Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Gabriel Dumont Institute Apprenticeship Program seeking out partnerships

Gabriel Dumont Institute Apprenticeship Program seeking out partnerships
By: Armand LaPlante
For the Indigenous Times Newspaper
There is a new opportunity in Saskatchewan for employers and Aboriginal apprentices in the trades industry.
The Gabriel Dumont Institute, in partnership with Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure, the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trades Certification Commission, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and Dumont Technical Institute launched the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Initiative on June 29, 2011. The Program, which is one of only eight to be funded under the federal Strategic Partnership Fund, aims to increase Aboriginal representation in the trades industry and create partnerships within the industry. The program was approved for funding in the Spring of 2011 by the Human Resource and Skills Development Canada and will be receiving $2.4 million over the next two years.

"We want to open more opportunities for businesses to bring in and train up new apprentices," says Jason DeBack, GDIs apprenticeship coordinator, "We are helping businesses fill their demands for employees as well as increasing Aboriginal representation in the trades industry."

Currently, the Aboriginal population is the fastest growing population in Saskatchewan and the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Program plans to increase the number of Aboriginal individuals in trades by at least 120 within the next two years. GDIs Apprenticeship Office is encouraging businesses to reach out and make use of this opportunity in order to have access to Aboriginal employees qualified to meet their employment demands. Businesses may also be eligible for wage subsidy from GDIs Aboriginal Apprentice Program.
Thus far, the number of apprentices finding employment through the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Program has been steady but the opportunity is still available for employers and apprentices all across the Province.

For more information, contact:

Gabriel Dumont Institute
Apprenticeship Office
997 - 22nd Street
Saskatoon, SK

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A recap on the Sask Indian Summer Games 2011

A Sports-filled Summer for First Nations
by Armand LaPlante
for the Indigenous Times Newspaper

After a rainy start and some delays, the Sask First Nations Summer Games had a successful year on Thunderchild First Nation land. From August 6-11, over 3000 athletes competed in sports such as archery, golf, track & field and more while representing their home Nations and Tribal Councils.

This year the ACTC (Agency Chiefs Tribal Council) and MLTC (Meadow Lake Tribal Council) teams ranked at the top but scores are so close that the points are still being calculated and official results will not be posted until later this fall. Both teams spent months training and preparing and their hard work has paid off.

Aside from sports, the youth from all over the province were kept busy and content with daily entertainment, a career fair, and demonstrations from the Bold Eagle Program as well as the Pelican Lake RCMP Cadets.
The Games staff stated their appreciation for Chief Delbert Wapass, Councillors, Staff and the community of Thunderchild First Nation for volunteering their time and hosting the games on their land.

Congratulations to all the athletes, thank you to the coordinators for such a great and positive event and thanks to the Thunderchild First Nation. See everyone at the Sask First Nations Winter Games in Saskatoon in 2012.

Also this summer,the FSIN Fastball Championships took place at Dakota Dunes. The winners were Cowessess First Nation, in both men
s and womens. 

Official results are still pending, but the listed unofficial standings are as follows:
Meadow Lake Tribal Council 929.75
Agency Chiefs Tribal Council 927.50
Saskatoon Tribal Council 749.75
Touchwood Agency Tribal Council 711.50
Team Woodland 676.25
Onion Lake Cree Nation 408.00
Prince Albert Grand Council 396.50
File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council 360.25
Battleford Agency Tribal Council 283.25
South East Treaty 4 Tribal Council 267.75
Team Beardy's & Okemasis First Nation 251.00
Yorkton Tribal Council 192.75
Battlefords Tribal Council 191.75

MLTC (Meadow Lake Tribal Council) athletics team (above) scored big during the Track & Field event (submitted photo)

Friday, 6 May 2011

FNUC Saskatoon Campus set to Relocate

FNUC Saskatoon Campus set to Relocate
written for The Indigenous Times Newspaper

First Nations University of Canada students from the Saskatoon campus held a feast and rounddance on April 15 to mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.  The campus is moving from its present location at 7th Avenue North and Duke Street back downtown, one block from where the campus was last situated.

