News News StoriesMikisew Cree First Nation Challenges Bill C-452012-12-14T20:05:47+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<h2>For Immediate Release - <a href="/media/uploads/MCFN%20Challenges%20Bill%20C-45.pdf">PDF</a></h2> <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Fort Chipewyan, Alberta (December 14, 2012) – Chief Steve Courtoreille and the Council of Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) are proud to announce their unwavering opposition to Bill C-45 (Jobs and Growth Act 2012). “We will never recognize any law which is passed by the Government of Canada which does not have our consent and any such law will not apply on our reserve lands and traditional territories”, says Chief Courtoreille. “We have not been consulted and have no option but to reject this arbitrary action on the part of Prime Minister Harper and his government.”</p> <p>“Bill C-45 will trample on the rights that accrue to us as members of our First Nation.” The leadership of MCFN, like other First Nations across Canada are concerned that the Government’s omnibus budget bill includes new legislation regarding the leasing of reserve lands, First Nations education, on-reserve voting rights, and the abolishment of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, among others. “We will not sit idly by while the Prime Minister Harper and his government run rough shod over our rights” says Chief Courtoreille.</p> <p>In 2005, Mikisew Cree First Nation successfully argued in front of the Supreme Court of Canada that the Canadian Government had failed to consult with MCFN when it attempted to take up lands in Wood Buffalo National Park. That case, one of an important trilogy of First Nations consultation cases in Canadian jurisprudence, firmly established that the Government must consult with First Nations when it contemplates any action, which may impact on unproven or established First Nations rights.</p> <p>MCFN expects that the Government of Canada will consult the First Nation regarding any proposed changes to the Indian Act or associated legislation. “We would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Government of Canada through an open, transparent, and mutually respectful process” says the Chief. Chief Coutorielle will be attending the protest against Bill C-45 in Edmonton, Alberta on December 21. He encourages every citizen of MCFN to join him, “Bring the flags. We want every Mikisew member there.”</p> <h3>Contact</h3> <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Steve Courtoreille<br>Chief<br>(780) 838-0893 <br></p> </div> <div class="column"> <p>George Poitras<br> Chief Executive Officer <br>(587) 985-4954 <br></p> <h3><a href="/media/uploads/MCFN%20Challenges%20Bill%20C-45.pdf">Download PDF here.</a></h3> <p><a href="/media/uploads/MCFN%20Challenges%20Bill%20C-45.pdf"></a></p> <p> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>Ten New Houses Raised in Fort Chipewyan for Mikisew Membership2012-11-26T17:45:43+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<p><img alt="" height="1572" src="/media/uploads/DSCF7470.jpg" width="2668"></p> <p>Technical Services is proud to announce ten new homes under construction for Mikisew membership. Seven homes will stand in Fort Chipewyan and three houses on Doghead Reserve. Technical Services has a staff of 48, most of which are a part of the new home construction. Seven staff are students training to become certified carpenters at Keyano College, and they will continue on to apprentice in future construction projects headed by Mikisew Cree.</p> <p>Jerry Voyager took medical leave from his duties as the Director, and he is happy to be back at the helm. He feels that Mikisew Cree is one of the best employers he has ever worked for,</p> <blockquote> <p>"They got a good team, a great Chief and Council. Happy employees make the difference every morning. If you got unhappy employees then you don't get much work done. They started construction in late August, and I've been back now for four weeks. All the homes that we built were closed in within two weeks time. And in four weeks we have four houses with full electrical, all plumed in, with windows and doors. Hopefully (cross our fingers), we will have all ten turned over to Housing by the end of March--end of April."</p> </blockquote> <p><img alt="" height="1672" src="/media/uploads/DSCF7468_ws.jpg" width="2508"></p> <blockquote> <p><em>Mikisew Cree Technical Services crew members brave the morning frost to get homes built.