Thursday, June 30, 2011

Road Warriors: Chris Grosset in Baker Lake and Gjoa Haven

A beautiful evening walk in
Gjoa Haven to the Amundsen Cairn.

Aarluk's Chris Grosset recently travelled to Baker Lake and Gjoa Haven to enjoy the amazing spring weather (and to do some work on the Background Report on the Back River Proposed Canadian Heritage Rivers nomination.)


The Canadian Heritage Rivers System, a federal, provincial and territorial system that recognizes Canadian Rivers of outstanding natural, human heritage and recreational significance, requires a Background Report in order to be eligible for nomination. As part of this Background Report, Chris and Lesli Rynyk from the Government of Nunavut's Nunavut Parks and Special Places division met with community representatives and families in Baker Lake and Gjoa Haven that have long-standing ties to the Back River and got them to describe the natural and cultural heritage, and recreational values. The communities also discussed the benefits of the Heritage Rivers Program, and what the implications would be if they asked the Government of Nunavut to proceed with a nomination of the Back River.
 
Chris at the visitor centre in Baker Lake.
If the communities and GN decide to nominate the Back River, it would be the fifth Canadian Heritage River in Nunavut. The Kazan, Soper and Thelon rivers have been designated Heritage rivers, while the Coppermine has been nominated.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who You Callin' "Indian", Part V


Being the Fifth And Final Entry in a series by Jennifer David, setting out a weekly, non-dogmatic, light-hearted lexicon for those of you who work in this arena and would like a primer on how to refer to those folks that you keep seeing at pow-wows and qaggiqs.


All right, we've teased you long enough. And you've been wonderfully patient. You stuck with us through our outright dismissal of the terms "Indians" or as "Natives". You learned not to call us "Aboriginal". You won't try to refer to us as "First Peoples" or "Indigenous" unless you're a guest speaker at the UN or the Vatican.

So you've earned your reward. Here are three terms that you can safely, grammatically, and politically-correctly use to navigate your way through any conversation. There's a catch, of course - several of them - but we'll get to that.



INUIT


Let's start with the easy one, relatively speaking. Inuit are the indigenous people whose traditional lands lie north of the treeline in the US, Russia, Greenland, and, within Canada, in Nunavut, Nunatsiavut (Labrador) and Nunavik (northern Quebec). The word simply means "the people".

"Inuit" has pretty much replaced the term ‘Eskimo’ which some say was an Abenaki word meaning “eaters of raw meat.” Etymologists have since questioned whether this is actually true, but nonetheless, the word Eskimo has fallen out of favour (except among older Inuit and football fans in Edmonton), although there's a kind of retro-chic tendency among younger Inuit to use the term semi-humorously. "Inuit" is both a collective noun (as in "the Inuit occupy northern Canada') and an adjective (as in "Inuit Art"). An individual of Inuit descent is an Inuk. And just to complicate things - the INNU in Labrador aren't Inuit. They're a First Nation.



MÉTIS


Nobody is quite sure where this term came from . Some say it was a French term that refers to a person of mixed blood. One suggestion is that it derives from the Latin word "miscere", meaning ‘to mix’, and that it shares a root with "Mestizo" (Spanish) and Mestico (Portuguese). "Métis" and "miscere" don’t really sound that much alike to me - but strange are the ways of language. Another school of thought contends the original use of the word Métis was a derogatory label attached to Aboriginal people who resisted assimilation and exploitation of land and rights.

In any case, it now most commonly refers to people descended primarily from the marriages of Scottish and French men to Cree, Saulteaux, and Ojibwa women in southern Rupert's Land starting in the late 17th century, and the marriages of French women to Ojibway men starting in Quebec around the same time.

And now... (drum roll)



FILL IN THE BLANK


"First Nations" is the term that describes the indigenous peoples of Canada who are neither Métis nor Inuit. There is no legal definition of "First Nation", and the phrase isn't used in the Constitution or the Indian Act. The "official" meaning of "First Nation", particularly by governments, is "a band within the meaning of the Indian Act.” Confused again?

That's partly because the term, on its own, doesn't tell you what First Nation an individual identifies with: it would be a bit like a Canadian saying "I'm a citizen of the Western World." Most of your Aboriginal friends will proudly acknowledge being of First Nations descent. But they usually won't refer to themselves as a "First Nation" (that's a bit presumptuous for one person, anyway.)

So what's the correct way to refer to the citizen of a First Nation? Just as you would any other person - you name the Nation. You will likely find that many people are very proud to tell you that they are Haudenesaunee or Cree or Anishinaabe. And that's the best term to use.


So I would say I'm Cree, Kory and Valerie would say they're Anishinaabe or Ojibway. And then, added to that, most First Nation people refer to their individual community as well as their nation. So I am a member of the Chapleau Cree First Nation; Kory is a member of Nipissing First Nation; Valerie is a member of Sagamok Anishabek First Nation. When two Aboriginal people meet, the first thing we do is identify our own First Nation, start comparing notes, figuring out whether we're related and who we know, and generally looking for a connection. For most of us, that famous six degrees of separation shrinks to about three.

So after all these weeks, there you have it. If you want to identify me with a nation - as you would an Australian, a Brazilian or an American - identify me with MY nation. Not a broad collective adjective like "Aboriginal", or a reference to the longevity of my ancestors' residence like "Indigenous". The general rule of thumb is just to ask. You'll find as much variation out there as you find different Aboriginal groups and communities (starting with more than 600 First Nations...)


So now if you think all of this has been clear as mud, welcome to our world! But we wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Management Studies and the Impact of Polar Bears on Running Time

We all like to brag about getting stranded in Grise Fiord for a month waiting for the weather to clear. But the flip side of northern travel is a trip when the weather is perfect, the assignment goes smoothly, and you get to enjoy a community. Jimmy Jacquard recently had one of those when he delivered the Principles of Management Course for Arctic College in Rankin Inlet.

"The Campus in Rankin was great," Jimmy says. "Noreen Russell is in charge of program, and she was very helpful and welcoming. It's a top rate program and staff. Everyone's so friendly, the facility is great, good infrastructure, excellent computer lab, all modern equipment...can't ask for better."

