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Re-connecting Youth Back To Nature

Agency Chiefs’ Girl Power Camp

Former NWT Premier

NELLIE COURNOYEA’S HOPES FOR THE NORTH

The Traditional Qajaq Project

FREE

Spring 2012

12012

PM41927547

Believing In People A Message From The Premier of NWT

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here is a controversial discussion going on right now about the use of tobacco. There are posters around town that read, “Tobacco has no place in our lives” or something like that. This is true, but quitting is easier said than done. And surfacing is the on-going topic of drug and alcohol use and abuse. I am in agreement with these posters put up by the Nunavut Government. These days they put so much garbage in the cigarettes that no one really knows how detrimental smoking really is. And I have heard that cigarettes are treated with more and more chemicals so as to make the user even more dependent. Poor people! NOT! I smoked as a teenager but never really got the urge to continue. I guess I was those lucky ones who just never got “hooked’. I did a lot of partying in the early nineties and I smoked in the evening with friends, but hated to in the daytime...go figure. Smelling smoke makes me nauseous – the last time I smoked I went home and threw up! Hey, maybe I have contracted an allergy to cigarette smoke – one might hope!

I am not a smoker, but I know how it makes one feel – the FIrst puff goes straight to your head – and you may feel good for a few minutes while the nicotine does its work, but did you know that your blood pressure sky-rockets as well?? Cigarettes are $17.50 a pack and there are 25 cigarettes in a pack, I asked a smoker. If a person smokes a pack a day, that is $525.00 per month or $6,387.50 a year. If two people per house smoke a pack a day that translates to $12,775.00 a year. And if three people per household smoke a pack a day each that is a whopping $19,162.50 per year and this information is dependent on cigarette prices staying the same. And what if there are four or five or six people per house that smoke a pack a day? And I am being conservative because I believe that there are heavy smokers out there who can put away 2 or 3 packs a day. Do the math! For $20,000.00 a year how many snowmobiles can you buy? Or maybe you can afford a nice vehicle so your children do not have to walk to school in sub-zero weather? On just one day last week the temperature plunged to -39 Celsius with a wind chill factor of -57 Celsius. OR think about this, you can put a nice down-payment on a nice house and own your own digs. I know a good company in town that builds some great houses and stands by their work. What would you do with an extra 20 thousand dollars a year, or 40 thousand a year, or 60 thousand a year if the people in your household decided to “butt out” together? The amount of money you would save should be incentive enough to quit, I would think. What I am saying is this; we all have things we like to do that are not necessarily good for us. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “ ‘Everything is permissible’ – but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” hope for the future.ca

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Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard it is to quit doing something you like to do. Not a lot of people can quit “cold turkey”. I know a few people who did, but they are few and far between. These people quit for good and they did it for a very good reason. I know one man who quit because all his friends starting having double and triple by-pass surgeries, one even had a quadruple by-pass. Did you know that when you smoke a cigarette your arteries constrict and your heart has to work harder? I imagine too you get headaches from all the stuff you ingest. Do you realize what second-hand smoke does to children? And do you know that third-hand smoke is even more dangerous? Third-hand smoke is the smoke that stays on your clothes and hair; and your drapes and furniture if you smoke inside. What this comes right down to is choice. We all have choice, a God-given choice, if you will. We can all choose to start smoking, toking, and drinking, if we want but in the long run we are only taking chances with our health and wellbeing. I know what the government is trying to

do is create awareness about the hazards of smoking with their posters; they do serve as a reminder when people see them. But like anything else, the longer those posters are there in public view, the more people will become used to them and eventually ignore them. We all make choices every day, some good, some not so good and some downright detrimental. And smoking is detrimental, it is lethal to our lungs and to our environment and to our families. To quote a singer that I love, “I’ve had choices, since the day that I was born, there were voices, that told me right from wrong. If I had listened, I wouldn’t be here today, living and dying with the choices I’ve made.” So what is the answer? The two years that I was on the Municipal Council, and on the Alcohol and Drug committee, I came to appreciate how addictive a lot of things we use are, like soda pop, junk food, coffee, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and alcohol. I won’t even go into the illegal substances.

coping, for relieving stress. I am well aware that the solution is not going to happen overnight. We all know people who have been smoking for a long time do not want to quit. And smokers are quite aware of the consequences of long-term use, not to mention the high cost of supporting their habit. I am not just talking about the money they spend on buying cigarettes but the high cost to their health and the health of second-hand recipients and the overall cost to our health system. This past year we lost a lot of people to cancer, I lost my niece, she passed away on Dec 1st, she was buried her on Dec 6th. She was only 40 years old and she was a smoker, I don’t know how long she was a smoker but she still wanted to smoke when she was in the hospital. Cigarettes are deadly, they kill and they will keep on killing. We know cigarettes cause cancer; they cause heart disease and strokes; they are the cause of emphysema, chronic bronchitis and aneurysms. Smoking is also the most addictive of all drugs, causing physical and psychological addiction. So having said all this, one would think that people would run screaming the other direction when they see cigarette smoke. But that is unlikely since the majority of this community smokes. I would like to take a survey one day just to see how many people actually do smoke out of the 2000 people in Baker Lake. While I was involved with Tunganiq Addictions Project, there was an emphasis on drug and alcohol addictions, sniffing inhalants prevention and gambling addictions yet for some reason nicotine addiction was a non-issue. And I believe this is the most expensive, most used and most addictive substance in our community.

I learnt a lot about addictions and their effect and aftermath. And I learnt to appreciate that these things are being used for

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I believe that the campaign against smoking that the Government of Nunavut has spear-headed needs to be expanded and that the powers that be need to start to aggressively target youth and children with the message that they have a choice NOT to start smoking. They also need to inform them and the parents and the public that they are all entitled to a smoke-free environment wherever they go, including homes and vehicles. I just want to end by saying we don’t live in a perfect world, I believe that is reserved for the hereafter but we can make our environment a better and safer place, especially for those vulnerable people who cannot fight for themselves. Remember one more thing, as Saint Paul put it, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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hesterfield Inlet, Nunavut is a small isolated community on the west coast of Hudson Bay in the Canadian Arctic. Our community has a population of approximately 320 people, 95% of whom are Inuit. ‘Chester’ as it is affectionately known by local residents is accessible only by plane (and snowmobile if you are brave).

qajaq construction. The process was slow, but in the end our students managed to create several 3 foot model qajaqs and cover them with Seal or Caribou skin.

Our school has become the major gathering point for our community. Victor Sammurtok School has approximately 105 students from kindergarten to grade twelve. Currently we have a staff of 9 teachers including our principal. Our school is the smallest in our region, but we have some of the brightest students.

The interest in qajaqs increased after completing the models, and soon the students wanted to make their own full sized qajaq. There are a few members of the Chester community that remember riding with their grandparents in qajaqs, but no one had seen a qajaq for many years. Our school was embarking on a huge project to reintroduce the qajaq to residents of Chester.

