manager for St’a’timc Government Services (the St’a’timc non-profit program provider), and Deloitte, Louie has employed a process that will see the St’a’timc Chiefs Council consulted in the development of a Business Charter. Simply put, this Business Charter sets out the governance structure for the St’a’timc, defining the relationship between the St’a’timc Chiefs Council, the St’a’timc Eco-resources and each First Nation, defining roles and responsibilities, lines of authority and communication between them as it relates to economic development. The St’a’timc Chiefs Council will retain the authority to appoint the Board of Directors, who will in turn appoint the CEO, for the company. The CEO will provide regular reports to the St’a’timc Chiefs Council. In this way, the voice of the St’a’timc will be heard at a strategic level, but it will be up to the company’s management to make day-to-day operational decisions. Deloitte has helped Louie and Armann through a consultative process with the Chiefs to develop the Business Charter. Through a series of


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workshops over several months in 2013 and 2014, the St’a’timc reached agreement on the terms contained within the Business Charter. “The St’a’timc are determined to evolve their business practices and structures to be able to take full advantage of future economic opportunities” says Lisa Ethans, Partner, Deloitte. “Together, we are developing a governance structure that aligns business and program delivery in a way that is unique to the St’a’timc and is grounded in their culture and values.” “It is important for us to separate politics from business,” says Armann, who was involved in 12 out of the 18 years it took to negotiate the hydro agreement. “Our leaders have long given voice to our people’s title and rights, and our concerns about our land and resources. Today, the challenge before us is to use the financial tools from the agreement to build St’a’timc Eco-Resources, which will engage our communities in economic activity in our territory, create jobs and careers, and set out new opportunities for our people.” Louie nods in agreement, thinking about the surpluses that the company will generate to fund community programs and dividends. “After all, a vision is only that if you don’t strive to make it a reality.”



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Flexible Learning. Supportive Environment. Personalized Attention. Northern College is focused on you – a unique individual with distinct goals, hopes and dreams. We believe that a strong education opens the door to a world of opportunity and we are committed to supporting you along your journey towards personal and professional growth.


e’ll work with you to help you reach your full potential while ensuring that you enjoy everything the Northern experience has to offer. There are many services in place to make sure you have what you need to excel at Northern College. At Northern, you’ll have access to free academic upgrading, peer tutors, student advisors, accessibility and firstyear experience services, health services, fitness facilities, student success centres and our Elders on campus.

Our small class sizes mean that you’ll have easy access to faculty, computers, labs and equipment. Your peers and professors will know you by name and treat you like family. Our diverse program offerings and partnerships with other colleges and universities in Canada and abroad ensure that our graduates have opportunities for future academic and career growth. One thing is for sure – if you start your journey at Northern College, you’ll have plenty of places to go.

Inspiring cultural spaces and student services are available to help you succeed. When you study with Northern you will have access to:

All Northern College students are encouraged to engage with Elders through our Elders on Campus program. Elders are present at each campus to share their experiences and wisdom. Our Elders value education, support students and inspire an enriched environment of cultural understanding and diversity. We recognize the significant role Elders play in the passing of traditional knowledge and teachings to future generations.

• Preparatory programs with financial support for childcare and travel • Traditional and cultural events, Elders, guest speakers, seminars, talking and healing circles • Student lounges, learning resource centres, and quiet study areas • Summer orientation • OSAP, bursaries and emergency loans


Our Aboriginal Council on Education, Elders and community leaders guide us, and ensure that our programs, services and activities are connected to culture and tradition. Healing and sharing circles, workshops, Aboriginal student assemblies, Aboriginal Student Advisors and traditional events and activities are all a part of the Northern experience. With campuses in Haileybury, Kirkland Lake, Moosonee and Timmins, Northern College serves over 80 communities, including 18 First Nations in the Cochrane and Timiskaming Districts of northeastern Ontario. We offer over 75 full and part-time programs at the certificate, diploma, degree, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship level, and many are offered through distance education. A number of our programs come with co-op, job placement or field work components which will give you handson, practical experience and the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals. Our Timmins Campus is home to a permanent 700-square foot tipi, which is accessible to Northern College students and all those with an interest in learning more about the cultural values and traditions of Aboriginal peoples. It is a place where people can come together and learn from one another to build a more culturally vibrant northeastern Ontario. You will also find traditional tipis at each of our campuses. Engage your spirit, heart, mind and body by complementing your world view and traditional practices with the skills a Northern


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College education can offer. We can help you develop a career path that allows you to walk forward with balance to achieve your goals and give back to your community. Here, you can build upon your relationships with family, community and the land while expanding your knowledge and practical skills. Northern College acknowledges the traditional keepers of the land. We pay our respects to Elders, past and present. We acknowledge the drum and other sacred items. We are guided by the fundamental values of strength, honesty, sharing and kindness.

We’d love to get to know you. If you’re thinking about applying to Northern College, get in touch with us to sit in on a class, book a personal campus tour, attend an information session or arrange a one-on-one meeting. Begin the journey of self-discovery at or contact our helpful admissions team and they’ll get you the answers you need to feel comfortable and confident about your program choice. Give us a shout or drop us a line at 1.866.736.5877 or



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Šcopyright | prapann

Have you ever been so immersed in a book that you didn’t want to put it down, even at the risk of losing crucial hours of sleep? Do you remember relating so strongly to the characters depicted in a story that it felt as though they were your best friends? Have you ever been overwhelmed with excitement at the mere thought of starting a new book and discovering unknown characters, settings, and plot twists?


hat’s the experience CODE, a Canadian NGO that has been advancing literacy and the quality of education for populations in need around the world for 55 years, wants to create for First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada with its Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Inaugurated in 2013, the annual Award aims to ignite a love of reading and learning in Canadian First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth by giving them access to engaging books that reflect their own culture and reality. “First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders have long stressed the importance of literacy and learning for youth in their communities and recommended the development of reading materials that are grounded in their culture and heritage,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. “With this Award, CODE hopes to help to address this need and get First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth excited about reading

by putting in their hands engaging books that will speak to them.” At the end of 2013, over 7,500 copies of the first three winning titles in the Award’s history, Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, As I Remember It by Tara Lee Morin and As Long as the Rivers Flow by James Bartleman, were sent to some 980 locations in every province and territories, allowing thousands of young people in these communities to engage with stories they can relate to. The books will also be used in Frontier College’s 2014 Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps. This is all part of the Award’s unique book purchase and distribution program, through which a minimum of 2,500 copies of each of the winning titles are bought by CODE each year and distributed to schools, libraries, Friendship Centres, community centres and programs that serve First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada.


“They were shocked and definitely learned a lot,” she said about their reaction. “We even encouraged some elders who have experienced residential schools to read the books and they, too, were touched by the stories.” Many male students at the school also felt a connection to the main character in Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse, as they, like so many others across the country, shared his passion for hockey. “Creating this kind of special relationship between stories and the young people who read them is the main reason CODE wanted to create this award. We couldn’t be more pleased with the reaction so far and we’re looking forward to hearing more about what the youth have to say about the books, because they’re the ones we’re doing all this for,” said Walter.

Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature secondprize winner Tara Lee Morin receives her trophy from the hands of Bill Burt at the inaugural Gala held on Oct. 2, 2013.

This spring, the winning authors of the inaugural edition toured schools, libraries, Friendship Centres, community centres and youth detention centres in some of the communities that received books to meet with young people and discuss their books as well as their own personal journeys.

“The book purchase and distribution program is really what sets this Award apart from others,” said Walter. “It’s not enough to simply recognize good books; we want to make sure they actually reach young readers, even in remote communities.” So far, the reaction from community workers, librarians, teachers and other educators who received the books to use as part of their curriculum or programming with First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth has been overwhelmingly positive.

For Tara Lee Morin, second-prize winner and author of As I Remember It, a memoir recounting her childhood and adolescence as a foster child, being rewarded with the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature and getting to meet her readers and potentially making a difference in their lives ­is a dream come true. that, year after year,

“Our hope is First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth will be excited to discover the new Burt Award winners. That would be our ultimate reward.”

For Brenda Jeddore, a teacher at the Se’t A’newey School in Miawpukek, Newfoundland and Labrador, being able to use reading materials written by First Nations authors in her classroom makes a huge difference in getting her students interested in literature. “Native students are intrinsically motivated to react to the situations presented in these novels and are able to use various modes of learning (reading, writing, representing, etc.) to express with ease their understandings and personal reactions to [these situations],” she said. “[Initiatives] such as the Burt Award allow for students and teachers alike to discover in a vibrant literary medium the plight of First Nations people through literature.” Another educator working in a northern Alberta Cree reserve school also noticed that the books were helpful in motivating students to want to learn about their own community and its history especially when discussing residential schools, a theme present in two of the three 2013 winning titles.


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“I am very lucky to be part of something so important and vital to society. I just feel so blessed, and grateful. I am excited for my own community that is now going to receive books because I won this award,” the Smithers, British Columbia resident told Open Book Toronto in an interview last October. Established by CODE with the generous support of philanthropist William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature is the result of a close partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Canada Council for the Arts, Frontier College and GoodMinds. A total of $25,000 in prize money is given each year to three First Nations, Métis or Inuit authors of English-language literary works for young adults (aged 12 through 18).

The Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature is part of a global initiative recognizing excellence in Young Adult literature. First implemented in Tanzania in 2008, the Burt Literary Awards program is now also present in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, the Caribbean and Canada. Regardless of the country or region, the main objective of the Burt Award is always the same: to spread the joy of reading. Canada is no exception. “Our hope is that, year after year, First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth will be excited to discover the new Burt Award winners,

and that, through these stories, they will develop not only a love of reading, but also a desire to learn about their culture, and about the world as a whole,” said Walter. “That would be our ultimate reward.” The winners of the second edition of the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature will be announced during a ceremony in Winnipeg in September 2014. For more information, visit

James Bartleman talking to youth at a school as part of the book tour.


A 28-foot red cedar totem pole graces the front of NWCC’s Gold LEED designed Smithers Campus building. The pole, carved by local artists Ron Austin Sr. (master carver), James Madam and Ron Austin Jr., represents the five Wet’suwet’en clans (Big Frog, Small Frog, Wolf/Bear, Fireweed and Beaver), on whose traditional territory the campus lies.


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Nestled into the rugged landscape of northwestern British Columbia are Northwest Community College’s nine campuses serving 34 diverse communities including 28 First Nations communities within the Nisga’a, Haida, Haisla, Gitxan, Tahltan, Tsimshian and Wet’suwet’en nations.


his incredible place, and our connection to it, means that post-secondary education is delivered differently here.

