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



Feds pledge $5.6 million for Thunder Bay youth program

The program stems from recommendations contained in the Seven Youth Inquest report aimed at preventing First Nations student deaths in the city.

'This is a massive deal for the City of Thunder Bay and youth coming to Thunder Bay'

Heather Kitching · CBC News · Posted: Aug 28, 2018 5:13 PM ET | Last Updated: 3 hours ago
Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Patty Hajdu announces $5.6 million for a new youth inclusion program in Thunder Bay. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

The federal government has committed $5.6 million dollars in funding for a new youth inclusion program for the city of Thunder Bay.

One of its goals is to help students from remote First Nations who are attending high school in the city to feel more welcome and supported. 

"This is a massive deal for the City of Thunder Bay and youth coming to Thunder Bay," said Lee-Ann Chevrette, the coordinator of the City's Crime Prevention Strategy.

The program stems from recommendations contained in the Seven Youth Inquest report aimed at preventing First Nations student deaths in the city. 

It's a multi-faceted initiative that will be based at three neighbourhood sites — Simpson/Ogden, Windsor/Picton/Blucher, and Limbrick — and two school sites:  Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School and Matawa Learning Centre.  

In addition, there will be a mobile unit visiting neighbourhoods where there is no full-time site.

Each of these sites will connect young people with recreational opportunities, arts programming and culture-based programming, according to a backgrounder from the City of Thunder Bay.  Youth navigators will reach out to youth in the community, build trusting relationships and help those youth get their needs met in the city.

Another facet of the program is cultural land-based programming offered in partnership with Fort William First Nation on the First Nation's lands.

"That could range anything from hunting, trapping, medicine picking, just being on the land, learning about the different plants and stuff and the traditional medicines that are out there and I guess too probably elders lending their guidance," said Kristy Boucher, the communications officer and executive assistant in the Office of the Chief. 

"Kids from the north desperately want to be back on the land, I'm sure," she said.  

In addition, the city will organize an annual gathering each year for Grade 8 students in remote communities, allowing them to come to the city for a two to three day orientation before they come back to start school the following year. 

The program is a collaboration between 18 partners, including North Caribou Lake First Nation, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, and Evergreen a United Neighbourhood.

It is currently funded for five years.

The groups plan to launch the program five months from now, Chevrette said. 





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: