First Nations Resource Magazine - Winter 2015

Page 1


“She wasn’t scared to speak, and she wasn’t scared to work.”

Scared with passion and purpose thelmA ChAlifoux ‘set a fire’ in the Canadian senate.

help me tell my Story a pioneering initiative is on traCk to improve aCademiC outComes for aboriginal students

A Strength BASed ApproACh inspiring first nations, mÉtis and inuit to aChieve their potential FREE

Winter 2015



hoPeforthefuture . ca




44 PASSION AND PURPOSE Thelma Chalifoux changed, challenged and ‘set a fire’ in the Canadian Senate.


Quebec’s first diamond mine fully permitted, Fully financed, and under construction.


Inspiring First Nations, Métis and Inuit to achieve their potential.

12 UCN


Thank you in advance, for considering University College of the North.


First Nations security and policing.







A commitment to advancing sustainable business practices in the Canadian electricity sector.



Putting First Nations to work.

A Christmas story.



Why is a trade right for you?


The junior exploration company.

Giving Aboriginal entrepreneurs a foothold on the future.



Opening doors for First Nations education.

Saving lives from suicide.

Human, creative, visionary Teaching Alberta curriculum online to First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities.


On track to improve academic outcomes for Aboriginal Students.


Empowerment through education and training.

58 NORTHERN COLLEGE The next step.


Supporting the economic development and cultural awareness of Canada’s Aboriginal communities.


Why are unions good for indigenous peoples?.



first nations resource magazine

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Jacques Beauchamp Former Regional Police Officer EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Christine Panasuk CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jonathan Beauchamp GRAPHICS & ART www.DESIGNit.CA PRINTED IN ONTARIO, CANADA Dollco, a division of The Lowe-Martin Group ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Thomas Easton Daniel Cole Ryan Berube CONTRIBUTORS Elizabeth Gray-Smith • Ronald Wells • Lisa Kozleski Owen Stockden • W. Lang • R. Ramsay • B. Tanney T. Kinzel • Laurie Chabot • John Schofield Mireille Pilotte • Brigitte Masella • Robert Patzelt 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

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

- est 1990 -


Send your feedback, ideas, stories, and suggestions to: or follow us on twitter: @creatinghopefor


QUEBEC’S FIRST FULLY PERMITTED, FULLY FINANCED, STORNOWAY (TSX:SWY) IS A LEADING CANADIAN DIAMOND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY. ITS FLAGSHIP ASSET IS THE 100% OWNED RENARD DIAMOND PROJECT, WHICH IS NOW UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND IS ON TRACK TO BECOMING QUÉBEC’S FIRST DIAMOND MINE. Stornoway’s 100% owned Renard project is located in the James Bay region in north-central Québec, approximately 350 km north of the mining town of Chibougamau. The project hosts a cluster of 9 kimberlite pipes. Each kimberlite body is diamondiferous, with initial mining to be focussed on 5 kimberlite pipes (Renards 2, 3, 4, 9 and 65) in a combined open pit and underground mine plan. The Renard project was first discovered in 2001 and now, following 13 years of resource definition, economic study, environmental assessment, permitting and infrastructure development, it is under construction. Over the initial 11 years of mining Renard is expected to produce an average of 1.6 mcarats per year at an average price of US$190/carat (based on March 2014 diamond pricing). Construction at Renard began in July 2014 following the successful completion of a comprehensive C$946m financing package designed to fully fund the project to completion. The Renard financing was the largest single project financing


first nations resource magazine

DIAMOND MINE AND UNDER CONSTRUCTION transaction for a publicly listed diamond company, and included equity, senior and convertible debt, equipment financing and the world’s first ever diamond stream. The Renard Mine Road, which will make the project the only Canadian diamond mine accessible year-round by road, was opened for traffic in August 2013. This 97 km-long road was completed two months ahead of schedule and 10% below the initial budget (C$77m). This achievement was made possible by the strong performance of our construction contractors, all of whom were Cree or locally operated businesses. An Impacts and Benefits Agreement, the “Mecheshoo Agreement”, was signed with the Cree Nation of Mistissini and the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Itschee) in March 2012. Partnership Agreements with the communities of Chibougamau and Chapais were signed in July 2012. These communities are strong supporters of the Renard Project and many local contractors were behind the successful construction of the access road and are still actively involved in the current mine construction works. All major federal and provincial permitting authorizations have been received.

The project’s initial 11 year mine life is based on a Mineral Reserve of 18 million carats. The project’s total Mineral Resource currently stands at 27 million carats in the Indicated category, 17 million carats in the Inferred category, and an additional 26 to 48 million carats of non-resource upside classified as a “Target for Further Exploration”. All kimberlites are open at depth. The 2014 resource expansion drill program has confirmed the presence of kimberlite at depth at the important Renard 2 kimberlite pipe. Successive bulk sampling campaigns have demonstrated the potential of Renard to be a significant producer of large, high value gems, the full impact of which is not incorporated into the project’s base case economic assessment. First ore is expected to be delivered to the plant in the second half of 2016 and, upon the achievement of commercial production in 2017, Renard is expected to comprise approximately 2% of the global rough diamond supply by value, making Stornoway the 6th largest diamond producer in the world. A new major Canadian diamond mine; at the end of a permanent road; in Québec, one of the best mining jurisdiction.



first nations resource magazine



t is the end of July in the hamlet of Taloyoak. A group of youth gather around a large piece of paper – they are creating a map of their community. This is not a geography lesson. This is the first – and most important – step these students will take in building confidence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). As they sketch the rocky shoreline, the water, the buildings, their school and the surrounding topographical landmarks of their home in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, they unearth the science that exists in their community. They begin to see how STEM exists in their everyday lives. Through the lens of this interactive map, they explore the scientific elements in the minerals found on the main road, they examine the technology of the sealift that brings in supplies, they begin thinking about the engineering that goes into the complex water distribution system and they start seeing the jobs and careers attached to all of the roles science plays in their community. Using what youth already know is not just the starting point, it is the engagement point for getting them comfortable with science. It is fundamental to a national STEM education outreach program offered by Actua, a national Canadian charity that for twenty years has been inspiring youth through transformational STEM education experiences. The organization reaches over 225,000 youth across Canada every year. Their focus is breaking through the barriers that still exist in youth engagement in STEM and reaching those who are under served in STEM studies and careers.

Focusing only on the easyto-engage youth, banking on one segment of our diverse population to drive innovation means forgoing the immense value all youth have to contribute.

Through its 33 network members, located at universities and colleges across the country, Actua delivers STEM education outreach programming to 500 communities nationwide. Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua, explains that STEM programming with this breadth of reach shows youth that they, too, can break through the barriers – like geographic location, socio-economic situations, access to science literature - that stand in between them and a future and careers in STEM.


The model of incorporating Traditional Knowledge cannot be implemented without community engagement. From the content planning stages to the delivery of the programming on the ground, members of the community need to be involved for the camp to meet its ultimate goal.

The organization wants to get science into the hands, hearts and minds of all youth in Canada. And, for good reason. “Focusing only on the easy-to-engage youth, banking on one segment of our diverse population to drive innovation means forgoing the immense value all youth have to contribute,” says Flanagan. “We need the full participation and perspective of all Canadians if we are to reach our full innovation potential in Canada.”

“Community engagement happens when we invest in building relationships with the people in the communities we engage,” says Flanagan. “We work with community groups to advise us on local logistical arrangements. We talk to schools to ensure the STEM workshop content complements local school curriculum. We collaborate with hamlet offices, Inuit associations and Friendship Centres to shape all activities to be relevant and we connect with local Elders and Indigenous volunteers to act as the primary link to the Traditional Knowledge that is the core of the programming.” These community leaders reinforce that there are different ways of building knowledge about a topic. Through this lens, camp participants are reminded that science is not something we bring to them - it is already a fundamental part of a community’s traditions and practices. At the NAOP camp this summer in Taloyoak, the hamlet’s fire chief stepped in to the camp content. In a community with a population of 809, many of the kids already know Curtis Jayko. But this would be their first time exploring the science that exists in his daily life, in his job of keeping the community safe. Jayko introduced the youth to the science of fire and fire protection. His tour of the community’s fire hall got the campers talking about careers in the community, and further, careers where science is at play. More than just chatting, they

Community engagement happens when we invest in building relationships with the people in the communities we engage

First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) youth are the fastest growing population in Canada, yet, they are sharply under served in STEM education and underrepresented in STEM careers. The National Aboriginal Outreach Program (NAOP) - developed by Actua as a means to reverse this trend - engages FNMI youth in hands-on, culturally and locally relevant STEM experiences. The program now annually engages 30,000 FNMI youth in 200 communities across Canada in school workshops and week-long camp experiences. The underlying premise of NAOP is that the Traditional Knowledge of communities, and the prior skills and experiences of young people, serve as the foundation onto which new interests and knowledge in STEM can be built. “The programming is designed to help youth recognize that they already know a lot about science,” says Flanagan. “Science is very much a part of their communities,” she explains. “It is in the soil in the backyard, it’s in the classroom, it’s in the air we breathe, it’s in the water we drink, it’s in our bodies, it’s in our practices and process. It is just about everywhere in our communities.”

This approach – of looking for science under every rock in environments and situations that are already familiar amongst the youth – is working. The five-day camp held in Taloyoak witnessed a rise in campers’ enthusiasm for thinking critically and creatively. Many camp participants brought friends – new campers – back with them each day. It was even noted that some young participants brought rocks from their backyard to the camp so they could explore and discuss the minerals with the instructors. And, at the end of an activity that allows campers to reflect on their STEM experiences, 77 percent of them reported an increase in confidence with science.


first nations resource magazine

got some fire-fighting experience - camp participants handled the fire hose. This type of hands-on activity is omnipresent throughout NAOP programming. Kids don’t just talk science, they experience it. Many of the camp participants came back the next day talking about careers in fire prevention and fire safety. Later in the week, the camp participants explored the technology behind fibre-optics and the science within the communications infrastructure in the North. For many of the youth in the camp, the concept of the internet sending and receiving messages through light is hard to imagine - they found it to be abstract. Through a demonstration using solid gelatin, the youth saw that a laser’s light could be redirected. It was explained that the light was bending in the same way spear fishing equipment appears to shift under water. Cultivating new information on the foundation of prior knowledge - as was done here - allows the youth to more readily explore the STEM experience in front of them. In 2014, Indspire commissioned an evaluation on the impact of the NAOP program. Four camps were examined in a case study analysis of the on-the-ground applications of the NAOP model. Through a survey handed to participating youth, 74 percent of campers noted they came to the realization that they knew more about science than they originally thought, two-thirds responded that they either “totally” or “very much” felt that camp made them more interested in jobs that involve science and 71 percent said they wanted to stay in school. At the end of the week-long camp in Taloyoak, this group of young scientists returned to the map they created of their community on that first day at camp. It looks a little different to them after five days of immersion in STEM experiences, after exploring the science

found in their community’s traditions and practices. They now see the fire hall as an important site where science is at work to keep them safe, they think about the rock formations under their feet on their way to school and they understand how the internet reaches them at their computer. They identify how it all works together through their new-found knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math. Most of all, they see themselves in the many roles that keep the community vibrant. “We will see these young scientists in Taloyoak – this next generation of innovators – working at the fire hall, thinking about the next step forward in telecommunications, advancing practices in resource management, and investing their skills in careers where science plays a role…all to contribute to their community and to the world around them,” says Flanagan. For more information about Actua visit





first nations resource magazine

WE KNOW YOU HAVE YOUR CHOICE OF MANY DIFFERENT HIGH-QUALITY POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS, SO THANK YOU, IN ADVANCE, FOR CONSIDERING UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF THE NORTH. When determining where you want to study, it’s important to think about what it is you expect out of education. UCN is a unique post-secondary institution with many great things going on. Here are just a few:


So many of our programs provide you with unique training opportunities, whether you are conducting field studies in the Natural Resources Management Technology wither or fall camps, working in a child day care setting as an Early Childhood Education student, or in Automotive Technician diagnosing and addressing issues with a client’s vehicle.


UCN students have access to state-of-the-art technology in our labs, classrooms and fitness facilities. As UCN continues to expand, those learning opportunities grow exponentially. Use the latest and greatest technologies available to professionals, such as the computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine in Carpentry. Ours is the only dental assisting program in Manitoba that uses DENTRIX and DEXIS digital imaging technologies.



first nations resource magazine


The Bachelor of Education students at UCN train as teachers during ‘Into The Wild’, our summer day camp for kids. Electrical and Law Enforcement students benefit from real-life conditions of the training house at The Pas campus – one of only a few such facilities in Canada. Dental Assisting students get real-world experience treating community members attending the UCN dental clinic.


You can earn a degree, diploma or certificate from one of our many academic programs. And if your career goals change and you want to transition from a certificate program to a diploma program, or diploma to degree, we can help you. And UCN offers programs shared with other institutions, such as the Joint Baccalaureate Nursing program.


We have small class sizes at UCN so that you can enjoy the personal interaction with your instructors and classmates. They lead to better classroom discussions, to help you get the most out of your education. We get to know you, and you get to know us. Thanks to the positive experience that they have had here as students, many UCN graduates come back to UCN to work as instructors and staff members. So when you attend UCN, you’re among people who know what it’s like to be where you are. At UCN, your success as a student is our top priority. But we also know that being a student is about more than lectures and exams. So how do we help you achieve the balance of academic success and the enjoyment of being here? Through our many student services that help you both succeed and feel part of our community. That’s how!


No one wants a toolbox filled with only one kind of tool. That’s why UCN offers innovative and ethical programs in five diverse faculties: Arts, Business and Science, Education, Health and Trades and Technology. Check us out.


When you earn a Bachelor of Arts at UCN, you get a well-rounded liberal arts education. You will have the choice of specializing in one of the available majors to customize your learning to suit your goals. With a BA, you get a solid foundation for many job possibilities, or for additional study in professional programs that require good communication, research and critical thinking skills. This degree also prepares you for graduate school if you decide to earn an advanced degree after you graduate from UCN. Natural resources Management Technology (NRMT) is also part of this faculty. It continues to be one of the more popular programs at UCN largely because of the handson opportunities you get in the field. Our proximity to pristine lakes and wilderness areas gives NRMT students unique access to the ideal outdoor classroom. What do you think of when you think of business? We’ve got you covered if you want to know how to run your own small business, design a webpage, manage an office, keep books, be a front-line worker in a professional office environment or even earn a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. Many exciting career options await you. Train for them with the UCN Faculty of Business.



The newest kid on the block is also one of the busiest. You’ll shape someone’s future as a graduate of UCN’S Faculty of Education. Always wanted to be a teacher? The Kenanow Bachelor of Education program gives you a unique perspective on education in the North. When you graduate with a B.Ed., you qualify to teach anywhere in Manitoba. Students get practical work experience teaching children during Into The Wild, a summer learning camp for kids. If you would rather work with preschoolers, Early Childhood Education is for you. Skilled educators are in high-demand in Manitoba. As need continues to increase, so do your prospects for a rewarding career.


The Faculty of Health is UCN’s most diverse when it comes to variety of programming. Prepare for a lucrative career as a nurse in the Joint Baccalaureate Nursing program we offer in partnership with the University of Manitoba. Trained to become a licensed practical nurse with the Diploma in Practical Nursing program. Dental Assisting students learn the latest techniques, and Law Enforcement students prepare for entrylevel training with the RCMP or other police agency. These programs and many more make up the Faculty of Health.


The baby boom generation of skilled workers is reaching retirement age. It means a major lack of certified trades workers. Bad news for those of us who have homes, drive vehicles, cross bridges or work in buildings. Demand is already high for carpenters, electricians, automotive technicians, welders and other trades. It will only increase. These careers are already big earners. So, train for a career in a trade. All of UCN’s trades instructors have Red Seal certification in their professional areas. Let them share their knowledge with you. Technical programs such as Computer Programmer/Analyst and Civil/CAD Technology round out UCN’s largest faculty. Enroll in Trades and Technology at UCN. Skills never got out of style.


UCN is proud to offer you the opportunity to learn in our unique northern setting. Enjoy crisp, clean air and a proximity to nature that few other places enjoy. The Pas is next to Opaskwayak Cree Nation and the Rural Municipality of Kelsey. Clearwater Lake, one of the clearest lakes on the planet, is just 30 minutes from The Pas. Thompson is a young and dynamic city with a strong retail sector, entertainment and restaurants. The city is home to the award-winning Spirit Way, a 2.5 kilometer walking and biking path with 16 points of interest for you to discover. UCN delivers a range of programs in a network of 12 regional centres from Swan River to Churchill. Nine of our regional centres are in First Nations communities. We are pleased to be able to assist the communities of Norway House and Chemawawin (Easterville) with the implementation of their new public libraries.


Big changes are underway at many UCN locations. Construction of thenew, $82 Million Thompson campus is completed and classes are underway. The $16.4 Million campus project in The Pas was completed in April 2013. It’s simple to get in touch with us to discuss your future. You can call us toll-free at (866) 627-8500 or (866) 677-6450 or visit us on-line at • email:


first nations resource magazine


First Nations Security and Policing

Ronald Wells Cancom Security Inc.


irst Nations communities have been left governed by a legal system that is dependent on the institution of Policing as the extension and arm of the law. There is one problem with this system that is in place concerning First Nations communities and that is policing and the policing mandate does not truly reflect the values and traditions of intimate first nations communities. This is more apparent when looking at remote first nations communities. Theses communities only see Policing when something has happened where the law is needed to intervene. This reactive response to first nations communities’ security and the needs of those communities is deeply overlooked by the availability of policing services to those remote communities. So the reactive response of policing is not a service to the communities but more a service to the extension of law, and this is not proactive within the best interests of those communities. The challenges of implementing policing services within theses remote communities is next to impossible considering the budget afforded to existing policing services. Current first nations police services have a challenge in being provided appropriate funding to stay in operation and the working conditions are challenging. Policing and Security have two separate mandates and functions however, serve one common purpose which can be routed back to the beginning of policing with the main principles of policing as set out with one of grand fathers of policing Sir Robert Peel. Sir Robert Peel indicated that “the people are the police and the police are the people�. Modern day policing strives to do this in our cities and now heavily populated rural areas, however struggle to do so in the remote first nations communities. The marginalization of First Nations communities has forced government to catch up to newly elected mandates in attempt to make First Nations people a priority in economical ventures, education and social programs to help foster healthy communities. 18

first nations resource magazine

First Nations people and their communities are now placed in a now or never situation concerning remote communities, a state of emergency in delegating social issues challenging the communities from social economic issues which creates a very challenging demographic for police to provide effective services. Security Services employed by local community members falls within the original mandate of policing as defined by Sir Robert Peel. Hiring local members of a community supports a community based policing initiative however, police hiring practices and policy makes it very challenging for police to hire local community members within first nations communities who’s members have had conflict with the law. Having a security service enter the community and hire local members with a more forgiving hiring practice provides a remote community the opportunity to reflect its community values and priorities. The advantages of having local members assist in security and community watch is having the surveillance required to prevent, intercept and prosecute those who break the law. The most important detail of local members assisting in surveying there own community is identifying members who have broke the law with minimal effort because local members know their community best. This translates in minimizing police investigation time, allowing police to focus on more proactive policing initiatives. The local security service becomes a great resource to local police services and this partnership becomes a great asset to the community based policing initiatives. The local members may also partner with social services to identify the immediate needs of those in conflict with the law as a result of social issues and seek appropriate assistance from local social assistance programs that may engage community workers and social assistance workers to engage those in conflict with the law and help those individuals in creating a congruent proactive solution in preventing that same community member in re-offending and become an active contributing member to their community.

serving the best interests of first nations communities in crime prevention and developing programs that assist those who come in conflict with the law. Bridging Policing and First Nations communities through a security service that mirrors the community is a proven method in responding to social issues and crime that plagues first nations communities. Combined efforts and strategy between police, community services and security services will have an impact on social issues and lower major crime. Policing can no longer support the detailed and intimate details small rural areas require due to the increasing population of these communities and the climbing socioeconomic deficit that is presented due to the lack of jobs and growing poverty. Developing and investing in security services in first nations communities will create jobs and assist in economic development and target crime with a community focus, with community members helping community members. Its time First Nations community empower their own communities to serve their own best interests in partnership with policing and social services by employing their own security services acting as a platform to observe and report back to the chief and council of each community.

First Nations communities need to participate in developing their own policing and security initiatives to ensure that their best interests are focused on involving the first nations leadership looking at alternative measures to prosecution involving the community in sentencing and rehabilitation of offenders. First Nations people and their individual communities have a proud heritage and have a strong stigma that can have a major impact on individual offenders and assist in rehabilitating offenders with minor summary conviction offences. Offenders with less serious offences in co-operation of the solicitor generals office can help prevent ongoing reoffending by intervening before offenders graduate to more serious offences and criminal involvement. First Nations Security services implemented with local band support, police support and community social services can have a positive proactive impact on remote first nations communities in


Bold Ventures Inc. Trades Its Shares On The TSX Venture Stock Exchange under the symbol BOL.V


first nations resource magazine


n our previous article in the Fall Edition of First Nations Resource Magazine, we discussed the activities of Bold Ventures Inc. a junior exploration company working in Northern Ontario and Quebec. We discussed Bold’s approach to working with First Nations, especially in the isolated areas of the northern part of Ontario. For this article we discuss what a junior exploration company is in general terms and some of the reasons that they operate as they do. It is hoped that within this context the reader may gain a better grasp of what the management of these frontier explorers are faced with and how they must manage their companies. With this in mind, the author hopes to demonstrate the driving factors for this part of the economic resource development process. Bold Ventures Inc. is a junior mineral exploration company. We work with several First Nation Communities in Ontario. The goal for Bold Ventures is to search out mineral deposits on behalf of its shareholders. This can only be achieved by working respectfully with First Nation Communities that are local to the project area. It is possible to make a partnership that benefits both the exploration company and the local First Nation population. The mineral industry appears to be headed towards more frequent and deeper engagement with the local people near their exploration projects. With this in mind let’s try and explore (pardon the pun) what a Junior Exploration Company is and how it’s management views the world. A junior mineral exploration company is a corporation formed for the purpose of locating, acquiring and then physically exploring mineral lands with the ultimate goal of finding a mine. The process of searching for mines is made up of several steps, and in the vast majority of cases, can take a number of years or even decades from the first discovery to a proven mine. While that is accomplished, the permit process can take several years to complete and then development and mining follow. Often there is overlap of these various phases of exploration work and the permit

process can be speeded up as confidence in the value and economics of the resource increases. The mining cycle is a long-term process from discovery to commercial production. Junior exploration companies can be private or public corporations. This is usually governed by the number of shareholders that invest money in the company in return for an ownership or share holding of that corporation. Usually, once a company attracts a sufficient number (greater than 25) of shareholders it reaches a stage where it becomes a public issuer that must report to the regulatory authorities. These authorities consist of the stock exchange on which the company’s shares are traded, the securities regulator (ie: Ontario Securities Commission) that sets the regulations in concert with the stock exchange and the Canadian Business Corporations Act that is the law governing all business corporations whether private or public. Most junior exploration companies survive on the basis of the management’s ability to locate and prove up mineral resources for development and mining. Most importantly for survival, the management of the company must be able to expose the potential of their mineral property to the public in a way that invites investment.


The designation of junior exploration company is really a loose description of the size and financial capabilities of a company. As the name implies the junior explorer is a relatively small company that usually has no revenue stream and survives by raising exploration and administrative funds through financing in the public markets. One example of an exception to this might be a junior exploration company that has a revenue stream by virtue of a royalty on a mining operation they have explored at one time and subsequently sold to a mining company. These are unique junior explorers and they are in the minority. A junior mining company usually consists of a Board of Directors, the management team and the shareholders. The management team is a group of professionals that usually include a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a technical person who is most likely a geoscientist, legal advisors, and accounting personnel. Some principals of these companies have the expertise to combine more than one of these abilities and they are often independent contractors who carry out the work when the business demands it, on a temporary basis. To draw a general comparison with the traditional First Nation Reserve structure; the CEO and the Board of Directors are like the Chief and Council of a First Nation. The shareholders of the corporation can be compared to the community members for it is the shareholders who ultimately vote in the Board of Directors. It is the Board of Directors who set the policy, appoint the management team and guide the corporate direction. It is up to the management team to execute the game plan that the Board of Directors has authorized and developed through conference with management. A public company may have a few hundred shareholders or a few thousand shareholders The role of the Promoter is critical as this is the job that ties all of the company’s efforts together and shows them to the public in general. Usually the Promoter is the public face of the corporation and one of the major shareholders. Often it is the CEO or the Chairman of the Board of Directors who also assumes the role as “Promoter�. Some companies will hire Investor Relations experts to provide this element. Most serious investors will analyze the effectiveness of the Promoter, the


first nations resource magazine

management team and their road record along with the potential of the properties that the company is exploring. Usually, mineral exploration companies that grow into mid-size and major mining companies do it by making a mineral discovery or acquisition that provides them with an asset valuable enough to support mine development or additional exploration. As you would expect, out of the thousands of junior exploration companies, only a very small percentage of them can make the transition from a junior to a mid-size company, let alone into becoming a major mining company. The expertise needed for a mining company is different from the expertise required of an exploration company. Generally, the exploration company is looking for minerals and the mining company is extracting minerals. Most often, the scale of focus for an explorer is kilometers wide while the scale of focus for the miner is measured in metres. There are many different ways that a junior explorer will operate but there are some fundamental requirements that are common to all. They all must have a management team that is qualified to some degree. They must have a property or a concept for identifying and acquiring mineral assets with economic potential and they all must be able to promote the company to the public at large to attract financing. The economic potential of mineral properties is not constant. It varies with the price of the target mineral(s) that the company is searching for, the performance of financial markets and the world economy in general. If markets are good there is usually enough money available for investors to take the risk of investing in the exploration for minerals. If markets are performing poorly then the funds available for investing in these highrisk ventures dry up. Financial markets are dynamic in their nature. They are usually cyclic in their progression through time. They go up and they go down. If markets are good for minerals and the economy is performing well then the junior explorer has a much easier time raising sufficient funds to finance their activities. They become more expansive. If markets are bad then these same companies will have a serious challenge when raising

Heli long line cargo lift

funds. Sometimes their share prices can fall so low that it is impossible to raise enough money without losing control and ownership of that company. Eventually the costs of operating will close their doors or cause a change in business to a more positive market where the value of the corporate assets will be recognized and funds may be raised. Because the financial markets are cyclical, regulatory requirements are extensive and mines are difficult to locate, the time factor becomes very important to junior explorers. At Bold Ventures each project must have positive First Nation relationships, title to the mineral rights and the necessary regulatory permits before a project may go ahead. Financing of the exploration activities cannot take place until the company and its investors are satisfied that ownership and access to the project is clear and able to proceed in a reasonable time frame. That means that in order to finance a project all of the above must be in place well before the financing can occur and even longer before the work can actually begin. With all of these challenges that mineral explorers face, the risk level of this sector is very high compared to other parts of the larger overall economy. Why invest in them? The answer is plain. This is because the reward could be very high. Companies that make discoveries of mines see their share prices rise to many times their value from before the discovery. Very few junior companies make discoveries but those that do, make their shareholders’ investment multiply many times in value.

is doing its job properly, all of these factors can be kept in balance. Some enlightened managers believe that, as in nature, all things tend towards a state of equilibrium. This results in a harmony that resolves the forces surrounding it. The more balanced the various factors are kept within a company the better chance that company will attain the social license to operate and achieve a healthy and profitable result with good neighbours/partners that can add to the value of the asset. In good economic times the exploration company has to monitor how long they have until markets will turn bad. In bad economic times the junior explorer finds himself operating on a limited budget in order to survive. The clock is ticking whether the times are good or the times are bad. The many steps needed to operate an exploration activity require much planning and the execution of these becomes very important. Striking a balance between all stakeholders is crucial to the economic success of a project and by extension the economic success of the north. Timing is everything when it comes to successful exploration!

When the Bold Ventures management team made our discoveries at the Ring of Fire while managing Noront Resources Ltd., the market capitalization or gross share market value of that company rose from a few million dollars to almost one billion dollars! Here, the reward was well worth the risk as these types of discoveries are few and far between. The Ring of Fire has been referred to as a generational discovery that will last for many decades or more than a century. A major priority for the management of a junior company is guarding the legal liability and reputation of the Corporation, its Board of Directors, and Officers. The corporate assets, operations, stakeholder concerns and shareholder value must be considered in an ethical and socially acceptable way. Some of these factors may appear to be at loggerheads with each other but in general, if management


Four of BC Hydro’s Aboriginal Trades Trainees at the utility’s Trades Training Centre in Surrey, BC, on the last day of their training. All four have since gone onto an Apprenticeship in the Power Line Technician trade as of Spring 2014. Courtesy of BC Hydro.


first nations resource magazine

Sustainable Electricity TM


Channa Perera, Director of Sustainable Development at the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), writes about how Canadian utilities are working collectively to advance sustainability and issues of interest to Aboriginal Peoples.


ounded in 1891, the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) is the national forum and voice of the evolving electricity business in Canada. The Association contributes to the regional, national and international success of its members through the delivery of quality value-added services. Based in Ottawa, CEA advocates for the electricity sector primarily at the federal government level. CEA members generate, transmit and distribute electrical energy to industrial, commercial, residential and institutional customers across Canada every day. Members include integrated electric utilities, independent power producers, transmission and distribution companies, power marketers and the manufacturers and suppliers of materials, technology and services that keep the industry running smoothly.

COLLECTIVE INDUSTRY ACTION ON SUSTAINABILITY CEA members have long recognized the need to conduct business in a responsible manner – in a way that respects our environment and communities across this vast land. Ensuring a sustainable future for current and future generations is not just a saying but a real priority for us. That’s why in early 2009, CEA members decided to launch Sustainable ElectricityTM – a program aimed at embedding sustainability within company operations; improving environmental, social and economic performance; and advancing the social license to operate in communities through meaningful engagement, collaboration, transparency and accountability. The key elements of this national program include: • A Policy on Sustainable Development—Corporate Responsibility; • Annual reporting of environmental, social, and economic performance by CEA member utilities (including performance related to Aboriginal Relations);

• Independent Public Advisory Panel to review the sector’s annual performance (the Panel includes a representative from Aboriginal, Inuit or Métis community); • External verification of data, sustainability performance, and implementation of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) consistent with ISO 14001 standard. Now just over five years old, one of the cornerstones of the program remains the Sustainable Development— Corporate Responsibility Policy that all member companies must adhere to. It not only defines what we mean by sustainability, but outlines the key guiding principles on sustainability. One of those key principles is Aboriginal Relations, which commits the association members to “Build mutually-beneficial relationships with Aboriginal Peoples and communities based on trust and respect.” Through annual reporting and external thirdparty verification audits, we hold our members accountable for ensuring this principle is adhered to and respected in their company operations.

Channa Perera, Director of Sustainable Development, Canadian Electricity Association. Courtesy of Canadian Electricity Association.


While CEA members also have their own programs in place to engage Aboriginal Peoples across this country, CEA has seen a significant shift in the engagement of Aboriginal Peoples based on established rights, trust, and respect in existing and new utility operations since the launch of the Sustainable ElectricityTM program.

“We take pride in the fact that we built the program with Aboriginal engagement in mind” says Mr. Jim R. Burpee, association’s President & CEO. “However, we are mindful of the fact that we have many more miles to travel on this sustainability journey, particularly on issues related to Aboriginal education, training, employment and business partnerships,” noted Mr. Burpee. Under Mr. Burpee’s leadership, CEA also recently undertook a research study entitled, “Catalysing the Aboriginal Workforce for the Canadian Electricity Sector: Public Policy Programming and Innovation” to identify gaps between existing employment needs in the sector and current program funding by government. Given the growing Aboriginal labour force, it is imperative that we continue to make the business case for enhanced government support for Aboriginal employment in the electricity sector. Individually, many CEA members are starting to work more closely with Aboriginal communities across the country. Open communications, information exchange, business ventures, and collaboration are essential elements of company interactions with Aboriginal Peoples. These efforts, particularly during project planning and development, have allowed companies to foster positive working relationships with Aboriginal Peoples that have resulted in mutual benefits and innovative solutions. Some of the partnership arrangements over the past five years have included joint ventures, workforce development through education and skills training, community development, sustainable Aboriginal procurement strategies, environmental stewardship, and use of traditional knowledge in project planning and construction. These initiatives have led to significant benefits to both individual utilities and Aboriginal communities.

Namgis First Nation Chief Debra Hanuse; President and CEO of Brookfield Renewable, Richard Legault; Hereditary Chief Bill Cranmer; and Kim Osmars, Regional Chief Operating Officer at the Kokish Hydro Facility ribbon cutting ceremony. Courtesy of Brookfield Renewable Energy Group.


first nations resource magazine

ENGAGING ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES – CEA MEMBER INITIATIVES BC Hydro and Power Authority Reaches a Number of Agreements with First Nations: In the last 6 years, BC Hydro has signed a number of agreements with First Nations reaching settlements of long standing grievance negotiations and benefits agreements associated to new capital builds. In 2011, after almost 20 years of negotiations, BC Hydro signed an agreement with the St’at’imc Nation and its 11 member bands to address impacts associated with the construction and operation of its Bridge River generation facility and associated transmission line. In the years preceding, BC Hydro also signed agreements with Tsay Keh Dene and Kwadacha to address historic damages from the creation and operation of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Williston Reservoir. Consultations with First Nations are active across the province as BC Hydro moves forward with its annual $1 billion capital program. Agreements have been signed with the Tahltan, Nisga’a Lisims Government, Kitsumkalum and other First Nations associated to the construction of the northwest transmission line. This 344 km 287 kV transmission line is electrifying the northwest part of the province which previously was not part of BC Hydro’s integrated system. Agreements have also been signed with a number of First Nations regarding the construction of BC Hydro’s new 247 km 500 kV line Interior to Lower Mainland transmission line. Brookfield Renewable Energy Group Partners with ‘Namgis First Nation: Almost 20 years ago, Brookfield and the ‘Namgis First Nation established Kwagis Power LP to develop a 45 MW run-ofriver hydroelectric project on the Kokish River on the northeast Vancouver Island. This facility, which began construction in spring 2012 and came into commercial operation in April 2014, generates enough clean renewable energy to power 10,000 households annually. All ‘Namgis First Nation ventures are governed by principles of respect for culture, land, aquatic resources, and sound management. Both parties are proud of the success of their partnership and how it helps to diversify the local economy, and strengthen the ‘Namgis First Nation, on whose traditional territory the facility is located. Manitoba Hydro and First Nations File an Innovative Environmental Impact Statement: July 6, 2012 was a monumental day for Manitoba Hydro and its Aboriginal partners. That was when the Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership’s Generation Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was filed. The document was the outcome of years of work by Manitoba Hydro, along with its partners who belong to Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, York Factory First Nation, and Fox Lake Cree Nation, known collectively as the Keeyask Cree Nations (KCNs). Manitoba Hydro and the KCNs created a two-track approach in the production of the EIS. Equal weight was given to the KCNs’ evaluations of the environmental impact of the project, based on the Cree world view, as well as the technical science evaluation. This approach had the KCN participating meaningfully in the evaluation of the project in their ancestral lands, and reflects a just and equitable agreement between the partners. The partners worked together to present the Project throughout the regulatory process, including provincial Clean Environment Commission hearings, and all licenses and authorizations for Project construction were received by mid-July 2014. Project construction is now underway at the Keeyask site.

Based on the success of these partnerships, OPG continues to pursue similar long-term commercial arrangements with First Nations and Métis communities.

Ontario Power Generation’s President and CEO Tom Mitchell with Moose Cree First Nation Chief, Norm Hardisty at the signing of the Amisk-oo-Skow Agreement. OPG has established a development partnership with Moose Cree First Nation for the Lower Mattagami River Hydroelectric Project. The project is located in the Moose River Basin. Courtesy of Ontario Power Generation Inc.

Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) Builds on Existing Partnerships on the Lower Mattagami Project: OPG is currently working with more than 50 Aboriginal communities across Ontario on several electricity projects. In 2006, OPG and Lac Seul First Nation partnered on the Lac Seul Generating Station. This partnership, still in effect, has benefited the community through economic opportunities, joint ventures, training programs and more. More recently, OPG established a development partnership with Moose Cree First Nation for the Lower Mattagami River Hydroelectric Project. Moose Cree First Nation has up to a 25 per cent equity share in the project, which will deliver 438 MW of clean, renewable power when completed in 2015. The project is on schedule and on budget. A third partnership project with the Taykwa Tagamou Nation is currently in development in Northeast Ontario.

SaskPower Invests in Aboriginal Skills Training: In 2013, SaskPower and the Black Lake First Nation entered into a formal basic skills training initiative called the Certified Workforce Education Program, which is providing 64 Band members with the skills necessary (e.g., from cooking to heavy equipment maintenance) to contribute to the development of the Tazi Twé hydroelectric project. Program participants will also receive a certificate from Northlands College, helping them translate their new skills to future job opportunities with SaskPower or other employers in the region.

A Commitment to Engagement CEA member utilities are committed to engaging Aboriginal Peoples – both collectively through CEA and individually. We want to ensure a long-term partnership that is based on trust and respect. As the sector expands and renews to better serve Canadians, the opportunities of these partnerships are infinite. Let’s work together to make our environment and communities sustainable for current and future generations to come. Read more about what CEA members are doing on sustainability at and share your views with me at



first nations resource magazine

The non-profit First Nations Employment Society works in traditional Coast Salish territories in Southwestern British Columbia to train and find employment for its member communities. It is an important partner for Aboriginals and Métis as well as large employers looking for skilled workers. “That’s our job,” says Norma Guerin who heads up the First Nations Employment Society, or FNES for short (pronounced like the word ‘finesse’). “Helping our members increase employment.”

©copyright istocki | nightman1965

“I know there’s a lot of talent in our communities. They just need the right opportunities. FNES is here to grease those wheels and get the job train moving faster. A lot of people need help and encouragement along their career path. We have the training and monetary support, and links to the right people and funding sources to get our people the skills and education they need for good jobs.”

“There’s a lot of talent in our communities. They just need the right opportunities.” – Norma Guerin

Guerin is quick to note, the other important ingredient in the job mix is employers. “We make it a priority to know the companies looking to hire. We have good relationships with many big employers in Vancouver and our surrounding communities in the Pemberton Valley, Sunshine Coast and northern Vancouver Island. For example Seaspan is going to need hundreds of skilled metal workers in their shipbuilding program. We have been working with them to train people for their needs. Another example is the Tsawwassen Band, which is busy gearing up for major building developments on their lands and will need thousands of construction workers. That’s just two major opportunities. We have more.”


Guerin and her FNES team also work with major funders like the federal government’s Services Canada, as well as provincial and municipal organizations, to get the funding to carry out their programs. The key is to train for available jobs. “We are constantly adapting to changing industry needs,” says Guerin. “It is important for us to ensure that our training is in skill areas that are matched to industry needs.”

©copyright istocki | Glen Jones

For the province of British Columbia, that means work in areas like mining and LNG, transportation and the supply chain, the shipbuilding industry, building trades, energy projects such as hydroelectricity and independent power producers, forestry, and retail. Guerin points to the low unemployment rate in the self-governed Sechelt Nation as a beacon. “Their unemployment rate – at 3% - is lower than the mainstream rate in B.C. and Canada that hovers around 6 – 6.5%. At FNES we want to see all our First Nations communities with healthy unemployment rates. “We encourage any unemployed or under-employed member to come in and see our job coaches. Those seeking good jobs are our clients. The client works with the job coach and the job coach is working with industry. It’s a virtuous circle.” For more information visit:


first nations resource magazine

©copyright istocki | Bashutskyy

Launched in October 2014 by the Squamish Nation, this new trades training opportunity is being embraced by youth wanting good-paying jobs. But people of all ages and genders are welcomed to join the rush to get a job in the trades and eventually perhaps, a trade certification too. Here’s what one visitor to the school and Squamish Trades Centre learned during a recent visit. There’s a buzz in the air as soon as you walk in the door and it’s not coming from the skill saw in a nearby workshop. It’s coming from the energy of the young students undertaking an 8-week program at the Squamish Nation Trades School located under the Ironworkers’ Bridge in North Vancouver. One group is doing woodwork in a large workshop on the ground floor and while another is getting ready for a workplace safety lesson in an upstairs classroom. It’s clear from the eager looks and smiles that the youth are enjoying the learning experience. “The program is an introduction to the basics that people need so they can work on a trade job site,” says department head Faye Halls. “They’ll get exposed to carpentry, electrical, plumbing and dry walling.”

“This program will produce ‘Jacks’ and ‘Janes’ of all trades.” – Crystal Quocksister When the Trades Centre began offering workplace training programs back in 2007, most of the participants were men. That gender imbalance is clearly changing with the Crafts Worker program. “Out of a class of 15, six are women,” says Crystal Quocksister, Administrative Officer for the Squamish Nation Trades Centre. “So this program will produce ‘Jacks’ and ‘Janes’ of all trades,” she adds jokingly but with a serious message. “We’re finding that women represent 30 per cent of our classrooms now whereas in the early years we were lucky if there was one in a class.” The Trades Centre is proud of its past successes. It has helped at least 600 First Nations take trades courses and approximately 350 have gone on to get their apprenticeship certification. In a job market where there is a shortage of qualified trades people, those with certifications can expect to earn $25 to $45 per hour.

The Trade Centre works with its partner, the First Nation Employment Society, to give their members the training and employment support they need to get good jobs and develop careers. First Nations of all ages and abilities are encouraged to take part – from those without high school diplomas to people who have been out of work for long periods of time. “We want full classes so we open our doors to everyone,” says Faye Halls. “And we will help them find work too. We have many partners in industry and can link our clients with employers seeking workers.” ACE-IT runs for 23 weeks and introduces basic concepts of plumbing, steam-fitting, pipefitting and sprinkler systems. Work placements will be found for those completing the program.

OPPORTUNITIES IN PIPING TRADES AND ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING THE SQUAMISH NATION TRADE CENTRE WILL BE INTRODUCING NEW PROGRAMS IN 2015 INCLUDING: • Accelerated Credit Enrollment in Industry Training: Piping Foundations (ACE-IT) for students enrolled in grades 11 or 12 in secondary schools within the North Vancouver School District. • Introduction to Environmental Monitoring Program for general enrollment.

Introduction to Environmental Monitoring is an 8-week program dealing with air, water and soil samplings which are all main components of environmental assessment studies. These activities are essential for the preplanning stages of the oil & gas and mining industries.

“Both programs provide plenty of career opportunities,” says Administrative Officer Crystal Quocksister. “All of our training programs fall in line with the targets set out by the Province in the BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. These programs set the students up for careers in the shipbuilding industry with SeaSpan, mining, and the oil & gas sectors. The piping trades and environmental monitoring are forecast to be careers that will be very high in demand.”


Mason Sands and Andy Thomas dance at Fanshawe’s Fall Equinox Gathering, Oct. 23, 2014. (Photo credit: John Sing, Fanshawe College)


first nations resource magazine


FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION Located in a culturally-rich Indigenous area with many different First Nations cultures represented within a 150-kilometre radius of its London campus, Fanshawe is the leading provider of First Nations education and services in Southwestern Ontario.


eveloped in response to interest from the community, Fanshawe’s First Nations Studies (FNS) program Major launched in September 2012 through the School of Language and Liberal Studies. The program offers an authentic study of both contemporary and traditional Indigenous knowledge. Course instructors lead students on an examination of contemporary issues, including some of the original agreements that local Indigenous groups made with Europeans as well as present day decisions affecting urban and rural Indigenous populations. Students learn traditional knowledge directly through the words of local Elders and community members. It’s a program created and delivered by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people. The program was developed through 18 months of research and consultation with 26 respected members of various Indigenous communities throughout Southwestern Ontario, including Elders, medicine people, college students, secondary school teachers, professors, managers and fluent language speakers from the Munsee First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, Chippewa First Nations and Six Nations of the Grand River. The result is a one-of-a-kind program that balances both men’s and women’s teachings and perspectives while promoting leadership and skill development grounded in Indigenous knowledge. Jessica Ford, one of the original Fanshawe curriculum coordinators and instructors involved in reaching out to the community, says the first two years of the program have been successful in meeting its goal of sparking a greater interest in Indigenous studies. Ford credits the inclusive curriculum development approach for the FNS program’s success. “This is something the community has asked for so it’s gratifying to say that we’ve been able to deliver a program that resonates with the community,” she says. “It is very exciting to open college spaces for the advancement of Indigenous knowledge and share with the students all of what the community has taught us.”

Even more rewarding is the profound impact the program has had on students. Wyonna Bressette credits the FNS program for where she is today. Unable to find a class or program that “felt right” during her first two-year stint at Fanshawe, Bressette had all but given up on her education when she heard about the newly formed program. Intrigued by the opportunity to learn more about her culture and history, she applied. Two years later, in the spring of 2014, Bressette became the first graduate of the program. “This program saved me. It was the first time I had ever truly succeeded academically,” she says. “The program teaches you things you won’t learn anywhere else and the teaching style is singularly unique. It opens up new ways of learning and understanding that you can take into other classes and apply in your own life. What I’m most grateful for is what it taught me about myself; about what I am capable of as an Anishinaabe person; about the strength I have when I understand my culture, history and spirituality.”


Students are encouraged to complement the curriculum by attending cultural celebrations held at Fanshawe or in the community. In late October, the students participated in a Fall Equinox celebration at Fanshawe. While it looked like any other celebration to mark the changing of the seasons — there were dancers wearing colourful and elaborately decorated regalia, music driven by a booming drum, hypnotic chants and prayers by an Elder, all reflecting the local Indigenous peoples — it was far from typical. The celebration also marked the official signing of an articulation agreement between Fanshawe and Western University that promises to continue benefitting First Nations Studies students at the College for years to come. The articulation agreement, one of only a handful throughout Canada dedicated to First Nations Studies, is a central component of the program that allows students enrolled in Fanshawe’s twoyear FNS Major to take university-level courses. Students have the potential to earn a full first year of university credits by the time they graduate from Fanshawe.