From its campuses located on spectacular Haida Gwaii, to Houston, BC’s innovative Community Learning Centre model, Northwest Community College’s programs are offered in large communities and tiny villages alike. Students are able to learn where they live and many programs reflect the unique cultural tradition that makes the north coast so unique. One such program is the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art where students learn from First Nations fine art masters. Another program that delves into the area’s First Nations traditions is a one-of-a-kind field school called The People of the Skeena, where students engage in a one-week Gitxsan cultural immersion program.


FREDA DIESING SCHOOL OF NORTHWEST COAST ART If you ask Tsimshian artist Kelli Clifton – Adziksm Gyipayk – why she chose to attend Northwest Community College’s First Nations Fine Arts program, the answer is simple:

“I wanted to learn more about traditional Northwest Coast design and from the talented artists who teach at the school,” she says. “The school is such a unique opportunity that I knew it would enhance my skills.” Clifton came to the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art at NWCC in the fall of 2013 to begin the two-year intensive fine arts program. She had already completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011 and moving to Terrace, BC to attend the school was somewhat of a homecoming for the emerging artist. “It also helped me return close to my home territory and that was something I wanted to do for a long time,” she says. Clifton’s work is gaining critical attention. In 2013 she received the annual YVR Art Foundation Scholarship Award founded to foster the development of BC First Nations Art and artists. One of her paintings is on display at the Vancouver International airport for a period of a year and the award comes with a $5,000 scholarship. In 2014, she repeated the honour and was given the award once again, this time to commission a carved piece to be on display for a one-year period.

Leonard Mercer & Brandon Olson, NWCC Culinary Arts students

Like the artists who teach at the Freda Diesing school of Northwest Coast Art, Clifton is pretty humble about her accomplishments, but as a rising star in the fine arts community, she is already on track toward making a career out of the fine arts. And she’s looking forward to the second year of her program beginning in September 2014. “It’s a great campus and I spend a lot of time in the longhouse,” she says of the Terrace campus and its popular student gathering space called Waap Galts’ap.

Eagle Spoon by Kelli Clifton


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The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art was created in 2006 to honour, recognize and continue the legacy of Haida artist Freda Diesing. She was a master carver, painter, tireless educator and champion of First Nations art and culture. The School offers instruction by world-renowned artists such as Bevan, Dempsey Bob (Tahltan/Tlingit), and Ken McNeil (Tahltan/ Tlingit/Nisga’a). Visiting artists, dignitaries and cultural advocates enhance the learning environment with their knowledge, wisdom and experience. “There are workshops outside of class offered to students; it’s fantastic,” Clifton says. “All in all, there is a great feeling of community.”

The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art brings all nations together in the pursuit of higher education, and sets new standards for aspiring artists. It is the only School of its kind in Canada, focusing on traditional First Nations Pacific Northwest Coast art, with the view of developing skills into fine art. “Each student brings their own unique talents and visions for their work and career to the classroom,’ says master carver and NWCC program coordinator and instructor Stan Bevan (Tahltan/Tlingit/Tsimshian).

“We support these students and aim to give them the skills and guidance they need to develop their talents to the best of their abilities.”

PEOPLE OF THE SKEENA In the rugged northwest region of British Columbia flows the mighty Skeena River – BC’s second longest river. It has long been the lifeblood of First Nations communities such as the Gitxsan who have gained sustenance from it for thousands of years. Each August NWCC’s University Credit Anthropology department holds the People of the Skeena Field School - and opportunity to experience the impact the Skeena River has on the people long located along its winding banks. It’s a week-long immersive program that includes visiting the Gitxsan Eagle clan’s fishing site of Gwaxts’eliksit. At this Language Preservation and Culture Camp, students are hosted by Hereditary Chief/Matriarch Skayan (Anita Davis), and other Eagle Chiefs and Elders. Students are immersed into the rich Gixsan culture and history while learning the preparation of smoked salmon and weaving of cedar in an outdoor classroom. The field school includes rafting down the Ksyen (Skeena River), a cedar weaving workshop and learning to smoke fish in the traditional way. It also focuses on learning about the rich and remarkable Gitxsan culture, history, governance, land tenure, values and deep connection to the land and river. Dallas McLean, from Gitsegukla, BC, Surface Diamond Driller’s Helper student at NWCC School of Exploration & Mining


Rafting along the Ksyen (Skeena) – River of the mist

For students such as Suzy Annala-MacDonald, it was an opportunity to understand Gitxsan culture in a more meaningful way. “Anita shared that in order to ensure a healthy salmon harvest, it is a cultural tradition to give away the first salmon of the season,” she says. “Sharing it amongst friends is said to help provide you with healthy salmon.” Learning about important First Nations issues such as Aboriginal title is also a part of the course.

“This incredible learning experience on the land with First Nations people is connected to a growing global consciousness and respect for Indigenous knowledge, territories and a way of life,” she says. “For example, this is expressed in the goal of de-colonizing education by Northwest Community College, which includes incorporating First Nations voices and perspectives into class curriculum and the overall strategic plan.”


“Until this course I never heard or even knew about the Delgamuukw decision,” says student Alisha Webber. “To have a speaker (Simm’oogit Sakum Hiigookw – Vernon Smith) in front of you who was a witness at such a historical moment in history for the Gitxsan and other indigenous people worldwide is awesome.”

Community really is the heart of Northwest Community College. Established in 1975 in Terrace, BC, the college provides students with innovative programs that lead to sustainable careers for people in the North.

Instructor Sheree Ronaasen says the field school has had a tremendous impact on students.

The college offers a wide variety of certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. Thanks to innovative programs and courses that respond to


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the changing needs of learners, NWCC delivers the skills necessary to work in today’s competitive job markets – whether that be in industry, the health sciences, business or trades training. NWCC is a recognized leader in Aboriginal education. Aboriginal peoples comprise about 30 percent of the region’s population, the highest among all BC college regions and, at NWCC, Aboriginal students make up roughly 46 per cent of the student body. NWCC serves 28 of the 197 First Nations bands in B.C., as well as the northwest region of the Metis Nation. With more than 46 per cent of its students being of Aboriginal descent, the College also has the largest number of Aboriginal students of any BC college a fact largely attributed to the progressive and open relationship between the College and local bands.

For more information about Northwest Community College visit

Essential Office Skills program graduates



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Blessing Ceremony on CSL’s New Freighter


olaris Minerals Corporation is a Canadian public company that is exclusively focused on the production of construction aggregates and the development of quarries in British Columbia together with the operation and development of receiving port terminals in markets on the Pacific coasts of North America. Polaris presently ships sand and gravel from the Orca Quarry on Vancouver Island to San Francisco Bay and Hawaii. The Orca Quarry is operated by Orca Sand & Gravel Ltd. which has Impacts and Benefits agreements with the two local First Nations in whose traditional territory the operation is located, these being the Kwakiutl Band of Fort Rupert and the ‘Namgis First Nation of Alert Bay who also own 12% of the Orca Quarry through a limited partnership. Developing

natural resources in today’s world requires a social licence, that is the project must receive the support of the majority of local stakeholders to be able to obtain the permits to establish a quarry in the first place and then the quarry must maintain that social licence through responsible operation. We are very proud of the fact that Orca Sand and Gravel provides all training necessary for working at the quarry and has a terrific safety record, having won three provincial safety awards in its seven year operating, and without a serious accident, ever. Nearly one half of the current workforce are members of the local First Nations and the Orca Quarry makes a substantial contribution to the local economies through employment, property taxes, and the sourcing of as many local services and supplies as possible in order to operate.


ceremony on board the new vessel, named the Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin. Unfortunately it was a cold, blustery and wet day in Port McNeill but the ceremony took place in good spirit. The photo includes Peter Knox, hereditary chief of the Kwakiutl, who sadly passed away this April, and Bill Cranmer, chief of the ‘Namgis. Also shown are other local chiefs and elders together with the ship’s captain and Polaris founder, Marco Romero.

CSL Panamax loading at Orca Quarry

How the company operates is quite unique, from extracting the sand and gravel using large earth-moving scrapers, to dispatching all aggregate products in large ocean-going ships that carry up to 70,000 metric tonnes at a time. We built a dedicated ship loading berth half a kilometre out into the ocean that is connected to the quarry by a conveyor system two and a half kilometres long. We took such good care of the foreshore and inter-tidal zone during construction that Fisheries and Oceans Canada sent a party of fisheries habitat officers to review how such a major installation could be done without adverse impacts to the marine environment. Compensation work consisted of constructing an underwater artificial reef from large granite blocks and seeding the area with 4,000 northern abalone, a species at risk that had previously vanished from the area through over-harvesting and poaching. The reef was surveyed after five years and found to be teeming with marine life and a great success. In October 2012, CSL International, our shipping company, launched the first of five new Panamax-sized vessels that came to Orca Quarry to pick up its first load for the company destined for terminals in San Francisco Bay. As a measure of the goodwill that exists, the First Nations welcomed this new vessel with a blessing


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Construction aggregates are made from either sand and gravel deposits or from crushed rock and used to make concrete and asphalt. They are a key part of everything we build today; homes, schools, highways, the list is endless. These products are completely natural, benign to the environment, and produced through a washing and sizing process without the use of chemicals. Prior to the economic recession, North America, that is Canada and the USA, together used three billion (3,000,000,000) metric tonnes of aggregates each year. 2012 brought to Orca Sand and Gravel something we had long been waiting for: the first signs of recovery from recession. The aggregate business follows economic cycles, but the recession we came through starting in 2009 was unprecedented. The writer has been in the construction aggregates business for 43 years, and had never witnessed anything like it. Demand for aggregates fell by one half in the State of California where our customers were forced to lay off almost half their workforce; there was a downturn in selling price as well as in demand, the combination causing Polaris Minerals to sustain heavy losses over these years. The main market is California where more than 90% of our sand and gravel is shipped. The peak demand for aggregate was in 2005-2006 and Orca only started production a year later. The recession started to hit a year after that, and there were fears the State of California could go bankrupt. Some people gave the company no chance of surviving.

If we’d had any idea then of what lay ahead, we would have delayed the Orca project for several years. The fact that the company made it through the past five years is due to several factors: the very high quality of our products, the ever increasing efficiency of the Orca operations and the faith of key investors. Orca Quarry’s sand and gravel is now firmly established as the benchmark of quality for sand and gravel. This may not seem a big deal to most people, but to someone on the 60th floor of a tower built on one of the planet’s worst earthquake-prone fault areas, or to the designer of a bridge carrying thousands of vehicles a day through an earthquake area, it is reassuring that the structural materials are as strong as can be. Our assessment of the quality has outside endorsement. The US Army Corps of Engineers recently had Orca aggregate tested for possible use at the Hickam air base in Hawaii. The independent testing lab gave glowing reports and said it was probably the best material it had ever tested and it has subsequently been used on a critical paving contract at Hickam with great success. The California state transportation agency has added Orca aggregate to its preapproved materials list for use on any state project. There is no doubt that the Orca Quarry is one of, if not the most efficient in North America. The efficiency is due in part to quarry design, and in part to the nature of the deposit. Yet without investor confidence, we still might have foundered. The investors who backed us initially continued to support us through the difficult times, and some of them made an additional investment that helped us survive. This showed that people still believed in the company.

