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



The Rotary Club of Toronto is presenting guest speaker John Millar from Water First on Friday, April 26th @12 noon. Tickets $55.00 Location to be determined.

This is a great hopeful program, supported by the Rotary Club of Toronto’s Indigenous Service Committee, training indigenous people to be water technicians allowing them to work in their communities , monitoring water quality and maintaining treatment systems.

Practical, hopeful education and training!


Budget 2019 features funds for Indspire, a national centre at UVic, work placements

The federal government's 2019 budget includes a collective $4.5B in new spending for Indigenous peoples, according to APTN. $9M has been pledged to Indspire over three years in order to help close the gap in post-secondary attainment for Indigenous students. "I am very pleased that this additional investment...will enable Indspire to support many more Indigenous students to achieve their potential through education," said Indspire President Roberta Jamieson. "Their sucess will be enriched by First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities and Canada." The budget also includes $333.7M for Indigenous language revitalization, $327.5M for First Nations students over 5 years, $12.5M for Inuit students, and $362M for Metis programming. $9.1M was also allotted to the University of Victoria to create a national centre for Indigenous law and reconciliation. UVic adds that the design of the new centre will reflect modern and traditional values of the Coast Salish peoples, welcoming students, academics, and community members from all nations for engagement, debate and public education

Confederation opens smudging room on Thunder Bay campus

Confederation College recently celebrated the opening of a Smudging Room on its Thunder Bay campus. The room will be used for traditional ceremonies and will provide a quiet place for students and Elders to meet. "Our students come from all over the Northwest," said Confederation President Kathleen Lynch. "We want to make sure that we acknowledge the history of what's happened with Indigenous people, and also, though, offer support and acknowledgement that we want to be partners with them on the journey forward." Brenda Small, Vice-President of the Centre for Policy and Research in Indigenous Learning at the college, explained that the space "is a promise from Confederation College to recognize and respect Indigenous students, employees, elders, and partners in practicing this custom."

Yukon University to "excite the young people in the North" with new $26M science building

A new $26M science building will draw together Western science and Indigenous traditional knowledge and be a "cornerstone" of the soon-to-be Yukon University, says Yukon College President Karen Barnes. Barnes adds that the primary goal for the institution and new facility will be to "excite the young people in the North, to think about science and really look at the problems that exist in the North and study how to solve them." YK Premier Sandy Silver congratulated the college and stated that the transition to Yukon University "further advances opportunities available in Yukon and the North."

MB cuts ACCESS funding for postsecondary institutions by $1M slashes bursary program

The Government of Manitoba has cut ACCESS funding for post-secondary institutions by $1M for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and cut $1.6M that was earmarked for bursaries. A spokesperson for the provincial government stated that cutting the bursaries was part of an effort to streamline the student financial aid system, adding that the bursary program was previously under-subscribed and unavailable to students at Assiniboine Community College, Brandon University, and Universitie de Saint-Boniface. "A lot of the mission was to encourage Indigenous students and, in particular, students who have faced barriers to be able to get into a post-secondary program where they've been under-represented in the past," said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. "Without resources to pay for tuition and other supports like tutoring, it's going to mean more barriers."

KI receives over $42M in funding to build new school

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation, also known as Big Trout Lake, has received a pledge of funding from Indigenous Services Canada of over $42M to build a new school that will support students up to Grade 12. The current school only goes up to Grade 10, and is reportedly in need of extensive repairs. "To us, this is good news because it gives the opportunity for our kids to stay here and finish Grade 12 and then either move on to college or university," said KI First Nation Chief Donny Morris. Morris stated that a location for the school has been decided on, and that once the new faculty has been built, the old one will be demolished.

Free online e-platform brings together Indigenous digital producers and youth

A new online platform called the Coders North Initiative is bringing together Indigenous digital producers and providing a platform to highlight educational opportunities for Indigenous youth. "This platform is a place where Indigenous people can do anything with technology as it relates to their culture," said Lisa Farano of Elephant Thoughts. "If kids can learn to code, those are skills they can use anywhere. " The platform features artists, web designers, coders, app designers, and gamers as featured experts, and includes learning modules where students from Grade 8 to 12 can learn about computational thinking, coding, and Indigenous entrepreneurship. Students can track their progress by earning beads each time they complete a codint activity. Access to the portal and resources is free, according to Timmins Today.