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Another part of Technical Service's responsibilities is demolition of the old nursing station to prepare for the Elders Care Centre construction. The five-person crew will tear down the entire inside of the building, leaving nothing but the outside four walls. Any material that can be salvage will be reused or made available to the community for use in personal building projects. Jerry puts it well,</p> <blockquote> <p>"The more work for our people on this project means less money spent on outside contractors."</p> </blockquote>Mikisew Government and Industry Relations (GIR) and Group of Companies (MGOC) Roadshow2012-11-08T16:47:13+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<p>Find out what's new and exciting in business and relations. Community Road Show Meetings take place from 3pm to 9pm at these dates and locations, dinner at 5:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>November 19</strong> Fort McMurray, Stonebridge Hotel<br><strong>November 20</strong> Edmonton, Chateau Nova Hotel<br><strong>November 22</strong> High Level, Stardust Hotel<br><strong>November 23</strong> Fort Smith, Pelican Rapids</p> </blockquote> <p>The Fort Chipewyan meeting will take place at the Community School from 12pm to 5pm on November 24. See you there!</p>Michael Bourke Graduates with Honours, Thanks Mikisew Cree for Supporting His Journey2012-11-05T18:06:50+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<p><img alt="" height="2500" src="/media/uploads/Michael_Bourke%20Jr_gradPhoto%202012.jpg" width="2000"></p> <blockquote> <h2><em>"Without Mikisew I don't think I'll be where I am today.  They helped a lot—not just financially—but by giving me a reconnection to who I am."</em></h2> </blockquote> <p>Michael Bourke started studying graphic design at the Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 2006. He transferred into the Social Service Worker - Native Specialization program in 2007, graduating two years later and moved on to a Social Work Degree at the Laurentian University. This year he graduated with honours, and while starting a new family plans to move into his Masters degree. Mikisew Cree First Nation has been funding Michael since 2006.  Michael talked about his experience with Mikisew Post Secondary,</p> <blockquote> <p>"I found Mikisew to be very helpful in situations where I needed funding. They were there all the way and it was a very positive experience. If I had any questions I was able to openly talk to Marlene Simpson, and there were lots of correspondences over email. We had a good rapport, we have a very good relationship. If there were any issues where I needed extra assistance she was there to help in any way she was able, wether it was financial or just about my situations in school."</p> </blockquote> <p>Throughout his career as a student Michael also refers to his memories and experinces to help him face the challenges of student life.  During our interview Michael described his memories of Fort Chipewyan, </p> <blockquote> <p>"Being affiliated with Mikisew helped me figure out where I am coming from. Not only that, it gave me a chance to see who I really was—my culture, my background. I remember the rocky roads, a few houses here and there, on a boat with my grandfather in the summer times, I definitely remember the winter road. Learning my identity and where I'm from has helped me become a much more balanced person."</p> </blockquote> <p>Michael plans to pursue his Masters either in Toronto or Waterloo. In 2007 he was only looking at a two year program followed by employment in social work, but closer to the end of his program he realized what is possible with education:</p> <blockquote> <p>"After coming out of it, I realized that I need a lot more education. I need a lot more to understand the issues that face Aboriginal and First Nations people. To get a better understanding, university is the best path. Not only that, it gives me a better insight into my culture and who I am. I want to continue my education to find something to help my people overcome the barriers. Knowledge is power, and the one you can make a difference out there is if you get the education and use it."</p> </blockquote>The Results are in: Some Wildlife Parts are Harmful to Eat, Others Inconclusive 2012-10-20T00:19:47+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<p class="p1"><img alt="" height="1604" src="/media/uploads/DSCF5281.jpg" width="2615"></p> <blockquote> <p class="p1"><em>Dr. Steph McLachlan presenting his findings to community members</em></p> </blockquote> <p class="p1">At Dr. Steph McLachlan's presentation in Fort Chipewyan he described the results of an environmental study he conducted from Summer 2011 to Fall 2012. His focus was on the health and possible contamination of wildlife that the people of Fort Chipewyan and surrounding communities eat daily. The study examined three types of wildlife: moose, muskrat and ducks; each species was examined by a vet and three tissues were sent to independent labs for testing. The tissue were liver, kidney and muscle and each tissue was tested for heavy metal and PAH contaminants.