Our relationship with the ‘Namgis First Nation, as joint owners, has been tested by the economic downturn and its aftermath. But I make the point very seriously that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I believe our relationship with ‘Namgis is stronger now than when we started. We needed big financial commitments to build the quarry and the port terminal in California, over $100 million. This produced big expectations, which instead turned into a very hard slog. We have truly appreciated the people and leadership of the ‘Namgis for their patience and support and want to acknowledge the professionalism of the chairman of the board of Orca Sand and Gravel Ltd., George Speck from the ‘Namgis, a role he has performed for eight years. In the last quarter of 2013, ending on December 31st, the company set records for sales volume and for revenue. This was especially encouraging because it was towards the start of winter when construction typically slows down. In 2014 sales will be a million tonnes higher than in the last year and prices will continue to recover, this will help us achieve profitability. We have truly valued the understanding and patience of our First Nation partners and look forward to finally achieving the high expectations we all had when this exciting venture began. Herb Wilson President, Polaris Minerals Corporation



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Mapping the Blueprint to the Soul: How BluePrintForLife is using breakdancing to break barriers and help native communities hip-hop their way to healing by Jacklyn Guay


tephen “Buddha” Leafloor might not initially seem like your typical youth support worker. However, it’s precisely this unconventionality which makes his youth engagement efforts so effective. Since 1982, Leafloor has achieved a prolific career within the world of hip-hop. As the co-founder of Canada’s oldest b-boy breakdance crew, The Canadian Floor Masters, his dancing has been featured on MuchMusic, as well as in various music videos and documentaries. He too has performed for James Brown, Rapper IceT, Grandmaster Flash, BlackEyed Peas and George Clinton, among others. Along with his immersion in the world of hip-hop, Leafloor has dedicated his life to youth advocacy: with a Masters in Social Work, he has over 27 years of experience as a social worker. As such, it seemed a natural progression for him to combine his love of hip-hop with his passion for youth outreach. In 1996, Leafloor founded BluePrintForLife, an organization with the mission of aiding struggling youth and connecting communities through the power of hip-hop. Since then, BluePrintForLife has worked in over 50 Native and non-Native communities across Canada, and impacted over 5,000 Aboriginal youth. They too have begun to expand their programming to address new needs and challenges, such as working within youth corrections facilities-- an initiative which has seen much success in its early stages. In honor of their ground-breaking work, Leafloor and the BluePrint team have received numerous accolades, including an award from former Governor General, Michaelle Jean, regarding outstanding achievement and outreach. In 2012 Stephen Leafloor was selected as one of Canada’s Top “45 over 45” for Zoomer magazine and has been appointed--among a mere 3,000 worldwide--with the prestigious title of “Ashoka Fellow”. Such acclaim has validated the program as a “game-changing” force in social work. “The work we do is so grassroots and emotional and so right there with young people, and on the other hand it’s got great potential to change systems too,” says Leafloor-- proving that even seemingly small efforts can have big social affect.


As a teenager, himself, Leafloor had attempted to cope with the trauma and frustrations of being bullied. As such, he began regularly smoking pot and performing theft through break and enters. Quickly realizing this path could only lead to further negativity, Leafloor turned to hip-hop. Using dancing as an alternative outlet, he was able to positively channel his energy while asserting his presence and gaining respect from his peers. “I think the reason I’m so good at working with angry young men is because that was me,” he confesses. He suggests that it might be “the sense of coolness, bravado, and swag” that comes with hip-hop, as well as the BluePrint staffs’ industry credibility, which first draws youth in; however, it is “the power of the personal story” that is most crucial in helping to foster the deeper connections for youth to relate. “The telling of one’s story,” he says “is one of the strongest healing modalities in mental health and is certainly in line with the First Nations and Aboriginal peoples’ traditions.”

“We should be sending a message out there to young boys that strong people cry, but we raise them with the mentality ‘suck it up and be a man’ and it’s the most horrible thing you can do for mental health.” It was in 2006, after visiting his sister in Iqaluit, Nunavut that Leafloor--who is not Native, himself-- realized the potential of the program for helping Aboriginal communities across the country. Though he had only intended on doing the one project, the interest and need in the communities became even more apparent upon his return: “they all started calling, and our work grew in the coolest way: through word of mouth.” Frustrated by the restrictive bureaucracy of current systems, Leafloor made the difficult decision to leave his position as a Senior Abuse Investigator with Children’s Aid and undertake this new, independent project: “and now, here we are 8 years later,” he muses.

“ T H E Y C O M E F O R T H E H I P-H O P, T H E Y S T AY F O R T H E H E A LI N G”

Since it arose 40 years ago, hip-hop has acquired a somewhat negative connotation from depictions of overly-emphasized egos and glorified criminal lifestyles. However, Leafloor explains that this appropriation is not in line with the constructive purpose it was initially intended for: “I think it grew out of desperation and rage... but it’s not always full of anger, but passion, and is a way of expressing yourself and making a statement of confidence,” he says. By offering platforms of music, art, dance, and fashion, the movement presents the opportunity to both represent a collective and manifest a sense of individuality. “I think the most important thing is that you can make it your own,” says Leafloor.


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In order to establish an open, safe space of comfort and mutual respect, BluePrint staff members share their own stories with youth. “Admitting we’re human beings and vulnerable is really important. There should be no shame in a social worker admitting they went through a bout of depression. We have to lead by example,” states Leafloor. He recalls the powerful impact that has resulted when female members of his staff have shared their stories of rape, foster homes, and the suicides of loved ones. Because the women carry themselves with such strength, confidence, and positive energy, they might first be perceived as having had happy, trauma-free lives; however, once the women tell their stories “something really flips in the kids’ brains,” suggests Leafloor, “I think it resonates as real hope to young people.” Leafloor also recounts the students’ surprise when many of the “strong, intimidating, tattooed men” of his team breakdown and openly comfort one another as they share their stories of hardship. “That’s just all the right role modelling kids need to see,” he says, “we should be sending a message

out there to young boys that strong people cry, but we raise them with the mentality ‘suck it up and be a man’ and it’s the most horrible thing you can do for mental health.” Instead, Leafloor and his team practise what they preach to promote platforms of open dialogue, not suffering in silence. “How can we tell kids to reach out for help when we can’t even admit our own humanity?” he inquires.


It is this encouraging atmosphere of sharing, along with the creative expression of hip-hop, that continues to help youth heal, along with Leafloor and the tight-knit BluePrint team.

This sense of inclusion allows BluePrint to reach so many varied individuals, customizing their program so that no child is left behind. “We get everybody to sign up and participate,” says Leafloor, whether they’re “the most shy kids or the most disenfranchised and on the fringes... it’s not about who’s the best, it’s about each to the best of their abilities.” By using hip-top to create a space of acceptance, Leafloor has found that communities begin to “see strength in each other and collectively grow throughout the week in this transformation.” Indeed, BluePrint’s week-long, intensive, Intergenerational Healing program seeks to expand this inclusionary mindset to stretch across generations. Aiming to connect individuals, regardless of age, the program strengthens community bonds and promotes collective healing-particularly regarding the lasting-traumas inflicted from residential schools. Because every community will have unique heritage, traditions, and experiences of trauma, Leafloor emphasizes the importance of “being respectful and humbling” in the workshop’s approach. Composed of individuals of varying cultural backgrounds, the BluePrint team tries to embody the role of “forever students” who can learn from others as they facilitate growth through hip-hop. Therefore, the team begins each project by learning and participating in the given community’s traditional ceremonies; during these moments, the staff find opportunities to develop dialogue between themselves and the group, as well as between youth and elders. “I’ll tell a story about respect and the elders might add a legend about respect,” explains Leafloor, “the elders very quickly see us as a strong ally. They get that happy, laughing, smiling children is a great starting place from which you can build.”


H EALIN G AS A JOU RNE Y , N OT A D ES T INA T ION Within the first days of one of the previous Intergenerational Healing workshops, Pauktuutit (The National Women’s Inuit Association) worked strictly with the elders and adults as BluePrint worked with the children. Throughout the day, the two separate groups would draw and write about feelings and values then swap the products across the groups. During this reflection, a series of similar ideas and beliefs would be found to span across the generational divides. “We’re setting the stage for the connection in showing that they already think alike on a lot of stuff, even though they maybe don’t know how to talk to each other,” says Leafloor. In the final days of the workshop, they bring everyone together for a healing ceremony. During one such instance, Leafloor recalls some elders who told stories of suicide or endured abuse-many confiding for the first time. He emphasizes the power and importance of the youth having heard these brave words: “often you feel you’re alone or that it’s just your generation that’s maligned because we swim around in our own trauma so much... and in a strange way it’s comforting to know that at least you’re not alone and not an anomaly.” To promote these moments of hope and enlightenment, BluePrint creates an environment that’s free of artificial constructs, where healing can occur organically on both a community and personal level. “It’s kind of holistic, it’s not like you write the definitive story around residential schools, but you start the process and it’s got to start somewhere,” says Leafloor. “But,” he adds, “those first steps are always the scariest.” “When your world is full of chaos and you can

taste that rage, listen to your own drum, let the music of life roll through you and ask yourself what art can help you heal.”

With those initial intimidating steps, it is hip-hop that shatters tension and places everyone on the same equal-footing. “If we’ve asked the kids to do positive risk-taking doing something they’ve


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never done and putting themselves out there, then we need to do that as adults.” Leafloor claims that at first, the adults are just as nervous and scared as the kids are to dance publically. However, he emphasizes the importance of adults participating and showing leadership, which can also ensure sustainability following the programs completion. Leafloor describes times where even great-grandmothers will try out the role of DJ, despite having never seen or heard of it before. In sharing those human moments of laughter, differences are forgotten and generations are brought together. “People are just people,” says Leafloor, “there are always commonalities and that’s what makes life so exciting; that’s what makes hip-hop so exciting.”

“throat-boxing”). Such forms of collaboration are even being noticed on a larger-scale with the emergence and widespread popularity of groups like A Tribe Called Red, who have combined electronic music with traditional singing to propel the Electric Powwow movement. These communitylevel or globally-broadcasted integrations of hip-hop with Native culture function to celebrate one’s heritage and can, in turn, build confidence in youth. As Leafloor notes, “the collective pride just keeps going up.”