The introduction of the qajaq (kayak) to our students started as a cardboard qajaq race which was a fun way to begin the school year. At the beginning of each school year students are given 2 rolls The interest in qajaqs increased after of duct tape and 1 roll of completing the models, and soon the aluminum foil to create students wanted to make their own their cardboard boat. Students must search the full sized qajaq. community for as much cardboard as they can find (the race usually coincides with the annual sea lift, which means cardboard is abundant). They are given a couple of days to design and build a qajaq for the race across Police Lake (a local fresh water lake close to the school). It is a widely anticipated event which attracts most of the community.

After many months of planning and fundraising, we secured enough funding to purchase the raw materials needed to make 9 full sized qajaqs. In October 2004, our school gym was converted into a giant workshop. Students from grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 participated in the creation of 9 qajaq frames. We had 36 students participate, and our attendance was perfect for the duration of the project. We allowed the students to get themselves into groups of 3 to 5. Many of the groups consisted of an equal number of girls and boys; however we had one group of 4 girls and one group of 3 boys.

Shortly after the first cardboard qajaq race, students expressed an interest in learning more about qajaqs. Fortunately, teachers in the north are actively encouraged to pursue culturally relevant learning, and we started to offer a course in model

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The first day of the project was spent getting all the materials cut to the proper dimension. The dust was pretty thick by the end of the day and students had managed to set off the smoke detectors twice (much to the dismay of the elementary teachers). In order to make the ribs and cockpits for the qajaq, the wood needed to be soaked in water for 5 days. The next two days the students spent sitting at home as a fierce blizzard had blown into town.


out the power to the gym a number of times and breaking a lot of ribs which were thrown across the room, everyone was a little tired and frustrated. Most of the groups managed to break the same number of ribs that they successfully inserted a solid 1:1 ratio of good ribs to broken ribs. Fortunately, Tuesday was a new day and it brought with it more patience. Students had learned that it takes time and patience to bend wood successfully. By the end of the fifth day, all the ribs on the 9 qayays had been completed.

The students began their first day of construction with a lesson on measurement. Each group had to measure themselves and then perform a series of calculations to ensure their qajaq would have proper balance. Each day of the project parents and The gunwhales were Elders were encouraged to come to marked and cut to size the school and see the progress that and a router was used the students had been making. One to create holes for the day a group of 10 Elders entered the placement of the ribs. gym and stood in amazement at what Day 1 completed, meant there were two pieces of the students had accomplished. Cedar with a bunch of holes and some lines drawn on them. The students were slightly frustrated by how much effort the first day required. The second and third day of the project saw the qajaqs beginning to take shape. Forms were placed between the gunwhales and the students inserted the spacers required to maintain the shape. By Friday afternoon it was incredible, 9 qajaqs had started to take shape and they actually looked symmetrical. We were beginning to believe that they may even float! I spent most of the weekend telling students that we would start again on the qajaqs first thing Monday morning. Monday proved to be the most challenging day of the entire project, the ribs. Students had to steam presoaked wood in a steam box and then very carefully bend it around a jig and insert into the holes in the gunwhales. Sounds pretty easy, but after shorting

Once the ribs were finished, completing the rest of the Qayaq frame seemed incredibly easy. The students attached a keel to the bottom and a set of stabilizers, to keep the qajaqs tracking properly in the water. At the end of day six, the bottom was completely finished, and they looked awesome. Each day of the project parents and Elders were encouraged to come to the school and see the progress that the students had been making. One day a group of 10 Elders entered the gym and stood in amazement at what the students had accomplished. The Elders stayed for most of the afternoon and told stories and watched the students work. In that afternoon there was more communication between the generations than anyone can remember Students, some of whom had in a long time. Members of the community would never used power tools before forgo their coffee breaks had handcrafted every aspect of for a chance to peak in the an 18 foot traditional qajaq. gym and see how far the students had gotten that day on the qajaqs. It was wonderful to witness how proud everyone was that qajaqs were built in Chester. By the end of day seven, all 9 qajaqs frames had been completed. The students had worked hard throughout the days and stayed after school in order to ensure that all were finished. Groups that finished early moved on to help other groups that needed a little more assistance. The qajaqs had turned out to be better than anyone could have expected. Students, some of whom had never used power tools before had handcrafted every aspect of an 18 foot traditional qajaq.

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The students were glowing with pride and self-esteem; they had accomplished what others in the community had never done, building their own qajaq. One completed qajaq frame hung in each of our classrooms for the rest of the year. Students from every grade would walk into their classroom and look up to see a qajaq hanging from the ceiling rafters. It was seven days away from regularly scheduled classes, but there were lessons in math, geometry, science, language, Inuktitut, understanding, and patience that will last a lifetime. Elders from our community had said that it would take an Inuit sometimes over two years to build a qajaq. The students had developed a new respect and appreciation for what their ancestors had accomplished without the use of modern equipment. These students share the same strength and determination to live and succeed that their ancestors had many years ago. Unfortunately, it was a long winter waiting for the 6 feet of ice to melt. There were several times where I thought some students might try to flood the school in order to test their qajaqs. August came and it was time for the students to get Tuesday September 6, was an incredible back to school. We started day, it was the day that the Chester the school year off with 6 of Qayaq fleet took to the water. With Elders, our students graduating (a record for our school) and Parents, and students watching, the qajaqs the annual cardboard qajaq entered the water, and did not sink. race on Police Lake. But it was different this year; all the students were waiting for the frames to be covered and a chance to paddle their creations. Immediately following our graduation ceremonies and prom, the gym was once again converted into a work shop. Students sanded and stained their qajaqs and got them ready for the covering process. We decided to use a nylon material to cover the qajaqs rather than Caribou or Seal skins. Preparing enough Caribou and Seal skins to cover 9 qajaqs is at least a month of solid scraping, stretching, and sewing, time which was not available to us. It took our students three more days to hand stitch the nylon together and make the waterproof seams. By the end of the week there were a lot of sore fingers, and a lot of cheers that the qajaqs were almost completed. The final step in completing the process was to apply five coats of polyurethane to the nylon covering. Several students volunteered their weekend to apply the coats, just to ensure they could finally paddle their qajaqs. The day had arrived, the culmination of a year of work was about to come to fruition, the qajaqs where about to enter the water. Fortunately, we were able to secure funding to purchase the necessary safety equipment (life jackets, spray skirts, dry suits, etc), and Canadian companies like Aquabound generously donated paddles and life jackets.