Candace Lickers, a Marketing and soon-to-be Business Administration – Marketing graduate from the Six Nations reserve near Brantford, says it was a visit to the First Nations Centre a week before school started that convinced her Fanshawe was the place for her. Lickers became heavily involved with the Centre and credits the friends she made there with helping ease her transition to her new surroundings. Lickers is president of the Flyin’ Nations Association, formerly the College’s First Nations Students Association, (from left to right): John Doerksen, Vice-Provost of Western University, and which is the second-largest student club on campus. She Bruce Elijah (Elder) look on as Peter Devlin, President of Fanshawe signs the explains how the club changed its name recently to make articulation agreement between Fanshawe and Western. (Photo credit: John Sing, Fanshawe College) it more inclusive of all cultures and heritages. “The club is about having fun, relieving stress and educating each Rick Fehr, acting director of Western’s First Nations Studies program, other about our shared culture at the same time,” she says. “We have views the articulation agreement as a great opportunity for the a responsibility to share our culture with others; if someone is curious two schools to strengthen ties while opening doors for Indigenous about our culture, why not connect with an open mind?” students to further their education. He says he has been impressed with the calibre of students coming from Fanshawe. “When they Kevin Lamure, manager of the First Nations Centre, has noticed come here, they do so without missing a beat,” he says. “They are more Indigenous youth visiting the centre to learn about their culture often more prepared for the type of material and level of expectations and traditions. “We see a lot of students who come in to the Centre we have of students.” during a break between classes and ask us to teach them about their culture,” says Lamure. “We have to explain that it’s not that easy; it’s Ford has big ambitions to expand the program by developing courses something they need to live, breathe and share. But, we’re here to help on local Indigenous languages and reaching out to organizations guide them through it.” throughout the region to create partnerships for students to get firsthand employment and training opportunities. “At Fanshawe, we focus on Lamure says the Centre is focused on being “a home away from home” unlocking the potential of our students. We want to see them succeed,” where First Nations Status, Non-Status, Métis, and Inuit students at the she says. “Part of that is giving them real-world experience during the College can turn for support. “We encourage the students and reassure curriculum so they’ll be more employable when they graduate.” them that they can get through whatever challenge they’re facing.”


At Fanshawe, the opportunities to learn and engage with First Nations culture aren’t limited to the classroom. The College serves as a valuable resource for Aboriginal youth and one of only a handful of places in London to connect with their culture. The College’s First Nations Centre is at the centre of it all, providing culturally supportive services and a gathering place for the more than 300 self-identified Indigenous students enrolled at the College. First opened in 1996, it’s a hub of activity that sees roughly 75 people walk through the door every day. Students come looking for one-on-one support from staff, to meet with a visiting Elder for spiritual and cultural guidance, perform a smudging ceremony or other traditional ceremony, use the computer lab to catch up on school work or simply hang out with other Indigenous students in the lounge. Megan Nahmabin, a First Nations Studies student in her last semester at Fanshawe, refers to the Centre as her “second home,” noting, “as soon as I crossed the threshold I felt at home.” The cultural events, visiting Elders and healers and opportunities to connect with other students have helped strengthen her sense of her culture. “I found myself when I came to Fanshawe,” she says. “I found my path. I’ll always remember Fanshawe for that… for revitalizing my spirit.”

While the Centre holds a lot of events throughout the year, Lamure’s favourite are the numerous graduation ceremonies his team throws for the students who achieve their academic goals. “We make a point of inviting their families,” he says. “Seeing the smiles on their faces and knowing we helped in some small way makes it all worthwhile.”

Kevin Lamure, manager of Fanshawe’s First Nations Centre; Bev Antone-Collar, Student Success Advisor. (Photo credit: John Sing, Fanshawe College)



first nations resource magazine

CAPE funding gives Aboriginal entrepreneurs a foothold on the future


hen Sean McCormick sought financing for his startup footwear venture, he wanted an investor that would help build his business, and equally importantly, support Aboriginal culture. “I wanted a partner that mirrored the philosophies I have and that our business has, which is kind of a double mandate,” says McCormick, CEO and founder of Manitobah Mukluks, a Winnipeg-based manufacturer of mukluks, moccasins and related fashion accessories. McCormick found the perfect fit with the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) Fund, a $50 million privatesector investment fund capitalized by 21 investors , other leading Canadian corporations and individuals, as well as three international foundations (for complete list of investors visit “CAPE’s primary goal is to encourage the creation and growth of Aboriginal business and entrepreneurship in Canada by providing nurturing support and capacity building, together with the required equity capital to help ensure success. It hopes to create role models to inspire a new generation of aboriginal entrepreneurs, while simultaneously providing financial return to its investors.” says cofounder David Martin. To date, CAPE Fund has invested more than $30 million to assist First Nations, Metis and Inuit businesses and communities. The original vision was to act as a private equity fund, says Managing Director Peter Forton. “However, when we got into the market we found that the real demand was in development stage companies. We’ve come to follow much more of a venture capital model, working in close partnership with our seven portfolio companies, both before and after our investment. As a result of the continuing demands on money and time associated with companies of this nature, we have decided to stop making any new investments and focus on the support of those already in the portfolio and helping them to achieve success”

Tipi moccasin styled


Steps to success

CAPE Fund investment assessment focuses on long term economic sustainability; promising market opportunity supported by a well-articulated business plan; a platform for Aboriginal management support and training; potential to transfer the CAPE business equity interest back to the entrepreneur or community over time; and ability to generate a reasonable financial return to CAPE on the maturity of its investment, generally six to seven years later. Manitobah Mukluks met all CAPE criteria and due diligence, receiving funding for business expansion, as well as invaluable mentorship from the CAPE Fund management team and investment committee, including former Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin, and his son David, both cofounders of CAPE.

Sean in the factory


“They brought us another level of sophistication and governance. It’s been very helpful,” says McCormick, whose company has quadrupled sales growth and employs nearly 60 Canadians, about half of whom are Aboriginal. It’s just as important to him that Manitobah Mukluks serves as an example of the vast potential of youth today and for generations to come.


“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but that is secondary to the impact we are making in the community,” he says. “We don’t need a whole bunch of Aboriginal billionaires created by CAPE. What we need is a culture change, a bunch of good news stories. We need people to see what the possibilities are. That’s the value of working with CAPE.”

CAPE Fund is one of Canada’s largest social finance funds providing key investments, as well as employment and training opportunities at all levels for Aboriginal companies across industries.

• Canadian Prairie Garden Purees supplies a broad range of aseptic vegetable and fruit purees, produced with an innovative steam infusion technology, to customers in the food manufacturing and food service industries. ( • Manitobah Mukluks (see adjacent article) is one of today’s fastest-growing Canadian footwear brands with global scope and international sales. ( • One Earth Farms is a unique food product company offering healthy family food alternatives, from naturally-raised proteins to organic baby food. ( • Universal Helicopter Newfoundland and Labrador is amongst Canada’s most successful helicopter companies with 50 years of service to government, mining, utilities, construction, engineering, environment, tourism and film. ( • MLTC Industrial Investments manages interests in lumber, transportation, fuel distribution and biomass energy. ( • Indigena Solutions an outsourcing service for software application and development, maintenance and testing, contact centre services, IT Help Desk and back-office business processing. ( • Coastal Shellfish operates a vertically-integrated scallop aquaculture business incorporating a state-of-the-art hatchery, nursery and grow-out sites, as well as processing and distribution. (

first nations resource magazine

Creating spin-off businesses

New and economic social benefits have been unfolding every day at Goldcorp’s Éléonore gold mine in Northern Quebec, long before its first gold pour in July 2014. In addition to the 1,300 to 1,500 workers employed at the mine during the construction phase, many from surrounding communities, several enterprising businesses have popped up, including locally-owned janitorial services, outfitters and administrative services.

“Having the laundry done away from the project site means less pressure placed on the local water system,” said Jean-Philippe Clement, Transport and Accommodation Coordinator at Éléonore. “It’s important for us to remember the impact of the communities and the environment around us when we are building large infrastructure…[by] doing business arrangements such as this one with the laundry we are fulfilling Goldcorp’s sustainable commitment of being ‘Responsible, Respected and Welcomed’.”

The economic up-cycle is a direct result of a landmark collaboration agreement between Goldcorp and the Cree Nation to create sustainable value together and share in the success of mine development and operation. Goldcorp will also fund local training, education, scholarships and commerce opportunities.

One of the thriving companies is Wemindji Laundry, created in partnership between the Tawich Development Corporation and Goldcorp. Wemindji provides commercial laundering for Éléonore mine and employees. Regular collections load and transport laundry to a facility three hours away in the town of Wemindji, where all is washed, dried, folded and then returned to the mine site. The laundry facility also provides coin-operated machines and services for the convenience of 1,300 community members. Wemindi Laundry has eight employees doing at least four times the business volume anticipated. And not only has the business created local jobs, it’s also helped Goldcorp lower maintenance costs and reduce the environmental footprint.

Laundromat washers



first nations resource magazine

Šcopyright | Stockbyte

THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN CANADA TENDS TO PROMOTE ACADEMIC SKILLS AND ENCOURAGE YOUTH INTO PROFESSIONS EDUCATORS ARE FAMILIAR WITH. CANADA HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES OF POST SECONDARY ENROLMENT IN THE WORLD AND HAS BECOME GREAT AT PRODUCING DOCTORS, LAWYERS, ACCOUNTANTS AND ENGINEERS. From an educational perspective, skilled trades tend to be considered an afterthought for those who may lack academic aptitude to complete “normal” courses at the secondary school level. Schools provide very limited information that encourages young people to pursue skilled trades as a first choice career following secondary school. Students receive the message from the school system, parents and society that a trade is a low grade job…why? The trades seem to carry a negative perception with them…most of it has to do with a lack of knowledge of the skilled trades in the education system and society in general. The following myths are most common:

1. THE TRADES ARE NOT WELL PAID Most students tend to think that if you work in the trades your pay is low. According to statistics Canada, construction workers earn more on average than university grades. Most trades in the construction industry are paying roughly between $40 to $60 dollars an hour and climbing. One huge advantage is that students get paid to learn from the first day they start their trade compared to thousands of dollars of debt associated with university that takes years to pay off.


2. People end up in construction because they have no other choice The construction industry requires youth that can work with their hands...very specialized skill set that university bound students do not have. Youth need to be able to use tools, have great communication skills, problem solving skills and strong leadership skills. Each day is a challenge and people work in construction because they like to see the results of their work and take a sense of pride in it.

3. You need a university degree to get a good job According to statistics Canada, Only 1 out of every 10 jobs requires a university degree. Students who receive an undergrad from a university are having a tough time getting employed. The highest unemployment right in Canada is youth in their early 20’s who have

graduated from a university and cannot find a job. To ensure you have a career opportunity, check out the job bank website (http://www. which will tell you the number of job opportunities in a particular career...that way you know before you spend time and money that you will be able to get a job.

So why is a trade right for you? Skilled trades’ people are in high demand. By 2020, the Canadian Construction industry is expected to lose a third of employees due to retirement. This means that skilled trades and the construction industry in general are facing a huge labour shortage. The main challenge is filling this gap and Canada is now looking at new immigration laws to allow foreign workers to fill the gap but why not look closer to home. Canada’s Aboriginal peoples are ready and willing to work in the skilled trades, and are the fasting growing population in Canada. Aboriginal Canadians are the fastest growing demographic in the country. They are also a young demographic. In 2011, the median age for Aboriginals was 26, whereas for the nonAboriginal population, it was 41. This represents a unique opportunity to deal with an aging skilled workforce. Members of the skilled trades’ workforce are older than the members of the workforce as a whole are. Thus, shortages will worsen if new workers do not replace those who retire. Apprenticeships are available for hundreds of trades, ranging from cooks and concrete finishers to hair stylists, plumbers and electricians. Individuals with a Grade 12 education or equivalent register with as an apprentice and sign on with an employer who will supervise their training. Some classroom instructions per year are usually required, and there’s a certification exam for some trades, but apprentices spend most of their time working for pay under the tutelage of experienced tradespeople. The process takes two to five years, the governments offer grants to cover costs in an effort to get more people interested in the trades.

How to get started The internet provides numerous websites and resources for you’re to start doing research. The Canadian Construction Association ( has a national civil construction site which will provide you with information on career options. The Ontario Civil Construction Careers Institute ( is a great way to start. You can complete a skill assessment to see which career you might be better suited for. The website contains information on the skills and education that is required and how to go about finding an employer. You can also search for scholarships and grant money from the industry and government. And there are good skilled trades’ jobs in every corner of the country. If you want to build your career in the heart of a city, or work close to your First Nations community, chances are, there’s a skilled trade’s job that’s right for you.


first nations resource magazine



first nations resource magazine



helma Villeneuve Chalifoux was born in a blizzard in Calgary in 1929 and was told by her father that it meant she would be strong and independent. In her work and in her life, she has lived up to her father’s words, whether by fleeing her abusive husband with her small children when she was in her 20s, or by speaking passionately about Aboriginal women’s issues in Canada’s Senate, where she was appointed in 1997 by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien as Canada’s first Métis and Aboriginal woman senator. “Thelma Chalifoux was such a wonderful presence of wisdom and generosity and warmth and good cheer, She was in many, many ways a role model, particularly for the women in the Senate.”

“I won’t back down and people know that,” Chalifoux said in a 2005 article by Shannon Sutherland in Alberta Venture magazine. “I used to run down the halls in the House of Commons when I had an issue and literally chase people down, shouting after them. They knew they couldn’t get away from me.”

She didn’t back down when she found herself a single mother with seven children in the 1960s. With a grade nine education, she returned to school and work, and eventually enrolled in classes at what was then Lethbridge Junior College in 1968. Two of her sons, Bob and Scott, who were 19 and 18 at the time, joined her as students on campus.


“It was a real mother-son experience,” Bob Coulter says with a laugh. “We were all part of the yearbook committee, and all enrolled in a humanities class taught by Mr. Schmidt. We loved him. He was a great teacher and a really very openminded guy. He really got us thinking about governments and social responsibility and having a social conscience.” Coulter says the lessons Mr. Schmidt taught in that Lethbridge College classroom stayed with all three throughout their lives. “He was a little known but huge influence on mom and the rest of us,” Coulter says. “He could back up philosophical arguments and that was important. At our house, if you didn’t have a point of view at the dinner table you were in peril. You had to defend your position. And so we talked about social responsibility and what we were learning in the classroom in the context of the Aboriginal community and the Métis. When you extrapolate that out, what a huge difference he made, not only in our lives but in the lives of thousands of people in Mom’s case.” Coulter says the Lethbridge College campus seemed very open to First Nations and Métis students during this time, even though it was less than a decade after Aboriginal peoples were given the right to vote in Canada without having to give up any treaty rights in exchange. “The college faculty was accepting,” he recalls. “It was all about ideas – the exchange of ideas. If you had a point of view you were heard and acknowledged. You weren’t told you were wrong because of your colour or racial background, but you did have to defend your ideas based on your intellect and your mind.”

“She brought the reality of Métis and Aboriginal issues to the Senate, especially about women. She never said no to taking on any challenge. She showed me what inner strength was all about.”

After two semesters, Chalifoux became ill with pancreatitis, so she and her family returned to northern Alberta. She went on to study at other post-secondary institutions and became the first Aboriginal woman to broadcast on commercial radio on CKXL Radio Peace River. She later spent time as a land claims negotiator, a social activist in the community development movement with the Company of Young Canadians, a social worker, an educator, and a founder of the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre.