</p> <h3 class="p2"><strong>Summary of results from heavy metal contaminate testing</strong></h3> <p class="p1"><strong>Muscle (meat, no fat)</strong> Safe<br> <strong>Kidneys, Liver</strong> Unsafe for children and pregnant or nursing women.</p> <h2 class="p1"><strong>PAH Testing</strong></h2> <p class="p1">PAH means polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. This key word is <em>hydrocarbon</em>, these pollutants come from hydrocarbon industries like oil and gas. Although Dr. McLachlan's studies show there is no detectable PAH contaminates in these animals, this can be attributed to a few design problems in the study. Some glaring issues were pointed out by community members.</p> <p class="p1">Cookie Simpson explained that the animals collected were collected from the freezers of local hunters and trappers. Dr. McLachlan tells the community that he considers traditional knowledge to be better at indicating animal health than western science. The problem is <em>the people with the greatest amount of traditional knowledge are the ones collecting healthy samples</em>. The hunters know what animals are sick and they don't take them home to their freezers. No sick animals were collected for this study, and they have based an entire study on the healthiest animals. Dr. McLachlan replies, "These were all in people's deep freezes and people were going to eat them.  In a sense that works both ways: it really says more about the kinds of animals that people will eat, but it doesn't say much about what's happening in the environment."</p> <blockquote> <h2 class="p2"><strong>"We really sampled the wrong tissues — it's not really surprising that we didn't find anything"</strong></h2> </blockquote> <p class="p1">Arsen Bernallie was not convinced that studying ducks would accurately represent what was happening locally, since the ducks are a migratory bird. "The ducks could have come from as far north as the Arctic or as far south as Texas". He also mentioned that muskrats don't live in polluted water, another reason why only healthy animals are showing up in the study.  Dr. McLachlan speaks to the muskrat issue saying, "The muskrat only occur in unpolluted waters. This is what people are telling us again and again. Even though we will continue collecting muskrat we will shift to beavers... if there is an effect by say, the oilsands; we will expect to see that in the beavers when we sample them."</p> <p class="p1">The third and perhaps most damaging point about the study is the fact that no fatty tissues were sampled. PAH's do not dissolve in water, and like oil they float. PAH's enter the food chain through the fatty tissues of animals and the concentrations multiply as the fat is ingested by another animal or human. In a human, the first place of contact for the PAH's is the gall bladder and small intestine, followed by other <em>soft tissues</em> and ending up in fatty tissues throughout the body. Dr. McLachlan explains that collecting the gall bladders or bile ducts of animal for sampling is difficult and requires someone trained locally, and his solution for Phase Two is to send whole ducks off to get their bile ducks extracted by a trained individual. He expressed a desire to move away from PAH testing altogether because it was four times more expensive than testing for heavy metals. This is not as solution, Dr. McLachlan admits ducks are not accurate in determining local contamination. This study did not find any PAH contamination because it was looking at the wrong tissues.</p> <p class="p1">Probably the most interesting thing Dr McLachlan said about the PAH testing was, "The problem is that when you sample this bile (the bile duct) is that is difficult to do out here.  What you need is scientists trained or community members trained, or what we do is ship the whole animal to the ALS. The PAH's — from a western science perspective, because we really sampled the wrong tissues — it's not really surprising that we didn't find anything."</p> <h3 class="p2"><strong>Summary of results from PAH contaminate testing</strong></h3> <p class="p1"><strong>Fats</strong> Inconclusive</p> <h2 class="p3"><strong>Where do we go from here?