Working for two weeks with Charlotte Hickes and Tracy Pitsiulaaq Ayaruak (Rankin Inlet) and Roxy Iilnik and Howmik Alagalak (Arviat), Jimmy focused on case studies both from the text and from other relevant Nunavut businesses and organizations.Technology was used throughout the course—all assignments and projects were handed in via e-mail and feedback and grades were sent to students via e-mail as well. Very little paper was used in the course.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Because the World Needs More Nice Guy Accountants

 
Lei Han, CGA
 

It seems we spend a lot of time congratulating Lei these days, but heck - some people deserve it. So a big tip of the Consilium hat to the world's most recent Certified General Accountant, who on June 11th officially joined Victor Tootoo as a full-fledged member of that exalted profession (and inadvertently started a serious round of Letters-After-the-Name envy here at Consilium.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime - The Weekly Poll

Last Week's Poll: Vancouver's A Riot


Mystified about why residents of Canada's most beautiful city would celebrate the end of an outstanding hockey season by trying to burn down their home, we asked you who you thought the Vancouver rioters really were.
 
  • Only 8% of you agreed with Vancouver Chief of Police Jim Chu, who thought they were Secret Anarchists.
  • A further 8% believe they were all actually from Seattle.
  • An impressive 26% thought they were just annoyed because they didn't get to meet Chuck and Victor, who were actually IN Vancouver that night, but swear they had nothing to do with it. 
  • An even more impressive majority of 56%  felt they were simply spoiled, drunk, undisciplined brats
  • And curiously, out of all the votes cast - not one of you (or us) think they were misunderstood victims of society.


This Week's Poll: Canada's Most Canada-esque Vantage Point

Heading into the Canada Day weekend, we were talking around the office about the most Canadian of Canadian vistas. We're a pretty well traveled bunch, but we couldn't agree on the one view of Canada that everyone MUST see in their lifetime. So what do you think? (And because it's Canada Day, and because it's such a big, beautiful county, you can vote more than once).
 
a) Pond Inlet, Nunavut, looking across the Strait.
b) Quebec City, looking up from below the cliff.
c) Lake Louise, Alberta
d) Qu'apelle Valley, Saskatchewan, on a summer night
e) The Cabot trail, near Ingonish
f) Haida Gwaii (BC) in the mist.

Canada Needs To Know. The poll is open!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adventures on Manitoulin Island


Tuesday, June 14, 6 pm




It's a beautiful sunny evening as Kory and I pick up our flaming red Dodge Calibre from the rental office and head out on the highway. We're on our way to Manitoulin island to drum up some business for Stonecircle (pun intended). I had planned to rent a compact car, but do you know how tall Kory is?

We head north in the early summer evening light,  with an obligatory stop at the Laurentian View Dairy, a family-owned business in Deep River that features (as all veterans of Highway 17 know) the best homemade ice cream around.


After seeing a couple of deer and a raccoon, we were entertained by a young black bear on the stretch of highway between Deep River and Mattawa. I say entertained because, using proper pedestrian safety procedures, the bear put one foot onto the highway, looked left, looked right, saw us coming, pulled his foot back and watched us pass. In my rearview mirror, I saw him (or her) look left and right once again before sauntering across the highway.


We saw no more animals after that - just rutted roads and construction cones. We arrived safely at the Inn on the Bay in downtown North Bay. It looked lovely but, in the three minutes I spent surveying the room before falling asleep, I can't be sure.


Wednesday, June 15.


It's 5:30 am and Kory and I are on the road again. We head west on highway 17, then left at the big Tim Horton, south through Espanola and across the iron bridge onto Manitoulin Island.

In Aundeck Omni Kaning we have our first meeting, with Band Manager Peter Nahwegabow and finance officer Kathy Babemash. We do our 'song and dance'; then Kathy encourages us to also meet with the newly formed Northern Ontario Aboriginal Economic Developers Association, (OFNEDA) which we add to our itinerary.


West again on highway 540, but somehow we miss the turn off for Sheshegwaning. We travel through the town of Kagawong "prettiest little town in Ontario" according to their sign, still assuming we are on the highway. Then the "highway" turns into a dirt road, and we think to ourselves, "I know we're going on reserve, but this is ridiculous." We soon realize we are in the town's subdivision, and turn around when we get to the water.Must be the North Channel.  That's the good thing about being on an island; you don't get lost for long!


We find the turnoff and make it to the community only a few minutes late, where we meet with Sheshegwaning First Nation  Executive Director Dennis Blackburn who welcomes us warmly. A few minutes into our presentation, he stops us and goes to get his colleague Frank Cada - some of our experience was directly relevant to some of their projects.

We leave the community and stop for lunch at Stop 540, the only restaurant around, located in a traile. Then  back towards M'Chigeeng, where we meet with Melanie Debassige, of the Ontario First Nations Economic Developers Association. She takes time out of her busy day to tell us what's going on with the association. We also learn that she works as a consultant, so we added her to the roster of potential Aboriginal associates and subcontractors that Stonecircle likes to work with. Then onto a meeting with Brenda Ense of M'Chigeeng First Nation. The community has a number of projects in economic development, governance and strategic planning - all the areas that Stonecircle supports.


Then it's a social call. Back in my days with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, I met the multi-talented filmmaker Shirley Cheechoo, who happens to live in M'Chigeeng and oversees the Weengushk Film Institute . The film institute is Shirley's brainchild and passion, supporting young at risk Aboriginal youth and providing them with skills and experience in the film industry. We tour the facilities, and then head out to dinner at a cafe in Mindemoya I order the whitefish and chips, and to my shock get served the biggest plate of food I've ever seen. They didn't tell me it was the WHOLE whitefish I had to eat!

On the road again....this time towards Wikwemikong, where we would be meeting the next morning. The Band manager had recommended the newly built Bayside Resort  just outside Wiki, with gorgeous views of the bay, all new ameneties, and a beautiful, quiet sunset. This is the life. It was so pleasant that even the depressing Stanley Cup finals on TV and the embarrasing aftermath didn't spoil the evening.


Thursday, June 16

After entering the wrong side of the building, we finally meet up with Wayne Osawamik, band Manager at Wiki, and enjoy learning about what goes on in this community of more than 3000. Wiki is known for its strong language and culture, and this is evident by the street signs in the Ojibway language as well as cultural organizations scattered across the community.


Then it's another social call. I wrote a series of biographies of Aboriginal artists for a Canada Council for the Arts book, and one of the people featured was Joe Osawabine (prounounced O-ZI-been-ay), Artistic Director of the award-winning theatre company Debajehmujig.


The company stages original productions throughout the summer in a unique outdoor setting: the Holy Cross Ruins in Wikwemikong. Plus they stage shows throughout the year in their studio in Manitowaning. It was fun to reconnect and see what creative projects are underway (I was sworn to secrecy, but I can reveal it's something about Elders gone AWOL...). If you're ever on Manitoulin, this is highly recommended.


