Update on things happening in Rotary and indigenous communities, including current events – Rotary luncheons with guest speakers, open community and cultural gatherings, etc.





Produced by Animiki See Digital Productions, Nüman Films, and Indios Productions, the series will air as a three-night television event on APTN starting September 11 at 7:00 pm. ET/PT

FIRST CONTACT is narrated by George Stroumboulopoulos

APTN Reveals the Six Canadians Joining the 28-Day Exploration of Indigenous Canada

Click here to watch the trailer



August 15, 2018- Winnipeg, MB - APTN, in association with Animiki See Digital Productions, Nüman Films, and Indios Productions, announced today that it will premiere the documentary-series, FIRST CONTACT (3 X 60). A compelling exploration into indigenous culture in Canada, the three-part series is narrated by host and social justice activist George Stroumboulopoulos and takes six Canadians, all with strong opinions about Indigenous people, on a unique 28-day exploration of Indigenous Canada. It is a journey that will turn their lives upside down, challenging their perceptions and confronting their prejudices about a world they never imagined they would see. This exploration will change the participants’ lives forever.

Airing on Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET, the series will continue with episode two on Wednesday, September 12 and episode three on Thursday, September 13. The second and third episodes will be followed by a two-part reunion special airing September 12 and 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Following the second episode on Wednesday, APTN will air the first of a two-part reunion special featuring three Indigenous hosts that appear in the series. James Favel (cofounder of the Bear Clan Patrol), Michael Redhead Champagne (award-winning community organizer, public speaker and Shamattawa Cree Nation member) and Bernadette Smith (MLA, Assistant Director of Wayfinders Program in the Seven Oaks School Division) will come together in front of a live Winnipeg audience to reflect on the journey of the six participants and share their goals on how all Canadians can help strengthen relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Part two of the dramatic reunion special airs after the finale on Thursday evening, and will see the six participants come together before a live studio audience, to reflect on their experience during and since their journey together.

“We are incredibly proud of all of the people who participated in this journey with us,” says Executive Producer Vanessa Loewen, Animiki See Digital Productions Inc. “It takes a lot of courage to immerse and expose oneself to an experience like this and we are blessed that the communities across Canada opened their doors to us. This raw and honest account will undoubtedly inspire empathy and awareness of Indigenous culture by Canadians coast-to-coast.”

The following six participants will leave their everyday lives behind to travel deep into Winnipeg, Nunavut, Alberta, Northern Ontario, and the coast of BC to visit Indigenous communities:

Ashley Mathieu

Age: 32

Hometown: Ottawa, ON

Occupation: Personal trainer

About: Ashley’s life has been a truly transformative journey. The daughter of a Canadian Royal Mounted Police Officer and a Portuguese immigrant mother, she was a shy little girl who got bullied throughout most of her childhood. Having been through many challenges and hard times, Ashley is an empathetic person who is interested in learning about other people before passing judgment. She is also a direct and outspoken person and believes every Canadian has a right to their own opinion and the right to express it.

Avonlea Collins

Age: 28

Hometown: Chilliwack, BC

Occupation: Stay-at-home mom About: Avonlea has spent her life caring for others, from her brother to her young sons. Her big-heart and compassion are her defining qualities. Open to learning and changing, Avonlea dreams of living overseas one day and hopes her children get a chance to learn about other cultures in the world; something she never got to do.

Avonlea considers herself open to new cultures, people and environments.


Dallas Cormier

Age: 26

Hometown: Saint John, NB

Occupation: Lobster fisherman/welder

About: Outgoing and athletic from childhood, Dallas spent his adolescence playing sports and hanging out at the community entre with the same group of kids he is still friends with to this day. Dallas’ parents pushed him to be someone who cared about others and he does his best to help others however he can. His mom is his role model, as she always made sure he was able to articipate in activities with friends, despite a limited household income.

Donald Wright

Age: 65

Hometown: Ardrossan, AB

Occupation: Retired truck driver About: Donald is proud to consider himself honest, with a strong work ethic and integrity. A self-proclaimed opinionated conservative, he considers that the freedom to live in a safe, clean place without war and suffering is the best thing about Canada. He’s not a fan of the current government’s focus on diversity, though he enjoys exploring the world with his wife of 18 years.

Jamie-Sue Sykes

Age: 36

Hometown: Ingersoll, ON

Occupation: Team leader, auto manufacturing

About: Country-born and bred, Jamie-Sue loves big trucks and small-town Canada. She defies any stereotypes that go along with country life with her open-mindedness and compassionate nature. She wants to see the country do much more to help its most marginalized communities, like those suffering from addiction or mental health issues. She believes we are only as good as the way we treat those most in need.

Ross Jackson

Age: 50

Hometown: Edmonton, AB

Occupation: Accountant

About: Family man Ross has his roots firmly planted in Alberta, but has explored the world as well, first as a young child living in New Zealand with his family, and later as an officer in the Navy. A father of three, Ross has strong opinions and believes,that hard work and traditional Canadian values are the key to success. He expects anyone who has the opportunity to live in Canada to feel the same.