In opposition to the “the stereotype that it’s only doom and gloom,” in these communities, Leafloor has seen, first-hand, the joy that exists-- specifically entrenched in the pride that comes with embracing cultural customs. He remembers a young man from Calgary, who was extremely nervous at the prospect of singing in public for the first-time, but found his confidence after practising with an elder. “When he found his voice on that final night’s show it sent chills so that the hairs were sticking up on everyone’s arms,” he recounts, “and then, for him to feel like a hero because all his peers were supporting him as he sang traditional song was just unreal.” Leafloor has also found that some of the most exciting moments of collective pride come when individuals combine the traditional, such as throat singing, and the modern, such as beat-boxing-- creating a new hybrid of sorts (in this case

Though Stephen Leafloor found his way to healing, growth, and self-acceptance through hip-hop, he encourages youth to positively explore who they are and where they come from in their own ways: “find things that you’re passionate about that are healthy,” he says, “find things that give you an energy in life.” Though struggling with self-identity is a universal passage of adolescence, Leafloor recognizes it can be even more challenging for Native youth, given their complicated cultural histories. “Cut yourself a break and don’t stress,” he urges, “believe in yourself and don’t let negativity take away from you and your own great potential”--a gift he believes best flourishes from having pride in one’s family, culture, heritage and, ultimately, self. As Leafloor wisely advised in a TED Talk he conducted, “when your world is full of chaos and you can taste that rage, listen to your own drum, let the music of life roll through you and ask yourself what art can help you heal.”



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Šcopyright | StudioM1

By Don Baxter


n December 19, 2013 Focus Graphite made mining history by entering into a sales agreement with a Chinese industrial conglomerate for 10-years worth of future natural flake graphite production for a minimum of 20,000 tonnes per year.

Focus’ sales agreement – or offtake, as it is referred to in the mining industry – comes at a time of graphite’s growing importance as a mineral critical to China’s, the United States’ and Europe’s future economic security. Our sale to China was important – not only to the dozens of Canadian emerging graphite mining companies not yet in production, but to our country and to the communities of Fermont, Wabush and Labrador City that stand to benefit from the investments Focus proposes to make over the coming years to build our mine and processing facilities. China is the world’s largest producer of graphite with some 500,000 tonnes per year production of synthetic graphite make from petroleum coke and some 350,000 tpy production of natural flake graphite. Global production of all graphite is estimated at some 1.1 million tonnes per year. With a planned production at Lac Knife of 44,300 tpy, the importance of Lac Knife is not solely in volume, but rather, its value.


down hundreds of the many small, poorly managed and heavily polluting producers. By our estimation, it will take years and millions of dollars of new investment in technologies to create both cost and environmental efficiencies to bring those closed mines back into production. When, or if those mines are restored to operational status, their production – much of it destined traditionally for export markets – may be redirected back into China’s domestic consuming economy. The Rail-to-Seaport Link

(Photo – Courtesy of Focus Graphite)

Natural flake graphite is non-toxic, but unlike China, our processing methods avoid the strong acids used by Chinese producers. Graphite dust created by crushing and grinding is minimized through filtration systems as stipulated by Canadian regulation. Tesla Motors, perhaps one of the most advanced and recognizable electric automobile maker in the world, announced recently its decision to source its battery graphite from a non-polluting North American source – moving away from its Chinese graphite suppliers for reasons of cost, and environmental sustainability. Like most Canadian producers, Focus must pass the “trout test” – that is, the ability to return the water we use to a state clean enough for fish to live in and spawn generations after them.

In either scenario, it would result in a pullback of natural flake graphite supplies available on the open market putting upward pressure on prices that in turn, result in broad benefits for Focus Graphite stakeholders.

In a recent analysis, the noted technology metals and minerals expert Dr. Gareth Hatch named Focus Graphite as being in a leading position to supply battery-grade graphite to Tesla’s so-called Gigafactory – a planned $5 billion battery manufacturing facility to make the batteries that power the company’s range of electric vehicles. Dr. Hatch noted that in order to reduce costs, maintain security of supply and protect the company’s reputation as an environmentally sustainable business, Tesla had no choice but to move to a less-costly, higher performing natural graphite option for its battery materials.


That is both our promise and a cornerstone of our corporate charter.

With its 9.5 million tonne Measured and Indicated Lac Knife Project just south of Fermont, Quebec, Focus Graphite Inc. is a publiclytraded graphite mining company developing two additional graphite projects at Lac Guinecourt and Lac Tetepisca. Lac Knife, our worldclass high-grade graphite project has excellent infrastructure, access to electricity, major roads, airports, two railroads and access to deep water shipping terminals.

There are reasons China came to us. Cost and quality were the two key determining factors.

Focus also enjoys excellent relationship with the local band and municipal councils.

But China is currently undergoing a huge change. Industrial pollution is undermining China’s ability to protect its citizens. For that reason, and others, China’s regulatory authorities have shut

Focus Graphite’s management group is supported by a world-class team of geologists, graphite production and manufacturing specialists and scientists.

More than a regulatory obligation, environmental sustainability to Focus Graphite remains a moral responsibility and an implied duty to restore the lands we work on to the same pristine condition we found them in when we arrived.


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When Lac Knife comes into production it will be producing on a price-competitive basis with China, which today produces some 70% of the world’s graphite. Development of the Lac Knife project is advancing towards an announcement of mine and plant financing, submission of our Feasibility Study and Mine Closure Plan and permitting. Discussions with potential offtake partners are continuing. Offtake agreements are based upon end-user purchasing criteria, namely: security of long-term supply; purity; competitive cost, and; the ability of the producer’s facility to supply graphite tailored to customers’ specific requirements.

An ore sample from the Lac Knife Project (Photo Courtesy of Focus Graphite)

Unlike gold, which has specific market and commercial trading standards, graphite buyers usually have unique, niche requirements. For example, some buyers require industrial grades with a 95-96% purity range, while some technology and battery grade graphite purchasers may have a 99.5 to 99.99% purity requirement. Lac Knife’s distribution of large, medium and small flake graphite is perfectly positioned to meet current and future demand. More importantly, however, Lac Knife’s high-grade, at 15%, gives Focus Graphite a significant cost advantage over its competitors whose resources hold an 8% or 5% or 3% carbon grade.

To be competitive, Focus’ vertically integrated business strategy includes the in-house ability to purify its high-purity 98% carbon graphite to high value 99.95% purity materials for the battery manufacturing industry. As an innovator, and blessed with one of the most extraordinary graphite resources in the world, Focus Graphite’s management set its sights on the emerging green energy and clean technology sectors – the source of sustainable profitability for the foreseeable future.


Don Baxter is President and Chief Operating Officer of Focus Graphite Inc.



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By Lisa Kozleski



hey felt like they were walking uphill everywhere they went. They missed hot showers a little and their young sons a lot. But Lethbridge College students Constance Day Chief and Darcie Doore say they’ve never been happier than they were last summer. That’s when they were building a greenhouse where school children could grow vegetables year-round in a high mountain village in the Andes of Peru. “We weren’t just there to build a greenhouse,” says Day Chief, who grew up on the Blood Reserve and is in her first year of the NESA Bachelor of Nursing program. “We wanted to help the people in the village so they could keep it going.” “There was lots of community involvement,” says Doore, who is in the second year of her General Studies program and also grew up on the Blood Reserve. “It is their greenhouse, and they worked to include the village in as much as they could.” Day Chief and Doore were two of four Lethbridge College students who travelled to the YanicoCuturi community of Arapa, a village located in the Azangaro province of Puno, Peru, last July. They worked with a group from the village to prepare the foundation, dig up and prepare the soil and put the roof on. The following week, a group that included Lethbridge College NESA Bachelor of Nursing

student Tia Franiel and Criminal Justice student Tessa Staples planted the food, hung the door and placed the sign. The students learned about the opportunity from Lethbridge College microbiology instructor Thomas Graham, who has been partnering with Centro de Investigación de Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente (CIRNMA) in Peru since 2011 to help construct two 20-by-60-foot greenhouses at rural schools and several family greenhouses located in the Andes in villages that are often 4,500 meters above sea level. “There is no better feeling than knowing you are helping your students become global citizens and improving somebody’s life with something as simple as a vegetable,” Graham says. The work of the students ensures that primary schools in Peru have adequate year-round food for their lunch programs, including tomatoes, carrots and cabbages. Day Chief and Doore were in Graham’s microbiology class when he mentioned the opportunity. As soon as they were selected, they started studying Spanish and preparing for the trip. The four students received financial assistance from a student association fundraiser last March, and Day Chief and Doore also received support from Red Crow Community College.


Day 2 - Leaving Lima/ Arrival in Puno • We wake up early and grab a taxi to the airport. Once we arrive at the Juliaca Airport my heart is beating fast and my breath is hard to catch. • We drive through Juliaca to get to Puno. It was a real eye opener; you can tell there is lots of poverty. There is garbage everywhere and stray dogs, and I noticed that on the top of most buildings there are wires. • When we get to the hotel, which is small but very beautiful, I start to get light headed. I had no idea that the altitude would affect me this much. • Overall I am feeling sicker than sick, feeling lonesome for home, and it is freezing in our room. At this point all I want to do is go home.

Day Chief and Doore left their sons, then aged three and four, with their families so they could make the trip. While leaving them behind was difficult, they knew their sons were in good hands and that this was the kind of opportunity they should seize. “Sometimes even now it’s like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe we did that,’” says Day Chief. “We really connected with the people in the village, especially the children,” says Doore. “We played a lot of sports. They schooled us in volleyball, but we beat them in basketball.” The friends say they’d love to return to Peru on their own one day, and that the experience changed their own plans for the future. “I want to keep travelling,” says Doore. “It makes you realize that if you can incorporate those types of experiences into your life, you can make a difference.” Day Chief, who kept a journal of her time in Peru, wrote that “I did not think it was possible to make a connection with people in that short amount of time, but I did, and not a day has gone by that I don’t think about my time at the village. …I want others to know and realize what a big world it is out there, and how much going to school and getting an education opens a window of opportunities.” Graham says he plans to take another group of students back to Peru in 2015 to help in the construction of another school greenhouse.


Day 1 - Departure/Travel Day • Arrive at airport 6 a.m. I am so nervous and scared; I have no idea what this trip has in store for me. • We arrive in Lima after 10 p.m. We grab a taxi, and I think that this driver is a mad man, but it just turns out that this is how everyone drives in Lima; they speed, drive in the middle of the road, and almost bump the pedestrians. On the way to the hotel I still could not believe that we were actually in Peru. It seemed like such a long road to finally get here.