</strong></h2> <p class="p1">There is a dilemma. Animals don't have rights like people do. If we stop eating off the land then it doesn't matter how much it is polluted because no humans are being harmed. If we eat off the land (a way of life protected by the treaties), we are exposed to harmful chemicals from industry and development. To people that hold a great deal of traditional knowledge the source of the problem is clear and obvious, but for the rest of the world to take notice the link has to be proven without a doubt using scientific method. The researchers that conduct these experiments are outsiders with their own interests and motivation, but in the end this is our community and our study. We have control. We can push for proper experiment design that tests the proper tissues, and we can get community members trained to collect sick animals and extract these <em>environmentally significant</em> tissues.  We can push to study animals that are higher on the food chian (predators like jackfish or bear),  where PAH contaminates are highest and the most dangerous to people of Fort Chipewyan and surrounding communities.</p> <p class="p1">Dr. McLachlan wants traditional knowledge to be a big part of the study, but from the perspective of the participants traditional knowledge was used to collect healthy animals. The ideal marriage of traditional knowledge and western science would put the knowledge holders on the land to collect the problem animals. Then western science (practised by trained locals) could be used to extract the proper tissues and get a better idea of the level of contamination of our waters, wilderness, wildlife, and food supply.</p>The Honorable George Tuccaro receives Lifetime Achievement Award, Mikisew Cree well-represented at awards ceremony2012-10-17T04:02:34+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<p><img alt="" height="1809" src="/media/uploads/S0493908.jpg" width="2318"></p> <blockquote> <p>"It starts right from our parents when we grew up on Bannock and Lard Avenue in Fort Chipewyan, and it permeates our lives. We have developed a drive to survive."</p> </blockquote> <p>George is a member of Mikisew Cree First Nation and started his broadcasting career in 1971. He server as the Communications Officer in the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs until 1981 when he became the Coordinator of Aboriginal Languages Programming for CBC North. George continued with CBC until 2002 when he built his own company, GLT Communications. GLT Communications brought plenty of workshops and major artists to the North West Territories and on May 12, 2012 Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that George Tuccaro was appointed Commissioner of the Northwest Territories.</p> <p><img alt="" height="2508" src="/media/uploads/S0123706.tif.jpg" width="1672"></p> <blockquote> <p>David Tuccaro takes home the Business Award.</p> </blockquote> <p>David Tuccaro is the president and CEO of Tuccaro Inc and an extremely successful entrepreneur. Tuccaro Inc is a group of companies that individually provide services in heavy machinery, industrial waste, soil testing, water analysis, purified water delivery, and so many more industries. Tuccaro Inc's companies aim to employ local, aboriginal people and they have a combined staff of more than 200. David was given the National Aboriginal Achievement award for Business and Commerce in 1999, and continues to be recognized for his contributions to business and national standing as a leader in Canadian business.</p>6th Annual Stolen Sisters Awareness Walk2012-09-26T07:18:47+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <h2><img alt="" height="2523" src="/media/uploads/Stolen%20Sisters/poster.jpg" width="1663"></h2> </div> </div> </div> <h2>Sisters in Spirit Rally </h2> <p>Saturday October 6th, 2012 <br>City Hall, Edmonton, Alberta<br>11:00am–3:00pm </p> <h2>About the Sisters in Spirit Rally </h2> <p>The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) launched the national Sisters In Spirit Campaign in March 2004 to raise public awareness of the alarmingly high rates of violence against Aboriginal women in Canada. In November 2005, the campaign became an initiative. NWAC believes we are in an urgent state of affairs with regards to the safety of Aboriginal women in Canada.</p> <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>The Stolen Sisters Awareness Walk was created in May 2007 to raise national awareness to the disproportionate number of missing and murdered Métis, Inuit, Non Status and First Nations women in Canada. Reports show that Indigenous women aged 25–44 are five times more likely than other Canadian women (of the same age) to die of violence. Together we <em>can</em> make change!