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



'Special and unique' book donation program sends books up north

The owner of a children's bookstore in southern Ontario is hoping to help send books to students up north, through a new donation program in partnership with Teach for Canada — an organization that recruits teachers to teach in remote First Nation communities.

Eleanor LeFave started the Kids Read North program

Christina Jung · CBC News · Posted: Mar 02, 2019 9:00 AM ET | Last Updated: March 2
The owner of Mabel's Fables bookstore in Toronto said she decided to start a new book donation program called, Kids Read North, after attending a Teach for Canada conference in the summer of 2018. (Submitted by Eleanor LeFave)
  1. owner of a children's bookstore in southern Ontario is hoping to help send books to students up north, through a new donation program in partnership with Teach for Canada — an organization that recruits teachers to work in remote First Nation communities.

Eleanor LeFave said she got the idea to start Kids Read North after attending a Teach for Canada conference in the summer of 2018 in Thunder Bay, Ont.

"This conference was for teachers that were about to go to their respective First Nations schools," LeFave explained, "so I, in December thought about all these teachers up north and all these kids in the northern schools and thought, I bet we could do something with them."


She said she contacted the organization after the conference to get the names and ages of the students the teachers will be teaching this year.

Read more ...

New association to be voice, advocate for First Nations business in northern Ontario

A new business association plans to provide support and advocacy for First Nations entrepreneurs and businesses across northern Ontario.


Anishnawbe Business Professional Association launched Friday in Thunder Bay, Ont.

CBC News · Posted: Mar 01, 2019 2:20 PM ET | Last Updated: 4 hours ago
The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (ABPA) was launched at an event in Thunder Bay, Ont. on Friday. Pictured: elder Victor Pelletier, and ABPA founders Jason Rasevych, Brian Davey and Jason Thompson. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

A new business association plans to provide support and advocacy for First Nations entrepreneurs and businesses across northern Ontario.

The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association was launched on Friday in Thunder Bay, Ont. 

The organization, which will function similarly to a chamber of commerce for Indigenous-led business, will help those businesses to overcome challenges and thrive, said president Jason Rasevych. 

Read more ...

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.