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Day 3 - Leave Puno and arrival at Yanico-Cuturi • When we leave the hotel we head to CIRNMA’s headquarters. Once there we meet Carmen, who will be our supervisor at the village, and she introduces us to Enrique, the head of CIRNMA. He tells us a little about the company, and how they are trying to make Puno and area more self-sustainable. • Later, we arrive at the school in Yanico-Cuturi, where we will be building the greenhouse. The children have prepared three dances for us, which they do in their traditional dress. • Night time comes at around 6 p.m., and we congregate in the kitchen. Everyone else comes in there as well; it is nice to sit around and visit with no television or other electronics to be distracted by. It’s good to just have “people” time, something that is hard to do back home. • We then go to our room to visit for a bit. I feel a little better by this time, both physically and emotionally, but it scares me to think about how much time we still have in Peru.

Day 4 - Village/ Day 1 of Greenhouse • I wake up around 7:30 a.m. For breakfast I have more cocoa tea, hoping it will help with the altitude, and toast with jam. I pass on the quinoa drink, which the boys say taste yummy, but I can’t get past the texture of it. • We wait for the villagers before we go inspect the greenhouse; prior to us arriving, the villagers built the shell of the greenhouse. Darcie and I are walking around lost not knowing what to do, but we are soon put to work. • Later that night we all go to the kitchen again, and talk about the day’s events, and then Darcie and I head back to our room. My body has slowly started to get used to the altitude, and I’m starting to be more comfortable around the new people I have met.

Day 5 - Day 2 of Greenhouse • We head to the greenhouse when the villagers arrive again. Today Darcie and I help dig up the roots on the inside of the greenhouse and dump them on the outside. I am feeling a lot better today, so I jump right in and get my hands dirty. • By bedtime I am exhausted from the day’s events, and find myself feeling more at home. The people here are becoming more like family, and I am glad to be here.

Day 6 - Day 3 of Greenhouse • It is a lot cooler today. It starts to thunder and rain, and then it starts to snow. • Sitting at the table with our group is bittersweet, I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet each of these people. After we are finished

in the kitchen, Darcie and I head to our room to start packing. It is going to be hard to leave the people of this village tomorrow.

Day 7 - Day 4 of Greenhouse/ Last Day at Village • Showers are the one thing I miss most. Miriam says she can heat some water for us to wash up with, which is awesome. • There is a ritual they have before they put the roof on the greenhouse, which includes killing a sheep and splashing its blood on the walls of the greenhouse. It was very interesting to watch the process of this; it was pretty much one woman who was gutting the sheep all while she had her baby boy on her back. • Both Darcie and I walk around and take pictures of everyone, because now everyone is more comfortable being around us. Manuel informs us that the villagers refer to us as “the smiling, laughing girls”, which I quite like, because it means we have left a positive impression on everyone. • When the feast is finished being prepared, it is time to go. I have been dreading this the whole day, and cannot stop the tears when I have to say my good byes to everyone. I cry most of the way back to Puno, and Roberto tells me it is ok, that “this village and people will forever be in your heart.” And he is right; I will never forget my time in Yanico-Cuturi. To read Constance Day Chief’s full journal of her time in Peru, go to NOTE: These articles first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Wider Horizons, Lethbridge College’s magazine.



ich with natural resources, Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of minerals and metals. The market value of all mining and mineral manufacturing production for Canada in 2011 was $35.61 billion. Recognized for its significant contribution to the economy, the mining industry is also accountable for its environmental impacts to waterways and aquatic life, and the communities whose livelihoods depend on these water resources. As public concern for environmental issues have grown, so too have regulations to improve the environmental performance of mining operations. In recent years, a clear trend has emerged towards increasingly strict regulations governing the concentrations of substances in mining effluent discharged to the environment. Many countries are tightening or reviewing their regulations covering discharge limits for mining effluent. Within our borders, Environment Canada released a discussion paper in December 2012 proposing changes – stricter discharge limits and the addition of new substances to regulate – to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) that first came into effect on December 6, 2002. The MMER regulates metal mines in Canada, specifying the “end of pipe” effluent limits for substances discharged to water frequented by fish and the effluent monitoring and reporting required to operate. In addition to MMER, most provinces and territories also subject metal mines to site specific discharge permits that in most cases are stricter than the MMER limits as they take into account water quality objectives in the receiving environment and consider not only metals but also other water constituents such as nutrients, sulphates, thiosalts and metal oxyanions including selenate. Ultra-low discharge requirements represent a significant challenge to mine operators since most mines currently rely on lime neutralization as the main method of treatment to reduce the concentration of dissolved metals in mining effluent. Lime neutralization works by adding lime or limestone to neutralize acidity and remove metals as a combined metal hydroxide sludge. However, the process is not effective for ultra-low discharge limits due to the following: a) different metals achieve minimum solubilities at different pH making it very difficult to reach ultra-low discharge limits for multiple metals at the same time; b) certain oxyanions such as selenate do not get


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removed in this treatment at all; and c) the minimum solubility of some metals is higher than the respective discharge limits which forces operators to add coagulation reagents that increase the overall volume of waste sludge. The production of a hydroxide waste sludge is another disadvantage of lime treatment as it requires further management and monitoring. Preventing the metals in the sludge from re-solubilizing and reentering the environment is an ongoing liability for mine operators. In order to meet current and future regulatory limits, mining companies will need to consider new methods of treating mining effluent. Examples of such treatment methods include technologies such as sulphide precipitation and ion exchange that, depending on the water quality and flow, can be applied as stand-alone systems or in combination with existing lime treatment facilities. Unlike lime neutralization, sulphide precipitation and ion exchange are both selective forms of treatment that target particular substances to reduce the concentration of substances to meet ultra-low discharge requirements while minimizing or completely eliminating waste sludge and allowing metals of value to be recovered from wastewater. Sulphide precipitation and ion exchange technologies have been applied in the form of ChemSulphide® and Met-IX™ treatment systems at sites around the world, including an active nickel mine in Quebec and an active copper mine in the Yukon. BioteQ-Quebec ChemSulphide plant

Written by David Kratochvil PhD President & Interim CEO BioteQ Environmental Technologies

The water treatment plant at the nickel mine combines a ChemSulphide® fixed facility and a mobile Met-IX™ trailer that can be deployed at multiple locations throughout the site, and operates seasonally from late spring to fall when water is available for processing. The plant discharges directly into the pristine northern environment that includes water bodies frequented by Arctic char. The plant effluent meets not only metal discharge limits but also toxicity tests conducted on both rainbow trout and daphnia magna. This is especially important to the local Inuit communities who see themselves as stewards of their environment and the living things in the ecosystem, including the Arctic char downstream of the mine site. Also noteworthy is that the ChemSulphide® plant does not produce any waste sludge. The nickel removed from the mining effluent is recovered in the form of a nickel sulphide product that is blended with the site flotation concentrate. Sludge elimination is an important component of the overall wastewater management strategy at the site and value recovery promotes the overall sustainability profile of the mine operation.

Mining is an important contributor to the Canadian economy. The industry employs 320,000 workers across the country and many thousands more through the 3,200 companies that provide mining support services. It is also the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people and drives the economy in many remote and northern communities. As such, the environmental impact created by the industry must be managed. Enactment of ultra-low discharge requirements is part of that plan. To meet these new limits while minimizing waste and maximizing value recovery, technologies including ChemSulphide® and Met-IX™ can be applied to treat mining effluent and help mining operations meet the demand for minerals and metals in an environmentally responsible manner. BioteQ-Yukon ChemSulphide plant

The copper mine, located 240 km north of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories, is one of the few mines in Canada operating on land where both surface and mineral rights are owned by a First Nation government. Of utmost importance to the Selkirk First Nation people is the protection of the Yukon River and its salmon population to preserve the environment and cultural values. Copper was identified as the key constituent requiring removal from mine impacted waters collected at the site. Although the level of the copper in the waters was very low, ranging from 0.05 to 0.25 mg/L, the Selkirk First Nation uphold that nature cannot be gambled with and that aquatic habitat must be protected from mine discharges. With the participation of the Selkirk First Nation, the site specific discharge limit for the mine has been set at an ultralow target of < 0.01 mg/L of copper. The mine owner installed a ChemSulphide® plant to treat the mine impacted waters. Operating seasonally from spring to fall, the plant achieves the ultra-low discharge requirement for copper.



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here will the road take us? The Canadian Operating Engineers Joint Apprenticeship and Training Council (COEJATC) is a national association that has been in business for close to twenty-five years. The primary focus of COEJATC is to address the continued demand for well trained and educated trades’ people in Canada while providing the highest standard of living for its union members and their families. The current road COEJATC is on leads to a made in Canada solution to meet the skills gap for heavy equipment and crane operators by reaching out to Aboriginal people, given Aboriginal people are the fastest growing population in Canada. Approximately half of the Aboriginal population is under twenty-five years of age. First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples are the three categories that make up the Aboriginal population and are found in rural, remote and urban areas of Canada. The reality of the situation is that there’s a need for skilled workers and Aboriginal peoples have a growing population that requires employable skills. It’s just common sense for Canada and all levels of government to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in the skills and trades industry to support economic inequalities. When it comes to the labour force in Canada, we need a made in Canada solution that includes Aboriginal peoples. COEJACT represents a Canada-wide network of training institutions from coast to coast that conduct heavy equipment, crane, and safety training. It is industry-driven with a membership consisting of labour, industry, training representatives from across the country and also includes federal and provincial government officials as ex-officio members. This group is dedicated to the development and promotion of National Standards and delivering Quality Training Programs to facilitate the mobility of workers and to ensure a safe, efficient and effective construction industry. COEJATC training facilities are recognized by the industry, government and are an ideal place for Aboriginal peoples to learn the trades because they are trained by skilled instructors who have many years of on-the-job experience. Students receive individual attention coupled with immediate feedback that supports them strengthen their skills. The training is meant to be as real as possible, which better prepares the Aboriginal participants for the jobsite. 67

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) is stepping up efforts to increase First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples into careers as crane and heavy equipment operators. IUOE is working closely with First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities and reaching out to the Aboriginal population to get more youth into our apprenticeship programs and good paying jobs in the construction trades. “We need to recruit new operators, as there will be plenty of work coming on stream in the future. Aboriginal communities have young people who are coming of age and they will need jobs. A career as a crane or heavy equipment operator could be the answer for them” said IUOE Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher.

in simulation training, with mechanical simulators and virtual reality simulators, allowing students to get extra seat time to hone their skills. The union’s goal is to train people from First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities and then link them to contractors across the country. For example, in Ontario the IUOE and Aecon teamed up with Gheztoojig Employment and Training out of Sudbury to support Aboriginal peoples work on the expansion of Highway 69 between Parry Sound and Sudbury. The workers are members of IUOE with a mandate to supply safe, trained, efficient, and versatile workers to the signatory contractors while providing the highest standard of living for the members and their families. The IUOE is represented throughout Canada with their National Office located in Ottawa coupled with provincial organized locals representing their respective members. IUOE represents thousands of crane and heavy equipment operators in Canada’s construction industry. IUOE plays a significant role in building roads and bridges Canadians travel on; the subways they ride in; and the offices they work in. The IUOE is heavily involved in building the many pipelines across Canada; IUOE also builds the stadiums; hospitals; high-rises, refineries; airports; subdivisions that Canadians work, live and play in. The IUOE is also works on wind and solar farms, mines and quarries; and the shipping industry.