For the last leg our our marketing tour, Kory and I swung by Sheguiandah, which has perhaps one of the most beautiful views of the bay and the mainland (sorry, Kagawong!) We dropped off our gifts and materials, and headed back We did the same thing in Whitefish River, where we found the band office was in boxes, in anticipation of a move to a bigger location.


And then it was the long trip home. Only one deer spotted, excellent weather all the way and back to Ottawa. A total of about 20 hours of driving in the space of two and a half days. It was a great opportunity to meet with potential clients face-to-face. And as always - traveling to the communities and meeting people is a great reminder of why we do the work we do at Stonecircle.






Thursday, June 23, 2011

IBC announces Distinguished Panel of Media Centre Advisors



Inuit Broadcasting Corporation  President Madeline d'Argencourt today announced the names of the Advisory Committee members hand-picked to steer IBC's fundraising for construction of the Nunavut Media Arts Centre. Team members include the President of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, a Senator, a former Nunavut Commissioner, a former Vice President of the Royal Bank of Canada, , and other business, cultural and political leaders.

Members of the Advisory Committee are:

· Anne Mikijuk Hansen, former Commissioner of Nunavut, actress, broadcaster and journalist;

· Charles Coffey, former Vice President of the Royal Bank of Canada, current director on the Board of the Trillium Foundation);

· Okalik Eegeesiak, President of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association; former President of Canada’s national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami;

· Andre Bureau, former Chairperson of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, currently Chair of Astral, one of Canada's largest media networks.

· Christy Sinclair, former Senior Director at Canadian North/Norterra, Current business owner

· The Honourable Dennis Patterson, Senator and former Premier of the Northwest Territories.

A New Approach to Training Community Health Workers in Nunavut

Health Centre, Arctic Bay
No more stuffy, one-off training seminars -here comes a whole new approach to training Nunavut's Community Health Workers. The GN Department of Health and Social Services has hired Aarluk Consulting to coordinate two regional conference-style training events. This new approach will see a 5-day regional training event featuring high-profile guest speakers, exciting plenary sessions, and personalized break-out itineraries. Aarluk's project team of Patti Black, Victor Tootoo, Rosemary Ipeelie and Geoff Rigby will build on their extensive knowledge and record of success in coordinating large, multi-faceted events to provide training for over 100 community health workers in Nunavut. Stay tuned...

It Crawled Out Of The Microwave


An actual thread from the in-house Consilium discussion website.
 -------------------
Anyone have an old microwave or know where to get one cheap? Ours has been beeping randomly at us on the third floor, so it's now unplugged and we have to say goodbye.
Jen D, Third Floor
-------
I have a spare one at home which I'll lend to the 3rd floor cause in the spirit of inter-floor solidarity  :-)
Leslie, First Floor
-------
The Second Floor would like to submit a counter-proposal. Leslie, you donate your microwave to the second floor, and we'll donate OUR current microwave to the third floor. That way Leslie will only have to carry hers up one floor, and we on the second floor won't have to clean ours - the third floor guys will have to do it. All in favour? (Second floor votes yes, unanimously, by the way.) 
- Terry, Second Floor

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stonecircle's Work Recognized in National Post

Okay, we're not named specifically. But today's National Post featured a special Aboriginal Education Supplement, and the article featured in this link notes our work in coordination and organization of the Health Council of Canada regional sessions.

Who You Callin' "Indian"? Part IV

Being the Fourth Entry in a series by Jennifer David, setting out a weekly, non-dogmatic, light-hearted lexicon for those of you who work in this arena and would like a primer on how to refer to...well, we're not quite there yet. Keep reading.


Diligent followers of this series must now be approaching a state of panic. You now know that you're not supposed to refer to us as "Indians" or as "Natives", and that even the fashionable "Aboriginal" has its pitfalls. This week, we'll take on two more terms - and you'll discover that we're still not out of the woods.


FIRST PEOPLE or FIRST PEOPLES.


This is another one of those painfully earnest expressions that strives heroically for politically correctness and inclusiveness, but stumbles in day-to-day speech. Have you ever tried to use this one in a conversation? “Hi there. I’m a First Person. Are you a First Person?” "No, but some of my best friends are First People." It just doesn’t have much of a ring to it.

On the plus side, it is a clear acknowledgment of our status in Canada. And the term IS inclusive. Inuit don't consider themselves to be a "First Nation" - but they DO see themselves as one of the first peoples to inhabit this country. This view gave rise to one of the most memorable quotes from the late Jose Kusugak, former president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, who famously characterized Inuit as "First Canadians, but Canadians first."

The term admittedly has more resonance than "Aboriginal". It’s too late for this past election, but there's even a First Peoples National Party of Canada that you could have voted for (if you happened to be living in the riding of their lone candidate in Sudbury, Ontario.) It also seems to be gaining in academic circles. Books about Aboriginal people and curriculum for schools use the term "Canada’s First Peoples" as a phrase to discuss the history of all the Aboriginal groups in Canada. The Canadian Museum of Civilization has a First Peoples Hall which celebrates history and stories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

But out here in the real world, it's just not an expression people use. (And for the hard-core punctuationophiles among you - just ponder the challenge of whether or not to use an apostrophe in the phrase "First Peoples Hall"!)

My verdict: save it for written material, but avoid it in day-to-day speech unless you're in conversation with a professor or senior bureaucrat you need desperately to impress.

And while we're on the "People" theme, here's a bonus:


INDIGENOUS or INDIGENOUS PEOPLE


Another useful (if somewhat scholarly) collective term, "indigenous" describes the people (or, for that matter, the plants) who are native to a land or region. When talking about people, the term usually implies that someone else has come along and sneakily introduced another culture.

In Canada, the word is most frequently used to express solidarity between First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and other Aboriginal people; and it usually occurs in an international context, like the UN Declaration or some other weighty proclamation.But again, like "Aboriginal", it's a well-intended word that unintentionally diminishes the link between, let's say, an Ojibway and their nation, by lumping very disparate groups and cultures - Saami, Maori, Inuit, Dakota - together in a single category. You probably don't think of yourself as a "North American"; why would you expect us to define ourselves by so broad a term? And the origin of the word comes from Latin, which is a language indigenous to - where, exactly?

"Indigenous Peoples", it's also impossibly clumsy in everyday language. A phrase that simply means "I'm from here" isn't very illuminating.


But take heart, readers - next week, we turn the corner and get into some of the terminology that bears our Official Seal of Approval.

Later!

Doing It Better


As one of the regional offices of the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Nunavut Regional Office (NRO) aims to improve the social well-being and prosperity of the Aboriginal people, develop healthier and sustainable communities, and increase the participation of the Aboriginal people and the Northerners in Canada’s political, social, and economic development.

As a way to improve the effectiveness and the efficiency of its operations, the NRO initiated a risk profile with the objective to identify, assess, and plan for the management of potential risks.

During the first half of 2011, the NRO with the assistance from a joint Aarluk Consulting Inc. and Interis, planned, implemented, and completed a risk profile.

The Aarluk team - composed of Victor Tootoo, Terry Forth and Galin Kora - conducted interviews with a number of NRO representatives, participated in a two-day workshop organized in Iqaluit, reviewed and analyzed the data collected through interviews, the workshop and other related documents, and participated in the preparation of the draft and final report.

The final report was accepted by NRO last week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy National Aboriginal Day!

Source: Canadian Heritage
Today is the summer equinox, the longest day of the year, and officially recognized in Canada as National Aboriginal Day. For those of you who are Aboriginal (or native, Indian, Indigenous - OK, that's another blogpost), I'm sure every day is Aboriginal day, but it's still a nice gesture that the Governor General proclaimed this day, back in 1996 as an officially recognized day to celebrate our cultures.

So for those of you who have the day off to do just that, enjoy yourselves. For those who have to be at work, then at least spend a few minutes saying hello to all your Aboriginal friends, watch an Aboriginal film (Dances With Wolves doesn't count), attend a National Aboriginal Day event in your neighbourhood or find some other way to celebrate that won't get you or your boss in trouble.

We still have a long way to go; I am reminded of Ottawa comedian Don Kelly's great line: "Wonderful. We Aboriginal people get a whole day. In Ottawa, even the tulips get a week!"

But still - it's still a good day to be indigenous (or Indian or Aboriginal--OK, I know, enough already)

Happy National Aboriginal Day!

Sagamok / QuadraFNX

At QuadraFNX Victoria Property, May 2011, Sagamok’s mining team including from left Nikki Manitowabi, Levi Southwind, Alex Ker and Michelle Toulouse, together with FNX representatives


More news from Sagamok Anishnawbek, a long standing Stonecircle client with a proactive, community-focused approach to resource development companies and mining.

Since the fall of 2010 Sagamok has been engaged in the negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding with QuadraFNX with respect to the company’s advanced exploration project at its Victoria Property west of Sudbury. The property is located within Sagamok’s traditional territory and encompasses a brownfield site where mining operations were conducted in the late 1800s and then again in the 1970s. The company plans investment of approximately $200 million over three years in its advanced exploration project and will be drilling what will become the deepest continuous mine shaft in the Sudbury mining camp, at nearly 6500 feet. Over the next three years it is expected there will be 150-200 jobs associated with construction and development of this particular project.

With the return of better weather, this spring Alex Ker along with other members of Sagamok’s mining relations team, were able to tour the project property and observe both environmental conditions and drilling operations first hand.

jBrad's Stuff You Didn't Know: An Editor Rants

It's TENTERHOOKS, not "TENDERhooks".

We refer, of course, to the expression used to describe an individual in a state of suspense, as in "I was on tenterhooks the whole time we waited for the test results."

"Suspense" is exactly what tenterhooks are about. They're hooks used by tentmakers to suspend wool while it dries on a frame, keeping it from shrinking.

What the heck is a "tenderhook" supposed to be?

Monday, June 20, 2011

May Rocks, Van Rolls...the Weekly Poll

Last Week's Poll: The Quintessential Canada Day Concert Would Star...

As we count down the seconds to that blessed midsummer oasis of barbecue, beer and sunscreen, the Canada Day Long Weekend, we invited you all to tell us which song and singer you would add to the Great National Broadcast from the Hill in order to truly capture the political mood of the country. Here's how you voted.
  • He may top the polls, but not The Poll: no-one voted to hear Stephen Harper sing "Blue on Blue".
  • 15% of you opted for Michael Ignatieff's plaintive rendering of "Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used To Do?"
  • A two-way tie for second place - 20% want to hear Jack Layton rock out with REM's "Got My Orange Crush", and 20% want to hear Gilles Duceppe perform the song from the musical Oliver "I'm Reviewing The Situation." Hey, maybe if they formed a coalition duet...
  • But nobody even came close to the 45% demand for Elizabeth May's performance of "All By Myself". 
Alone on the floor of the House, Ms. May - but clearly first in the jukebox of our readers' hearts. 

This Week's Poll: Vancouver's a Riot


We're as mystified as you about why residents of Canada's most beautiful city would celebrate the end of an honourable run for the Stanley Cup by attempting to re-enact the fall of Berlin. What's YOUR theory? Were the rioters:
 
a) Secret Anarchists?
a) Spoiled, drunk, undisciplined brats?
b) Disappointed because they didn't get to meet Chuck and Victor?
d) Actually from Seattle?
e) Misunderstood victims of society?

Canada Needs To Know. The poll is open!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Learning Online

    They call it a "desktop" for a reason.

    Increasingly, your computer has become the place where you work, relax, and learn. In most organizations and companies, mastery of basic computer applications is as essential as the ability to add two plus two (a challenge more and more of us count on our computers to handle).

    At Consilium, Stonecircle and Aarluk we try to walk the walk. Before setting up an online training program in basic computer skills for our clients Nunavut Arctic College and the Nunavut Municipal Training Organization, we  clients, we put our own staff through the program. To their surprise, even our hardest-core users learned at lot; as a training organization, we were also able to provide feedback to the training software provider to improve their product.

    After testing the software and training materials, Aarluk delivered its first Introduction to Computers course  simultaneously to 15 participants in 9 communities across Nunavut. The training used a "blended" approach, with the instructor working personally with each participant in addition to self directed training.

    Favourite Consulting Assignments - Greg Smith

    Greg Smith remembers...
    Every consultant has an assignment that they remember with special fondness. We asked our team to reminisce a bit about their own favourite memories. Here's one from Greg Smith.

    "We were working for the James Bay Cree Communications Society (JBCCS) around July, 1989, helping them to re-organize. JBCCS’ main office and radio production studio was in Mistissini, a Cree community of around 2500 located at the southern end of Lake Mistissini. This is a beautiful, large lake, known for its excellent fishing.