Teacher brings Ojibwe into the kindergarten classroom

Kindergarten students at Antler River Elementary School on Chippewas of the Thames First Nation are learning to speak Ojibwe through a new language immersion program at the school. The program is based partially on the Anishinaabemowin Revival Program at Lakeview School on M'Chigeeng First Nation, and teacher Betsy Kechego hopes to be able to expand the program to first-graders next year, adding additional immersion grades every year. "I see it as something big, and it's going to thrive because we have so many people that believe in the language piece as a main core of our identity," said education director Crystal Kechego.

Matawa students try cross-country skiing thanks to Spirit North partnership

Students at the Matawa Education and Care Cnetre in Thunder Bay were recently able to try cross-country skiing at the Kamview Nordic Centre, thanks to a new partnership. Spirit North, the partner organization, is a charitable group that helps First Nations start cross-country ski programs for youth. The organization provided 30 full sets of ski gear to the centre and arranged for the students to be joined by experienced instructors. "It's really neat because we have students from the nine Matawa different communities at our school" explained Outdoor Education Teacher Joey Miller, "and the hope is that some of them will be able to bring skiing back to their communities in the future." Student Mya Dixon of the Eabametoong First Nation added that she appreciates getting the opportunity to get out of the classroom and experience something different.



We have been asked to forward the employment opportunity below on behalf of

Circles of Reconciliation.




Circles for Reconciliation is a grassroots, non-profit, full and equal partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Our goal is to 1) inform people on the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, 2) to encourage the participants to share their stories and thoughts on the theme of the day and, 3) to create and maintain respectful relationships. Very early in the final TRC report, the Commissioners tell us that for them, reconciliation is based on respectful relationships.

We offer circles that are composed of 10 participants (five Indigenous and five non-Indigenous), led by two trained facilitators (one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous). Each circle meets once a week for ten weeks for 75 minutes per session. There is no cost for the participants. What we ask for is a common interest in achieving truth and reconciliation and equality of opportunity for Indigenous people in Canada, a willingness to listen and to share, and a commitment to attend the ten meetings. That is enough time to establish the beginning of meaningful relationships.

The project has the endorsement of a large number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders and organizations. The position to be filled is funded by The Toronto Foundation.


We are hiring an "Event Coordinator" for Circles that are beginning in the Toronto area. The successful candidate will work closely with our Community Recruiter in the Toronto area and report to Raymond Currie, the Project Coordinator and to the Toronto Advisory Committee. The Coordinator will become a member of the Advisory Group of the project.

It is a part-time position of approximately 15 hours a week. Occasional availability on evenings and weekends may be required. The job can be done from one's home or other convenient location. Easy accessibility of the Coordinator by the public will be essential. Funding for the position is supplied by a grant from the Toronto Foundation. One month's notice will be given prior to the end of the contract. The salary will be commensurate with experience. It will be paid bi-weekly on submission of the logbook of contacts, approved by the supervisor. The position will begin as soon as possible. There will be training for the position and a probation period of six months will be in effect after the hire.

Job requirements

The successful candidate will be expected to have a good understanding of the process of reconciliation as described in "Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future," the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (The report is available online).

Candidates should become familiar with our website of the project prior to an interview for the position (www.circlesforreconciliation.ca).

High school graduation as well as some post-secondary education will be an asset for an applicant.

The Events Coordinator must be articulate, pleasant, honest, and flexible in addressing issues that come up.

The Coordinator must be able to interact effectively with groups in cases where it is necessary to secure sites for the discussion groups.

Self-starters, and individuals able to work relatively independently are particularly important characteristics, as well as strong administrative skills.

Candidates must have own telephone to keep in contact and organize weekly circles for participants.

A computer needed to complete necessary word documents and reports etc.

The candidate will require a strong knowledge of Microsoft office, including word, excel, outlook and power point.

Knowledge of social media platforms would be an asset (Facebook; Instagram; etc)

Job description

  • Actively create, update, and maintain registration databases for any (e)mailing, correspondence, and promotional reasons.
  • Actively organize, maintain and coordinate weekly circles based on registrations; while maintaining utmost confidentiality of all information seen and/or heard at all times.
  • locate/contact host locations to schedule ten-week circles;
  • work closely with Indigenous community recruiter and Advisory Committee in Toronto, ON
  • report regularly to Project Coordinator in Winnipeg, MB
  • attend scheduled Toronto Advisory meetings

Please supply your resume as well as at least two references with their approval and their contact information. They will be contacted by the Supervisor.