Apprenticeship training consists of both classroom and field instruction. The duration of training depends on the course. Students often return to the COEJATC training centres several times as part of their training. Classrooms are equipped with the latest technology. In the field, students are trained on full-size, industrystandard equipment. COEJATC training institutes are also leaders


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The mutual goal between the Aboriginal communities and COEJATC / IUOE is to recruit, retain and advance Aboriginal peoples leading to a career within the heavy equipment and crane industry throughout Canada. The client assessment process is critical to finding the right person for the right job / career. We have to get it right at the beginning given the limited human and financial resources to achieve this goal. Developing a successful partnership relationship takes time and a great deal of hard work and understanding, couple this with the

most important value, trust. Partnerships have to have a mutual goal to work towards and agree on a process as how the goal can be achieved. COEJATC / IUOE understand this process and desire to work with Aboriginal communities and individuals to increase its membership with skilled Aboriginal workers with the recognized credentials that can be referred to signatory contractors for employment leading to a career. Throughout Canada, there are approximately eighty-three Aboriginal agreements holders with just over four hundred Local Delivery Mechanisms (LDMs) that deliver employment programs and services to First Nation, Inuit and MĂŠtis peoples by First Nation, Inuit and MĂŠtis peoples. These agreement holders have the budgets and the authority to spend the budgets and the authority to design and develop labour market employment programs to meet community and individual needs. The ultimate goal is for their clients to receive training that will lead to a job / career.

Each year IUOE attempts to increase their membership by introducing crane (mobile & tower) and heavy equipment (tractor/loader/backhoe, excavator, bulldozer and grader etc.) apprentices to the construction trade. Eligible candidates are invited to participate in a selection process. Candidates who join the IUOE as apprentices are registered with their respective provincial apprenticeship system. Should any Aboriginal person be interested in a career in operating cranes or heavy equipment, you are encouraged to contact any of the IUOE Locals across the country or send an email to the COEJATC head office in Ottawa at or call at 613-567-5544.

Positive relationships are being developed in Canada between the IUOE and Aboriginal communities respecting First Nations jurisdictions through sound practices. These partnerships will benefit the industry, union and Aboriginal people and their respective communities. Success breeds success as more and more Aboriginal people hear and see their friends and family members take advantage of these career opportunities in the heavy equipment and crane industry. When opportunity knocks, you not only have to recognize it, but you have to be willing to take advantage of it. Employers are looking for people with the right attitude, good work ethic and most importantly, people who are going to show up for work every day. Let us make no mistake, employers and contractors are in business to make money. Aboriginal people are working for these employers and contractors in areas throughout Canada. Best practices continue to be shared and replicated. The IUOE has local, regional, national and international reach as they supply skilled workers to signatory contractors. These employment opportunities are found in urban, rural and remote areas. Part of the solution to fill the skills gap for COEJATC / IUOE with a made in Canada solution is to recruit Aboriginal workers who can also be found in urban, rural and remote communities throughout Canada. Michael Alexander, a 24-year-old Inuit operator from Iqaluit, completed his training at the OETIO in Morrisburg in 2009, and has been working ever since. The Local 793 member is presently employed as a heavy equipment operator by the City of Iqaluit, doing various jobs and clearing roads. He operates graders, dozers, loaders, dump trucks and excavators.


“We believe winning the 2013 Skookum Jim Award will help us secure new business partnerships with other mineral exploration ventures in Ontario.” Frank McKay FRANK MCKAY (LEFT) ACCEPTING THE SKOOKUM JIM AWARD


epresenting the five Windigo member First Nations in northwest Ontario – Bearskin Lake, Cat Lake, North Caribou Lake, Sachigo Lake and New Slate Falls – the Windigo Community Development Corporation incorporated in 1994, and has successfully achieved its ‘not-for-profit’ objectives:

“To promote, initiate and provide continuing assistance and management of projects; and, “To assist and encourage the starting and growth of business enterprises”. The Corporation was established by the Windigo First Nations Council to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the construction of the Musselwhite Mine (196 kilometers north of Pickle Lake, Ontario). Once the mine construction was complete, the Corporation was responsible for providing the ‘camp catering and housekeeping services’ to the mining camp. In 2005, the Corporation formed the ‘for-profit’ company Windigo Ventures General Partner, which manages four businesses: Windigo Catering LP, Windigo Property LP, Windigo Distributors LP and Windigo Investments LP. Profits from these businesses are re-invested into future development to benefit all five Fist Nations. The Corporation is based in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. In 2013, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) announced Windigo Catering LP as the recipient of its prestigious Skookum Jim Award for exceptional achievement in serving the Canadian mining industry. The award was presented at the 2013 PDAC Annual Conference.


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The Windigo First Nations Council is a signatory to a businessto-business agreement with Goldcorp Canada Ltd that has served as the genesis for a range of employment, skills training, economic development opportunities and environmental protection. “The Musselwhite Agreement embodies cooperation, understanding, and mutual respect,” says Frank McKay, President of Windigo Community Development Corporation. “We’ve been proud to work closely with Goldcorp on their Musselwhite project since 1998. Our relationship is based on shared values, and continues to strengthen as we provide increasing support to a range of mining operations.” Mr. McKay further notes that the Goldcorp partnership has been a key catalyst for business growth. “Profits generated through Windigo Catering LP are financing other aspects of our business…”. Now, 20 years after incorporation, the Windigo Community Development Corporation structure has grown and flourished, with a successful catering company, a ‘commercial property leasing’ company and the recent launching of a ‘cleaning and janitorial supply’ company in Thunder Bay--Boreal Solutions LP. “Our parent group, Windigo Community Development Corporation, started years ago as a not-for-profit,” recalls Mr. McKay. “Launching a separate for-profit business venture in 2005 was a decision that really allowed Windigo Catering to fly. In fact, I would call it a key part of our ‘recipe for success’. We believe winning the 2013 Skookum Jim Award will help us secure new business partnerships with other mineral exploration ventures in Ontario – expansion that can be served through our new Thunder Bay office”. In addition to the ‘camp catering and housekeeping’ contract with Musselwhite Mine, Windigo Catering LP also successfully operates Knobby’s Sportsman’s Lounge and Restaurant: a well-known seasonal restaurant in Sioux Lookout serving the many tourists, visitors and residents. The company has also secured other cooking and janitorial contracts in the Northwestern Ontario region, and has recently opened an office in Thunder Bay at McKellar Place Café (325 Archibald Street).

Today, the Windigo businesses employ more than a hundred employees, boasting a greater-than sixty-five percent First Nations employment rate, and is the pride of the Windigo First Nations. Chiefs and community members can look back with pride at the success and growth achieved, and can look forward with optimism and confidence to the new opportunities presenting, and their future economic prosperity. Take some time to peruse the Windigo Catering website ( for further information, and watch the award video of our operations at Musselwhite Mine.

WINDIGO CATERING’S ‘RECIPE FOR SUCCESS’ The Skookum Jim Award validates the overall approach Windigo member First Nations have taken in launching and growing thriving businesses. Windigo’s leadership offers the following advice for First Nations organizations pursuing similar ventures. 1. Run business ventures under separate ‘for-profit’ channels. Don’t confuse the profit and not-for-profit areas of your economic development. 2. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities for all business staff and management, right up to outlining the role your Directors will play. 3. Do the work necessary to first develop – and then agree on – a long-term vision for the business. 4. Hire a manager that understands and shares your vision – and can inspire the staff they are responsible for. 5. Draft a financial plan for the business. Review and revise it regularly. 6. Make sure you understand – and then are willing to fully comply with – all applicable laws, acts and regulations related to your business. 7. Reward your employees – not only through competitive remuneration, but also through intelligent incentives. 8. Partner with industry to generate meaningful and lasting economic benefits for First Nations communities.



Tel.: (418) 923-3461 Fax: (418) 923-3115


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oldcorp’s aim is to identify and, where possible, to create partnerships with First Nations communities. Earlier this year, a cooperation agreement made between Goldcorp’s Musselwhite and The Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation is another example of Goldcorp’s commitment to creating shared value with Aboriginal communities to support a vision of economic independence and entrepreneurship. This agreement joins the list of successful collaborations with other First Nations, including the James Bay Cree and the Lac Seul First Nation, amongst others. On January 22, 2014, The Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation signed a Cooperation Agreement with Goldcorp establishing the basis for both parties to work together with respect to company activities in the ”Mish” traditional territory. The Cooperation Agreement sets out the terms of employment and training opportunities, business opportunities, ongoing communication, and financial contribution to the community and local land users affected by the Musselwhite Mine. Situated near Opapimiskan Lake in the Province of Ontario, the Musselwhite Mine has operated since 1997. A portion of the Mine’s access road and ancillary facilities, including a power line, cross through the Mish traditional territory located in the vicinity of Pickle Lake Ontario.

McKay, “It is important that companies, whose activities may impact our community or our traditional lands, work with us to conclude appropriate agreements which require our consent for such activities. We appreciate the commitment and respectful approach Goldcorp has taken.” Bill Gascon, Mine General Manager of Musselwhite Mine said “Goldcorp Musselwhite Mine has a history of successfully working in cooperation with local First Nations. We look forward to the successful implementation of the agreement with Mishkeegogamang First Nation.” The new agreement between Goldcorp and the Mish builds on the long-standing relationship between the two parties and is based on mutual respect, cooperation and coexistence. A series of local consultations generated broad and deep support for the agreement. For more information on Goldcorp’s First Nations partnerships please visit:

“We are very pleased that an agreement has been reached and look forward to its implementation” said Mish Chief



ducation is a priority for many Aboriginal people. Employment prospects improve with increased education levels. With the Aboriginal population being the youngest and fastest growing population, universities are realizing the growing need and demand for education while communities are looking to education and skills development as a means for capacity building. The current demand for training and ongoing learning is increasing as community-based businesses, bandowned enterprises and self governance increases in scale and number. More indigenous scholars are asking what can universities do for our communities? Carleton University is answering this call by partnering with Aboriginal communities and organizations to help increase community capacity to find meaningful employment. Yet, there are ongoing barriers for many prospective students such as lack of access to education, poor quality of education and social issues that may prevent them from attending university. Many students are often intimidated when entering university given the historical mistrust Aboriginal people have of education systems. Mature students may also feel overwhelmed and in need of support. At any university, the learning environments have to be safe and supportive with informed staff and faculty on Aboriginal learning. At Carleton, the Aboriginal faculty bring in their own expertise, share stories and give traditional teachings. Aboriginal student success is dependent on many factors, including an educational environment that respects Aboriginal culture, traditions and worldviews.