the qajaqs entered the water, and did not sink. The first thing the students learned was how to perform a wet exist (safely exiting a kayak when it has flipped upside down). Once the students had successfully demonstrated that they could remove themselves from the qajaq they were given the freedom of the lake. People watched the entire afternoon as each student flipped over and then paddled their qajaq, it was an amazing experience. Everyday for the rest of that week was spent on the water. Within the first two days of qajaqing the students had discovered their balance points and had begun to navigate their qajaq with relative ease. There was always a struggle to be the first in the qajaq, but everyone managed to have a chance each day. Although at times, it was difficult to convince students to leave the water. We spent every nice day possible learning how to qajaq properly and improving paddle strokes. The learning curve for these students was almost straight up when it came to learning new skills in the qajaq (a curve that I wish I was able to duplicate in Math). There are several moments that I will never forgot about this project, but two stick out in my mind the most. The first was hearing one of my ‘cool’ grade 12 students saying that he “feels like a real Inuk,” after learning how to build and paddle his qajaq. He said it with such pride and enthusiasm that it will always stay with me. Two Elders showed up at the lake one day and asked if they could try the qajaqs. I watched as three of my students helped them into the qajaq, the same way they had been taught. The students stayed right beside the Elders as they paddled and showed them how to paddle the qajaq. Both the Elders and students had huge smiles on their faces, and shared a deep meaningful connection. We spent several more days on the water honing our skills and learning rescue techniques, but eventually the ice reappeared. I was sure that some students were going to try and chip away enough room in the ice to keep qajaqing, but they are stored again for another year. Students are already wishing that it was August again. Next year we plan on spending the first week of school on the water. Three Elders and two guides will lead 22 students on a 7 day expedition in the qajaqs. The students will learn how Inuits used to hunt and travel by qajaq. The elementary students can’t wait until they get into high school so they too can learn how to qajaq. I think there are many more memorable moments still to come. This qajaq project has represented the rebirth of interest in qajaqing in our community and region. Our students are full of pride when they travel to other communities and share stories about their adventures.

Tuesday September 6, was an incredible day, it was the day that the Chester Qayaq fleet took to the water. With Elders, Parents, and students watching,

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December 17 & 18, 2011 7 ACTC youth female campers ranging ages 13 to 16 years

Purpose:

ACCFS launched its first ever Girl Power Camp. The camp is designed to support and empower ACTC female youth to positive life awareness and development.

Activities include:

Nature walks – listen to the silence; find the peace in nature Indoor activities with facilitator Camp upkeep – bring in wood; cleanup; help with cooking; help serve elder Evening story telling with elders

More on ACCFS Girl Power Camp

Agency Chiefs Child & Family Services wishes to promote healthy lifestyles especially to our youth. With this in mind, the first ever weekend “Girl Power” camp held on December 17th and 18th, 2011. The winter survival camp is located ACTC traditional lands trapping zone P-64 by Chute Lake near Leoville Saskatchewan. The campers were involved in activities and games to promote personal wellness. The campers activities include:

Warm Ups - - - - -

Pencil in bellybutton Hold hands and untangle “Shark!” activity Snow angels Snow tag

Exercises

- Participants will draw a flower and answer the questions put forth on the pattern (attached). Youth will have time to share their flower answers with the group and facilitator - Heart exercise – everyone gets a “heart”; put your name on it; pass it on around the group; each group member will write a positive affirmation on the heart; each participant will wind up with a heart full of positive affirmations to keep - “ruler” exercise – a ruler is drawn on flipchart; on a separate sheet discuss with the girls the following: how long are you a baby? A child? A teen? A mother? An adult? What responsibilities come with each age?; on the ruler draw how long these areas of life can possibly be. The goal of this exercise will be to make the girls aware of how short their young lives can be and that they have the power to extend their youth - Guided meditation

Supplies for Campers to Bring: - - - - - - -

Own basin to wash up in Face cloths/towel 2 changes of warm clothing Skidoo pants/warm coat/mitts/toque for outdoor activities Toothbrush/floss Blankets/pillow Permission slip hope for the future.ca

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group of senior health representatives from five organizations have been working collaboratively on new programs aimed at improving health and social development in Labrador’s Aboriginal communities. As partners on the Labrador Aboriginal Health Integration Committee (LAHIC), they sponsored the formation of a new Mobile Multidisciplinary Mental Wellness Clinical Team called, Mapping the Way. The Committee includes the Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority; Nunatsiavut Government, Department of Health and Social Development; Mushuau Innu Health Commission; Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation Social and Health Department; and the Labrador Health Secretariat of Health Canada.   LAHIC identified a priority for mental health and addictions professional services to be delivered directly in remote Aboriginal communities experiencing a considerable degree of social distress. Community residents are challenged by such complex issues as alcohol and substance abuse, violence, suicide, intergenerational trauma, personal and family breakdowns, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

specialists working alone in separate agencies often feel isolated and overwhelmed by their workload, and would benefit from collaborating with other specialists on a team and exchanging ideas, approaches and information. Similarly community health workers need support and value mentoring from clinical specialists, and could assist them with valuable insights on family, community and cultural contexts. The idea of combining skills and resources offered a critical opportunity for improving social conditions in Labrador Aboriginal communities.

While efforts are made to provide counselling and supports by health specialists in several agencies, limited services are delivered directly in Aboriginal communities. In addition, health

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The new multidisciplinary clinical mental wellness team for First Nations and Inuit communities in Labrador focuses on: • Clinical services, assessment and counselling interventions • Capacity – building training, mentoring and integration with community individuals and organizations • Prevention The project is set up to primarily target male and female Labrador Innu and Inuit children (6-11 years), youth (12-17 years) and young adults (18-24 years). Their families will be the secondary target group. The team has been working towards strengthening and improving the mental wellness and social health of Labrador Inuit and Innu through culturally appropriate mental wellness and healing programs and services. Team members are required to provide services regularly to First Nations and Inuit communities. The team began with the communities of Sheshatshiu and Hopedale and will go to Natuashish and Nain to collaborate with core community wellness teams in each community. With the beginning of service delivery in January 2011, referrals for counseling and Occupational Therapy services have been consistent. To date for Hopedale, approximately fifty referrals for individuals have been received from a variety of sources, including: Child Youth and Family Services, Amos Comenius School, Labrador Correctional Centre, Nunatsiavut Department of Health and Social Development and the Labrador Grenfell Health Clinic. Referrals for services are made for a variety of reasons.

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Marjorie Flowers, Team Leader, and her staff in Hopedale have been instrumental in assisting in the development of a Community Wellness Team to guide and support Mapping the Way in their work in the community. Mapping the Way would especially like to see some involvement from youth on the Community Wellness Team as well. Mapping the Way looks forward to another active year of providing services to First Nations and Inuit people of Labrador in 2012 and expanding into other communities.

Youth identify that they need assistance coping with one or several life issues, such as alcohol and drug use, academic challenges, grief and trauma.   Mapping the Way partnered with the Department of Health and Social Development in Hopedale to offer a retreat for youth during July of 2011. This took place at the healing lodge and was a great learning experience for all. The focus was on helping the young people develop positive coping skills to deal with trauma that may affect them or their community. Plans were made to follow up with the youth in the community and there are intentions to plan another gathering for next summer.  