</p> <h2>Agenda</h2> <p><strong>11:00am</strong> Honor Song (Drummer), Welcome/Overview and Introduction of Elders, Acknowledgement of Families and Elected Officials (Danielle &amp; April Eve)</p> <p><strong>11:10am</strong> Opening Prayer by Elder Rose Wabasca</p> <p><strong>11:30am</strong> Introduction of Guest Speakers. Speeches to follow</p> <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <ul> <li>National Chief Shawn Atleo, Assembly of First Nations</li> <li>Treaty 7 Grand Chief Charles Weaselhead, Blood Tribe</li> <li>Chief Steve Courtoreille, Mikisew Cree First Nation</li> <li>Family of Amber Tuccaro, Rachel Quinney and Lucas Degerness</li> </ul> <p><em>Moment of Silence</em></p> <ul> <li>Mayor Steven Mandel, City of Edmonton</li> <li>Sgt Gerard MacNeil, Project KARE</li> <li>Councillor Tony Caterina, Aboriginal Portfolio, City of Edmonton</li> <li>MLA Deron Bilous</li> <li>Sgt John Respet, Project KARE</li> <li>Insp. Dennis Fraser, RCMP K Division</li> <li>Sophie and Muriel, Amnesty International and IAAW</li> <li>Amanda Gould, Message on behalf of 2012 SIS-SSAW Organizers </li> </ul> <p><strong>12:15pm</strong> Introduction of the Native Woman’s Association of Canada’s <em>National Enquiry Petition</em> (Support for the Immediate <em>Call To Action</em> Regarding the National Enquiry Into The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) </p> <p><strong>12:10pm</strong> <em>Invite all present to sign petition</em>, gather outside</p> <p><strong>01:00pm</strong> Walk led by families of the missing and murdered women.</p> <p><strong>01:45pm</strong> Return to City Hall for snacks and refreshments</p> <p><strong>02:15pm</strong> Peoples Poets to perform ‘Stolen Sisters’ song</p> <p><strong>02:30pm  </strong>Closing Payer, Elder Gillman Cardinal. Closing Remarks, Muriel Stanley Venne and Lewis Cardinal</p> <p><strong>03:00pm</strong> Open Mic</p> <h2>More Information</h2> <p>Check this page for updates.  For more information—and to lend your support to the Stolen Stisters Awaeness Walk—email </p> <p></p> <p>or call (780) 222-3052  </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>Summer Student Program a Huge Success2012-09-17T12:00:00+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<p><img alt="" src="/media/uploads/Summer%20Students.jpg"></p> <p>Chief Courtoreille and Council are pleased to announce a very successful and meaningful summer for our summer students. This year they included: Trenton Waquan, Christopher Abraham, Kevin Courtoreille, Dalton Courtoreille, Nathaniel Adam, Roberta Courtoreille, Shancee Courtoreille, Sara Voyageur, Nicota Marten, Kristy Whitehead, Clayton Abraham, Kaitlin Courtoreille, Robin Courtoreille, Zachary Antoine, James Piche-Cardinal, and Dana Courtoreille. They began with the First Nation on July 9th and ended on August 31st.</p> <p>The students experienced work placements at Mikew Technical Services, Mikisew Communications, Chief Executive Officer's office, Elders Program, Education Program, Paspew House, MCFN Administration and Finance, Summer Fun Program, and Alberta Future Leaders program. In addition to those work placement experiences, students enrolled in a one week Class 7 Learners Driver Training; participated and assisted in the annual Government &amp; Industry Relations Cultural Retreat; attended a youth Environmental Camp in Nordegg, Alberta; attended a Youth Leadership Retreat in the Rocky Mountains; attend a one week Mount Royal University in Calgary orientation in classroom and lived on campus; and participated in a Life Skills workshop.</p> <p>Council would like to thank Albert John Courtoreille for his excellent supervisory experience with the students this summer, his coordination of all student activities and teaching healthy work habits.</p> <p>We look forward to another summer of genuine learning next year and wish all our students success in the coming Fall and Winter semesters back at school!</p>Thank You – Hiy Hiy – ᐊᕀ ᐊᕀ2012-08-22T20:59:06+00:00Mikisew Communications/blog/author/MikisewComm/<p>The Mikisew Days (Treaty Days) committee wishes to extend our sincerest appreciation to all sponsors and volunteers who contributed to the success of the Mikisew Days event held June 20- 23rd, 2012 in Fort Chipewyan Alberta.</p> <h2>Sponsors Eagle Feather (Gold)</h2> <p>Acklands Grainger<br>Mammoet<br>Shell Canada Energy<br>SODEXO<br>Super 8 Fort McMurray <br>Total E&amp;P Canada Ltd.<br>Yardstick Technologies</p> <h2>Buffalo Jump (Silver)</h2> <p>Alberta Pacific<br>Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) <br>Enbridge Pipelines Inc. <br>Executive Flight Center <br>Imperial Oil Ltd. <br>SUNCOR Energy <br>Syncrude Canada Ltd.</p> <h2>Turtle Island (Bronze)</h2> <p>1st Nation Insurance<br>Alberta Indian Investment Corporation <br>Partsmaster</p> <p>To all the hardworking volunteers “Way To Go Team!”<br><em>Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.</em> ~Author Unknown</p>