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Carleton works hard to produce a safe environment and also an inviting space which includes it’s new Aboriginal centre Ojigkwanong (meaning “Morning Star” in Algonquin). This space was designed by world renowned architect Douglas Cardinal to give students a place to meet, interact, study and celebrate their culture. Drawing from its expertise in learning and development, The Aboriginal Enriched Support Program (AESP) at Carleton University offers an enhanced first-year university program designed to increase access and improve retention for Aboriginal learners who might otherwise have difficulty accessing, or being successful in, their first year of university studies. The Aboriginal Enriched Support Program is housed in the Centre for Initiatives in Education (CIE), and offers equitable admission for Aboriginal learners transitioning from high school or college to university and for mature students who have been out of school for some time. AESP is part of the Enriched Support Program (ESP) and shares many of its support resources. ESP admits between 250-270 students per year. In its 10 years of operation, the AESP has admitted approximately 200 students, currently averaging approximately 35 each year. Within a mainstream environment, the program includes essential academic support based in the principles of Aboriginal education, responds to a diverse range of Aboriginal learner goals, and provides opportunities for students to begin studies in their chosen field or explore degree options.


“We want education but we also want it on our own terms with traditional ways of knowing influencing the way we learn and what we learn. Aboriginal people want more and we deserve it.”

Rodney Nelson, Lecturer and Co-coordinator, AESP Centre for Initiatives in Education

HOW IT WORKS: The program has students take three university credits include an introductory First Year Seminar (FYSM) in Aboriginal Studies and two introductory credits chosen from a range of courses offered in the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Business, Science and Engineering. We are happy to have new streams in business, science and engineering this year. Many students want to work in these fields and give back to their communities. Aboriginal entrepreneurs are one of the fastest growing segments of the business world and the AESP is here to help them recognize their dream.

ESP/AESP BUSINESS STUDENTS – Prerequisite Subject: 4U Functions (min 60%) One first-year seminar credit course; first-year economics; first-year calculus and linear algebra; two non-credit workshops designed to build skills needed to excel in the elective courses; and one credit course of student’s choice in the early summer term Admission to Business after ESP/AESP Completion of 4.0 credits listed above; overall minimum CGPA of B

ESP/AESP ENGINEERING STUDENTS – Prerequisite Subject: 4U Functions (min 60%) One first year seminar credit course; first-year introduction to chemistry; first-year calculus and linear algebra; two non-credit workshops designed to build skills needed to excel in the elective courses Admission to Engineering after ESP/AESP an overall minimum GPA of B- 7.0

ESP/AESP SCIENCE STUDENTS – Prerequisite Subject: 4U Functions (min 60%) One first year seminar credit course; first-year introduction to chemistry; first-year calculus and linear algebra; two non-credit workshops designed to build skills needed to excel in the elective courses Admission to Science after ESP/AESP an overall minimum GPA C+ or B- (Honours) The program also offers many supports to the students to ensure their success. We find that student success is directly related to the services that are available. Coming to university is intimidating, yet others have walked this path and are there to help. Every year we hire back two students who have completed their AESP year and train them to be student peer mentors. Aboriginal peer mentors regularly attend and participate in the AESP seminar class, becoming an integral part of the AESP cohort. Mentors encourage students to participate in the seminar and to use AESP support resources. They assist in orienting students to campus and answer questions about resources and services, providing a student perspective of campus. The peer mentors also connect students to Aboriginal student activities on campus, and help to organize events and facilitate participation in events related to Cultural Awareness.

One first year seminar credit course; two first-year elective courses; two non-credit workshops designed to build skills needed to excel in the elective courses Admission to a B.A. after ESP/AESP: an average of C+ for most of Carleton’s BA programs,

One of the most common challenges students report is their lack of confidence in their writing skills. AESP has a dedicated academic coach and a team of other coaches that can help with writing, research, critical thinking, reading, time management and more. The coach works with the students both in and out of the classroom. Appointments can be made online to meet with a coach anytime during the week. Many students credit the academic coaching as the reason they are better writers today.

“The atmosphere of the classroom has been an important contributing factor to my successes in the other lectures and workshops, and I have since sought to engage other students with the same openness to discussion that is provided.”

The program also has dedicated academic advisors who are available to the students throughout the year. The academic advisors create and deliver in-class presentations and meets with AESP students one-on-one to assist learners in developing personalized academic and career goals. The program is designed to minimize anxiety around knowing the complexity of the university system. Advisors ensure students meet their goals, apply to their program on time and advise them of their progress.


Matt, Algonquin Student 76

The program also offers a First-Year Orientation through a weeklong program for registered incoming AESP students. This week is held during the last week of August and helps to ease the transition into university studies. This is accomplished through a combination of academic orientation and team building activities, introductions to key program and campus personnel and resources, campus tours, group lunch breaks, as well as opportunities to socialize with cohort colleagues. Many students have commented that the orientation increased their familiarity with the social, emotional and academic demands of university life, and also with available campus and community resources.

“The oral assignment that we did in this course was a good learning experience for me. I interviewed my mom about her experience at Indian Residential Schools and this knowledge brought about her brought me closer to my mom.”


In conclusion, for many Aboriginal people, a university education is a dream or seems completely out of reach. Carleton University’s Aboriginal Enriched support Program is trying to break down the barriers to education and show people that a university education is possible. Through a compassionate, safe and culturally relevant program the Aboriginal Enriched support Program offers a supportive alternative credited fist year of university studies to those that may not meet standard university requirements. Education is a key priority for many and Carleton is a place where dreams can come true. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Rodney Nelson, PhD (ABD), C.Dir., PAED, CAPA Lecturer and Co-coordinator, Aboriginal Enriched Support Program Center for Initiatives in Education Carleton University 613-560-2600 ext. 8092 Patricia Reynolds, Co-coordinator, Aboriginal Enriched Support Program Center for Initiatives in Education Carleton University 613-520-2600 #8158

Academically, every credit has a facilitated workshop that helps students engage with the class material in different ways. This gives students an opportunity to work with other students, ask questions, analyze the issues and discuss relevant topics. The workshops are lead by senior students that have taken the course and understand the material.

STUDENT PROFILE: SHANE POLSON Shane Polson, from Timiskaming First Nation, has successfully completed the first year of the AESP program and was accepted into Canadian Studies with a minor in Indigenous Studies. Shane is an exceptional student who brings passion and enthusiasm for learning. He also works with youth in high school to build their confidence and promote education. As a peer mentor he explains that “it was an amazing experience to give back and help other students deal with the same doubts I faced”. Shane came back to the Centre for Initiatives in Education and is now working with the centre to enhance education in a culturally appropriate way. As an in-class mentor, he provides advice and guidance based on what he experienced in his year. “AESP to me was a second chance to prove to myself that I can do post secondary education. I certainly didn’t feel I was able to do this level of academics and going to University was intimidating. The AESP program helped build my confidence and help me be successful and to refine skills I already had.” Shane Polson



first nations resource magazine

©copyright | joebelanger


anada is endowed with one of the world’s largest concentrations of gold. Hundreds of gold mines, ranging from tiny producers of just a few ounces, to mega-giant, world-class deposits which have produced over 20 million ounces of gold, dot the country from coast to coast. Gold mining, which began in a serious manner early in the 1800’s has played a very important role in the evolution of Canadian human geography, with towns and small cities springing up where major discoveries were made, and played a major role in the immigration of miners from other countries to fill the labor intensive work that defines underground mining. Canada hosts its share of world-class gold mines, defined as those which have produced 20 million ounces of gold or more. Most of these giants are located in an arc that extends from NW Ontario eastward into Quebec. Some, like those in the Timmins, Ontario gold camp, have been producing gold for over 100 years, and still operate, many thousands of feet deep. These deposits contain high grades of gold per ton of rock, and for this reason can withstand downward fluctuations in the price of gold. The world’s highest-grade gold deposit, averaging about 0.5 ounces per ton of gold, is the Campbell-Red Lake mine complex, located near the town of Red Lake, in northern Ontario. As gold deposits tend to occur in groups, or clusters, subsequent exploration after the discovery of the Red Lake mine resulted in the discovery of numerous, other, significant deposits of gold in the same general area.


It is in the Red Lake gold camp that Confederation Minerals Ltd. has targeted it’s exploration, in the same rocks which host the Red Lake mine, and just 20 km away from this world giant. And the exploration, mainly in the form of diamond drilling, is paying off. During the last three years, Confederation, who is earning a 70 percent interest in Newman Todd gold property, has completed 55,000 meters of diamond drilling along a gold-bearing zone which can be traced for approximately 1.8 kilometers along strike. Of the 109 holes completed by Confederation, 97% of them, stretching along the entire 1.8 kilometers, have intersected gold mineralization, a success rate virtually unheard of in gold exploration, and an indication of the widespread nature of gold within this very large area. Individual intervals grading over 20 grams per ton (gpt) and numerous exceeding 100 gpt have been intersected. At Newman Todd gold has been discovered over a vertical distance from surface to approximately 850 meters below the surface. These types of deposits have a great depth continuity as one of their important characteristics and it is likely that the Newman Todd mineralization continues to great depths. Given the immense volume of rock to explore along the mineralized trend, much more exploration is required before a decision can be made to construct a mine or continue exploring. The economic analysis of such a venture must take into account many variables, and all aspects of the work, from exploration through to production requires expenditures measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This money provides for jobs and an infusion of capital into the surrounding communities.


