TO: LDMLFN Band and Community Members
FROM: LDMLFN Chief and Council
Date: February 6, 2018
Boozhoo to our Membership and Families! As we enter into a bright but cold New Year, we trust that this communique finds all of our members and families in good health following the Holiday Season. We wanted to take this opportunity to inform the membership of some important initiatives that your leadership and administration are working on and of some of the upcoming events that are planned for this year.
22A1 FLOOD CLAIM - As everyone is aware, the settling of our Flood Claim last year was a huge accomplishment for the First Nation and its members. When we entered into negotiations in 2009, little did we know that it would take 7½ years to settle this claim. This accomplishment was achieved in record time. We are aware of 14 flooding claims in Treaty #3 that were initiated at the same time as ours and we were the first to successfully negotiate a settlement with Canada and Ontario. Our people voted 99% in favour of accepting the settlement offer in a Referendum Vote. Again, this was a significant achievement, as our community stood firm together and in unity to get this done! Chi Miigwetch for all of your support, faith in your leadership, and perseverance to see this through!
We are delighted and proud of our families as we have, and continue to receive a wealth of feedback on how this settlement has positively impacted their lives. We have received numerous reports stating how this settlement has enabled our young people to buy their first homes, how families were able to secure reliable vehicles and that members were able to pay off large amounts of debt that they had been carrying for years! We also heard from so many of our members that this was a life-changing event for them, which has positively impacted their families and relationships. We are blessed that we could play a part in their happiness and well-being.
The two trusts funds have now been set up; one for registered children under 18 years of age and one for Future Generations. To date, the members have received and/or have been allocated a total of 57 percent of the entire flood claim settlement. Your leadership strongly believe in assisting their members and this is clearly demonstrated in the distribution of the settlement monies.
FARMING LANDS CLAIM 22A1 & TIMBER CLAIM 22A1/22A2 - Moving forward, we are pleased to inform our membership that the First Nation is working on two other claims. We believe these claims should be quicker to settle as they are smaller claims and much of the research work has already been done. We are preparing them for submission and anticipate being able to present them to Canada and Ontario this year. We strongly believe our entire Negotiations Team has the necessary skill, expertise and experience to get these claims settled in short order and with an excellent outcome for our members. We stand on our record to do so.
COMMUNITY RE-ESTABLISHMENT – We would like to reaffirm that all steps taken towards the re-establishment of the Community are being followed via our Capital Plan. Work on the capital plan for Reserve 22A1 commenced in 2009 and was completed in 2013. The plan was also taken to ceremony. This plan was developed with direct input and involvement from our community members. Your leadership continues to follow the Capital Plan in the decisions that they make in regards to the First Nation. Please visit the First Nation’s website at lacdesmillelacsfirstnation.ca in order to view the First Nations Community Strategic Plan and Economic Development Strategic Plan. The Capital Plan is in the “members only” section of our website. For access, email Mike Ignace to set up your account.
HOUSING POLICY - Your Housing Committee has been working very hard at completing the Housing Policies and By-Laws for our Community and they are to be commended for their hard work. We understand that many First Nations do not even have Housing policies, which has created enormous problems within some of the communities. We believe that our Housing Policies will enable our First Nation to move forward in a good and positive manner. Our members are excited with the direction that our First Nation is moving in. We believe that we have incorporated as much feedback and suggestions from our membership on these policies (via surveys, meetings, and a 6 week review period) in order to get a clear idea of how our membership want to see our community proceed and grow.
As you are aware, we are in the final review period of the Draft Housing Policy. We have received excellent suggestions and input from our members, which we have incorporated into the Policies. A reminder goes out to send in any questions, suggestions or concerns to the Housing Committee before February 16th and they will be pleased to address them. Please send them to the attention of Jackie Peters at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Note: We have also attached the most recent Housing Policy Q & A based on feedback from our members.
MARINE CABLE (HYDRO & FIBER OPTICS) - We have been diligently working on these two large, significant projects with the goal of bringing Hydro and Fiber Optics into the re-development sites on reserve. We want to be able to supply our members with the best experience in their new homes, and this will help to ensure that our families are living in a safe and comfortable environment. Your leadership and administration have been pushing hard to fast forward commitments from INAC on these projects, and their hard work is coming to fruition. We are optimistic that the Marine Cable will be laid out this year. This is a priority for our First Nation as we move forward with re-establishing our families on reserve, in a good and safe manner.
SOLAR - We are pleased to announce that our First Nation was nominated for the “2017 CANSIA Game Changer Award” for the remote Indigenous Solar Project, in partnership with JAZZ SOLAR SOLUTIONS. This award was open Canada-wide and we were selected as the successful candidate. We installed a 93 kilowatt Solar Microgrid outside of our Community Complex last summer. We were successful in our proposal/application to the Small Communities Fund that involved the Federal and Provincial governments. Each partner covered 1/3 of the cost of the project. We now have a state of the art Solar Microgrid functioning at high capacity and have basically eliminated the need for diesel fuel. Congratulations Team!
We have been off diesel since late July 2017, with only a couple of brief periods of having to rely on back-up power this winter, due to experiencing a few 4-6 day stretches of no sunshine and inclement weather. This caused a draw down in the battery storage of power. Other than that, the added serenity that comes with little to no noise pollution is very refreshing.
Bill S-3 addresses sex-based inequities in the Indian registration provisions of the Indian Act for the following situations:
Bill S-3 also includes the requirement for the Minister of the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to report to Parliament on the collaborative process on broader issues related to Indian registration, band membership and First Nations citizenship, and on the implementation of the bill.
The Minister is required to report to Parliament on the:
The bill also includes provisions that will remove the 1951 cut-off in respect of the cousins. This amendment will come into force at a later date, once consultations with First Nations are completed. Once in force, all descendants born prior to April 17, 1985 (or of a marriage prior to that date) of women who were removed from band lists or not considered Indians because of their marriage to a non-Indian man will be entitled to 6(1) status. This will include circumstances prior to 1951 and in fact, will remedy inequities back to the 1869 Gradual Enfranchisement Act.
Bill S-3, except for the provisions related to the removal of the 1951 cut-off, came into force on December 22, 2017.”
Note: For those members who may have family impacted by any registration changes and who require additional information or have questions regarding this bill, please speak with Chief Whitecloud on this matter. Members can also call the Regional INAC office and speak to someone in Registration.
MEMBERSHIP CODE – We will be starting work on a Membership Code for our First Nation later this year. With the changing rules of INAC, we realize that it is in our families’ best interests to have our own Membership Code. This will enable our descendants to continue to be members of our First Nation, whether they have “Indian Status” or not. As many are aware, we have a large number of members who are registered under Bill C-31 and Bill C-3 who cannot pass on their status due to INAC’s eligibility requirements and regulations.
The First Nation cannot give status to anyone, but we can ensure that our descendants have defined rights on our reserve. This will be very beneficial in ensuring that our members who own on-reserve homes can pass down that home to their descendants. As this will be a First Nation Code, this work will require much participation from our membership along with a Referendum Process for acceptance and approval by our Membership.
NEW HIRES – The First Nation is now in a position to bring on additional staff that will work alongside our current administration and enhance the work needed to grow the First Nation. We are pleased to announce that we have hired 2 new staff members. As advertised in late November, we were seeking individuals to fill the positions of Director of Education and Tech Services/Project Management. We are excited to welcome Andy Graham, Director of Education and Brad Dokuchie, Tech Services/ Project Management. These two individuals have extensive knowledge and experience in their fields and will be great assets to our First Nation.
We also anticipate bringing on additional staff members as we continue to grow and as we continue to receive additional funding. All employment opportunities are posted on our website under “Employment”. For those who are interested in gaining employment or know of individuals who are looking for work, please check our site regularly as this is where the postings go up.
SKILLS INVENTORY - A reminder goes out that the First Nation does have a Skills Inventory, whereby our members and families can submit their resumes and curriculum vitae. Our First Nation has been compiling this information pertaining to the specific education, certifications and qualifications of Community members that have sent in their resumes. We are requesting that any band/community member(s) who may have an interest in employment opportunities, to please forward their information to our Education & Training Director Mark Berkan.
With this inventory on-hand, we are able to contact and notify interested members when opportunities for training and/or employment are brought to our attention. Whether you are currently employed or not, we would still like to include you in the Inventory for our Community. This keeps your name in our database and helps to ensure you do not miss out on potential employment. The Skills Inventory will also be useful in the re-development of our community infrastructure on 22A1 and/or First Nation building projects. The First Nation asks for all qualified, interested members to send in their resume or curriculum vitae. Also, any skilled trades, services and contractors are invited and encouraged to send in their information.
Note: We also have a Volunteer Database. Please contact Mike Ignace with your letter of interest in regards to volunteering opportunities within the First Nation. Miigwetch
AGM/COMMUNITY MEETING - We held our annual meeting on January 8th 2018 at the Airlane Hotel in Thunder Bay. We went with the same format as the previous year, as our members had voiced that they were happy with and preferred this type of venue. We presented on our Flood Claim Trust Funds, 2016-2017 Audit, and Housing Policy. Miigwetch to all who came out to the meeting! A big thank you goes out to our presenters and staff for the excellent job done.
STRATEGIC PLANS - The First Nation is currently working off their 2011-2016 community and economic development strategic plans. Although they have seen their sunset dates, it is still a viable document which we are utilizing until we have time to construct the next plans. Our members can appreciate that a large portion of our time was taken up with ensuring that our flood claim settlement was finalized and the monies distributed to the membership.
CHILD/YOUTH EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITES - We would like to remind our parents who have children or youth registered in extra-curricular activities, to please submit your receipts for reimbursement for the 2017 year. The First Nation has been annually reimbursing the costs (up to 250.00 per child) for any field or area pertaining to these types of activities. We are pleased to announce that we have increased the approved reimbursement up to $500.00 per child - per year. We encourage healthy exercise and activities for our young ones and this assists our families to do so. Please send in your receipts to the attention of Chief and Council.
ELDERS ASSISTANCE - We have mentioned this topic in previous newsletters (see November 30, 2016 Communique) and now that our Flood Claim has been settled, we feel that we are in a good position to move forward on this. We understand and acknowledge that some of our Elders may have had experiences in their lives which have deeply affected them, such as Residential School. We hope to provide some relief to our Elders as they live out their “golden years.” Your leadership discussed this and have decided that we are now financially able to assist Elders with a quarterly subsidy. We have also discussed this with our Elders Council and they are in support of this decision. All Elders who are 65 years of age and over will be eligible for a quarterly subsidy of $500.00, for a total of $2,000.00 per year. Please contact Councillor Irma Churchill regarding this subsidy. Our goal is and always has been to try to assist our members to the very best of our ability. We believe that this subsidy supports that vision.
2018 POW-WOW - The dates for this year’s Annual Pow-Wow are set for June 15-17, 2018. Those interested in volunteering on the PowWow Committee or to assist during this time, are asked to contact Mike Ignace. Last year’s Pow Wow saw a total of 14 drum groups and the largest number of dancers to date. It was an awesome time of celebration for the First Nation!
2018 ELDERS GATHERING - Our Elders Gatherings are places of support and respect for each and every one of our Elders on an individual and shared basis. These gatherings are a time filled with re-connecting and re-establishing of relationships with our families. It has been an integral part of our Community growth, healing and coming together. Last year, we offered extended activities for our Elders. We had excellent feedback, and have decided to offer this same extended activity week. We are looking to plan this event around the same time as the Pow-Wow, but are having difficulties with securing accommodations. We will be sending out the invite as soon as we have confirmation of the actual dates. We look forward to seeing our relatives smiling faces!
OFFICIAL WEBSITE - Check out our “Official Website” at www.lacdesmillelacsfirstnation.ca This site is where you will find up-to-date and accurate information regarding your First Nation, job postings, initiatives, etc. Other sites containing the Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation name are not run or sanctioned by the First Nation, and may contain false and/or misleading information. Note: Our members are encouraged to contact the First Nation should they have questions or concerns regarding the First Nation rather than rely on the information posted on these other social media sites. For our out-of-town members, we ask that you click on “Picture Galleries” and see for yourself what is happening in your First Nation. It is said that “a picture speaks a thousand words.” Moving forward towards a prosperous, healthy and happy Community!
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