“She’s been a big influence in all of our lives,” says her daughter Sharon Morin, who works at the Michif Cultural and Research Institute in St. Albert that Chalifoux helped to found after leaving the Senate. “We all strive to be like her in some aspect.”


first nations resource magazine

One of her son’s favorite stories to tell is about her work advocating for the Cree language, and in particular the time when Chalifoux received the call from Prime Minister Chrétien to formally invite her to join the upper chamber. “I was in the room with her when the call came,” Coulter says. “The prime minister said ‘We need you in the Senate,’ and then he asked if she spoke French. She replied ‘No’ – in Cree. They both laughed.” The family was sworn to secrecy for several days before the prime minister made his announcement, and Coulter says they spent that time “talking about how this could happen, that this little Métis gal who struggled as a single mom could be named to the Senate.” Chalifoux’s work in the Senate from 1997 until her mandatory retirement in 2004 at the age of 75 is still vividly recalled by her colleagues. “Thelma Chalifoux was such a wonderful presence of wisdom and generosity and warmth and good cheer,” says Sen. Joan Fraser of Quebec. “She was in many, many ways a role model, particularly for the women in the Senate. She helped to deepen my understanding of Aboriginal issues significantly.” Sen. Fraser was sorry to see Sen. Chalifoux retire. “She taught me many things about being a good person – and she taught me something about the Senate as well,” says Sen. Fraser. “I remember she said to me one day ‘Senators are Elders,’ and she of course herself is a Métis Elder. What a beautiful way to sum up what we do.”

Senator Maria Chaput of Manitoba agreed that Chalifoux was an outstanding advocate for Aboriginal and Métis issues. “Thelma cared very much about Aboriginal issues and she always spoke in the Senate about what needed to be changed for the best of her people,” says Sen. Chaput. “She was always diplomatic and collaborated with her colleagues and tried to change things for her community and her people. She had the respect of her colleagues, even though they might not have agreed with her. Some of her colleagues maybe needed to know more about the reality facing many Aboriginal people and especially women. She wasn’t scared to speak, and she wasn’t scared to work.” Sen. Pana Merchant from Saskatchewan vividly recalls a speech Sen. Chalifoux delivered in the Senate to bring attention to the particular challenges of Aboriginal women residing in northern Canada. “Aboriginal women continue to face enormous barriers when seeking to solve their problems by way of accessing fairness and access to services in remote parts of our nation, a task that most women take for granted in southern Canada,” Sen. Merchant says. “It was my pleasure to work with her and learn from her. Her early life experiences became the forceful backdrop to a long and distinguished public career culminating in being summoned to the Senate of Canada. On her arrival in Canada’s upper chamber of parliament she brought her passion of purpose that had been accumulated by her championing of many urgent and noble causes.” Sen. Mobina Jaffer of British Columbia, who is Canada’s first Muslim senator, first African-born senator, and first senator of South Asian descent, says Sen. Chalifoux accomplished much as Canada’s first Métis woman senator. “Sen. Chalifoux changed the way the Senate looked at issues,” says Sen. Jaffer. “She brought the reality of Métis and Aboriginal issues to the Senate, especially about women. She never said no to taking on any challenge. She showed me what inner strength was all about.” While Lethbridge College’s Métis Elder Rod McLeod never met Chalifoux personally, he is familiar and appreciative of her work. “Sen. Chalifoux is someone we can all look up to,” McLeod says. “She raised a family of seven, went through so many hardships and did so much good work. She is a role model for all of us.”


After leaving the Senate, where Chalifoux worked closely with her children Bob and Debbie, she gave her time to the Michif Cultural Centre with her daughter Sharon, and was an Elder at NAIT and for the Canadian Armed Forces Edmonton Garrison. She remained an ardent advocate for Métis, Aboriginal and women’s issues as well as a loving mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother, although in recent years, her son says, she has been struggling with memory loss. “Now I bring my pictures and we just start talking about the good old days and all of the stories,” Bob Coulter says. Over the years, the Honourable Thelma Chalifoux has been called a force, a firecracker and a voice for the underprivileged – including during her days as a student at Lethbridge College. But above all, she has been a bold leader whose legacy still flourishes in the province and through the country. “Sen. Thelma Chalifoux gave us a wake-up call about the reality of Aboriginal and Métis people, and women especially,” says Sen. Jaffer. “Her work continues now with other senators but she really opened our minds. She absolutely was a trailblazer, but more than that, she set a fire here. She made us wake up and see we have to be more responsible for all people. She taught us that it doesn’t matter how much you have – there is always more to give.” Story by Lisa Kozleski, Lethbridge College Photos courtesy NAIT’s Encana Aboriginal Student Centre This article first appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Wider Horizons, Lethbridge College’s magazine. To read more stories from the magazine, go to


first nations resource magazine


Opening remarks by Gladys Blackstar, ACCFS Executive Director: “I give thanks to all the caregivers, staff & elders for continuously providing love and a safe home environment for our children. We acknowledge the caring and unselfishness, for the services provided by the caregivers. It’s an opportunity for the staff and caregivers to meet face to face with the parents who are facing difficult times. In the traditional practice, Christmas is a time for sharing, laughter, telling stories and visiting, a time for comfort.”

Foster parents, Case managers, Family Support staff, Foster care workers, Group home staff, Elders all come together to celebrate kids Christmas. Christmas music is heard throughout the entire evening…,


A lot of time & effort is put towards our Agency’s Annual Children’s Christmas Party by booking a community hall, booking of caterers by local organizations. ACCFS staff members work tirelessly to purchase and wrap gifts, make candy bags, provide transportation to and from the hall for parents and caregivers that don’t have transportation; they decorate the hall and clean up after the event is done.

Santa’s elves, ACCFS executive director Gladys Blackstar & supervisor Rick Dumais welcome all the caregivers, parents, and children to the Christmas party.

Activities like the Balloon guy, face painting, DJ music, Derek Starlight and his Muppets, and Santa are provided for people and children who attend the function.

In the end, the ACCFS staff and Board sing Christmas carols to the children, parents and caregivers to show the people that the Agency has a big heart for the families.

A local Elder says a prayer for the families in attendance and then the food is served buffet style.


first nations resource magazine

Our photographer and foster care worker Marcel Thomas is continuously taking pictures throughout the function to capture the fun and laughter of all who attend. The cooks have been cooking for 2 days preparing for this special gathering and making sure everyone is fed. They are always the last ones to eat. Santa has entered the building, the kids eyes light up and follow Santa to the stage as he and the elves (ACCFS staff members) hand out the Christmas gifts and candy bags. The children sit on Santa’s lap and they receive hugs from Santa. ACCFS is the major sponsor and some of the Agency’s supplier’s co-sponsor gifts and candy bags for our children. Also sometimes give our agency boxes of winter jackets to hand out at these gatherings.

One of the highlights in this gathering, kids always keeps the balloon guy busy throughout the event. Every year the balloon guy is booked one year in advance. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Vantage Publishing for sharing our Christmas story to all the readers out there. Agency Chiefs Child & Family Services


Saving Lives from Suicide Through awareness and intervention training, Canada’s First Nations are helping others choose life. by Owen Stockden, Communications Officer, LivingWorks Education

Suicide is preventable It is a common misconception that thoughts of suicide inevitably lead to death. The truth is that suicide is preventable. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die—what they want is an escape from the emotional, mental, or physical pain they are experiencing in their lives. They often invite others to help them stay alive through their words and gestures, sometimes thought of as “warning signs.” These invitations can include talking about wanting to die, giving away possessions, expressing hopelessness or despair, or losing interest in their usual activities. For a more detailed list of invitations, see “Four Steps to Help Save a Life” on page 55. These words and behaviors can provide an alert that someone needs help. What does this help look like? Sometimes it can be as simple as reaching out to the person at risk and letting them share the pain, problems, and struggles that have led to suicidal thoughts. From there, it is possible to take further steps, like connecting them with a trusted helping resource to help them stay alive. But who is qualified to talk with someone at risk?

Everyone has a part to play Anyone can learn the skills and knowledge to help someone stay safe from suicide. Members of the community at large can—and do—prevent suicide. One of the ways they learn to intervene is through community workshops, often provided by local trainers who are familiar with regional needs and customs. These workshops address some of the myths about suicide, train participants to recognize invitations for help, and show them how to connect someone at risk of suicide with local safety resources. Linda Cairns, a veteran educator living in Prince Albert, has been providing suicide intervention training workshops in the area since 2010. Her work supports 11 First Nations groups, including Dakota, Dene, Swampy Cree, and Woodland Cree communities. “It took almost three years just to get people comfortable with saying the word suicide,” she said. “That taught me the importance of patience.” In many First Nations communities, there are taboos about discussing suicide openly. In some areas, if stigma around the word


first nations resource magazine

“suicide” is too strong, workshop educators might use a different word instead. What’s most important, emphasizes Cairns, is being able to have an open and honest discussion with someone who intends to end their own life—no matter what words are used. But as she held more workshops and built more ties with the community, Cairns slowly helped to increase the comfort of community members in Prince Albert as they discussed suicide— and how to prevent it.

Learning skills to save a life “Initially,” said Cairns, “it was mostly professionals that I was training: teachers, counselors. But now it’s expanding to students and members of the community.” The two training programs Cairns most commonly provides are safeTALK and ASIST. Both were developed by LivingWorks Education and are used around the world. safeTALK is a half-day workshop that teaches participants to recognize when someone may be at risk of suicide and connect them with a resource who can intervene to help them stay alive: an elder, a health worker, a teacher, a counselor, a clergy member, or another trusted person. ASIST, which stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, is an in-depth, two-day workshop that prepares participants to identify someone at risk and then carry out the intervention themselves. safeTALK participants can also connect those in need with people who have been trained in ASIST. Marcel McKay, principal of Prince Albert’s J.W. Head Memorial Education Centre and KiWaytinok Elementary School and a member of the area’s First Nations community, understands the value of these training programs. He was one of the first to advocate for their use in local schools. When a suicide took place in 2011, senior educational staff met with community members to find a way forward. “We wanted to find an acceptable move for the next five years,” he said. “Something that could improve the lifestyles of the youth and the community in general.” Working with Cairns, McKay brought both safeTALK and ASIST to his

schools, ensuring that nearly fifty teachers and staff had access to the programs. “At first there was a lot of hesitation,” he said, noting that some staff members had prior experiences with suicide. “But I tried to explain to them that you’re going to be affected, and it’s something you need to go through—you can’t run away.” Some staff still come to McKay for guidance and check-ins as they use their ASIST suicide intervention skills. He feels that’s a good sign, and that it shows they care about helping students and other community members. “We have resources outside the school if something does happen, but they can’t always respond quickly,” he said. “Having these resources in the school lets us address it right away.”

Youth making a difference Adults aren’t the only ones getting involved in Prince Albert’s suicide prevention efforts—youth are also taking an active role. “That’s the age group that faces one of the highest suicide risks, but also the ones who want to make a difference,” Cairns said. “There are lot of gifts in young people. We forget that sometimes.” Youth provide each other with peer support, often connecting through text messaging and social media. In Prince Albert, some have joined crisis response teams to identify invitations for help and provide immediate support to their peers. “Youth training has made a huge difference in the community—just huge!” emphasized Cairns. “Getting involved in crisis and outreach teams has given them a lot of purpose.”


Mia Bird was the youngest person in the room when her ASIST training began. At only 17, the avid high school athlete asked for special permission to attend the workshop along with her teachers. Not only did she recognize that ASIST training would be a valuable asset on her resumé, she also wanted to support her peers. “We have students and younger kids going through suicide feelings,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help them and try to prevent that.” Leading the workshop was none other than Linda Cairns. “Mia caught on right away because she didn’t struggle with doing what needed to be done,” Cairns said. “She was an excellent participant. She showed maturity and determination.” Looking back on her experience, Bird is glad she made the decision. “It was a very helpful thing to go through. I was thinking that we should have more suicide prevention training for younger people.”

that their efforts—and workshops such as ASIST and safeTALK—have helped community members move away from a discussion about death, and start focusing on life. “The LivingWorks programs provide a strong foundation for talking about life,” she said. “They encourage us to explore our reasons for wanting to live. In the end, life is worth living and worth celebrating. We make it our focus to stop worrying about what’s wrong with the world and start concentrating on what’s right.” Prince Albert is one of many First Nations communities across Canada that are working hard to tell a different story about suicide—one where lives can change and be safe from suicide. Community members are increasingly recognizing that each of them, regardless of prior background or experience, has something to offer to suicide prevention. “It’s hopeful,” Cairns said in summary. “There’s a lot of hope here.” To learn more about LivingWorks, ASIST, and safeTALK, visit or refer to the advertisement on page 57. See “Four Steps to Save a Life” below to learn what you can do to help someone at risk of suicide.

FOUR STEPS TO HELP SAVE A LIFE Here is an overview of the TALK steps—Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe— provided by LivingWorks’ safeTALK training. You can use these steps to speak with someone at risk and connect them with a helping resource. To ensure full understanding and practice of the TALK steps, attending a safeTALK training session is strongly recommended.

Are you ready to ask about suicide? Asking someone and talking about suicide can feel scary. However, breaking the silence sends a powerful message to someone that it is okay to talk about what they are feeling and thinking, that they are not alone, and that you care. When someone is feeling suicidal, it is often less about wanting to die, and more about feeling that they have run out of options and hope. The fear and shame surrounding these feelings keeps people isolated and cut off from accessing help, which allows their fear, hopelessness, and embarrassment to grow bigger and bigger. Asking about and giving people permission to talk about suicide is the first step towards hope and almost always helps reduce the risk. Asking someone about suicide doesn’t put the idea in their head—it gives them the chance to let their fear out and talk about other options. Breaking the silence surrounding suicide increases opportunities to save lives and reduce suffering.

The skills she learned have since proven valuable: she’s intervened with a number of other young people, including one she reached out to through Facebook. They’ve included friends, fellow students, and younger youths as well.

Telling a new story As Linda Cairns reflects on her work in Prince Albert, she feels inspired by people like Marcel McKay and Mia Bird. She believes


Using the TALK steps from



We would like the person to tell us openly and directly that they are thinking about suicide, but often this does not happen. Instead we may need to tune into more subtle “invitations” to begin the conversation about suicide and inquire if thoughts of suicide are present.

It is okay to ask openly and directly about suicide. This is not always the easiest question to ask, but if the person is thinking about suicide, it is important to do.

These “invitations” may be things we see, hear, sense, or learn about the person, such as:

Here are some ways to ask about suicide after you have connected with the person and have seen, heard, sensed, or learned about them in your brief conversation.

SEE: The person may be crying, unkempt in appearance, withdrawn, not communicating, making final arrangements, or giving away their possessions. They might also appear to have lost interest in activities that used to make them happy. HEAR: The person may use statements such as “I can’t take this anymore”, or “I hope others understand when I am gone.” These statements may be subtle messages of distress and hopelessness that need to be explored. If they recently lost someone to suicide, they might say something like “I understand why my loved one died the way he/she did.” SENSE: The person may have a range of emotions like feelings of hopelessness, despair, anger, or numbness. LEARN: The person may share information with you about recent or past life events that were traumatic. Life events that may put people at greater risk of suicide include rejection, loss, abuse, and violence. The above “invitations” give us a starting point to inquire about suicide in a more conversational way.

How can you ask?

ASK DIRECTLY: It is a yes-or-no response and we need to be okay talking openly about suicide. Doing so gives the person permission to disclose their own thoughts of suicide to us: “You have been through a very difficult experience. I need to ask, are you thinking about suicide?” “Are you having thoughts about killing yourself?”

SUMMARIZE: It may feel more natural to restate to the person what we have seen, heard, sensed, or learned about them and then ask about suicide: “You look very sad and have told me that you can’t take it anymore; sometimes when people are feeling this way they are thinking about suicide. Are you thinking about suicide?” Another example might be: “You seem very overwhelmed and this is understandable given your tragic loss. Sometimes when people lose a loved one, they think about suicide—are you?” By asking about suicide you are validating the person’s pain and trauma and then taking the risk to check out how bad their situation is. “Is it so bad for them that they are thinking of killing themselves?” If the answer is yes, acknowledge that this is serious. Your next steps should be to listen carefully and then help the person keep safe.


first nations resource magazine

L—LISTEN Allow the person to share with you more about how they are doing and what has them thinking about suicide. By listening you are showing empathy and understanding, as well building a rapport with the person so you can express your concern about needing to get help to keep them safe.