First Contact is produced by Animiki See Digital Productions, Nüman Films, and Indios Productions, with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund. Producers are Vanessa Loewen and Desiree Single for Animiki, Jeff Newman and Jocelyn Mitchell for Nüman Films, and Stephanie Scott for Indios Productions. Written and Directed by Jeff Newman.

Social Media Info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/firstcontactseries/

Twitter: @FirstContactTV

Instagram: @firstcontacttv


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About APTN

APTN launched in 1999 as the first national Aboriginal broadcaster in the world, creating a window into the remarkably diverse mosaic of Aboriginal Peoples. A respected non-profit, charitable broadcaster and the only one of its kind in North America. Sharing our stories of authenticity in English, French and a variety of Aboriginal languages, to approximately 11 million Canadian TV subscribers. With over 80% Canadian content, APTN connects with its audience through genuine, inspiring, and engaging entertainment through multiple platforms.

About Animiki See Digital Production

One of Canada`s leading producers of Indigenous content, Animiki See Digital Production has been creating original and aptivating programs that reflect Indigenous People for over 10 years. Recent projects include the annual broadcast concert and celebration of Indigenous Day Live, one- hour dramatic pilot Wynter, and the documentary series “First Contact” based on the Australian series format.

About Nüman Films

Nüman Films is a Gemini Award winning Production Company that produces compelling, original, and entertaining documentary and lifestyle programming for the international and national marketplace. From the rock‘em sock’em rinks in Hockey Brawl (CTV) to the flooded plains of Manitoba in Treading Water (CBC/APTN), and the inner workings of a family in crisis in Being Greene  CBC), Nüman Films has built a reputation for delivering exceptional programming with engaging stories, captivating characters, and a unique perspective. Nüman Films is a full-service production company located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We have worked with a variety of partners and broadcasters including CTV, CBC, Discovery, National Geographic, Bravo!,CityTV, History, MTS, Slice, APTN and OLN.

About Indios Productions

Indios Productions Inc. is a 100% Indigenous owned production company. Stephanie Scott is Anishinabe who has over 15 years of experience working for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Film Board and W. She has produced over 100 hours of television including documentary series, a live talk show, national events and short films. Stephanie also worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) where she helped manage the gathering of almost 7,000 digital audio and video recorded statements by former residential school survivors and others impacted by the schools. Stephanie is a proud grandmother, and mother.


Unit Publicist

Alina Duviner

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APTN Publicist

Ginger Shewell

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'Another step forward': Date of proposed holiday for reconciliation still needs to be set

After the department of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism confirmed Wednesday it will implement a new statutory holiday to mark the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, First Nations groups are weighing the significance of its date.

Day would remember the devastating impact of residential schools

CBC · Posted: Aug 15, 2018 4:28 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago
Phyllis Webstad hugs indigenous NDP MLA Melanie Mark as members of the legislature celebrate Orange Shirt Day in British Columbia in 2017. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

After the department of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism confirmed Wednesday it will implement a new statutory holiday to mark the legacy of residential schools, First Nations groups are weighing the significance of its date. 

The dates being considered are June 21, which is observed in Canada as National Indigenous People's Day, and Sept. 30, observed as Orange Shirt Day. 

Orange Shirt Day was started in 2013 by Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor who attended St. Joseph's Mission Residential School near Williams Lake in B.C.'s Central Interior in the early 1970s.

The day is named after an orange shirt — given to Webstad by her grandmother on her first day at St. Joseph's — was taken from her.

While she said she hasn't been officially approached by Canada, Webstad called the consideration of Orange Shirt Day "an honour." She said she hopes making it a statutory holiday won't sully the deep meaning behind the occasion.

 "What I didn't want was for Orange Shirt Day to have public controversy," she said.

"It's a day to honour survivors and remember the ones that didn't come home. It's a time to chat and educate others on the history of residential schools and maybe even do a bit of healing."

 September 30th, observed as Orange Shirt Day, is being considered as one of the dates for the new statutory holiday. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC)Ry Morin, director of National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, said he's pleased to see Canada "take another step forward" in implementing the TRC calls to action."This is not just about creating another day off from work or from school," he said."We have to remember and we can even borrow the phrase from Remembrance Day, 'Lest we forget.' If we forget what has happened in the past, just how low we can sink, we are at serious risk of recreating those same issues again in the future."

HIP Chair, Chris Snyder has published a new book called "Creating Opportunities: A Volunteer's Memoir". The book covers 70 years of his great work in the developing world including his connections with Canada's First Nations communities. Chris shares his personal journey with volunteering as experienced and in tandem with major life and world events. His experiences demonstrate the many ways a person can positively impact others while embracing a more meaningful life.

The Honourable James Bartleman writes in the book forward "Chris's early lack of awareness of the Indigenous situation in Canada which grew into a passion for working with Indigenous peoples is well-documented in "Creating Opportunities: A Volunteer's Memoir". Even if you only read the chapter on Canada's First Peoples, it will be time well-spent and as a result you will become involved in the important movement towards reconciliation".

On June 26, 2018, Emre Yurga, a Toronto Rotarian interviewed Chris who is pioneer in the personal finance business and co-founder and chair of the ECC Group. A podcast about the book has been released. Click on link below and enjoy the conversation!