Many students, staff, and alumni have fond memories of the Duke Street location.  Among the memorable occasions was in 2010 when staff and students staged a 54-day live-in to bring attention to the government's cost-cutting that threatened the closure of the University.  Students and staff also walked/ran to Regina a year ago and joined the student live-in underway at Regina campus.  While the Saskatoon campus building had to be sold, the campus itself will remain open at the new address.

This Fall, classes at the FNUC Saskatoon campus will resume at the new location, 226-230   20th Street East, Saskatoon.  The Indian Social Work program is accepting new registrations at the old location until the move occurs then will be open for business at the new location.

Below: Linda Zaback stands in front of the Saskatoon FNUC Campus. Linda says she will keep her job when the campus relocates but she will miss the old building. Photo by: Armand LaPlante

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Southern Saskatchewan First Nation Community Rink is Devastated by Fire

A Southern Saskatchewan First Nation Community Rink is Devastated by Fire
Media Release - FSIN Communications Unit

(Saskatoon, SK) The Ochapowace First Nation suffered a devastating loss today when the Fred Bear Communiplex was completely destroyed by fire.

The Fred Bear Communiplex was built in 1985.  It was a fully functional rink with an artificial ice plant, as well as, a band hall attached to it.  The Fred Bear Communiplex was used as a community centre hosting many events such as community feasts, family functions, bingos, and funerals. 

“The Fred Bear Communiplex served as a focal point for not only the citizens of the Ochapowace First Nation but surrounding First Nations as well,” says FSIN Chief Guy Lonechild. “It’s a devastating loss for all these communities, especially for their talented, aspiring young hockey players who will no longer have ready access to a major sporting facility close to home.”

The First Nation developed the Ochapowace Minor Hockey Program, with players participating from the surrounding First Nations of Kahkewistahaw, Cowessess, Sakimay and White Bear. The Fred Bear Communiplex was also the host rink for the Ochapowace Senior Hockey Team, which participates in the Triangle Hockey League in southern Saskatchewan.

“The rink was also used for Hockey Development Schools for the young people, hockey tournaments as well as referee and coaching clinics for the area First Nations,” says FSIN Vice Chief Morley Watson.  “Our hearts go out to the people of the Ochapowace First Nation.  Hockey is quite popular in the community and surrounding areas. The loss of the rink will be felt by all.”

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Oskana Cup News Release

Regina, SK – The sixth annual Oskana Minor Hockey Development Inc. (OMHDI) Oskana Cup will be held on April 29, 30, and May 1 in Regina at the newly opened Co-operators Centre, home of the University of Regina Cougars (CIAU) hockey teams. The format will include the usual men's recreation, women, masters (35+) and the new addition will be the bantam division. “Adding the bantam division changes the focus a bit to reflect what the long-term vision of OMHDI, that is to focus on development of young aboriginal hockey players” said Milton Tootoosis, the founder and former president of OMHDI. “We have dealt with adversities throughout the years and we successfully implemented the Oskay Soniskwatahikewin (OS) Fund to benefit more youth and help our upcoming youth in hockey” he added. The board had in their five year plan a strategy to include minor divisions so a commitment was made to add the bantam division for 2011. Many who follow the hockey world know that if your kid is not identified and protected by the time he is in the bantam division, his chances of making it to the pro ranks drops significantly. In response, the OMHDI will showcase some of western Canada's top bantams and create an event for talented and committed bantams as another opportunity to hone their skills. Someday the OMHDI Oskana Cup will be an elite bantam showcase for top aboriginal players, some who may be unavailable for their provincial teams or AA teams for different reasons.

“With Oskana Cup being the last major aboriginal hockey tournament in Western Canada we anticipate a good response for entries for all divisions” added Shelley Lavallee, the new and current president of OMHDI. “We are especially excited about our successes in the past five years and being loss and injury free. We are preparing for the next five years and our first decade as an organization affiliated with one of our native hockey greats Reggie 'The Rifle' Leach” she said. Leach is to be invited once again to visit the community and make some presentations.
Milton Tootoosis at (306) 341-1876 E;
Shelley Lavallee at (306) 581-5903 E:

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Gripping comics to help Aboriginal Youth

Gripping comics to help Aboriginal Youth
written by: Sharon Thomas
for Indigenous Times Newspaper - March 2011
In 2004, Sean Muir took the first steps to building on a classic form of literature, comic books, to convey his messages. His idea consisted of clean, clear-cut stories regarding health and social issues affecting the Aboriginal youth of today.