K—KEEPSAFE You need to get resources or helpers that can do a suicide intervention involved today to support the person so that they can keep safe. Make sure you know what local resources are available: they could include an elder, a health worker, a teacher, a counselor, a clergy member, or another trusted caregiver. Some areas also have telephone helplines that can offer assistance. Here is what you might say to introduce the topic of getting help: “We have talked about your thoughts of suicide. This is serious and I am concerned about you—we need to get other people involved. Can we talk about some resources who support people thinking about suicide?”

Encouraging the use of other supports: “Who else have you told or who else can you tell about your thoughts of suicide so you have support?” This last statement is about natural supports such as friends or family who can perhaps stay with the person after your conversation ends. It is important that a person with thoughts of suicide is not left alone and that they are connected to a helper or resource that can help them with a safety plan to keep them safe from suicide today. In the case of emergency, you can either call your local police officers or go to the emergency room of a local hospital or clinic.

Source: SafeTALK Trainer Manual (2009) Lang, W., Ramsay, R., Tanney, B., Kinzel, T. Suicide Alertness for Everyone. © LivingWorks Education. Not to be reproduced or reprinted without permission. Attending a training workshop is highly recommended.



first nations resource magazine

Šcopyright | Brian Jackson

THE NEXT STEP... Northern College acknowledges, respects and encourages the unique world view of the Aboriginal communities it serves and their corresponding holistic view of education. THE NORTHERN EXPERIENCE Northern College is focused on you, an individual with unique goals and dreams. We believe that a strong education will allow you to provide yourself, your family and your community with a wealth of benefits and new opportunities. We are committed to assisting you as you walk along your path towards educational success. We serve over 65 communities and 17 First Nations across northeastern Ontario, and are committed to providing programming options that respond to the needs and directions of those communities. We deliver programs from our campuses in Haileybury, Kirkland Lake, Moosonee and Timmins, and we are a leader in distance education. Our size and location is one of our biggest advantages. Our small class sizes mean that you’ll have easy access to faculty, computers, labs and equipment, and that your peers and professors will know you by name. Our Moosonee Campus allows students from communities along the James Bay coast to study close to home. We offer over 75 full-time and part-time programs in our Schools of Business and Office Administration, Community Services, Health Science and Emergency Services, Engineering Technology and Trades, Veterinary Sciences and Welding Engineering Technology. We have programs at the certificate, diploma, degree, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship levels, and many are available through distance education. 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, traditional events and activities, workshops, Aboriginal student assemblies and Aboriginal Student Advisors are all a part of life at Northern College. We are guided by the fundamental values of strength, honesty, sharing and kindness.


In addition to traditional-style canvas tipis at all of our campuses, the Timmins Campus is home to Mamawi Kee Kee Nao, a unique 700-square foot permanent tipi which is open to all members of the Northern College community. Our tipis are places where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, faculty, and community members come together and learn from each other to build a more culturally vibrant northeastern Ontario.

OUR SERVICES As part of our commitment to helping you along your path we offer a range of services dedicated to your success. As a Northern College student, you’ll have access to free academic upgrading, peer tutors, student advisors, accessibility and first-year experience services, health services, fitness facilities, and student success centres. We recognize the significant role Elders play in the passing of traditional knowledge and teachings to future generations. We encourage all of our students to engage with our Elders through our Elders on Campus program. Our Elders value education, support students in their educational endeavors, and inspire an enriched environment of cultural understanding and diversity.

ACCESSIBLE EDUCATION Through the use of innovative technology and teaching methods, we are making our programs available to everyone, wherever they may be. Online and distance learning, video communication and services like Contact North | Contact Nord are increasing our ability to deliver our programming to everyone in northeastern Ontario. We already have a wealth of programs and courses available online, through distance learning, and through Contact North | Contact Nord.


first nations resource magazine

COMMUNITY FOCUSED We work with key governmental and non-governmental partners to ensure both large and small communities have growing access to literacy, training and education. We are working to provide increased access to programs and services to all of the communities in our area, with special emphasis on the First Nations communities along the James Bay Coast.

OUR PROGRAMS We’re known for doing a lot of great things, and our Signature Programs are what we’re known for doing best. ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN: We are one of four colleges involved with the Hydro One Consortium, a unique partnership that ensures you’ll learn the skills needed to thrive in the power distribution and transmission industries. Through this partnership, Hydro One looks to Northern and partner colleges to fill their hiring requirements throughout Ontario. MINING ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN: Northern College’s Haileybury School of Mines (HSM) has set the global standard for mining education for over 100 years. HSM has provided its expertise to academic institutions, governments and industry worldwide, leading numerous international mining education and training projects. Demand for our Mining Engineering Technician program is so high that it’s also delivered at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, and Northlands College in Saskatchewan.

PRACTICAL NURSING: Learn in cutting-edge labs using state-of-theart equipment and take part in clinical during your very first year. Learn from award-winning faculty and take part in leading-edge interdisciplinary patient care simulation scenarios. This program is available at the Moosonee Campus.

Association (HRPA) and receive hands-on training during a fiveweek placement. Human resource professionals are in high demand nationwide, with the federal government estimating that job openings in this field will significantly outnumber job seekers over the next six years.

VETERINARY TECHNICIAN: Learn in our Veterinary Sciences Centre, where you’ll hone your skills working with trained professionals and live animals. Graduates of this two-year program may be eligible to enter our Veterinary Technology – Wildlife Rehabilitation program, the only program of its kind in Canada. Graduates can also apply to our one-year Companion Animal Physical Rehabilitation graduatecertificate program.

ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNICIAN: Water and Wastewater Systems Operations: In this compressed two-year program, you’ll take part in three co-op placements and gain the experience needed for Class I Water Operator licensing in Ontario. You’ll also utilize our stateof-the-art, fully-functional pilot water treatment plant - a unique on-campus facility which was developed in collaboration with the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA).

WELDING ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY: This program won’t just teach you about the act of welding; it also delves deep into the science of metallurgy. The Materials Joining Innovation Centre (MaJIC), an applied research centre that works with industry across North America, is located at our Kirkland Lake campus. Last year alone, MaJIC hired four Northern College co-op students, providing them with hands-on experience in the welding services industry.

PRE-SERVICE FIREFIGHTER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: This program can provide you with the intense physical and theoretical training needed to start a gratifying career as a firefighter. You’ll get invaluable hands-on training fighting real fires, as we’re one of only two publicly funded Ontario colleges with an on-campus live burn training facility. After graduating, you’ll be eligible to enroll in our Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training to Paramedic Bridging program, allowing you to obtain a Primary Care Paramedic diploma in only 12 months.

We also have a variety of other programs that can lead to careers in in-demand fields. Here’s a sample of what we offer. BUILDING INSPECTION TECHNICIAN: Develop an in-depth knowledge of the safety requirements outlined in the Ontario Building Code. This two-year program will teach you to inspect structures to ensure that they meet standards regarding health and safety, fire protection, and structural sufficiency. You’ll even get to put theory into practice during two placement courses in your second year. This program is available both on-campus and in a web-based, distance education format. BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: Human Resource Management: Learn to manage the most valuable asset of any organization: employees. In this three-year program you’ll take courses and earn credits that are recognized by the Human Resources Professionals

THE NEXT STEP Engage your spirit, heart, mind and body by complementing your world view and traditional practices with the skills a Northern College education can offer. We can help you develop a career path that allows you to achieve your dreams 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. For more information about student life and our services aimed at Aboriginal learners, visit For more information about Northern College and the programming we offer, visit or check us out on Facebook at

Autumn path


“We want to provide dining services to clients that share our passion for delicious, healthy food.�


first nations resource magazine



hen Chris Trainor received the phone call that his Aboriginal majority-owned company, Morningstar Hospitality Services Inc., had been awarded a catering contract that will serve over one-hundred thousand participants and spectators at the 2015 Toronto Pan/Para Pan American Games, he came to the realization that the 16 month old company he founded with Canadian food service company Dana Hospitality LP, was gaining some serious momentum. Operating within a unique model of serving only chef-prepared, from scratch meals made with ingredients sourced locally, along with the commitment to incorporate Aboriginal cultural values into all aspects of its operations, the company is garnering a great deal of attention in the competitive contract food service sector. As President of Morningstar, located on the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Trainor is focused on growing the company across Canada. Aside from the upcoming Pan/Para Pan American Games, Morningstar currently operates a number of full service contract café and catering operations in Ontario, including Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, ON and the University of Sudbury. The company is also pursuing opportunities in the Canadian Corporate, Government and Remote Catering sectors. As Trainor explains, “we want to provide dining services to clients that share our passion for delicious, healthy food and our mandate to support the economic development and cultural awareness of Canada’s Aboriginal communities.”

Chris Trainor

As a member of the Thessalon First Nation, near Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Trainor and the Morningstar team incorporate a commitment to hiring and training Aboriginal Canadians, while serving a wide range of culinary dining options, including culturally-inspired Indigenous cuisine. “A key component to our approach to food service is to showcase delicious, unique and contemporary Aboriginal menu options, like various recipes for Bannock and the preparation of meats like Bison and Venison that are native to Canada,” the President explains. To do so, Morningstar has enlisted a number of high-profile Canadian Aboriginal chefs, including Aaron Bear Robe, Kai Zyganiuk and Rich Francis to assist in menu development and the culinary training of team members. The company has also identified Aboriginal vendors that will supply the food and ingredients for the menu options at its locations. The result has been supportive, positive feedback from clients and diners. “The feedback from our customers has been exhilarating. It really validates our food service vision and model,” Trainor explains.



first nations resource magazine

Morningstar has also established relationships with popular franchises and if the location has the capacity, they have the ability to provide options like Tim Hortons and Starbucks restaurants. Many diners want this type of option at our operations and we have the ability to integrate it into daily food service,” Trainor describes. Also, with a group of experienced hospitality professionals, Morningstar has the expertise to design, construct and project manage new or renovated café and catering locations. The company has renovated a number of locations, including cafes at the aforementioned locations and has plans to provide design and construction services to a number of clients in the coming year that will create modern, engaging dining spaces for customers. Morningstar team member Channelle Jutras with Dr. Pierre Zundel, President of the University of Sudbury

Morningstar Chef Craig Young

Providing employment and training opportunities for First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples is a also a primary focus for the company. Currently, one-third of Morningstar’s employees are self-identified as Aboriginal and the company will continue to work on improving that percentage, continuing to work with current employment programs like the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) and its delivery organizations across Canada. In a market that requires contract food service companies to have a multitude of resources to operate effectively, Morningstar has the capacity to effectively manage large operations anywhere in Canada. “Within our organization, we employee a Human Resource team to locate high performing team members, including Red Seal Chefs at each food service location, a Health and Safety group to ensure that our workplaces exceed legislated requirements, a Food Safety Auditor to confirm that the food being served is of the highest quality and hospitality managers to maintain exceptional quality and efficiency in operations,” Trainor describes. Morningstar team member training is also an integral part of ensuring consistent food and service quality. Employees receive ongoing education and training in thoughtful customer service, cooking techniques and strategic marketing. Team members carry around a ‘Culinary Passport’ during operating hours that offers reminders and protocols to ensure that customers are offered the best possible dining experience.

A sustainable approach to operations is also a primary mandate for Morningstar. Following traditional Aboriginal teachings that honours all aspects of Mother Earth, the company has created an organized and measured approach to minimizing its impact on the environment with standard waste diversion and efficient practices at each operation. Locally sourcing many ingredients also contributes to shrinking Morningstar’s carbon footprint. “Ultimately, we want to behave in ways that will sustain our environment for generations to come,” Trainor reiterates. For more information about Morningstar’s unique approach to food service and its wide range of capabilities, please visit or contact the company at (705) 797-4998.

Morningstar also focuses on the importance of nutrition to nourish and rejuvenate the diners in the workplace and at school. A signature feature of Morningstar is the HealthWise Choice program. Menu items are offered to provide daily healthy alternatives. Program logos are used to identify meals with a healthy combination of fats, carbohydrates and protein and meet an acceptable per meal caloric allowance. The company also clearly indicates potential allergens on each recipe, and offer menu items that are gluten free, Kosher and Halal.


Why are

Unions good S

imply put, it’s because we have a similar set of principles and values. Unions and traditional Indigenous beliefs share the idea that we each work for the betterment of the entire community, not for individual gain. We both believe that we are stronger when we work together, not against each other. And we both understand that respect is necessary for any relationship to be successful. The relationship between unions and Indigenous Peoples has played itself out it three major ways over the years: Unions provide protection and a sense of democracy in the workplace, unions and their members advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in a variety of ways on a variety of issues and unions help to raise the living standards of all working people.

“Treaties and the collective agreements unions negotiate with employers are similar – they’re both useless unless enforced…” 66

first nations resource magazine

for Indigenous Protection in the Workplace The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is one of Canada’s largest unions, representing more than 180,000 members from across the country. We represent Indigenous workers at workplaces like Casino Regina, The BHP Billiton Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, and in band councils and First Nations schools across the country. We also represent more than 12,000 members across the North, many of them First Nations, Métis and Inuit. The majority of our members, however, are in the federal public service, including most workers at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. In that department, as in most other federal agencies, the union provides workers with a variety of services and programs.


First and foremost, unions give workers a voice in the workplace and help to make them more democratic. Unions allow workers to become united to mobilize and come together during times of negotiations. We have grievance procedures in place to ensure that any violation of the contract or collective agreement by the employer can be dealt with in a due process. For example, most of our collective agreements have language that prohibits harassment or bullying. If a supervisor or manager were to engage in that type of behavior, the union can file a grievance and put a stop to it. This is one of the main reasons people join unions – fairness in the workplace. The union also works to identify anything that contributes to an unsafe or unhealthy place to work. Everything from physical hazards to work practices to workplace design are monitored to keep workers safe. We work to enforce existing health & safety legislation by reporting any violations to the proper authorities. We recognize that treaties and the collective agreements unions negotiate with employers are similar – they’re both useless unless enforced.


The PSAC meets with government officials on a regular basis in an effort to ensure that federal departments are following employment equity legislation and that Aboriginal people are hired in appropriate numbers. We also campaign for training opportunities and mentorship programs as a way of making sure that Aboriginal peoples are not stuck in entry level positions.

The Rights of Indigenous Peoples It would be an untruth to say that unions have always worked for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. There were times, in fact, when unions stood in the way of making change for the better. For example, when Manitoba Hydro was building major hydro-electric dams in the northern part of the province in the 1970’s, it wasn’t the Cree whose land was being flooded that benefitted from the jobs that were

created. Most of the positions were filled in the union hiring halls in the south. But there has been a shift since then. The Public Service Alliance of Canada made a decision in 1993 to create a National Aboriginal Peoples Circle, a body that would create awareness about the issues that were facing them in the workplace, in their communities and national & internationally. Twice a year, 14 Aboriginal members from every corner of the country gather in Ottawa to plan campaigns and strategize around these issues. They have spent time on Parliament Hill, lobbying Members of Parliament on issues such as missing and murdered Indigenous women, the failure of the current government to implement the Kelowna Accord and the chronic under funding of on reserve schools.

