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



We mentioned in a previous blog in January about the Wawahte Documentary which is centered around the Residential Schools story.  To cover production costs of $16,000, fundraising is taking place online (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/37155926/wawahte-an-indian-residential-schools-documentary).   To date, $9,000 has been raised in thanks to many supporters.  Unless the remaining $7,000 is raised by February 28, 2015 the plans will disappear.  If you are able to support this very worthy project, you can check the information on our Partners heading.  Thank you!

Published | Publié: 2015-02-07
Received | Reçu: 2015-02-07 4:12 AM THE LONDON FREE PRESS (FINAL)

Isolated nation offers Canadians rare look inside > CRAIG & MARC KIELBURGER

This is the second in a four part series on aboriginal people and issues.

For youth of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation community, the nearest high school is hundreds of kilometres away by plane. If you break a bone, it's another flight for treatment-- the hospital's X-ray machine hasn't worked for two years.

But despite challenges, none of the residents of this remote fly-in > northern Ontario community -- known simply as KI -- would abandon their > homes and land. And they're inviting all Canadians to come on a "reconciliation visit" to live with them for a week to understand why.

As Craig prepares to defend Canadian author Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian on CBC's Canada Reads in March, we've been thinking about breaking barriers, which is theme of this year's book debate. One of the greatest barriers facing our aboriginal communities is most Canadians don't understand those problems. They're too far away -- hidden in remote communities like KI.

Perhaps if more people could see with their own eyes, Canada might discover the will for change -- as did a very high-profile circle of women this past September.

The group that went on that little-known, visit in KI included the Countess of Wessex (wife of Queen's Elizabeth's youngest son Prince Edward), Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, incoming Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Vicki Heyman, wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, and Sybil Veenman, former senior vice-president of Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold.

They spent a few days in the community -- and what they saw changed them.

Veenman says in her job as a mining executive, she had visited many developing communities around the world and witnessed the challenges they faced. "But to see it here in Ontario is an eye-opening experience."

Although homes in KI were an improvement over tin-roofed shacks she saw overseas, Veenman was still shocked at the overcrowding.

The visitors saw the hospital's broken X-ray machine. They heard how, without a high school, only one in 10 local youth will complete their high school diploma.

But what really struck visitors was the attitude of KI youth who, despite their community's conditions, have not given up hope for change.   "I was really amazed and impressed by their enthusiasm," Veenman says.

It is the youth of KI driving the reconciliation visit initiative. They're turning their energy to getting their community its own high school.

By spending time in the community, hearing shared stories, history and traditions, the visitors came to truly understand the connection between the community and the land.

What they saw has turned these women into activists. They are sharing their experiences, and they continue to discuss what they can do.

"If I can help shine a light on these communities ... and the potential they could have, then I do so willingly," the countess said in North Bay.

Veenman is encouraging Canadians to take KI up on its invitation.  "If more people did a reconciliation visit, they'd understand better."

(The next KI visit is July 17 to 23, and open to all Canadians, although spaces are filling up fast. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Every year, hundreds of young Canadians travel with us to visit and work in developing communities overseas.

Invariably the experience -- seeing with their own eyes the challenges and meeting extraordinary people -- sparks a passion for positive change. If we are to tear down the barriers between Canada's aboriginal and non-aboriginal people and address the challenges in communities like KI, we need to spark that passion here.

 -- Craig and Marc Kielburger founded a platform for social change that includes Free The Children, Me to We, and the youth empowerment movement, We Day.

By Joanna Smith - Ottawa Bureau reporter, Published on Sat. Feb 07 2015


Karihwakeron Tim Thompson, a community activist in Wahta Mohawk Territory, wants more accountability, but thinks the First Nations Financial Transparency Act went about it the wrong way.

Karihwakeron Tim Thompson, an activist at the Wahta band, wants more accountability, but thinks that to post First Nations salaries online without context is a problem.

OTTAWA— One aboriginal community member who would welcome the increased accountability promised by the First Nations Financial Transparency Act says the federal government went about it the wrong way.

Karihwakeron Tim Thompson is a community activist in Wahta Mohawk Territory, near Bala, Ont., and one of a group of people involved in a months-long protest last year that involved blocking access to the band administration office.

His group, Wahta Community Fire, was able to use the numbers posted online under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act to get their first glimpse at the monetary decisions made by the newly elected council, whose first two weeks in office were the last two weeks of the fiscal year reflected in the documents.

Thompson says the numbers showed they gave themselves a raise.

"It doesn't look good. It's a bad indicator after two weeks in office," said Thompson, explaining the First Nations Financial Transparency Act provided his group with their first opportunity to see those details.

Wahta Mohawks Chief Philip Franks explained that it has been at least a dozen years since chief and council last saw an increase in their daily rates and that since their elected positions are usually only part-time jobs, the figures he expects to release at a general meeting in March will not be as high as his critics fear.

"I'm pretty sure that people will see that it's not a huge amount of money," Franks said.

Thompson acknowledges the numbers come without context and said that is the problem. What First Nations need, he argues, is not salaries of chiefs and councillors posted online but governance codes that ensure greater accountability — not just of money but of decision-making processes — to their members.

"If (the federal government) were truly serious about First Nations empowerment and growth, they would create incentives by providing funds to strengthen governance structures in communities," says Thompson, who says the new council at Wahta Mohawks did away with administrative and financial codes developed by the previous council.

Franks says the codes were problematic and that the council is actually working to improve them with greater consultation with the community before bringing them into force.

"But the current so-called transparency Act, all it does is create ammunition for negative-minded people to go after First Nations," Thompson says.

"In many ways it was a distraction for First Nations and a distraction for First Nations governance," Thompson says.





Toronto Star analysis of salaries posted online under First Nations Financial Transparency Act show median salary for a chief is $60,000. 

The entire article link is provided below:







The Speaker Series has become a marquee event in our community with an exciting new speaker each year.
Our speakers present to over 800 youth and over 240 people within Kingston’s corporate and non-profit community. The event takes place every year in March and we continue to bring in new and exciting speakers.

Past speakers have included the following:
1.) In 2009 Liz Murray (From Homeless to Harvard)
2.) In 2010 Michael “Pinball” Clemons (Me to We)
3.) In 2011 Craig Kielburger (Free the Children)
4.) In 2012 Neil Pasricha (The Book of Awesome)
5.) In 2013 Clara Hughes (Power Through Anything)
6.) In 2014 Jon Montgomery (Dreaming Big, Living Bigger)





For more information please contact:
Chris Carvalho
Coordinator, Marketing & Special Events
613-507-3306 ext. 104
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Sponsorship opportunities are available.  A sponsorship of $2,500 allows you a table for 8 attendees.