    We were scheduled to make a presentation to the Grand Chief, Mathew Coon-Come and other members of the CRA at a fishing lodge (Camp Louis-Joliet) further up the lake, in a magnificent setting where the Rupert River flows out towards James Bay. JBCCS Executive Director Solomon Awashish, President Dianne Reid and I were flown up to the lodge early in the afternoon in a float plane to make our presentation. When we got there, we were informed that the meetings were running late.  Everyone had decided to take a break to go fishing, and if we were interested we'd be provided with a boat, guide and fishing rods.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Who You Callin' "Indian", Part III

    Being the Third Entry in a series by Jennifer David, setting out a weekly, non-dogmatic, light-hearted lexicon for those of you who work in this arena and would like a primer on how to refer to...well, us.

    So far we've written off two of the older terms people use to refer to the people once referred to as "Indians" and as "Natives". We're getting a little bit closer to appropriate terminology. But as you'll see, we're not home free yet.



    ABORIGINAL



    For the last few years, "Aboriginal" has been taking over in many circles as the preferred term. As astute readers will have noticed, it's the word I've used most often in this series. Most of the newer organizations like it - think of the National Aboriginal Health Organization, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, and the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association. It is entrenched in Section 35 of the Canadian constitution, which notes that existing “aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada” are recognized. And no less an authority than the Federal Government recently dumped the quaintly named "Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development " for the spiffy new "Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development ", no doubt ushering in a whole new exciting era of Federal/Aboriginal relations. Ok, sarcasm OFF. But we digress.

    The good thing about the term 'Aboriginal" is that it encompasses Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples.

    And the bad thing about the term 'Aboriginal" is that it encompasses Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples.

    Indigenous Canadians can't be lumped together as a homogeneous group. Their histories, languages, and societies are as distinct as the cultures of Pakistan, China and East Timor. You would never think of those three nations simply as "Asian" - so let's not pretend that there's a deep cultural tie between the fisheries and forest-based Haida, the Inuit hunters of Qikiqtarjuaq, and the wide-ranging Métis traders. Like "Asian" or "African", the term "Aboriginal" encompasses such an incredible diversity of languages, peoples, and cultures as to be almost meaningless.

    There are other problems with the term as well. To start with, like the adjective "Indian", it already belongs to someone else. "Aboriginal" is an adjective long associated with the original inhabitants of Australia, as is the noun derived from it, "Aborigine". And that brings up another point - the no-doubt-well-intentioned-but-cringe-inducing use of the adjective (as in: Where can I go to get a real, authentic Aboriginal name?) as a noun (Some of my Best Friends Are Aboriginals, eh?)


    With all those caveats and limitations, however, "Aboriginal" seems to have become the word of choice when you need to describe the wide range of Aboriginal people - partly because both "Indian" and "native" have even more issues (see my previous blog entries!) And partly because - well, YOU just try saying "First Nation/Inuit/Metis/status and non-status" and see what I mean.

    More to come next week: Who Came First?

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Consinema Summer Movie Review




    Rating: 5 Popcorn Bags

    Title: Super 8

    Director: J.J.Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield)   Producer: Stephen Spielberg (dunno, never heard of him).

    The Pitch: Abrams' love letter to the zombie genre, coming of age films, and ET.

    Plot Summary: Late 70's. Five kids making a zombie movie for submission to a local film festival (on Super 8 mm film, oddly enough). They witness a train wreck which unleashes a mysterious entity upon an idyllic and (of course) unsuspecting town.

    The Verdict: Great "coming of age-finding first love-carving a place for yourself in the world" movie. Sure, other reviewers are calling it a little schlocky, but what do you expect from a summer movie? It's all here; monsters, zombies, first loves and things blowing up real good! Great suspense. Can't tell you too much about the monster, but there are fond echoes of ET and Close Encounters  that make you wonder: is the monster the malevolent force, or is it the US Military who shows up to deal with it? (In a summer with more than it's share of cinematic military cheerleading, this is a welcome swing of the the pendulum in the opposite direction).

    What Shines? Kids who look and act like kids, not glamazons and little borscht-belt comedians. Kids who endure terror and keep their humour, and make the audience laugh along - that unmistakable Spielberg stamp. What's not to love?

    What Sucks? The flip side of the Spielberg stamp is annoyingly clueless adults. But of course, from a kid's perspective, we are. 


    Watch Out For: The BEST train wreck in a movie, EVER! AND this time, stay for the credits (I keep telling you and telling you!) to see the final zombie movie submission.










    A Quick Note To All Our Suppliers...

    Your cheque IS in the mail!

    Brand New CMCs

    The Clootch, Chuck, Leslie, Galin. Photo by Cezarina
    We told you last month that one of our goals at Consilium, Stonecircle and Aarluk is to obtain Certified Management Consultant  designation for our entire consulting team. The CMC designation is the only internationally recognized certification for professional consultants, achieved through a rigorous course of studies, experience, and assessment and sponsorship by other professionals.

    Two of our staff (CEO Chuck Gilhuly and Consultant Galin Kora) won their certification this year, and their achievement was recognized last week in a ceremony organized at Rideau Club, made more enjoyable by the presence of colleagues Leslie Sutherland and Clootch, and by Galins' wife Cezarina.

    Clootch was so impressed with all the posh surroundings, the ceremony, and the free drinks and food offered at the event, that he's decided to complete the remaining steps for his certification by the end of this year.Also in the queue are Jennifer David, Patti Black and Terry Rudden.

    Self Government in the REAL Birthplace of Hockey

    
    The Ladies! Members of Deline’s self-government team and senior managers. Left to right – Christina Gaudet (Charter Community of Deline), Patricia Modeste (Self-Government), Paulina Roche (Deline First Nation), Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox (Political Advisor), Jane Modeste (interpreter)
     Alex Ker of Stonecircle counts herself fortunate again to have had the opportunity to spend a few days in the beautiful community of Deline, NWT – aka “the birthplace of hockey” (see below) - from May 30th to June 2nd at a workshop on the financial aspects of the Deline Final Self-Government Agreement (DFSGA).

    One week earlier the Deline/Canada/GNWT Joint Finance and Implementation Working Group met in Vancouver to review financial offers tabled by governments,and to advance negotiations on the Financing Agreement that will underpin the DFSGA. The offers were presented to and discussed with leaders, Elders and senior managers in Deline, and a plan was made for Deline to prepare and submit a ‘counterproposal’ on the financing of this important self-government agreement.