Deadline for applications:  April 22nd, 2019

For further information and application, please reply to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Raymond Currie at (204) 487-0512.





Collingwood continues to connect with Indigenous community

Town builds ties with Indigenous community

News 06:00 AM by John EdwardsCollingwood Connection
Awen Gathering Place

Dean Collver, director of parks, recreation and culture and Tanya Mazza, manager of parks, recreation and culture, have worked to help bridge the gap with the indigenous community. - John Edwards/Metroland

James Carpenter

Elder James Carpenter performed a ceremony inauguration ceremony recognizing the tradtional lands. - John Edwards/Metroland

What started as a complaint about cultural approriation has turned into a path to inclusion and connection with the Indigenous community.
About two years ago, a concern was raised that one of the chairs painted as part of the Art on the Street program contained images that could be considered to have been derived from First Nations iconography.
"It started with the cultural appropriation issue and there being some identification that there is a community within our community that's not being recognized," said Dean Collver, director of parks, recreation and culture.
The municipality has adopted an art policy that works with organizations on art that may include an Indigenous component.
"The policy asks that we consult with First Nations educators and elders in order to foster more collaboration between non-Indigenous and Indigenous artists," said Tanya Mazza, manager of arts and culture.
The town has continued to take steps to bridge the gap with the Indigenous community.
In September, the town opened the Awen Gathering Circle at Harbourview Park. The facility was created with the assistance of Indigenous architechts and under the guidance of elders such as Dr. Duke Redbird and James Carpenter.
Carpenter is a messenger known as an Oshkaabewis and travels across Canada to different communities.
For the past three years, he has been involved in the town's Canada Day ceremony, made a presentation at the council inauguration in 2018 and at the Mayor's Levee.
"In my 20 years, the Town of Collingwood is one of the first that have started to bridge the gap," he said. "For a very long time, Aboriginal People around the area around Collingwood, we've kind of felt left out".
He believes any kind of awareness is positive and he's not one "to point fingers and blast communities for things they haven't done."

Emotional plea for Indigenous mental heatlh workers at Trudeau's town hall in Thunder Bay

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard an emotional plea for mental health supports in Indigenous communities during his town hall meeting Friday evening in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Justin Trudeau visited the northwestern Ontario city Friday

Christina Jung · CBC News · Posted: Mar 23, 2019 12:08 AM ET | Last Updated: March 23
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Thunder Bay on Friday for a town hall meeting at Lakehead University. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard an emotional plea for mental health supports in Indigenous communities during his town hall meeting Friday evening in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Approximately 850 to 900 people attended the event at Lakehead University's gymnasium with questions ranging from the SNC-Lavalin affair to his government's environmental record.

But the call for Ottawa to do more to secure mental health workers in First Nations came from a 26-year-old woman who left her community of Sandy Lake, about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, to study in the city. 

"What do you plan on doing for the mental health of Indigenous people in the north?" Forrest Sawanas asked Trudeau while fighting back tears, highlighting several "horrific things," alleging sexual assault and physical violence in her community.

"If there are teachers who are willing to live in the north for the academic year, there shouldn't be an issue with providing mental health workers in the north," she said.
26-year-old Forrest Sawanas from Sandy Lake First Nation highlighted several "horrific things" that have happened in her community. She asked Justin Trudeau what his plans were for providing mental health support for Indigenous people in the north.
The supports are needed to help people cope with the intergenerational trauma of residential schools, she said.
  1. started his answer by first thanking Sawanas for "her courage and her strength," and then told the public that, "I think Canadians need to hear that."

"[The] kinds of things that if they happened, even in a big city like Toronto or Vancouver would be screaming headlines for weeks and that are collectively still met far too often with shrugs because it happened in 'those' communities," he continued.

"That's unacceptable."

"We are not the country that we like to think of ourselves as," Trudeau added.

While not addressing whether more mental health workers would be on their way to First Nations, Trudeau said the federal government still has more to do to invest in Indigenous communities, including in areas like housing, education as well as mental health.

"We have an awful lot to do," he said.

Trudeau faced a receptive crowd in Thunder Bay — both of the city's ridings are held by Liberal MPs — but was challenged, not only on support for Indigenous communities, but also on climate change, the environment and infrastructure.

The Prime Minister largely used the questions to defend his government's record and highlight its accomplishments, while acknowledging Ottawa still has more work to do.