For more information on Mapping the Way, contact: Zita White – Mapping the Way Project Coordinator Mapping the Way 6 Hillcrest Drive P.O. Box 1016, Station C Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL A0P 1C0 Telephone: at 709-896-4480 Email: zita_white@nunatsiavut.com

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The BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association is a training to employment initiative, that provides training and employment opportunities to Aboriginal people interested in a career in the Mining Industry. For the last 7 months a small group of Aboriginal women have worked hard to complete the requirements for a specialized management certificate in Human Resources through the BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association (BC AMTA).

‘‘

BC AMTA has recognized that there are numerous opportunities for employment and career development in the rapidly growing and changing field of human resource management. A partnership was formed with the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Corporate & Industry Training department of the School of Business (BCIT). Through this partnership, BCIT’s accredited Management Certificate in Human Resources program was delivered in Kamloops. BCIT’s professional, subject-matter expert facilitators utilized the following guiding principles for delivery of this program:

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To provide specialized knowledge, skills and abilities relating to organizational systems and processes that focus upon enhancing human behavior in the workplace” and to “Create an atmosphere of belongingness offering security and building confidence in each of the participants and providing the best possible chance for personal success and professional success. The students are highly motivated individuals who are striving for independence and economic health for themselves and their families. This journey has been about bringing positive change for themselves through education and preparing themselves to meet the needs of the opportunities in today’s mining industry. hope for the future.ca

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On December 7, 2011 these hardworking and determined women were given an extra confidence booster by BC AMTA. They spent time with a fashion advisor, a makeup artist, and a hairdresser to help them build personal style and poise as they step into a new career. BC AMTA, The Hair Specialists, Sears and The Bay in Kamloops each contributed to the students’ makeover through donated space, accessories, clothing, and skincare products along with valuable staff time. “It’s so important for strong women to step forward and help other women launch successful careers,” says Laurie Sterritt, Executive Director of BCAMTA. “Some of the more privileged have had the benefit of education and mentorship. That has not been the case for many Aboriginal women in Canada.” Dress for Success, is a longstanding Vancouver organization dedicated to promoting the economic independence of women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Helen Baker is the Owner of Stylefinder, a Vancouver company that counsels clients on their wardrobes and personal style. She led Wednesday’s session and also brought generous donations from a group of private clients she calls “closet angels”.

“The First Nations women we are working with in Kamloops have done an incredible amount of work to prepare themselves for new careers. We want to help them take that next step forward with genuine self-assurance,” says Baker. On January 12, 2012 a graduation was held in Kamloops. The students not only have education and accreditation, they are also set with their new professional style; they are ready to step into a new career of Human Resource Management. The BC AMTA team wishes the students well in their future endeavors and looks forward to providing on-going coaching services throughout the job placement process for each of these women.

For information on other programs and services that BC AMTA offers please check out our website at www.bcamta.ca or www.facebook.com/bcamta

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ellie Cournoyea has always had a pulse on socioeconomic issues within her northern community of Aklavik, NWT.  It was the knowledge of these very issues that first sparked her interest, later spurning her into politics: “I was enticed into politics at a young age by listening to discussions among the elders… their gatherings drew me in gradually, and I knew I wanted to be involved in the debates and the issues being discussed.” Eventually, that curiosity, initiative, and participation which stemmed from her youth not only resulted in her being respected and involved in a leadership role within her community, but also at a national and political level: having been elected the first-ever Native Woman Premier, in Canada. And yet, with all that Nellie has achieved for herself and community thus far, the issues she overheard her elders discussing as a child still remain relevant: learning to evolve economically as society shifts and advances. It was many years ago, when Nellie overheard her elders discuss “the changes taking place in the Inuvialuit region, as communities moved from an economy based entirely on harvesting (hunting, trapping, and fishing) to a broader economic base”; Nellie feels that—even in today’s times—there yields an opportunity for Aboriginals to apply their many unique abilities to adapt, evolve and prosper in a new North. “Traditionally, survival in the North demanded excellence. There is no reason why the demand for excellence cannot be transferred to modern day (academic) achievements.” Although the circumstances and terms of survival may have changed from those of early Canadian Aboriginals, the knowledge and skills acquired from this heritage can still last the test of time—allowing communities to not only survive, but thrive: academically, physically, culturally and economically.

Education Like those that came before who had to practise their skills (like hunting) in order to provide for their families, students today can also practise their studies/academics in order to secure a valuable career: a modern means of providing support to themselves, their families, and their communities. Nellie herself is a prime example of how great aspirations, effort, and tenacity can translate to academic accomplishment (and later occupational success): in her youth she completed her high school diploma via correspondence—sending coursework by mail from the Aklavik to Alberta. However, she also recognizes that one shouldn’t have to independently motivate and maneuver themselves through the educational system and process of attaining certification: “a proper support system in the community should be in place for students starting at the early elementary years.” Nellie attributes much of her achievement in graduating and overcoming the many difficulties (posed by limitation of resources and distance education) to her day school principal; like him, Nellie is now regarded as a role model within her community and beyond. As a leader, she uses her influence to highly advocate the importance of education for future achievement and fulfillment of the individual as well as advancement of the community—particularly economically. Ms. Cournoyea aligns her views with “all Aboriginal representative groups” who she says “identified education as their top priority, seeing it as the best way to move forward in a changing society.”

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Investing in Our Youth As with any circumstance in life—certain challenges and obstacles can make it difficult to achieve ones’ goals, such as continuing on an educational path. As Nellie notes, “youth have tremendous energy,” it is important to help guide that energy towards investment in positive activities—especially in aims of preventing the boredom which can lead to school drop-outs or delinquency. “An important factor in healthy communities is having programs available to inspire and interest youth,” says Nellie. These activities can have a positive impact on the individual youth, while also functioning as a preventative measure to many social issues. Even more so, these activities can be culturally beneficial: connecting youth to their roots in an enjoyable and engaging manor, while also encouraging them to take pride in their heritage. “It is clear that youth can get very excited about cultural activities,” notes Ms. Cournoyea.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper drum dancing with the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers on his visit in August 2010. Photo by: David Stewart.

In addition, some of these activities hold promise for significant economic impact on the Northern region and its inhabitants. “There is great potential in our region for traditional activities such as carving, sewing, and harvesting to be better supported, in order to take advantage of local knowledge and skills,” states Nellie. With help and collaboration with the Government, an investment in these skills can be translated into employment opportunities and an enhanced labour force. “Inuvialuit are exceptionally artistic and skilled in working with their hands. Many of the handicrafts from the region are highly prized and sold to buyers around the world,” she explains. According to Ms. Cournoyea, development of this industry can work to stimulate not only the Northern economy, but that of Canada as a whole. Unfortunately boredom and a lack of engagement and access to these community activities are not the only thing that can deter northern youth from completing their educational journey: living conditions can also be a contributory factor. “The cost of living in many Aboriginal communities is indeed very high, particularly in the Arctic” and “housing conditions are often inadequate,” notes Nellie: a disheartening reality for many. She explains that this can be particularly trying on a youth pursing there studies—especially as the Northern lifestyle is evidently unique from others: “we have a lot of shared family participation in the home, and there is rarely a dedicated area for students to study.” She suggests that families be aware and sensitive of this issue stating that, “these differences in culture need to be taken into account when youth are going through the academic learning process.” Indeed, lack of household accommodation for an appropriate study space only further solidifies the importance of communal spaces and programs for youth to congregate, interact and effectively pursue their future goals (whether collaboratively—through recreational activities, or independently—through study). “There are many statistics that support the suggestion that young Aboriginal people could have a large impact on the labour force,” states Nellie. The government has also begun to recognize the potential of northern people—particularly youth—and how tapping into their many skills to secure employment can be beneficial for all of Canada. At the most recent Ottawa Summit, Prime Minister Harper stated in his opening speech that one of the main goals

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of his government is “much increased aboriginal participation in the economy and in the country’s prosperity.” He also stated that Canada needs a growing labour force, “it is therefore in all of our interests to see Aboriginal people educated, skilled and employed.” Although Nellie agrees with this notion, she also cautions that these words and sentiments must translate into concrete action and plans in order to produce change: “Statements like that of the Prime Minister need to not only be expressed, but also supported in a practical, realistic way.” Since interviewing Nellie, her words of advisory—regarding concrete displays of government action— have begun to take fruition; on a recent February visit to Iqaluit, Prime Minister Harper announced a 27 million dollar investment in basic adult education for the North. The funding (which will be dispersed over the course of five years) is an attempt to help high-school drop-outs complete certification: an increasingly necessary requirement for a productive and meaningful career. Nellie, herself, has also attempted to help in this process (for adults and youth alike) through support of and participation in local area career-fairs; just last year she participated in a careerfair in Ulukhaktok and is constantly pro-active in connecting with Aboriginal youth—motivating and helping them to take the proper steps to make future goals a reality.

Collaboration for Change Although the early stirrings for change have yet to be solidified, it is in Ms. Cournoyea’s opinion that even the organization of the Ottawa Summit—intended to open discussion between First Nations and the Prime Minister—is an extremely positive sign: “I believe a summit at that high political level can bring about a lot of positive progress. However, the outcome depends on how much effort goes into implementing the programs and services, and making sure that the commitments are followed through.” One area that she feels Aboriginals and the Government can work together to improve is healthcare. “In our region we are fortunate to have health centres in each community, and a large regional health facility in Inuvik. However, the lack of professionally trained staff such as doctors and nurses is a major concern,” she explains. Indeed, past healthcare programs—put in place through government funding—


Being Resourceful have showed promise for improvement. “We have benefited from many programs, including health and disease prevention projects funded by Health Canada,” says Nellie. Therefore, steps should continue to be taken between government programs, and northern communities, to ensure that individuals are receiving as efficient, advanced, and thorough medical care as other Canadians: something that has proved difficult due to the North’s less populated and widely dispersed areas. “Having more programs and services available closer to home is important” especially for “individuals who are directly affected by particular health issues,” urges Nellie. This development and increase in healthcare resources and highly-skilled practitioners can enhance both northern quality of life—through access to adequate care—and economic development— through the training and employment of Aboriginals within the medical field.

In the North, lay some great economic possibilities for new developments involving natural resources and land. One political advocacy group trying to protect resources, while also promoting safe and positive development, is the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). The national Inuit body, who recently celebrated its 40th anniversary as an organization, serves to defend and enforce negotiated, comprehensive land claim agreements that are constitutionally protected for regional Inuit entities across the Canadian Arctic—including Nunatsiavut Government, Makivik Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). Nellie Cournoyea has the honour of having been elected as

Unfortunately individuals’ frustrations with quality of life, whether it be poor housing conditions or lack of sufficient healthcare, can stem to anger—which can quickly lend itself to violence. Nellie cautions that these acts often do not have any impact on fostering progress on the true issues: “In my view, violence comes about as a result of feelings of disassociation and helplessness, and a lack of involvement in finding solutions to problems that exist.” Instead, she advises that individuals use their efforts to work together and get involved in seeking out economic prospects, “I believe that positive change can come about in an inclusive society where economic opportunities are fostered”; but in order to affect improvement, the specific needs of the communities and their unique areas of economic potential must first be analyzed: “Governments should work with the communities to look at their current conditions and… financial capacity to determine what economic opportunities exist,” states Nellie talking to students at a Career Fair Nellie. These factors can be in Ulukhaktok in March 2011. extremely varied dependent on the geographical location; for example she explains that “given the high cost of doing business in the North, the Federal Government should support and actively promote economic opportunities that need an extra boost to get off the ground”: catering to the complex demands of life in the Arctic. “Some communities and groups have a lot of potential economic activities, while others, particularly in very remote areas, may have few options and need more assistance,” she explains. Once those contributory factors are addressed, groups and the Government alike should work constructively in order to produce efficient/effective solutions. For example, with relation to the recent Ottawa Summit, Nellie feels “it would be a good thing if Canada works with First Nations to address the problems identified and…ensure that First Nations do receive the maximum benefit from the natural resources of their traditional lands,”: a notion with promising economic potential to all Northerners and Inuvialuit. hope for the future.ca

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Chair of the IRC (a division of the ITK). She—and Nellie with the former premier the ITK at large—function to make “representations of NWT, Floyd Roland, at the on the general well-being of Inuit across Canada and Inuvik Petroleum Show. interfaces with the federal government on areas of major importance to the regional bodies, such as education and health,” she explains. An exciting initiative that she and the IRC have recently been involved in—with full participation—is the National Energy Board Review: regarding off-shore drilling and associative safety measures. “We understand the importance of the energy sector and are not opposed to development, but maintain that any drilling activity has to be carried out responsibly and in a manner that ensures the long-term sustainability of our local resources,” notes Nellie. With regards to the review, the National Energy Board (NEB) maintained the requirement that “all oil and gas companies wanting to operate in Arctic waters demonstrate the capability to contain an out-of-control well during the same drilling season”: an environmentally sound conclusion. In their collaboration with the NEB, the IRC made clear that they must be involved with all economic opportunities for Inuvialuit, especially regarding natural resources: “through the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA), we also have a process in place to ensure that any development proposals undergo an environmental assessment,” explains Nellie. With regards to mining in the North Nellie explains that “there are few large-scale economic opportunities in the Beaufort-Delta region” because “the remoteness of the few mineral deposits that do exist, are often cost prohibitive to develop. However, there is some exploratory work underway in an area of anomaly in the Paulatuk area.” Yet, there does seem to be potential for the discovery—and perhaps future extraction—of other resources since “the Beaufort-Delta region contains mainly oil and gas reserves,” explains Ms Cournoyea. The IRC is also currently reviewing the construction of an InuvikTuktoyaktuk Highway—what they believe to be an important piece of infrastructure—and are eager to move forward with the plans. Although the ice road would not be open during the summer, “the highway is seen as a project that will allow for more business and tourism opportunities, as most visitors who come to Inuvik by road hope to continue on to Tuktoyaktuk,” explains Nellie. Inuvik has the capacity to host many meetings/conferences—with “several hotels offering quality accommodation, and large meeting rooms available at the community centre”—Nellie attests that “one area with great potential for the future is the tourism and hospitality sector.” Visitors are offered the exciting experiences of the Inuvik area including polar hunting, dog sledding, helicopter, ice road, or snowmobile tours via tour operators at the north end of the Dempster Highway. These experiences can offer tourists a glimpse into some of the culturally-rich activities of the North and help to stimulate Arctic economy; as Nellie says, “there are many opportunities to expand this industry in the future.”