    While in Deline Alex and other members of the self-government team helped Stephanie Irlbacher Fox, Deline’s Political Advisor (and the human glue gun behind Deline’s self-government negotiations) celebrate her 40th birthday while watching the opening game of the Stanley Cup finals. For those not in the know, Deline IS the true birthplace of hockey. There is a record of the Franklin expedition overwintering there in 1825/26 and of hockey games being played on Grey Goose Lake.



    The  Gentlemen! Members of Deline’s self-government team. Left to right – Walter Bayha (Director - Self Government), George Cleary (Yellowknife Self-Government Office) Danny Gaudet (Chief Negotiator), Elder Dolphus Baton, Stephen Mills (Financial Negotiator)

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Flying Down to Rio - and Cuzco, and Machu Pichu, and ....

    The Guy From Ipenema: Crossing the Andes: Lovers Statue, Miraflores, Peru

    These photos are just a fraction of the wonderful shots taken during a backpacking trip by Greg and Marianne Smith to Brazil, Bolivia and Peru in April/May this year. They show some of the highlights from their travels, including Rio de Janeiro, Lake Titicaca, Cusco and Machu Pichu. (Click on the pictures for larger images.)

    Floating Island in Lake Titicaca; Greg and Marianne pondering what kind of beer goes best with Roast Guinea Pig: Machu Pichu
     The trip went so well they are already talking about their next, longer exploration of other parts of South America within the next couple of years. They also have a rendez-vous to visit friends in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup of Soccer - provided their friends can score tickets to at least one game.

    Masonry, Then: Masonry, Now: Marianne and Friends; Cuzco, Peru

    Making It Work: Implementing Nunavut's Historic Language Acts


    Last Wednesday Nunavut's Minister of Culture, Language, Elders, and Youth (CLEY), the Honourable James Arreak, tabled a detailed implementation plan for Nunavut’s new Language Legislation.

    The goals of the language acts were ambitious. They represent an attempt to make the Inuktitut language into a language of everyday life in Nunavut - in homes, schools, workplaces and government offices - while protecting the language rights of French and English speakers. If that's the destination, the proposed Uqausivut Comprehensive Plan is the roadmap - a comprehensive schedule that sets out in detail the actions required by government, educators, the private sector, organizations and the public to achieve those goals, and achieve substantive equality between the Inuit, French, and English languages in Nunavut.

    The proposed Plan summarizes two years of intense and extensive consultation and research. Over the summer Nunavummiut are invited to provide their comments on the Plan, which can be viewed in its entirety here.  There are several different ways to provide your comments:

    Email your comments directly to uqausivut@gov.nu.ca

    Mail your comments to:

    Uqausivut Comprehensive Plan
    Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth
    Government of Nunavut
    Box 1000, Station 800
    Iqaluit, Nunavut, X0A 0H0

    Or fax your comments to (867) 975-5504.

    Aarluk is proud of the support we provided to this important effort, and we congratulate the Minister and his committed staff for their untiring efforts and historic achievement.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Last Week's Poll: The Canucks Will Take It In...


    Last week, aflush with patriotic zeal and - let's face it, we're all adults here - a bit cocky about the Canucks' two game streak (remember that?), we offered our readers the opportunity to predict just how glorious Canada's impending Stanley Cup triumph would be. Here's how you responded:


    • Nobody thought they'd take it in four games. 
    • An admirably optimistic 50%, however, were sure they'd take in five games. 
    • A more cautious 18% predicted it would take them six games. 
    • A possibly prescient 18% felt it would take seven games. 
    • And the dour remainder of 13% called for the complete collapse of Western Civilization.
    It would be indelicate to comment further.

    This Week's Poll: A Quintessential Canada Day Would Include...

    Don't get us wrong. We love Great Big Sea, Elisapie Isaac, Delhi 2 Dublin, Sam Roberts, and the rest of the Canada Day lineup of performers on the Hill. They're all great. And we think Prince and Mrs. Prince will have a wonderful time too.

    But let's face it: the Canada Day lineup feels like it was carefully assembled by a CBC Radio 2 producer instructed to design a show that wouldn't annoy anybody, and would "represent" Canada the way a platter of mixed nachos "represents" Mexican cuisine.

    So listen. If you were given the option - what song and singer you add to that stage? Someone who would really say something interesting about Canada to the Royals, the audience, and the rest of us? Would it be...

    1. Blue on Blue (Stephen Harper)
    2. Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used To Do (Michael Ignatieff)
    3. Got My Orange Crush (Jack Layton)
    4. I'm Reviewing The Situation (Gilles Duceppe)
    5. All By Myself (Elizabeth May)

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Partnering for the Community: Sagamok and Xstrata

    Chief Paul Eshkakogan, Sagamok Anishnawbek and Marc Boissoneault, Xstrata Nickel sign a Memorandum of Understanding May 10th, 2011 at Sagamok
    Readers of Our Times will be familiar with the fact Stonecircle client Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation has in recent years been engaged in discussions with mining exploration and development companies planning or conducting operations within Sagamok’s traditional territory, a large area that encompasses the Spanish River watershed on the north shore of Lake Huron in Ontario. Alex Ker of Stonecircle has been working with Sagamok to facilitate mining industry and government relations, negotiations and capacity building for participation in the resource development sector.

    On May 10th Chief Paul Eshkakogan of Sagamok and Marc Boissoneault, President of Xstrata Nickel signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formally commence a relationship between the First Nation and one of Sudbury’s largest mining companies. The MOU establishes a foundation for a working relationship between the two parties, focusing on communication, information sharing, employment and training, and the environment. The signing ceremony was attended by members of Council and the community, representatives of Xstrata Nickel and members of the teams involved in MOU negotiations. 

    Sagamok Anishnawbek, a signatory to the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850, is located on the north shore of Lake Huron, approximately 80 km west of Sudbury. Sagamok has a total registered population of 2,636, of whom approximately 58% live on reserve. The community is situated within one of the most active mineral resource areas in Canada. In recent years mineral exploration activity in Sagamok’s traditional territory has increased significantly with the staking of mining claims by several companies.

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Cold War Cleanup - A Good News Story

    DEW Line Cleanup (Image courtesy of The Maple Leaf, National Defense Canada
    There are fifteen former DEW Line radar sites in Nunavut, all constructed during the 1950s as part of the North American air defense system. By the mid-1980s all of the sites had been decommissioned, but the abandoned sites remained a major environmental concern for Inuit.

