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



Published with Rotarian Action Group for Peace - Feb. 2019

Rotarians Honouring Indigenous Peoples

“One’s nativity is not of his own choosing, but whatever it may be, it is entitled to respect; and all nations have honorable place in the world’s family.” – Paul Harris

In divisive times its easy to forget we all belong to one family. Indigenous people have been underserved and oppressed by their governments all across the world. Seen as a threat to their cultural supremacy, governments would try to eradicate indigenous cultures and traditions in the hopes the indigenous people would "ssimilate" to their way of life. In Canada, this was done by separating families and forcing indigenous children to attend residential schools, where they were taught a curriculum that separated them from their identity. Many children suffered abuse and neglect from the hands of their educators. Some even died. These attrocities were only brought to light due to the thousands of indigenous Survivors that gathered to demand redress for the abuses due to the government's racist policies. Together, they won the biggest class action suit in Canada's history and propelled indigenous issues into the public eye.



The terms of the settlement were outlined in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement agreement. One of its mandates was to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The TRC probed the social and systemic effects of Canada’s residential school program, and released a 94 point call to action for the Canadian government to reconcile the harm it had caused to its indigenous people. To the TRC, reconciliation is “about coming to terms with events of the past in a manner that overcomes conflict and establishes a respectful and healthy relationship among people, going forward”  (TRC, 6)

For reconciliation to be successful, better relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians must be established. Any peace project's success is contingent upon strong relationships. Rotarians in southern Ontario foresaw this, and in 2014 they established Honouring Indigenous Peoples (www.rotaryhip.com).  HIP is a Rotarian inititiave that seeks to empower Canada's indigenous people through improving indigenous education and "promoting the understanding and awareness of the culture, history and issues of indigenous people to Rotarians and others"(HIP). To ensure HIP's mission stays on track, its board is led by an equal number of passionate Rotarians and Indigenous People that make decisions based upon consensus. There is much to be done for indigenous people to achieve the equity they deserve. HIP and Rotarians across Canada are laying the groundwork, and building the relationships, to make that goal possible.


HIP is making an active effort to bring indigenous culture into mainstream Canadian focus. They promote indigenous artists and performers, and share indigenous traditions. During workshops, HIP has invited indigenous speakers to educate Rotarians and other Canadians on challenges indigenous people face, as well as introducing ways other Canadians can become advocates for indigenous people. HIP also provides aid directly to reservations. Many reservation schools are still neglected and underfunded by the Canadian government. HIP holds fundraisers for reservation schools and provides school supplies to many indigenous youth. Most importantly, HIP is working to incorporate indigenous cultural education in reservation schools, public schools, and universities, to ensure no generation will be denied their identity again.



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