As an active member of her community, Ms. Cournoyea is also a member of the Aboriginal Pipeline Group (APG)—which is a one-third owner of the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline. Although the approval process of the pipeline project has closed due to “economic considerations” which “are currently handicapping progress,” Nellie maintains “hopes that the pipeline would provide many years of opportunity for Inuvialuit.” She, along with the APG, are currently working with their partners (Imperial Oil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and ExxonMobil) to move forward on the project as they feel it “would not only bring economic benefits to the North, but also opportunities for all Canadians.”

A Bright Future As the North charges forward in this uncertain and challenging economic time, Nellie Cournoyea encourages education/training, dedication/tenacity, co-operative community involvement, and positivity to help ensure a prosperous future; and although these prosperities may not be as possible for some regions as others, the efforts of individuals to better the quality of life of their communities—in addition to themselves—must not go unrecognized or uncelebrated. “While some communities are better positioned to take advantage of educational and economic opportunities than others, there are many communities and individuals that need positive recognition and support for what they are doing to enrich their lives and their communities,” relays Nellie. She also notes that though staying informed on issues plaguing Canadian Aboriginals is extremely important, so too is remaining hopeful and optimistic: “Although Aboriginal institutions are expected to bring political attention to the sometimes negative circumstances that exist in our communities, it is important for leadership to build upon the positive achievements that we see every day.” As Nellie recognizes—and encourages all to share in so doing—if it were not for the many challenges and adversities that one faces when working towards a goal, they would not know to celebrate the strengths of their accomplishments: “While there will always be problems and issues to deal with, we have to acknowledge and recognize those who work so hard at a community level to make things better for their people.” For it is the people, who have the ability to—together—affect change.

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W

hen we explore for minerals, and responsibly develop mines that result from this exploration, we can create tremendous economic opportunities for both the north and Canada as a whole.

Canada is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. From the ground comes oil and gas, coal, copper, potash, gold, iron ore, diamonds and many other minerals. Minerals that are desperately needed by countries all around the world to power their economies, feed their people and build their schools, houses and other necessary parts of their society. We need those same minerals up here in the north as well, everything in our society depends on it, whether it is Ski-Doos, fishing boats, rifles, schools or fuel to heat our homes. Mining gives us the metals and minerals we need to build things that are important in our lives, it gives us the fuel we need to power them, and it gives us wealth so that we can invest in training and education to ensure that our society grows and prospers. From time to time, it is good to remind ourselves of the importance of these minerals we are blessed with; if we cannot explore to discover them in the ground or cannot develop these discoveries into mines, we cannot benefit from this mineral wealth. Life would clearly be a lot more difficult without mining, but it is also very important that minerals are explored for and mined in a responsible way with respect for the people who live in the area and for the land itself. Peregrine is committed to Nunavut and to being a good corporate citizen, and takes this to heart when it is exploring for diamonds in Canada’s north.

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Diamonds were formed deep in the earth and were brought to the surface by kimberlites, which are a type of ancient volcano. To explore for diamonds, a company must first discover kimberlites, and then test them to see if they have diamonds of significant quality and value to be of economic interest. Since 2008, Peregrine has discovered 59 kimberlites

could be. In order to determine the value of the diamonds and the grade, or number of diamonds per tonne of kimberlite, large samples of the kimberlite need to be collected. Once all this information is put together, the Company can investigate whether a mine could be successful, and whether the tremendous investment that would be required is justified. Step by step along this path is the important process of consultation to keep the communities and government and regulatory bodies informed of the plans to ensure that the required work is understood and done in compliance with regulations. Peregrine actively seeks to keep members of local communities informed of its activities, attending several community meetings each year, along with organizing visits to its project by delegations from Pangnirtung and Iqaluit. The Company also hires local workers and uses local suppliers for food and other services whenever possible.

on its Chidliak project, located approximately 120 kilometres from Iqaliut. Of these, samples from seven kimberlites have returned larger diamonds, suggesting that they might have the chance of becoming part of a mine someday. Before the decision can be made on whether a project will become a mine or not, there are many pieces of important information that are needed. These include the value of the diamonds, how many diamonds are in the kimberlites, the size of the kimberlites and what the potential economics of a mine

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Mr. Eric Friedland, CEO of Peregrine, commented “Working with the local communities, we are committed to develop Baffin Island’s first diamond mine as rapidly as possible in a respectful, safe and environmentally sensitive manner. The first significant step towards this goal is the initial bulk sampling of key kimberlites to obtain diamond parcels for valuation. Upon receipt of positive valuation results, we would advance the project into pre-feasibility by obtaining larger diamond parcels and by completing initial engineering work. In addition, as there are many geophysical anomalies and a number of unresolved kimberlitic indicator mineral dispersions at Chidliak that need to be fully investigated, we are confident that more kimberlites will be discovered this year.”

and some existing diamond mines are beginning to run out of diamonds. This suggests that the price of diamonds will continue to rise in the future. It is a great time to be in the diamonds business. Peregrine is very excited about its Chidliak Project and looks forward to working with the local communities to move the project forwards in a safe and environmentally sensitive manner. When we all work together, the results can be tremendous and can provide a real and lasting benefit to the people of the north.

Canada is the third largest supplier of diamonds in the world, with diamonds coming from the EKATI, Diavik and Snap Lake diamond mines in the Northwest Territories and the Victor diamond mine in Ontario. Peregrine believes that its Chidliak Project will one day join this illustrious group and become Baffin Island’s first diamond mine.

PEREGRINE DIAMONDS LTD. 201-1250 Homer Street Vancouver, B.C. V6B 1C6

The demand for diamonds is increasing around the world, particularly in China and India, as the growing middle class in these countries demands more western goods. The worldwide supply of diamonds is not growing to keep pace with the demand, as there have not been very few diamond mine discoveries since the discovery of EKATI and Diavik in the Northwest Territories in the early 1990’s,

www.pdiam.com

(604) 408-8880 - phone (604) 408-8881- facsimile

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S

ince our election as the representatives of all NWT residents, the Members of the 17th Legislative Assembly have been hard at work to set direction for the territorial government.