    So ten years ago Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., on behalf of the Inuit of Nunavut, signed the NTI-DND Economic Co-operation Agreement for the clean-up of contaminated Department of National Defence DEW Line sites in Nunavut with the Department of National Defence. The Agreement, one of three Co-operation Agreements signed between NTI and DND, was the result of four years of negotiations. Fred Weihs of Consilium was brought in by NTI Vice-President James Eetoolook as a member of the negotiating team. Other members of the team at the time included Charlie Evalik, President of Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Thomasie Alikatuktuk of Qikiqtani Inuit Association, and Brian McLeod of the NTI Business Development Department.

    Under the Economic Agreement, NTI and the DND were required to negotiate minimum levels of Inuit employment for each site, lying of 65% to 85% of total site employment. Similarly, minimum levels for participation by Inuit firms in the contracting opportunities are negotiated for each site, and these must lie within the range of 60% to 75% of total contract value for each site. Inuit firms were given first option on sub-contracts issued by contractors during the clean-up of a site, and funding was provided for development and implementation of a training plan to increase the number of Inuit qualified in all areas of the clean-up.

    The clean-up of all fifteen DND sites is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2013. For sites completed since 2001, Inuit have obtained over 85,000 person days of employment, ranging between 67% and 79% of total employment at each site. Through the DEW Line Clean-up Training Program, managed by Doreen Donald of Aarluk Consulting, almost 400 Inuit have been trained for employment on sites. On the contracting side, Inuit firms have been awarded contracts as prime contractor on eight out of ten of the completed sites, and with only one exception, between 75% and 91% of the value of the site contracts have gone to Inuit firms as primary or sub-contractors.

    Relations between Canada and Inuit on environmental issues, Inuit employment and contracting haven't always run smoothly. But the DEW Line Clean Up Project stands as an outstanding example of what can be achieved with collaboration, good planning, and most of all, good faith.

    Consimema Capsule Reviews: X Men - First Class


    Rating: 3.5 Popcorn Bags


    Title: X Men - First Class

    Director: Matthew Vaughan (Layer Cake, Kick Ass)

    The Pitch: Okay, Patrick Stewart's getting too old and Ian McKellen just signed on for Hobbit VI; let's get some NEW actors and do  PREQUEL!

    Plot Summary: Mutants cause and then avert the Cuban Missile Crisis, annoy each other, and split up..

    The Verdict: Let's just review our checklist of essential superhero movie prequel clichés, shall we?
    - the hero who will later become a monklike figure of virtue is revealed in his youth to have been a bit wilder? Check.
    - the villain(ess) who is revealed in youth to have a been a much nicer person, but who Turns Against Humanity in Embitterment? Check.
    - The tongue-in-cheek references to the character's future for fans in the know (the young Charles Xavier remarks "I suppose I am a professor now. Pretty soon I'll be going bald.")? Check.
    - The "Oh, THAT'S how he got that injury!" moment? Check.
     - Evil Nazis AND Evil Commies? Check!

    Yep, it's all there.

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    Best Google Doodle EVAH!

    Happy Birthday to Les Paul, essentially the inventor of the electric guitar AND multi-track recording.

    Drag your mouse over the strings.

    UPDATE: It's gone now, we fear - evanescent and transitory, like all great art. Hope you caught it while it was up!

    Promising Practices in Child and Maternal Health

    On Cape Breton Island, one community encourages fathers to get involved in parenting through music. In the Yukon, they're working on reducing the effects of second hand smoke on Aboriginal children. There's exciting work being done on attachment and bonding training and support in Saskatchewan.

    These and more than a hundred other promising practices in Aboriginal maternal and child health are being gathered by Stonecircle through regional sessions on Aboriginal maternal and child health across Canada. Sponsored by the Health Council of Canada, the sessions and the stories that emerge from them highlight the creativity and innovation of community--based programs, and their incredible potential for improving the health and well-being of Aboriginal mothers and children. Jennifer David, Wanda Brascoupe-Peters and Fern Assinewe facilitated sessions, while Patti Black coordinated the logistics with support from Kory Goulais.

    A hundred and fifty of the most promising practices will be published later this summer, along with a national report by the Health Council. We'll let you know!

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    Who You Callin' Indian, Part II


    Being the Second Entry in a series by Jennifer David setting out a weekly, non-dogmatic, light-hearted lexicon for those of you who work in this arena and would like a primer on how to refer to...well, you'll see.

    Last week we wrote off the word "Indian" as a descriptor - a term so out of date that even the federal government has abandoned it. This week let's talk about the OTHER N-word.

    NATIVE.

    "Native" is another one of those terms with a slightly archaic ring to it. It's seen nowadays mostly in the names of organizations, including several Aboriginal groups (the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers, or the Native Women’s Association of Canada). In fact, some First Nation communities continue to use this term in phrases like ‘it’s a native-run casino’ or ‘the native friendship centre’.

    The word itself is fairly innocuous. Its roots are the latin word "natus", to be born; and it simply refers to a person or thing who is originally from a specific place. That's why Canada's original inhabitants have been referred to as the "native" people of North America. But it's tricky. I once attended a meeting at which a non-Aboriginal consultant rashly introduced herself to the Aboriginal Board of Directors as a "native of Montreal". The good-natured razzing she took for that faux-pas underlines the confusion inherent in the word. When a scientist describes a plant species as "native" to Canada, that's clear enough. But it’s not so clear when talking about people. So if you’re a native Edmontonian - does that mean you’re Aboriginal?

    Like "Indian", the word "native" has also acquired a slightly unsavoury scent over the years. Think about the disapproval inherent in the phrase 'what’s with those natives?’. And is anyone going to be flattered when they're accused of "going native'?

    So I fear it's time to bid a reluctant farewell to the word "native" as well. It's a shame, in a way: I've always liked the fact that it’s in our national anthem, and that thousands of Canadians every day sing about "our home and native land". (And even better when they sneak in the line "our home ON native land"). But somehow, I don't think that's what Robert Stanley Weir had in mind.

    So I’d say let’s nix the "native", and let's try again.

    Next Week:  How about "Aboriginal"?

    Tuesday, June 07, 2011

    NUNAVUT IMPLEMENTATION TRAINING COMMITTEE TO CLOSE DOORS

    The Nunavut Implementation Training Committee (NITC), one of the first organizations created in 1993 following the ratification of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), will be closing its doors and shutting down its operations next year.

