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Premier and officials visit La Loche to follow up on commitments made after mass shooting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 15:54

On Tuesday, the premier and a contingent of cabinet ministers were in La Loche to announce more than a million dollars in initiatives for the northern community.

The initiatives span seven different ministries and include $467,000 of provincial dollars towards a 14-unit affordable rental housing project, and health investments to hire a suicide prevention worker and mental health nurse who will start work later this month.

Premier Brad Wall spoke to more than 100 La Loche and area residents in the gym of La Loche high school’s Dene Building and said his government wants to honour those who were injured, killed, and traumatized by January 22’s mass shooting.

He solemnly recited the first names of Dayne Fontaine, Drayden Fontaine, Marie Janvier, and Adam Wood before saying “we are here to honour their memory. It is humbling for all of us, it is humbling for me, to be back in your community again. To be among strength, to be here among resolve, resilience, and determination and optimism. These are the qualities that La Loche has exemplified, has exhibited, over these last number of months.”

The long list of provincial announcements includes $750,000 for planning and redesign of the high school, among other upgrades. The announcement was made in the Dene Building’s gym; it’s the same building where a shooter entered and injured seven people on January 22. The shooter killed teacher’s assistant, Janvier and teacher, Wood.

“Thank you for refusing to give in to despair. Thank you for choosing hope and rejecting fear, for choosing to focus on the future,” Wall said, while acknowledging that this most recent trip to La Loche is only the start of a long road.

“My promise to you today is that the government of Saskatchewan will be with you every step of the way.”

The bulk of the investments cover things like adult basic education, and investments in local training for future trades workers.

There's also a program offered by First Nations University where up to 24 students can take a Dene Teacher Education program while staying in the community.

Mayor Kevin Janvier said this means a lot to La Loche, especially considering Marie’s ambitions at the time of her death.

“Hands down, Marie would have been in (the Dene Teacher Education Program) and tried to get in there and teach our young generation, or older generation, the Dene language. It’s really important our culture keeps that and I’m very pleased to be announcing to have that program offered in La Loche,” he said.

Other highlights include hiring a second full-time victims services coordinator and half-time community justice coordinator.

The provincial investments come after months of work by subcommittees that were created after the shooting to address the priorities of education, housing, health and infrastructure.

Members are from the federal government, province, La Loche, and Clearwater River Dene Nation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 16:25
Federal government apologizes for re-location of Sayisi Dene Nation PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 14:44

The federal government has formally apologized for the forced relocation of a First Nations community in northern Manitoba 60 years ago.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett visited the Sayisi Dene First Nation on Tuesday and apologized for the 1956 forced move.

"The Government of Canada apologizes for having relocated the Sayisi Dene people and recognizes that this relocation had a catastrophic impact on the Sayisi Dene community.” said Bennett in a media release.

The Sayisi Dene were forced out of Duck Lake to an area near Churchill, partly because the Manitoba government believed they were causing a steep decline in the caribou herd. That idea was later proven untrue.

In their new location, food was scarce and housing inadequate. The Dene turned to scavenging the dump and were assaulted by Churchill residents.

“We deeply regret the wrongs of the past and the heartbreaking legacy of shattered lives that continues to affect members to this day. Today we pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the relocation, as well as future generations, as we now take our first steps together on a path of renewal and healing," Concluded the nations Indigenous Affairs Minister.

Chief Ernest Bussidor says many survivors suffered post-traumatic stress.

"The Sayisi Dene First Nation are a resilient and patient people. Against all odds we have survived the years our people lived in Camp 10 and Dene Village in Churchill,” said Chief Bussidor in the release as well. “We are resilient enough to reacquire our traditions, language and culture and patient enough to wait 60 years to hear the Government of Canada admit their wrongs.”

The federal apology comes with a 33-million-dollar settlement package that was approved by the community three years ago.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 14:52
World Indigenous Business Forum one week away PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 12:58

Gilles Dorval speaking at an event on the WIBF in Saskatoon on Tuesday morning

In one week up to a thousand Indigenous and non-Indigenous business leaders from around the globe will be in Saskatoon.

The delegates are in the city for the first ever World Indigenous Business Forum to be held in Canada.

The goal of the forum will be to network with business leaders from around the world who have had success in engaging the local Indigenous community.

Milton Tootoosis is the chairperson for the planning committee.

He says the committee has been working hard on this event for the past two years.

“They made it possible for global leaders, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to come together from mutual experiences and to share knowledge and inspire one another to work toward greater prosperity,” said Tootoosis. “The international forum has already led to the forming of strategic alliances and global partners and we're hoping to benefit as well.”

This is the seventh World Indigenous Business Forum with previous events being held in New York City, Hawaii and Africa.

Delegates are expected all the way from Nigeria, Norway, Australia, Russia, China and the U.S.A.

“Saskatoon is the perfect place to host the forum,” said Gilles Dorval, Director of Aboriginal Relations for the City of Saskatoon. “We are excited to share the successes of Saskatoon with business leaders from around the world.”

Rosa Walker, President and CEO of Indigenous Leadership Development Institute and a member of the planning committee, says at first she was surprised a small city like Saskatoon won the bid to host the international event.

“But the excitement is there,” she said. “People are so excited to come here. They are phoning as from all over the world, they are bringing their families, they are staying longer and they are so excited to see this beautiful city.”

The World Indigenous Business Forum will be held August 23rd-25th at TCU Place in Saskatoon.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 13:02
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