Nobody works in isolation, and that’s especially true for the Government of the Northwest Territories. Our partners, the regional Aboriginal and community governments, are key to building a strong, sustainable future for our Territory. We Our government has expanded access must all work together in the best interest of all of to Aurora College teacher education our residents. Our strong, independent north will be built on partnerships.

programs in communities to train more

Northern teachers and Aboriginal Residents want to be in control of their lives and to make decisions about the things that language and cultural instructor are important to them. The vision of the 17th Legislative Assembly, Believing in People and Building on the Strengths of Northerners, speaks to our focus on self-reliant residents. We want to have healthy, educated people who are free from poverty and live in an environment that will sustain present and future generations. The Government of the Northwest Territories provides the supports our residents need to become and stay self-reliant as individuals, households, and communities. And as a territory, we are negotiating an agreement with the federal and participating Aboriginal governments to allow Northerners to make our own decisions about how our public lands will be protected and developed and how our regulatory processes will be improved.

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We have put a focus on education. Our schools across the territory contribute to the development of some of Canada’s most promising young people. Our government has expanded access to Aurora College teacher Our new NWT Film Commission is education programs in communities to train particularly exciting, with investments more Northern teachers in large and small productions and Aboriginal language and cultural instructors. around the territory, including the We are developing a Dene new CBC drama Arctic Air. Language curriculum to benefit all of our regions. And our Aboriginal Student Achievement program focuses on improving Aboriginal students’ graduation rates. This year, five new community libraries have opened in schools in small communities. The territory now has 20 public libraries.

provides support using a team approach. Our new downtown primary community care clinic in Yellowknife is a great example of doctors, nurses, wellness workers and non-government organizations working together in the best interests of their clients. For more information about the Government of the Northwest Territories, visit www.gov.nt.ca

Housing continues to be a priority for our government. The NWT Housing Corporation has more than 2300 units, which are managed by local housing organizations operating across the NWT. In the past few years, the federal and territorial governments have invested nearly $120 million in new construction and repair programs for public housing. Access to affordable housing continues to be an issue, however, and our Shelter Policy Review will provide a long-term strategic framework for delivering housing in the NWT. The review will be completed early in the life of the 17th Assembly and will provide the basis for undertaking specific actions to address housing needs in communities throughout the NWT. We want to strengthen and diversify our economy, providing all communities and regions with opportunities and choices. This will also have the effect of increasing employment opportunities where they are most needed. Our economy has grown rapidly because of significant investment in diamonds, oil and gas. And small businesses across the territory provide goods and services to residents, businesses, tourists and southern markets. In the interests of developing and sustaining a healthy business community in the NWT, our government is promoting continued investment and maintains regional offices dedicated to delivering business programs and services in all sectors, including arts and crafts, tourism, and traditional harvesting. Our new NWT Film Commission is particularly exciting, with investments in large and small productions around the territory, including the new CBC drama Arctic Air. Our unique landscape, natural environment and vibrant cultural essence offers a spectacular backdrop for film and television production. Finally, our government will work towards a fair and sustainable health care system. We will invest in prevention, education and awareness, and will enhance our addictions treatment programs. We cannot have a health model that is based on treating people after they get sick. Simple preventative measures will have longlasting positive results. We must give residents the help they need to have better diets, to exercise more, and to deal with addictions including smoking. Our network of health professionals hope for the future.ca

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N

unavik Biosciences (NBI), a subsidiary of the Makivik Corporation, which represents the Inuit of Northern Quebec. NBI is dedicated to researching and developing value-added products utilizing local marine and terrestrial resources. The harvesting and production of Ungava Skin Care algae extracts and Nunavik Foods Spices are a shining example of the company’s efforts to be ecologically sustainable while providing an economic opportunity for the residents of Nunavik. Introducing “Ungava Skin Care�, a line of products using marine algae extracts found in the northernmost area of Quebec, developed to fight the signs of aging and provide a pleasurable sensation to your daily routine. While most seaweed contain many nutrients and moisturizing properties, the marine algae biomasses found around the Ungava Peninsula have the advantage of being enriched with higher concentrations of certain vitamins and minerals. They organically have a higher concentration of natural properties including Vitamin E, Vitamin C, fatty acids and trace elements due to their constant battle with nature. They are exposed to up to 20 hours of sunshine during the summer period contrasting with exposure to extreme cold weather and buried under snow and ice for the winter months. The seaweed has developed biological protection against these elements and it is these bio-actives that we are targeting in our extracts. Ungava Skin Care, launched in May 2011 includes a range of authentic, natural and innovative products responding to the needs of many skin types and is available to consumers through its website www.nunavikbiosciences.com

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Nunavik Biosciences will soon launch a line of spices on the market. The line consists of three products all having a seaweed base; the first for meat (BBQ) another for salads (soups) and the third for seafood. This line of products will be innovative in that there is no salt (sodium) added, thus it will help to reduce the contribution to salt and sodium in the daily diet. Discover the Ungava Skin Care experience through its range of products at www.nunavikbiosciences.com and coming soon Nunavik Foods Spices at www.nunavikfoods.com Follow Nunavik Biosciences on Facebook and Twitter

All Ungava formulas are designed to restore the skin’s appearance and suppleness by moisturizing and replenishing the skin layers. Consumers have responded positively to Ungava Sunset Antiaging Cream, a leading product within the range of products. Rich in natural and organic algae extract, marine collagen and Vitamin E, Ungava Sunset Anti-aging Cream has been recognized for its nourishing and revitalizing effects by providing greater hydration and antioxidants to fight the damaging effects of free radicals and the signs of aging. Every product has a light texture and easily penetrates the skin, combined with a delicate white tea fragrance. They provide pleasure along with effective care against the signs of aging. True to its environmental commitment, the packaging tastefully showcases the brand with recycled materials and the logo features the importance of the marine algae ingredients.

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t’s hard to put into words the value of this experience to both my education and my increased motivation to want to pursue medicine as a career,” said Khatija Essaji, a participant in the Pre-Med Summer Institute offered for the first time at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay from May 23-June 24 2011.

Five representatives of the First Nations/Inuit and Metis communities of Newfoundland and Labrador took part in the five-week program. Khatija is not alone in her enthusiasm about the experience. Fellow participant John Jeddore reflects that “all in all, I would not change any aspect of this initiative. For being the first time running this program, everything seemed to have been put together amazingly and will prove to be a very helpful tool for aboriginal students who are thinking of pursuing medicine.” Program content was designed to offer a wide range of experiences ranging from sessions on CPR-AED, patient- intake procedures, and ethics in medicine, to shadowing of residents and physicians and on-the-land engagement in traditional medicine practices. The five participants also had the opportunity to get tips from medical personnel about preparing their application to medical school and the interview. hope for the future.ca

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Sylvia Keefe said that the true value of the institute was that, “I was an active participant in a supportive learning environment. I appreciate how the program was planned to fully emerge the students in various aspects of the medical field – from shadowing physicians in the Outpatient Department to observing Operating Room procedures to, where required, responding to a Medevac call”. Dr. Michael Jong, co-ordinator of the institute, said that “this was a wonderful experience for both learners and trainers; we learnt for one another – not about one world view but many world views – and our lives are all the richer from having worked together”. Dr. Carolyn Sturge Sparkes, co-ordinator of the Aboriginal Health Initiative that started and supported the institute, is convinced that its success confirms the need to maintain it. “Funding received from Health Canada through its Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative paid our expenses this year. Now we need to find funding to keep this going!”