    “Despite the fact that we have the support of NTI, the Regional Inuit Associations, and the NLCA implementation organizations, the federal government has failed to respond to our request for renewed funding,” said NITC Chairperson Peter Kritaqliluk. "We've been trying to work with them for three years now without any success. We no longer have any other choice."

    This fiscal year will mark NITC's final year of program delivery and scholarship funding. Operations will cease in fiscal year 2012-13, effectively eliminating the only source of training funds for NLCA implementation organizations.

    Monday, June 06, 2011

    Consimema Capsule Reviews: Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides

    Consinema Rating: Three out of five Popcorn Bags
    .



    Title: Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides

    Director: Rob Marshall (Nine, Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha)

    The Pitch: Like all the other Pirates films, except almost comprehensible.

    Plot Summary: Captain Jack Sparrow goes looking for the Fountain of Youth and (are you ready to be astonished?) FINDS it!! But (are you ready for THIS??) it doesn't actually work out very well. Amazed? No, you're not.

    The Verdict: Look, you know exactly what you're gonna get here. Johnny Depp's superbly, weirdly fey Jack Sparrow is in fine form, stuff blows up, the locations are great,  and the plot makes as little sense as any of the others.

    Welcome to Wahnapitae

    The Indian Act provides no direction to First Nations with respect to how their finances are to be managed. But First Nations are responsible and accountable for managing revenues from an increasingly diverse set of sources including First Nation government core programs and services, associated contribution agreements, non-core funded projects and initiatives, First Nation businesses, and from resource development projects occurring within First Nation territories. Many First Nations are now developing their own financial policies and codes.

    Since late fall 2010 Stonecircle has been working with Wahnapitae First Nation to develop governance tools aimed at increasing accountability, transparency and communication in relation to financial matters of interest to the First Nation and its membership. Alex Ker, with research assistance from Kory Goulais, worked with a committee of Councilors and staff to develop the Wahnapitae First Nation Financial Accountability and Management Code.

    The Wahnapitae Financial Code is intended to provide guidelines and clear rules for Wahnapitae First Nation Council in relation to financial decision making and the management and allocation of First Nation revenues. The Code was presented to the membership at a Community Forum held in late April and is expected to be adopted by Chief and Council in the near future.

    Alex attended the Community Forum on Saturday April 30th, unexpectedly manning the WFN Administration Office booth for most of the day. She did, however miss the first hour or two of the event following a wrong turn on the drive into the community. Alex inadvertently wandered off onto a logging road, blissfully unaware of her error (while listening to CBC’s Saturday morning political show “the House”) until she crossed through one too many flooded areas of the road and over one too many single lane, rickety bridges.

    Sunday, June 05, 2011

    Coffee, Constitution, and the Canucks

    Last Week's Poll: Amending the Constitution


    Last week  we offered you the rare opportunity to shape the Governance of this great and mighty land by selecting which Constitutional Reform you most wanted to see enacted over the next four years. Here's the letter we sent this morning to the Prime Minister's Office.




    This Week's Poll: Canucks in ... ?

    The ONLY question that matters. Go vote.

    Friday, June 03, 2011

    The Gathering

    Geoff, Galin, jBrad, Chuck, Greg, Rosemary, Fred, Ron, Patti, and Scott's left hand.
    If you were in the neighbourhood of the Elgin Business Inn yesterday and sensed a powerful disturbance in the Force, don't be alarmed. It was just the annual gathering of Aarluk, Stonecircle and Consilium folks, getting together as part of our planning cycle.

    And of course, ever mindful of the wisdom regarding All Work and No Play, strategic goals were also set in less formal surroundings...
    Terry, Clootch, Chuck, Leslie, Fred, Geoff, jBrad, Patti, Lei, and the top of Jennifer David's head.

    Thursday, June 02, 2011

    How Land Claims Are Defining Canada

    To many Canadians, Land Claims Agreements are obscure legal documents dealing with small tracts of land in rural or remote areas of the country. In fact, Land Claims have had a huge impact on Canada's land, waters and resources.
     
    Source: http://www.landclaimscoalition.ca/map.php
    This map of modern treaty areas was prepared by the Land Claims Agreements Coalition, a group created to ensure that comprehensive land claims and associated self-government agreements are respected, honoured and fully implemented.

    Modern treaties represent nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationships between an Aboriginal signatory, the Government of Canada, and in some cases a province or territory. They are intended to further define and recognize the Aboriginal land and resource rights of the Aboriginal signatory, and to meaningfully improve the social, cultural, political and economic well-being of the Aboriginal people concerned. At the same time, these agreements provide all signatories with a mutual foundation for the beneficial and sustainable development and use of Aboriginal peoples' traditional lands and resources.

    Why do these agreements matter to all Canadians? Take another look at that map. Many of Canada's most pressing international policy concerns - Arctic Sovereignty, resource development, climate change - focus directly the regions now jointly governed by Canada and indigenous title-holders under various agreements. More than ever before, Aboriginal peoples and communities are a critical voice in Canada's national and global policy dialogue.

    There are 24 modern treaties currently being implemented in Canada. Want to know more? Visit http://www.landclaimscoalition.ca/.

    Wednesday, June 01, 2011

    Consinema Reviews: Bridesmaids

    Four out of five Popcorn Bags.



    Title: Bridesmaids

    Director: Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad)

    The Pitch: "I Love You, Man" but with women (and some real laugh-out-loud moments).

    Plot Summary: Best friends, one who's getting married, one who's life is going down the toilet.

    The Verdict: Fans of Judd Apatow’s other work won’t be disappointed.

    Who You Callin' "Serene"?

    Now that Prince William and Kate Middleton have announced their Canadian honeymoon itinerary (WHAT? No Niagara Falls??), you're probably getting nervous about how to address them when you run into them in the line-up at Walmart or end up sitting next to them in a booth at the Keg. Since our only goal is to ensure the happiness and peace of mind of our our Constant Readers, Patti Black has unearthed a website which should ease your mind. Maintained by the Department of Canadian Heritage, it tells you not only how to address the various members of the Royal Family, but also how to write to them - and anyone else as well. Some highlights we didn't know:
    • An Emperor is to be addressed as "Your Dignified Majesty"
    • The Prince of Monaco is "Your Serene Highness"
    • When writing to a Cardinal, conclude your letter with "Yours Very Truly". However, when writing to a mere Priest, "Yours Sincerely" is the preferred form. Why Cardinals merit a higher level of truthfulness is not clear. 
    • When addressing an employee of  Consilium, Aarluk or Stonecircle, simply refer to them by name, or snap your fingers and shout "Hey, You."