Podcast: “Creating Opportunities — A Volunteer’s Memoir”   



 To purchase the book, click on link below:





Glenn Trivett is kindly making possible an extraordinary opportunity for Kiinoo Mudwin alumnae and any other interested persons. He has made arrangements to conduct a two hour pipe ceremony and teachings at the Petroglyphs of the Anishinabek at Petroglyphs Provincial Park north of Peterborough, on:

Sunday, August 19th at 1 p.m.

Some of you may know that Glenn is one of a few Indigenous people who has permission to go down onto the large rock surface containing the more than 1000 Petroglyphs at Petroglyphs Provincial Park. He writes:

The ceremony anad teachings will speak to the historical origins of the rock carvings and interpretions of some of the most important legends etched in stone by my ancestors. These carvings are part of the most important cultural and spiritual sites in North America, the teachings there once obsessively guarded from the outside world. In this time of transition during the era of the Seventh Prophecy these teachings should be shared.

There is a beautiful interpretive Centre there as well. I will arrange for a picnic shelter for noon, adjacent to it if anyone wants to come early with a picnic lunch and a bit of a visit beforehand. There is a glass structure over the rocks themselves so the ceremoney will ahead rain or shine. Attendees may bring sacred items to the site as long as they comply with regulations under the Provincial Parks Act. I will be standing on the rocks to conduct the ceremony while others can stand on the wide walkways and benches that look down to the Petroglyphs. I will make time after the ceremony for questions but I warn anyone ahead of time that it will be limited as I will be drained physically and spiritually. I can arrange another time that is more local if there is a need for more follow up.

I charge nothing for this event although each vehicle entering the park will have to pay the usual day use fee. I will do this again if there is a demand for it but I do caution that I do not know when that may be.

Don't miss this extraordinary event! And please share this invitation with others.

Best wishes,

Gary W. Kenny

President, NFU-O Grey County Local 344

River Croft Farm
241270, Conc. 16
RR#1 Neustadt, ON N0G 2M0
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 519-799-5804

Mobile: 519-901-9440


We acknowledge that River Croft Farm is situated on the traditional land of the Three Fire Confederacy of the Ojibway, Potawatomi and Odawa people. 





Chiefs, elders, educators express disappointment at ON cancellation of curriculum development sessions

Several chiefs, elders, educators, and community members have expressed grave concerns and disappointments with the new Ontario government's decision to cut summer sessions forced on developing educational curriculum on Indian Residential Schools. "We have heard from many educators, Elders and knowledge keepers and share their frustration as this important work was dropped just before it was set to begin," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox. "This is a step backwards on our journey towards reconciliation. The education of the youth in Ontario shouldn't be dictated by the party in power, but left to professionals who acknowledge that identity-building is the only positive move forward." Jodie Williams, co-chair of the First Nations, Metis & Inuit Education Association of Ontario, added that the government's decision betrays the province's commitment to reconciliation. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation is reportedly in the process of learning the reason for the cancellations.

High school student summer camp at SNP teaches STEM from Indigenous perspective

A new 15-day summer camp program offered at the Six Nations Polytechnic campus in Ohsweken is offering a STEM education from an Indigenous perspective. High school students who attend Gaodewayehsta Ohwejagehka (Learning on the Land) are connected with local knowledge-keepers and elders, and are able to earn a high school credit upon completion. "Kids learn better when they're involved directly with experiences on the land," said Doug Dokis, senior advisor for Actua's national InSTEM program. "Indigenous communities and people have always know this, so we've been developing these programs in as many communities across the country as we can." At the sister camp organized by Actua in Akwesasne, students have caught and dissected sturgeon, and were instructed about how traditional lacrosse sticks have been made with the spinal cord of the fish.

Educated Indigenous youth pose opportunity for Canadian economy

The non-Indigenous Canadian population is graying at a faster rate than any time before in Canadian history, write Jock Finlayson and Kristine St-Laurent of the Business Council of BC, but Indigenous peoples as a whole remain relatively young. As this group becomes increasingly well educated, they pose a unique opportunity for the Canadian economy. "The 2016 census higlights persistent socio-economic gaps between Indigenous and the rest of the population including substandard housing conditions and rising numbers of Indigenous children in care," the authors write. "However, there are also some positive trends - in particular, the emergence of a better-educated Indigenous population." The authors highlight the opportunity that this young, educated and expanding demographic, poses for employers who need help meeting their labour needs, while also improving the Indigenous communites' overall well-being.

U of T OISE librarian creates online resource for Indigenous educational content

Desmond Wong, a librarian at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institue for Studies in Education (OISE), has compiled a list of 50 Indigenous education resources in response to the cancellation of the TRC's curriculum writing se it'sssions for K-12 education, reports CBC. "I compiled these items so that teachers would have something that they could look to that are largely created by Indigenous educators, artists, and authors to bring those authentic world views into their classrooms," Wong stated. "I think it's a responsibility for all of us as settlers to learn about these things and to celebrate Indigenous people and Indigenous students for the gifts that they have and the knowledge that they carry." CBC adds that the reosources include books, Indigenous language materials, and TRC materials for educators.