Participant Robert Power affirms the need. “I have already told friends about this and have encouraged them to apply for next year,” he said. The participants are clear that their passion for medicine has been fuelled by the opportunities provided at the Labrador Health Centre. They readily agree that what they experienced at the institute, while invaluable, is only the beginning. As Dean Simon eloquently pens, “My wish is that I can take what I have seen, heard, touched, smelled and tasted, back to my community, and have a true impact on improving the lives of my people. We too suffer. We too need healing. I want to maximize my time, helping people, and this is what I think being a doctor is all about.”

www.med.mun.ca Admissions email: munmed@mun.ca phone: 709 777-6615 fax: 709 777-8422

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or First Nations people, identity, history, traditional practices, culture and spirituality are essential to holistic well-being and positive mental health. Without these essential foundations, well-being and overall good health cannot be achieved. Mental health issues for First Nations arise from a long history of colonization, Indian Residential School trauma, discrimination and oppression. In order to help target some of the underlying issues surrounding mental health, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) works closely with Elders, community leaders, government organizations and other National Aboriginal Organizations (NAO) to ensure that holistic and culturallyappropriate mental wellness programs are developed and delivered for First Nations.

F

On October 4-6, 2011, fifteen First Nations youth from across the country gathered in Winnipeg, Manitoba to attend the AFN Youth Mental Wellness Forum. The Forum provided youth with information on mental wellness, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and an opportunity to share their experiences and views on mental wellness in their communities. Overall, the Forum encouraged the promotion of the roles and responsibilities of youth as peer counsellors, leaders and role models for one another, and supported the development of projects aimed at enhancing youth resiliency, identity and culture in communities. Between 2007 and 2010, the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) renewal process engaged over 2,000 First Nations people in developing a renewed vision for community, regional and national responses to substance use issues, resulting in the report entitled, Honouring Our Strengths: A Renewed Framework to Address Substance Use Issues Among First Nations People in Canada. Led by the First Nations Addictions Advisory Panel, the renewal process involved a range of activities focused on consensus building and knowledge gathering. This included a series of research papers, regional addiction needs assessments, regional workshops, a national forum, and an Indigenous Knowledge Forum. Each of these activities enabled the engagement of Elders, First Nations leadership, community members, treatment centre workers, researchers, and policy makers. The activities also helped to facilitate the development of the renewed approach to addressing substance use issues. For more information on the AFN’s mental wellness initiatives, please contact us at (613) 241-6789. For information on the NNADAP renewal process, visit www.nnadaorenewal.ca.

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H

ello Everyone, I am back in Fort McMurray after a great 4-day turnaround. It feels as though this is my little home away from home. On the flight here, over the vast expanse of northern Alberta you sure get a feeling of isolation. Upon

landing and stepping outside the terminal there is a distinctive “oily� smell in the air. The size and scope of the work here is amazing! The landscape is incredibly flat and almost featureless except for the swaths cut through the stubby little trees for a pipeline, or the vast horizon dotted with an industrial plant. The Athabasca River winds its way through this landscape and is actually quite majestic and lovely.

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The Dryden Municipal Telephone System is a full-service public utility telephone company owned by the City of Dryden. Our mandate is to provide efficient and effective, state-of-the-art, nationally connected telecommunications services to our subscribers while maintaining the financial and technical integrity of the system. Profits made by the company are used to keep the company current with new technologies and to reduce the tax burden on the residents of the City of Dryden. We provide: 1. Telephone service to the residents and businesses located in West Dryden, i.e., the portion of the City of Dryden that was the Town of Dryden before the amalgamation of the Town of Dryden and the Township of Barclay into the City of Dryden, 2. Cellular, Mobile Radio and Paging Services to all residents of the general area, and Sales and Leasing of Globalstar Satelite Telephones 3. Internet Service to the general area, with High Speed DSL in Dryden, and Dial-up Service in and around our city, as well as High Speed Wireless Internet from Vermilion Bay west of Dryden to Wabigoon to the east on Northwestern Ontario’s largest Wireless Internet Network.

Our Business Offices and Retail Telephone Store is located in the City Hall, at 30 Van Horne Avenue, and we are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (except statutory holidays). We can be reached by fax at 2231109 and by phone as follows:

- General telephone and Internet service inquiries : 223-1100 - Cellular and Mobility inquiries : 221-1000 - Connections, disconnections and billing inquires : 223-1111 - Trouble reports for Dial-up, DSL, and Wireless Internet : 221-2100 - Directory Advertising : 223-1115

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I am in a camp called Barge Landing Lodge north of the river and about an hour outside of Fort McMurray. It is very pleasant. Some of the other camps I pass as I head south in the mornings on my way to work are trailers stacked 3-high. It is GPS paradise here - huge open skies and a sun that almost never sets. I woke this morning at 3:00am, so I must be strangely adapted to camp life. I like the quiet evenings (due to the fact that everyone is working long days), the food is great, a small television in your room, lots of time for reading and a well-equipped fitness area all contribute to making it very pleasant. This is one of the smaller camps-it has only about 1700 people! Yesterday morning was the monthly safety meeting in FMM. There were 41 field staff in attendance and the parking lot looked like a Ford showroom. I am driving a new F250, and there are several kept as spares at the office to swap with as the undercarriages get clogged with the baked-on oil sands and go in for heavy-duty steam cleaning. It was the first time

I had met most of the people, since you have a laptop, an aircard and a scanner all in the truck there is no need to go the office. I have the feeling that this job and the camp are way better for me than the originally proposed bridge jobs in town. I spent $20.00 in two weeks and that was only to get more soap and clothes detergent. The drive out of town in the mornings for those headed north to the mines on Highway 63 is bumper to bumper, like the Colwood Crawl, except everyone is booting along at 120kph in their new big trucks. I am learning lots and having a great time. It is amazing to see the oil-sands in operation and the magnitude of this project, as well as get a glimpse inside another part of Focus.

Kodiak Energy, Inc.

www.focus.ca

Suite 1120, 833-4th Ave. SW Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3T5

Telephone: (403) 262-8044 Fax: (403) 513-2670 Investor Relations Email: info@kodiakpetroleum.com Phone: (403) 531-2664

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Native & Inuit Resource Magazine 2012