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



Summit aims to build better relationships between First Nation economies and Canadian industries

The Forward Summit is bringing over 50 First Nations together with Canadian business leaders in the hopes of creating opportunities for Indigenous communities


Over 50 First Nations represented at three-day conference

Livia Manywounds · CBC News · Posted: Feb 24, 2019 3:00 AM MT | Last Updated: 3 hours ago
Nicole Robertson founder and owner of Muskwa Productions. (Forward Summit)

Over 50 First Nation communities will be represented with more than 400 indigenous and non-indigenous participants at the National Forward Summit,  a three-day conference starting Tuesday that aims to strengthen ties and build better relationships between First Nation economies and Canadian industries.

The summit aims to boost Indigenous economies and drive reconciliation. 

Muskwa Productions Consultant Nicole Robertson, the co-producer for the Forward Summit Event, has high hopes for the inaugural event. " I would say for sure … that it is going to change the landscape here in Canada," she says. 

"The summit is bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from all walks of life in areas of economic development to entrepreneurial pursuits," she adds, "looking at ways to try bring forward ways to bring social opportunities for Indigenous people."

Robertson says the event is important to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and platform to help create opportunities for First Nations.

"It's really important that we create opportunities that are going to help our people see a new way — a new path we're trying — for the betterment of our people, " says Robertson.

The summit idea started with the Connect partnership group contacting Robertson and soon came to reality with over a year of planning.

  1. Weaslehead — Co-Chair for the Forward Summit event — says, " I like to see the economic development industry move forward with a partnership approach with our communities." 

Eight sectors

The conference will include panels and round tables with indigenous and non-indigenous speakers. There will be eight major industry sectors represented.

Weaselhead, the former chief says, "I have been doing a lot of advocacy for our people to attend the summit and have been really engaged on the front line."

The summit will have a number of First Nation leaders in attendance, as well as front line representatives from various Canadian industries. 

 "It speaks to the very nature of reconciliation from an economic viewpoint," Weaselhead says, "but we have to mindful about the current challenges we have in First Nations."

The conference hopes to empower Indigenous economies and create change through flourishing opportunities. 

The summit runs from February 26-28 at the Telus Convention Centre.

For more information, visit www.forwardsummit.ca



The Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and area will be hosting a Making a Difference Series on March 7th. Guest speaker will be Mike Downie, co-founder of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. This year, they will be pleased to welcome Mike, who aims to inspire Canadians to walk a path of reconciliation and help bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Mike is a writer, director, and producer of numerous award winning documentaries. He recently won a Canadian Screen Award, the prestigious Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, for Secret Path, and is a celebrated storyteller who believes that the stories we tell and collect ultimately define who we are.

Table sponsorship is available for $2,500.

Please click on link below to find out more information about attending the event.





Until the end of February, Richmond Hill United Church is once again collecting gently used winter coats along with hats, mitts, scarves,boots, snow pants, running shoes and sports gear and financial support to purchase other much needed winter wear for the students of the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay. Please see link below on directions in regards to drop off or financial donation through HIP. We hope you can support the students! Thank you for your continued support.

 2019 Winter Coat Drive for DFC students @ Richmond Hill United Church




Wake the Giant Festival in support of Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, Thunder Bay - Sept. 14, 2019

Please see below link to the flyer for additional information about the festival and sponsorship opportunities. Thank you for your support!

Planning is underway for the Wake the Giant Music Festival. The aim of the festival will be to form stronger bonds, relationships and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. This will provide an opportunity for First Nations communities to connect with the community and feel more welcome and safe when they come to the city while offering an opportunity for people from Thunder Bay to become more familiar with First Nations people and their culture.

The festival will be a celebration of cultures with a spotlight on Indigenous culture and music featuring Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. There will be art installations and cultural booths. The Downie Wenjack Foundation will bring a national spotlight to the event. This would be a great reason to travel to Thunder Bay to visit the beautiful area and city and take in the festival at the same time!

Sponsorship opportunities from $1,000-$20,000 are available. Contact project co-ordinator Sean Spenrath at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 807-629-2614. Thank you for your continued support of DFC.



Wake the Giant Festival - Thunder Bay - Sept. 14, 2019


"First Contact" Screening and Panel sparks deeper discussion about Reconciliation

by natalie.saintcyr on February 1, 2019, 10:02am. EST

Emotions were high at O’Gorman High School Thursday evening after a TV series that focused on racist stereotypes against Indigenous Peoples in Canada was screened for the public.

The Timmins Rotary Club and Northeastern Catholic District Board hosted a special screening of “First Contact”, a show produced by Winnipeg-based Animiki See Digital Productions that aired on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. The show takes six Canadians, all with strong opinions about Indigenous people, on a unique journey through Canada that challenges their perceptions and prejudices.

The event started with introductions of a number of special guests administering and taking part in the panel discussion after the screening.There was an opening drum ceremony by the New Moon Sisters and a traditional prayer by Elder Elizabeth Babin of the Wahgoshig First Nation.

Mayor George Pirie addressed the crowd with a passionate statement about where Canada as a culture is headed.

“Canada needs a dream,” he said, “and that dream can be reconciliation. It’s big enough for Canada. And we must realize it.”

After the screening, the special panel talked about the misconceptions about Indigenous people and the stereotypes the show addressed. The panel participants were Deputy Grand Chief Walter Naveau of Nishnawbe Aske Nation, Chief Chad Boissoneau of Mattagami First Nation, and Elizabeth Babin.

The panelists took turns talking about their personal history, including their painful connections to the Residential Schools and Sixties Scoop. All three panelists spoke of personal trauma, cultural genocide and abuse.

“Assimilation is alive and well,” said Babin. And about the history of Indigenous abuse: “Now we’re in recovery mode.”

“Canada can be the greatest nation in the world,” said Niveau, “and yet Canada bleeds.”

The lively discussion turned to the audience and members shared their experiences, both as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

“That was a lot to absorb in one night,” said Saralynn Hayward, President of the Timmins Rotary Club, “I think it’ll take some time to reflect on it. But I think one thing that probably stuck out the most was the Residential Schools. And […] I have a two and a half year old and I can’t imagine having him ripped from my hands.”

Hayward spoke to media after the event and she said it’s important to bring events like this screening to Timmins.

“I think, because of the location of Timmins, and we have so many communities and Indigenous communities near us, that we have a lot of opportunity to create these friendships and create that reconciliation that was discussed so often tonight,” said Hayward.

As an organizer of the event, Hayward said it was everything she hoped for in terms of sparking conversation, storytelling and challenging racial stereotypes. The engagement from the audience shows a real interest in the problems and finding solutions.

The Timmins Rotary and HIP (Honoring Indigenous Peoples) have a partnership that has a board made up of 50% Indigenous people and 50% Rotary members. Rotary-HIP has expressed that one of their goals is to work with children and bring awareness about Residential Schools to the classroom.

“We heard it tonight,” she said, “that it’s the children that are being affected. But it’s also the children that can effect that change. So if we work with children, we can create those generations to come that we create that reconciliation with.”

Hayward says there are lots of different opportunities within the club to work within the community, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

“I see opportunities at, like, the Friendship Centre,” said Hayward, “or even at the YMCA, I’m not sure what sort of Indigenous Community is there. But there’s absolutely opportunities in Timmins.”

The show, “First Contact”, is available to watch online at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.