“…the failure of the current government to implement the Kelowna Accord…”

Regional Circles have been formed across the country to carry out the campaigns formulated by the National Circle and to tackle local issues. Their work is supported by an outreach fund financed by the national union. The union has also hired a fulltime human rights officer dedicated supporting the work of the national and regional circles and to advancing the rights of Aboriginal Peoples. At the last national convention of the PSAC delegates passed a resolution that calls on the union to create a national campaign to call attention to the water crisis that faces far too many First Nation communities. The resolution called on the union to spend $30,000 per year over a three-year period in an attempt to force the government to commit to spending the money needed to ensure that every First Nation had safe drinking water. As part of a public campaign to tell Canadians the true history of colonization and its impact on the original peoples of Turtle Island, members of the National Aboriginal Peoples Circle created a video titled “Why Don’t You People Just Get Over It? It has received nearly 50,000 views on YouTube and can be seen through our website here:


first nations resource magazine

Raising Living Standards Throughout the past century generations of trade unionists have fought hard to bring Canadian workers important gains like: the eight-hour day and the weekend; employment standards and minimum wage legislation; workplace health & safety laws; unemployment insurance and income support for new parents; equal pay for equal work and protections for workers injured on the job. Unions helped organize the extension of these negotiated workplace-based achievements to the whole workforce through legislation. No country has ever achieved widespread prosperity and created a large middle class without strong unions. The international evidence shows unequivocally that where unions are strong they reduce the pay gap between workers and management, men and women, racial minorities and other workers. All over the world unions are a major force in reducing inequality and poverty, and broadening access to basic supports for everyone. Our union is proud of the work that we have done in the field of Aboriginal Rights and we look forward to carrying on with that work into the future. We believe that by building stronger relationships with Aboriginal leaders and by having the opportunity to represent Aboriginal peoples in the workplace, together we can make changes that reflect our mutual beliefs and values.


Laurie Chabot, Information Agent Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)


first nations resource magazine


n recent years, several hundreds of First Peoples students have undertaken a study program at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). Some of them already hold a college degree, but most of them have gone back to school after many years away from academic institutions. A majority must cope with important family responsibilities, which requires finding a balance between the different spheres of their life, a crucial factor for academic success. UQAT is aware of these challenges and this is why it provides assistance to students on a daily basis. Open to the world’s diversity and mindful of cultural differences, UQAT distinguishes itself in Québec by the important role it plays within First Peoples communities, promoting their empowerment and autonomy. Since its inception, UQAT’s priority has always been to facilitate access to higher education across the whole territory by implementing campuses, training centres and service points and by offering, among others, specific programs and individualised assistance to Aboriginal students at its Val-d’Or campus.

For a university such as UQAT, partnerships are essential as they allow our institution to grow and raise its international profile. For many years now, our collaboration with First Peoples has been and still is an excellent example of effective partnerships, and incidentally, reinforcing our partnership with First Peoples is an important component of UQAT’s 2015-2020 development plan. Furthermore, the UQAT Foundation, which supports the advancement of teaching and research, in addition to offering a generous scholarship program, promotes student retention and helps students from all origins who demonstrate excellence in their studies and involvement in their academic and community environments.

GRADUATES WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE UQAT is proud to have more than 300 Aboriginal graduates since 2006. According to Nancy Crépeau, a graduate from UQAT’s master program in education and coordinator of the university’s First Peoples Services, “Aboriginal students who earn a university degree are a great source of pride for our institution, their family and their home community. Educational attainment is a major issue not only for UQAT, but also for Aboriginal communities that have a pressing need for resources.”


Those who complete their training and obtain their degree are extremely proud of their accomplishment. Some of them particularly stand out as is the case of Mr. Matthew Happyjack, who earned a Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) and a certificate in accounting from UQAT, and who is also president of Air Creebec and Valpiro in Val-d’Or. “My training at UQAT allowed me achieving my potential. Each day brings new challenges and I’m prepared to take them up. In my view, changing the world requires developing a long-lasting relationship with my milieu. Ensuring a sound management of my company and providing services that meet the community’s actual needs is a way for me to change the world.” This well-known and respected businessman believes in the importance of investing in education. “Education is the foundation for individual and community development. First Peoples’ training needs are many and they have a young population. The Cree communities are proud to have been able to benefit from UQAT’s expertise in First Peoples training. UQAT is for us a valued partner.”

interest. UQAT is also located in Val-d’Or, which is a centralized gateway to the Cree communities, a town with many extracurricular activities from hockey to music school which my children are enrolled in. Being very family oriented, it was important that we make the transition for the children as smoothly as possible.”

FIRST PEOPLES PAVILION The First Peoples Pavilion stands proudly in the heart of Val-d’Or, welcoming most of UQAT’s Aboriginal students. If its architecture pays tribute to Aboriginal cultures, the Val-d’Or campus is first and foremost a place where cultural differences are respected and valued, a place of sharing and dialogue between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal students. More than just a building, the First Peoples Pavilion is a concrete expression of UQAT’s desire to offer services tailored to the needs of its students.

STUDY PROGRAMS All UQAT study programs are open to Aboriginal students provided they meet admission requirements. UQAT has also developed specific training programs for Inuit and First Nations students, designed to meet their particular needs. For example, the case studies used in class are more closely reflective of the Aboriginal reality and pedagogical approaches are individualised. UQAT also offers a University Studies Preparatory Program for students who need upgrading to pursue their education, which allows them acquiring the necessary knowledge and competencies to undertake university studies. For more information on the available programs, visit www.uqat/fps


With their university degree in hand, these graduates can now envisage making a real difference in their community and elsewhere. For some of them, deciding to go back to school came after a long reflection, as explains Ms. Rachel Etapp, a Bachelor in Business administration and recently appointed as coordinator Business Development Liaison, Creeco . “In 2010, my husband and I felt that this was the perfect time for me to return to my studies and work on getting my Bachelor’s. We both had UQAT in mind. UQAT offers a variety of certificates from Administration to Human Resources and upon completion of three certificates you obtain a Bachelor’s in BA which sparked my


first nations resource magazine

UQAT’s Val-d’Or campus distinguishes itself by offering support geared towards students from all origins - Aboriginal, Québécois and others. The First Peoples Services (FPS) acts as first contact and provides support and active listening to students. Part of FPS employees are Aboriginals with diverse higher education backgrounds. All staff members are bilingual and have developed an expertise that allows them to respond to the specific needs of Aboriginal students, be they academic, personal or cultural. FPS uses a holistic approach, centered on the individual and his/her physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs.

UQAT, A RESPONSIVE UNIVERSITY University studies are much more than just training programs! They also are an opportunity for students to develop competencies such as critical thinking, team work, cross-cultural relations, openness, etc., and to participate in many major events. For ten years now, the First Peoples Services has been organising monthly Native Speakers’ Luncheons addressing various Aboriginal issues. These public luncheons are fine opportunities for non-Aboriginals to come into contact and interact with Aboriginals, to learn about and from cultural differences, and to break down barriers. Over the last ten years, more than 80 Aboriginal speakers have participated in UQAT’s Speakers Luncheons.

UQAT’s yearly First Peoples Symposium is another opportunity to build bridges between cultures, the main objective being to educate and inform participants on various issues concerning Aboriginal people. The event gathers prominent speakers and artists, and exhibitors present different facets of Aboriginal culture. Throughout the year, UQAT also seizes every opportunity to collaborate with its partners. For example, during the Awareness Week for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, an exciting activity program is offered in partnership with the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre. In 2015, UQAT will be hosting a provincial symposium on social work, mostly organised by Québécois students, under the theme of Mamwi, means in Algonquin, Together. This provincial event will allow university students from across Québec to further their knowledge of Aboriginal culture and the best intervention practices to be used with First Peoples.

RESEARCH UQAT is particularly attentive to First Peoples’ concerns when it comes to research and stresses the importance of respecting the research principles and processes. Last September, close to 100 people attended the 3rd Seminar on the Ethics of Research with Aboriginal Peoples held at UQAT. The Seminar brought together Aboriginal communities and organisations, researchers, professors and students who shared experiences that promote research decolonisation and challenge some of the current ways research is being done. It also included presentations on new research management tools designed by or in partnership with Aboriginal groups, and allowed taking a closer look at current practices in research data ownership. UQAT is committed to establishing and maintaining research partnerships with First Peoples. These partnerships were developed to

conduct research in various fields including education, environment and social development. In education, the researchers’ efforts are focused on teachers training and Aboriginal languages retention. In the environmental sector, research focuses on the contribution of traditional knowledge to land and resources governance. In social development, research is geared towards cross-cultural relations, ancestral memory, social dynamics and health. The partnerships developed between UQAT and First Peoples have resulted in the creation of several research teams, including URFDEMIA (Unité de recherche, de formation et de développement en milieu inuit et amérindien), which supports various educational projects arising from the needs of Aboriginal communities; and the Canada Chair in Aboriginal Forestry, which brings traditional knowledge into focus and values Aboriginal perspective in the elaboration of sustainable forest management strategies through a participative approach. Several researchers at UQAT are members of the Research and Knowledge Network Relating to Aboriginal Peoples (DIALOG) and of the Interuniversity Centre for Aboriginal Studies and Research (CIERA).

FUTURE PROSPECTS UQAT is a young, dynamic and visionary university distinguishing itself by its human side and innovations in the fields of teaching and research. For over 10 years now, it has been working at implementing the necessary internal structures to consolidate its gained expertise on First Peoples issues, including the hiring of professors dedicated to the development of Aboriginal studies. The issues are important and challenges are many, but advancing Nations and Inuit education remains a priority in UQAT’s development.



first nations resource magazine



welve years ago, educators in Central Alberta decided they wanted to do something that would provide better learning opportunities for Aboriginal youth and adults. The on-going challenges faced by both youth and adult learners were difficult to overcome in First Nation Communities. Youth faced numerous challenges that included relocating, family issues and various legal situations. Adult learners, who wanted to upgrade their education in order to provide better futures for their families, had to find a way to complete their high school diploma within their immediate location, schedules and responsibilities. They wanted a higher quality of education and would need a broad range of experienced teachers. Small class sizes and severe budget restrictions prevented that from happening. To achieve their goals, students have enrolled in the SCcyber E-Learning Community program.

Asynchronous E-Learning (using computer based materials to educate) isn’t a new educational approach but it is a term that can be confusing, especially for people who are just learning the in’s and out’s and do’s and do not’s of working with a computer. SCcyber is different! It uses a synchronous learning model (the use live teaching interface) in combining a model of instruction that is in fact virtual reality. Sunchild First Nation was the first location to adopt the SCcyber program in Alberta. “Thus the name SCcyber E-Learning was adopted to honour what at the time was a bold move into the future,” explained SCcyber Public Relations Director Gaylene Weasel Child. “SCcyber E-Learning is different from conventional educational programs in that it creates accountability and interaction between student and teacher. Students are expected to be logged into the computer during class times and can speak with the teacher at any time through text messaging or a microphone. In most cases, students work from a classroom environment where a mentor addresses technical concerns and ensures student participation.”


SCcyber E-Learning is the first 100% mobile online school in Canada making available to its clients entire school courses through a computer, mobile iPad, iPhone and android devices. Courses offered include the core subjects like Math, Social, Science, and English. Other high school courses include Aboriginal Studies, Adult Literacy, child care, photography, mechanics, finance, psychology, world religions, physical education and Cree language study. “The SCcyber E-Learning Community is committed to teaching the Alberta Curriculum online to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities,” noted Weasel Child, who said that the program has now grown to well over 25 different communities accessing the program. “The program provides increased equity and access to the highest quality educational opportunities for Aboriginal students and, in so doing, raises the educational level of Aboriginal communities. The initiative models educational leadership through integrity, vision, innovation and metacognitive learning and persists in promoting community interests and seeking solutions, overcoming distance and time.” Experienced and Alberta certified teachers with a passion for teaching First Nations students head the online classes, providing a level of education that is the same as or better than that found in urban schools. Students who miss class time or change residences can easily catch up by reviewing archived classes. This system also allows students to work at a comfortable pace. Achievement is tracked on a weekly basis so that intervention and support can be provided as soon as it becomes necessary. “The initiative has met with remarkable success,” assured Weasel Child. “During the past 13 years we have seen completion rates that have exceeded 70 per cent and graduation rates in excess of 80 per cent. This year we expect to teach 800 students in more than 2000 courses throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories.”


first nations resource magazine

Government participation helps to ensure that every student who qualifies for the program has a chance to participate. “AANDC,” explained Weasel Child, “partners with SCcyber to provide free course access for high school programming starting back in September 2012. Students who are under the age of 19 and currently on nominal role of an existing First Nation’s school can access SCcyber E-learning course options at no cost.” The overall purpose of the SCcyber model, noted Weasel Child, “is to advance Aboriginal economic inclusion through the use of e-learning technology in Aboriginal communities and to build on first nation student retention. Our vision, mandate and goals are based around the premise that to be successful we need to employ different strategies (blended learning) than those used in traditional educational settings. The SCcyber E-Learning Community has met with remarkable success. In record numbers, students are re-entering the school system and staying in school. They are gaining valuable experience with computers, graduating and moving on to rewarding jobs or post-secondary education.” Graduates of the SCcyber E-Learning Community, she added “are educated and competent and produce the kind of employees who make corporations successful. When corporations contribute to the SCcyber program, they help to create skilled candidates for scholarships, advanced training and employment. In this way, they are investing in their own future. We are very proud to note that to date our sponsors include Encana, Nexen, NorthwesTel, PennWest Exploration, Shell Canada Limited, ConocoPhillips, Devon, and TransCanada. We have generated a successful program that creates positive results and as such we are always interested in hearing from other companies and organizations who wish to participate, just as we are also interested in adding even more communities to our SCcyber E-learning community.”

The SCcyber E-Learning initiative was co-founded by the program’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Martin Sacher, a former high school teacher and principal, who has won awards for his innovative program and is the recipient of the international SITE Award for Outstanding Service to Digital Equity, the first time this award has ever been won by a Canadian. Nelson Daychief is the Chairman of the SCcyber E-Learning Board of Directors. Mavis Sacher is the Principal of the SCcyber E-Learning Community. Teachers and instructors include Burl Horniachek, Shawn Lawrence, Linda Robinson, Wendy Slade, Cameron Elsdon, Liz Schweizer and Dorothy Thunder. In addition, SCcyber has recently incorporated an innovative program known as “Readspeaker” where lessons in over 80 courses can be read audibly to the student by the computer. “This is a truly wonderful and important aspect of the program,” assured Weasel Child. “The student is able to highlight the reading portions of their lessons and then have them read back to them.” During the first week that the application was set up, added Weasel Child, “it received more than 1800 hits, thus indicating that the program not only works, but is being utilized by the student body.” Depending on the availability of school space in rural communities, the SCcyber E-Learning initiative can also be housed in community centres, youth centres and other viable institutions. For more information on the SCcyber E-Learning Community, check out the website at If you live in the Calgary area contact Gaylene Weasel Child at (403) 253-5311.



How a Pioneering Initiative from Saskatchewan is on Track to Improve Academic Outcomes for Aboriginal Students By John Schofield

With his cute, cartoonish looks, fuzzy green shell and plush brown skin, Askî the Turtle doesn’t look like a charismatic, cutting-edge educator. But don’t tell that to the energetic three-, four- and five-year-olds who run to him when they enter the classroom and hang on his every word—in flawless English, French, Dene, Cree and the Métis language of Michif. The cuddly puppet and his trusty iPad are the centrepieces of a pioneering initiative by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education to take a more holistic approach to assessing and developing oral language skills for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.