first nations resource magazine

Confederation began environmental baseline studies with a major environmental contractor soon after drilling began and is committed to responsible environmental stewardship. The Company has initiated dialogue with First Nations groups to keep them informed of our progress and plans. Confederation believes that a significant ore body lies beneath the Newman Todd property, and will continue exploration activities during 2014 and beyond. We are proud to be contributing to the growth of northern Ontario. For more information on Confederation’s plans, results to date, and other relevant corporate information, refer to our website at


for ways t s e b and f the stand r e d n One o orld o u ians t plex w m o c Canad e s to ples i iate th o c e e r p p ed s ap ave liv Nation h t o s r h i se w of F s. m tho o r f stone e r l i m hea ed achiev it and da By Lin


hari Russell was just under two when she was plucked from her home with no warning—no knowledge or consent from her family or band. In an instant, she lost her loved ones, culture, history and identity. A Saulteaux from the YellowQuill First Nation in Saskatchewan, Shari and two of her 10 siblings were part of the “Sixties Scoop”, a period in Aboriginal history in Canada where thousands of young Aboriginal children were literally scooped from birth families and placed in non-Aboriginal environments. Some of Shari’s older siblings were sent to residential school. “Government authorities and social workers assumed that native people were unable to adequately provide for the needs of children,” says Shari. “In those days, being Native was very negative. Decisions were made for you and you just had to deal with it.” Shari spent four difficult years floating from home to home. Many times she didn’t know if she could survive another day. Then she was adopted by a Salvation Army family.


first nations resource magazine


Embracing faith As Shari searched for a sense of belonging and a way of coping with new customs, habits and unfamiliar food, she learned how to behave and act. “I didn’t want to be sent away again,” says Shari. “So I did what I had to do.” Adjusting to a different home also meant adjusting to life in the church. “I knew the family had expectations as far as going to church,” says Shari, “but it wasn’t until later that I came to accept the truth of the teachings.” At age 17, when a close friend died suddenly, Shari turned to the faith she had witnessed in her family. Through a visionlike encounter with God she acknowledged His existence and said, “I’ll follow you and do what you want me to do.” Shari enrolled in The Salvation Army’s Booth University College in Winnipeg, where she completed a BA in Christian Education and met her husband Robert. Shari went on to complete an MA in Christian Education from Providence Seminary. Then, in 1997, the couple entered The Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training.

“We felt a calling to full-time ministry with The Salvation Army,” says Shari. In 1999, Shari and Robert were ordained as Salvation Army pastors. The Russells’ first two postings took them to The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Ministries in Toronto and the Army’s former College for Officer Training in Newfoundland. Throughout the years, Shari struggled with her Aboriginal culture and her Christian experience. “I always knew I was aboriginal,” says Shari. “But as a young Native person I’d been taught that anything to do with my culture was evil. There was great fear in that.” For many years, Shari did not want anything to do with her culture.

A new direction “In 2002 my children were sick with meningitis,” says Shari. “I wrote to my family of origin looking for health records. I thought they would respond by letter. Instead, I received a phone call saying your family wants to meet you. I was caught completely off guard but the reunion was a positively incredible experience.” As Shari and Robert continued to research Shari’s traditions, heritage and culture, a desire to serve within the Aboriginal community was ignited. It was during this time that The Salvation Army approached the couple to consider working within the Aboriginal community. Shari connected with Indigenous Christians who were members of NAIITS (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies), which is dedicated to developing Indigenous theologians. This group was formative in Shari finding freedom to express her Aboriginal identity and culture as a Christian. “The contribution of theology from an Indigenous perspective is something that’s missing in the Christian church,” says Shari. “NAIITS aims to encourage the Indigenous voice.” Before long, the Russells found themselves as pastors of The Salvation Army Weetamah (which is CREE for ‘Go tell them’) Community Church in Winnipeg. In a community that is primarily Aboriginal, the couple was culturally equipped to create an environment that developed positive Aboriginal expression. Community feasts, sports clubs, kids’ activities and employment-skills programs built connections and provided tools and resources to help restore wholeness and healing. “The ‘church’ has done so much wrong in the past,” says Shari. “As Aboriginal people try to recover from that damage, it is good for them to see the church wanting to re-establish healing relationships and learn from the Indigenous community.” The fact that Shari is a person in leadership who came from the Aboriginal community empowers others.

Bridging the divide Today, Shari and Robert reside in Sudbury, Ont., an area where there is a strong Aboriginal community. As pastors of The Salvation Army they are helping at-risk individuals and families pave their own way to a brighter, more prosperous future. “We help people no matter what their situation is or their background,” says Shari. “We seek to empower people. When individuals succeed, whole communities benefit.”

Shari Russell (left)

Within The Salvation Army, Shari has an additional responsibility as Aboriginal Liaison. She is a consultant with other units as they seek to develop best practices with Aboriginal people. For example, in Northern British Columbia, various youth programs are developing leaders and strengthening Aboriginal youth. “When youth are meaningfully connected and involved, there are numerous positive outcomes for themselves and the community,” says Shari. Shari also shares information and resources pertaining to Aboriginal ministry, leads workshops on Aboriginal cultural awareness for various church organizations, educates Salvation Army pastors in cultural awareness and networks and builds connections with other Aboriginal groups. “The Salvation Army has an opportunity to make a difference,” says Shari. “The key is to listen, learn and engage. Innovation and cultural relevance is instrumental in our effectiveness. “I want to see positive, healthy Indigenous communities,” continues Shari. “Everyone has gifts and strengths we can contribute.” Whether it’s addressing topics of concern, empowering people or educating others in how to effectively engage with Indigenous communities in culturally appropriate ways, Shari Russell knows without a doubt that it is her heritage that gives her strength, meaning and direction in life. Captain Shari Russell and her husband, Robert, have three boys: CJ, Gavin and Brannon. As a family, they enjoy travelling, camping, playing sports and music.


©copyright | luiginifosi

“Some of the intersections we’ve hit at PLS are incredible. It’s one of those discoveries that went from concept to discovery extremely quickly, mostly as a result of some innovations on our part.”


first nations resource magazine

“This project has become a focal point of the entire sector, its high grades and considerable upside potential, foreshadowing that it might ultimately prove to be one of the most important uranium discoveries in Canada’s Athabasca Basin.” (David Talbot, Dundee Capital Markets)


t started with a single drill hole made by a team of explorers just outside the Western edge of Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, home to the richest uranium deposits in the world. The fact that the team was there at all broke with conventional wisdom. Other companies, including the highly regarded experts of major uranium mining companies such as Cameco, believed explorers had to be within the boundaries of the Basin and in particular on the east side to make significant discoveries. The western side on the outskirts of the Athabasaca Basin was therefore under-explored. It was also believed that near-surface discoveries were a thing of the past from a by-gone era of exploration. The experts believed that there were no more near-surface discoveries to be made. The Fission technical team took this challenge head-on. Using innovative science, that single drill hole struck a major intersection of high-grade uranium and in just a few months the explorers had a new and growing discovery on their hands that caught the attention of industry analysts and the international investment community alike with its incredibly high grades and shallow depth. The PLS discovery was like nothing seen before in the Basin district. For its efforts and results, the company, its management and its technical team have won a string of industry awards.

by exploration companies in the area as they try to mirror Fission’s success. This spin-off effect dramatically influences the local economy in a very positive way. “This discovery is as good as anything I’ve been involved with.” explains Ross McElroy, Fission’s President, COO and Chief Geologist. With more than 30 years as a professional geologist, McElroy worked for uranium majors such as Cameco, Areva and BHP before joining the junior mining sector. He got his first break in the uranium sector as part of the small geological team that made the McArthur River discovery (the world’s largest high-grade uranium discovery) and went on to be instrumental in several major discoveries in the Athabasca Basin. This includes the two discoveries made while leading the Fission team – the J-Zone at Waterbury Lake and Patterson Lake South (PLS). In March 2014, McElroy was awarded PDAC’s Bill Dennis award for Exploration Success – the mining industry’s top exploration award. “Some of the intersections we’ve hit at PLS are incredible. It’s one of those discoveries that went from concept to discovery extremely quickly, mostly as a result of some innovations on our part.”

The new discovery is known as Patterson Lake South (PLS) and the team that made it is Fission Uranium Corp. PLS has had a strong and positive impact on the Athabasca Basin region. The company’s management and technical team have ties with the community that stretch back as much as 30 years. This past winter season at its PLS project, 80 members of the local community were employed directly by Fission and indirectly through contractors in the roles of technicians, drillers, carpenters and more.

McElroy, who confesses to being a bit of a contrarian by nature, had been interested in the West side of the Basin for some time. Fission flew an airborne survey and that’s when McElroy admits to another unique Fission asset – a uranium boulder-detecting survey technology developed by the Fission team and survey company, Special Projects Inc. The invention, currently patent-pending, is able to survey large areas at ultrahigh resolution and it discovered a uranium boulder field with exceptionally high grades.

Fission has also been able to fund local education initiatives and provide sponsorship to local magazines. The PLS discovery has been so significant that it has also created a new hub of exploration activity with more than $40 million spent

McElroy comments, “Fission’s survey analysis showed some anomalies. We sent in a ground geo team to examine the boulders we had located. The technology allowed us to pinpoint the exact location. That’s when things became really interesting.”


Fission’s skill with survey technology and analysis turned out to be the crucial part in moving PLS forward so quickly. In turn, exploration success has been rewarded by the markets. Fission’s market cap has risen by over 1000% and Fission is one of the most traded stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture (TSX:V). “A discovery like this is a major occurrence,” Explains Dev Randhawa, Fission CEO and Chairman. Randhawa is one of Canada’s best-known uranium exploration CEOs and in 2013 was named Mining Person of the Year by The Northern Miner magazine and Dealmaker of the Year by Finance Monthly. Both he and Ross McElroy have been nominated for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. “What a lot of people don’t realize is the world is headed for a uranium shortage. Nuclear power supplies nearly 20% of the world’s energy needs and there are over 230 reactors under construction or in the planning process and another 316 in the proposal stage. On top of this, Japanese utilities have applied to start a total of 16 idled reactors.” Randhawa continues, “The HEU agreement ended last year and because of the current low uranium price, a number of mines have shut down and new construction halted. That’s 24 million lbs. for the HEU and, according to uranium analyst, David Talbot, another


first nations resource magazine

60 million lbs. because of stalled uranium projects and mines. That’s per year. Either the world starts producing more uranium or at some point the lights will start going out.” With approximately 80% of the global nuclear fuel coming from actual mining, uranium supply has been heavily reliant on secondary sources for many years. The largest of these sources is the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) agreement which involved the sale of down-blended uranium from Russian warheads to the US for use as reactor fuel. The agreement expired in 2013 so the pressure is on to find large, economic deposits. So, with mineralization starting at just 50m and a strike length, ontrend, of over 2.24 kilometres, just over eighteen months after the first discovery hole, Patterson Lake South is one of the most attractive uranium discoveries in the world. Fission is continuing to develop the discovery and both the team and the company’s shareholders have been delighted with project’s progress. Fission Uranium is listed on the TSX-V under the symbol FCU and on the OTCQX under the symbol FCUUF. Further information on the company can be found at