To ensure academic excellence and cultural inclusivity, it was developed with assistance from administrators, teachers, learning experts, parents, Aboriginal education organizations and community elders. 78

first nations resource magazine

The assessment tool known as Help Me Tell My Story takes the form of a mobile app, and is part of an overall effort by the Saskatchewan Party government of Premier Brad Wall to improve academic outcomes for First Nations and Métis students. In the process, Askî has become a celebrity in his own right as the star of several storybooks and a daily playmate in hundreds of classrooms across the province. “It’s just amazing, the power of the puppet and the joy on children’s faces when they see Askî,” says Jarrett Laughlin, an Ottawa-based education consultant whose research formed the basis for the holistic assessment tool. “They really enjoy watching that character come to life.” Help Me Tell My Story is also bringing education to life for children, their parents and their communities. It gauges learning in class, at home and in the community to assess each child’s current skill level, and gives parents and teachers key roles in providing ongoing support to strengthen those skills. To ensure academic excellence and cultural inclusivity, it was developed with assistance from administrators, teachers, learning experts, parents, Aboriginal education organizations and community elders. The app also incorporates advanced technology to make the assessment more engaging and accessible almost anywhere—even without an Internet connection. Its success so far has already spurred the development of a sister app to promote numeracy skills, called Help Me Talk About Math. For the 2014-15 academic year, the Ministry of Education estimates the assessment will be given to about 8,000 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students across 140 schools—covering about 40 percent of that age cohort province-wide. That’s up from about 4,000 students last year. Schools can opt in to the program on a voluntary basis. The province will spend an additional $1 million in 2014-15 to expand Help Me Tell My Story and Help Me Talk About Math. About $2.7 million has been spent on the holistic assessment program since 2010.

That first meeting with McKee, now executive director of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, was a little “scary,” remembers Maureen Taylor, superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division. McKee set out a short but challenging list of criteria. The new assessment tool had to be innovative, culturally appropriate, engaging and holistic. “Most of us didn’t know what that meant—we had to understand ‘holistic,’” says Taylor. “Gradually we invited more people into the discussion. Over a couple of years, we kept inviting, discussing, planning. It was a really good process.” Miller says the First Nations elders taught him the importance of the child in the context of the family and the community. “I think of it as the fabric of success now,” he observes. “We know children learn in the classroom, in the home, in the community and on the land. You need bits from all those pieces to define success.” The group decided early on to focus on oral language development for K-3 students, agreeing, as Laughlin puts it, that language skills are the “scaffolding for future success in learning.” To handle the technological side, the team brought in bv02 Inc., an Ottawa-based digital creative agency with experience in developing educational apps. That’s when Askî the turtle was born. The character was inspired by Turtle Island, the term used by several First Nations to describe the North American continent. To make him even more appealing, the company invented a whole universe around Askî by producing several storybooks that reflect First Nations culture. Teachers conduct the assessment with the Askî puppet, who asks the questions, on one hand and the iPad in the other. Askî has conductive thread sewn into his nose so he can operate the iPad. Andrew Milne, CEO of bv02, says the holistic assessment tool goes to the heart of bv02’s corporate values. “This is digging in and actually helping children on the ground level,” he says. “It’s a project that matters—and we hope to do more like it.”

The province’s target is to ensure that by 2020, 78 percent of students are reading at grade level by the end of grade 3, up from 68 percent today. Currently, Saskatchewan’s high school graduation rate for self-declared First Nations, Métis and Inuit students is only 34 percent, compared with 74 percent of all students. “That’s not equity of outcomes right now,” says Greg Miller, the province’s assistant deputy minister of education. Miller, formerly a superintendent of assessment for Regina Public Schools, was a member of the original group formed by the ministry to develop the holistic assessment tool. “This is a huge focus.”

Creating Askî The province’s first Aboriginal assistant deputy minister of education, Darren McKee, initiated the holistic assessment project in 2010 when he assembled a small working group including Miller and Laughlin, who is also currently a senior research analyst for the Assembly of First Nations. Also in the group were assessment leaders from the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, based in Prince Albert; the predominantly Aboriginal Northern Lights School Division; and the primarily Métis Ile-a-la-Crosse School Division.

Jarrett Laughlin

“What we know is the number one factor for success is the school principal. It’s like anything in the school: the leadership is the key.” ~ Jarrett Laughlin, creator, Help Me Tell My Story


offers a wide range of learning activities or games that parents can do with their children every day to build their oral language skills. Activity ideas are uploaded almost daily—primarily by teachers— and now number over 2,000. The children want to do them, says Laughlin, because most of them involve Askî. Information gathered to date indicates parents spend an average of 16 minutes a week on the portal. An increasing number are reconnecting with their children’s schools. “They really feel like their voices are heard and that they have value they can add,” says Taylor. “For a better future for these kids, home and school need to work together.”

The Assessment in Action Teachers, who can be trained to perform the assessment in a half day or less, are invited to use their creativity to make assessment day a grand occasion to engage students and their families. At Queen Mary Community Public School in Prince Albert last March, teacher Michelle Delurey teamed up with the school’s other kindergarten and pre-K teachers to create a camp theme in one of the classrooms, with a teepee in the centre where parents could cuddle with their child and read a story by the glow of a flashlight. By a pretend fire, they could snack on s’mores, and then do a craft by a make-believe fish pond. The assessments were done in another corner of the room, and most of the children were so happy to see Askî, says Delurey, they were lined up waiting for their turn. Delivered in any of Askî’s five languages, the 12-minute assessment begins with a few sample questions to ensure each child understands the response scale. To gauge opportunities for oral language development in the home and determine which relationships are most influential, the children are asked how much they speak with their moms, dads, grandparents and friends. Another set of questions delves into language-building activities and includes a proficiency exercise, in which Askî shows the children a picture on the iPad of himself playing ball with his friends. To examine skills such as fluency, articulation and sequencing, he asks the children to tell a story of what happened to him that day, using the picture as a starting point. Students are videotaped so parents can watch the session later. Each parent or caregiver is also asked to take a short survey related to their child’s oral language activities. In addition, separate surveys are completed by the teacher and an elder. Towards the end of the assessment event, parents receive a password to the Help Me Tell My Story parent portal, where they can access the assessment results, usually within a week. The portal also

Help Me Tell My Story includes a separate educator portal, where teachers and administrators can access a range of information, including charts and tables summarizing the results of the assessments for each child. Through the assessment, Laughlin says, the app collects more than 1,100 indicators for each child, and even records metadata about how he or she interacted with the assessment. The educator portal also shows when parents log in to the caregiver portal and what exercises they have done. The assessment data can influence the way teachers prepare lessons and instruct individual students, and it helps administrators promote family engagement. At the school level, says Laughlin, “what we know is the number one factor for success is the school principal. It’s like anything in the school: the leadership is the key.” Help Me Tell My Story is consistent with early learning reforms already happening across Canada, says Laughlin, and he’s confident it will be adopted by other jurisdictions and tailored to their own needs. Education organizations and First Nations groups in New Brunswick, Northern Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta have already expressed interest. “There’s endless potential for this,” observes Taylor, a former kindergarten teacher. “We have tons of tools that assess proficiency—we’re good at that. What we haven’t been good at is supporting learning. Now we don’t just do a test and it ends. It supports learning in an ongoing way. We’re giving these children the foundation they need to achieve for the rest of their life.” John Schofield is a Toronto-based writer and frequent contributor to Education Today. Originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of Education Today Photos on pages 78 and 80: Engaging students with the puppet Askî the Turtle.

For the 2014-15 academic year, the Ministry of Education estimates the assessment will be given to about 8,000 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students across 140 schools—covering about 40 percent of that age cohort province-wide.



first nations resource magazine


rom the outset of the process of developing its long-life projects, New Millennium Iron Corp. (NML) continues to have early and frequent communications with stakeholders. It requires an investment by all of time, energy and patience, but this mutually constructive approach results in positive and trusting relationships. NML controls the emerging Millennium Iron Range located in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and QuÊbec, in an area known as the Labrador Trough, which is one of the world’s largest undeveloped iron ore deposits. In the future, as projects proceed and become successful, the materialization of the economic and social opportunities will blossom from the forum of shared values established many years ago. Noted below are some examples of the programs that NML has embarked upon to foster this shared vision that will benefit individuals, communities and the company.

Empowerment through education and training NML believes that one of the keys for the successful integration of a company in communities is to empower individuals by providing them with appropriate tools. This is the reason why NML focuses on education and training to give the opportunity to those who live in the areas in which it operates to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be an active participant in those projects. As an example, for six years now, NML has awarded scholarships to Aboriginal students from the following communities or organizations: Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam; Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach; Nation Innu Matimekush-Lac John; NunatuKavut Community Council; the Kuujjuaq Inuit; Innu Nation; and Innu de Pessamit. The initial goal of the Scholarship Programme was to reward the high-school students who showed the greatest improvement in their academic performance during the school year, rather than those with the highest grades. It is a form of recognition and positive encouragement that fosters a continued desire for learning and strives to increase the number of graduates. NML wanted the programme to be administered at the local level and to be adapted to local needs. Thus, after discussions with the school principals, NML let the local school leadership also award scholarships to students at the primary, professional, college and university levels. There is flexibility in the amount of the awards to allow for greater participation with a limit of $1,000 per student.


NML is also responsive to the specific needs of each person. For example, Yan Vollant, a member of both Nation Innu MatimekushLac John and Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, requested help to finance his college studies in Health Sciences. Since June 2012, NML has in part financed his studies in the Intensive Nursing programme at John Abbott College in Montréal. This money was used to repair his computer, and to help cover some of his living costs and the professional examination registration fee. Yan graduated from his programme in December 2013. He was subsequently admitted into the Faculty of Nursing at Université Laval in Québec City and started his Bachelor’s degree in January 2014. NML also assisted with his transportation fees for his graduate studies so that he could commute more frequently to see his family. Yan is an outstanding person, and is committed to returning to the Schefferville area to practise upon completion of his studies which would return a great asset to the local community. NML is proud to assist him in reaching his goal. Nothing could express the success of this initiative more than Yan’s own words.

So, like so many people have asked me in the past, what is the secret for succeeding in college or university? I always answer that there is no specific answer to that question, but with a little bit of motivation, perseverance and the will to discover, anybody can achieve their dreams. As a closing line, for those interested, I do have a quote from renowned brain surgeon Dr. Alfredo QuinonesHinojosa that motivated and inspired me during my toughest moments: “I have failed in many things, but never in my ability to get up and try again.”

“I’ve been around the ceremonial life and the teaching lodges of my people for over 21 years now. It doesn’t seem that long when you have a passion for helping people out. The very fact of being part of a spiritual community motivates a person to find new ways to help people and hopefully contribute to the well-being of their community. This is probably the reason that pushed me to consider a career in health sciences. A few years ago, my spouse and I decided to make a bold move that would forever change our lives. We applied to college and university and, a few weeks later, received confirmation that we had accepted to our chosen programs (her in engineering and me in nursing). Our move was quick, efficient and our families supported us as we embarked in this long academic journey. A few years later, with a college degree in nursing at hand and a promising future in my bachelors program at Laval University I now realize that my journey has just begun and seeing my son and my spouse support me in my endeavours has only motivated me to nurture and feed my dreams by exploring new areas in academia that stimulate my curiosity and passion. However, realizing my dreams would have not been possible without the financial and good-hearted support of the Naskapi Nation and New Millennium Iron Corporation. Indeed, pursuing your studies without financial stress is a major motivator and incentive for First Nations because it not only provides access to education, but it assures a better quality of life and future for them.

Meegwetch (Thank you) Yan Vollant (White Buffalo)” Also, NML is engaging directly at the school level with students of the Aboriginal communities near its projects. These presentations describe the projects and mining in broad terms and focus on the employment prospects and reinforcing the need to complete high school. NML further encourages the students to go to college and university.

Being proactive: the importance of research to improve the mining industry Of particular importance to stakeholders is restoration during and at the end of mining operations. Respect for the environment is an area of improvement in mining. Abandoned mine sites are a constant reminder of the past. The present regulatory requirements now oblige mining companies to undertake progressive restoration and to provide financial guarantees to ensure that the resources are available if necessary restorative activities are not completed. The Schefferville-Menihek region was the site of intensive iron ore mining between 1954 and 1982; at that time there was no requirement for restoration. When the mines closed, vast areas were left without any efforts of restoration. Schefferville is the home to two First Nations, and at least two other First Nations use the region for purposes of their traditional activities.


first nations resource magazine

The absence of restoration has been a source of grievance for them for the last 30 years. Naturally, some of their members oppose future mining out of fear that a similar situation will be repeated. Observations suggest that some waste rock piles are being partially re-colonised but at a very slow rate. More research is needed to develop techniques of restoration that can be applied inexpensively and successfully to such areas. For several years now, NML and, more recently, its partner Tata Steel Minerals Canada have been supporting financially and in kind efforts by Dr. Stéphane Boudreau, from Université Laval, to evaluate the use of local shrubs to effectively and economically re-vegetate large areas disturbed by mining. If such techniques can be demonstrated to be successful, a stated hope of NML has been to encourage others in the Schefferville-Menihek area, such as mining companies, governments and First Nations, to contribute on a voluntary and/or in-kind basis according to their means to re-vegetate areas previously abandoned without restoration. In that regard, NML and Tata Steel Minerals Canada are trying to initiate a larger research project in collaboration with Université Laval to develop restoration techniques that can yield rapid and long-term results. The proposed project is called “Development of Methods to Restore Shrub Cover on Disturbed Mining Sites in the Schefferville-Menihek Region”. NML believes that this research will yield practical and social dividends not only for the ScheffervilleMenihek region, but also for Canada’s boreal region as a whole and, conceivably, for boreal regions elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. NML is also a member and sponsor of the ROLES (Restoration of Labrador Exploration Sites) Project, which consists in inventorying, assessing and removing materials from earlier exploration sites. This includes working and contracting directly with communities and local companies and also providing opportunities for site rehabilitation training.

Women in the mining industry NML believes that it is a priority to develop an approach focused on diversity and inclusion, including the implementation of effective equity measures for Aboriginal men and women, to try to significantly improve access to the opportunities and the benefits generated by its mining projects.


project is the creation of an e-library to provide Naskapis with access to resources that can assist them in developing their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that arises out of mining activities affecting their community. The e-library contains a Curriculum Resources category to provide the school’s teachers with educational resources for their students. For each Curriculum Resource (e.g., academic articles, Aboriginal perspectives) a short summary outlining the content, author and proposed school grade is prepared. A workshop was held with the CBERN researchers, the Naskapi Education Committee and the teachers in Kawawachikamach in February 2013. The fact that several teachers said that they would like to have more workshops and opportunities to learn about mining and ethical business practices demonstrates both the need and the success of this initiative.

In sum M4S, Schefferville, Québec.

One of its first steps in developing a gender equity approach came from embracing the observations of the report published by the Conseil du Statut de Femme (CSF) called “Les femmes et le Plan Nord : pour un développement nordique égalitaire” (“Women and the North Plan: for Egalitarian Northern Development” by the Council on the Status of Women)1 . It outlines that women are under-represented in all job categories and at all hierarchical levels in the mining sector, particularly in trades and jobs related to technology, science and engineering and on boards of directors. Women have constituted approximately 15% of the workforce in the mining industry over the past 14 years according to Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership, 2012 . The CSF’s report underlined some problems in the Schefferville-Menihek region, and NML decided to meet with the CSF president to discuss in greater depth the role of women in the mining industry. Hockey Camp, Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, Québec

After this meeting, NML met with several groups and organizations active in employment equity and gender issues, following which we participated in two conferences, worked with focus groups and organized internal workshops on diversity and mixed-team management for our Montréal-based employees. NML recognizes that active and focused collaboration with governments, educational institutions, labour, community organizations, industry associations, contractors and sub-contractors, as well as with other interest groups is essential to develop an efficient policy on diversity and inclusion.

Knowledge needs assessment Sharing of learning and information is another area of interest. NML partly funded the Mining and Curriculum Development Project, carried out by the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN). One component of this


first nations resource magazine

In developing its projects NML believes in empowering stakeholders and understanding their needs and issues, in minimizing negative impacts and in sharing the benefits. It thus invests in enhanced knowledge, skills and techniques with a view to generating long-lasting understanding and a shared vision of stronger relationships and communities.


1. 2.