Muir believes that education to the people cannot be accomplished by overwhelming them with information from their health professionals, much less take in regular visits to their doctor. "Why not teach them something subtlety with stories. Plus, if youth and adults enjoy the medium that we’re using, we’re more likely to get multiple exposures, which is a greater chance of changing behavior."

With this thinking, Muir began sending out emails, harassing health authorities about the small-scale of money that was spent on nutrition education, while Coke and McDonalds were spending billions of dollars a year on advertising. A couple of the authorities suggested that he apply for funding so that they could help him. So with a health message to impart, Muir pursued funding.

His logic was a simple one, but one that appealed to his target audience that he wanted to reach, the youth. Muir believes that young people respond to visual mediums as opposed to words on a pamphlet or a brochure. He recalls a childhood memory. "I remember reading comic books with a friend as a kid. He was reading two to three books to my one, and I was a good reader. So I asked him, ‘How do you read so fast?’ He said, ‘ I don’t, I just look at the pictures and I get the gist of what’s going on.’ I remember that kid in school. He struggled when reading aloud in class." With this mind, Muir bid a project to create literacy on health issues with youth through comic books. Doubtful that he could get funding, Muir applied for it anyway. Much to his surprise, the approval came through. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority was their first client.

The first comic, titled "Darkness Calls" was released on Aboriginal Day 2006. It is a suicide prevention story that went on to sell over 33,000 copies across Canada and the U.S. Other comics include topics such as gang awareness, diabetes awareness, gambling awareness, mental health and various others. To date, seven comic books have been written, with a few more in production. In total, slightly over 300,000 comics have been printed. Animated shorts based on the comic books are next.

With hopes that the Healthy Aboriginal Network will be the place for Aboriginal people to turn to when seeking health content, Muir wishes to instill behavior change, or at least provide the recognition that youth have the capacity to become healthier and more productive when given the opportunity.

The Healthy Aboriginal Network is a Non-Profit in which Sean Muir is the founder and Executive Director. For more information on the comic books and their availability, visit:

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Native Model Studio to Showcase at Awareness Event

Native Model Studio to Showcase at Awareness Event
written by: Armand LaPlante
for Indigenous Times Newspaper - March 2011

On Saturday March 26th, Oskayak High School will be host to a night of entertaining and empowering speaking and performances in Native culture and fashion. Organized by the University of Saskatchewan’s Native Studies Class (271), the event entitled "Dreams for a Better Future: Culture & Fashion for a Cause" focuses on creating awareness for Aboriginal women’s issues.

"This is a class project and our goal was to create awareness for issues that Aboriginal women face including violence, sexism and overall hardships." states Dabney Warren, a student and co-coordinator of the event. Special guest speakers leading the way will be Dr. Priscilla Settee, Verna St. Denis and Dr. Alex Wilson who will be speaking on these issues.

The night will also include Aboriginal models from the Saskatoon area who have been recruited by the Native Model Studio (Winnipeg, MB) wearing apparel from Sask Native fashion designers Disa Tootoosis, Tracey George Heese, Chantel Dustyhorn, Misty Naytowhow as well as Timothy Lewis, the owner of Tansi Clothing. Disa’s work has been featured in Indigenous Times News in previous editions.

Lisa Muswagon, head of the Native Model Studio, finds that giving Aboriginal women the chance to model and be a part of the industry gives them a self esteem boost and exposes them to new horizons. "This is a great chance to bring everyone together and build each other up. We want to help girls and women with their self esteem; to build their self confidence so they can go on to create positive relationships and be independent." States Lisa, "This is also a great opportunity to work together, not only with the models but with the designers and performers as well."

There will be First Nations dancing performed by Buffalo Boy Productions, a Saskatoon-based First Nations dance troop who perform a whole set that includes Pow wow dancing and specialty dances like the Horse, Eagle and Buffalo dances. Music entertainment will be performed by widely known artist and Saskatoon’s own Eekwol as well as Violet Naytowhow of Prince Albert. Tyson Anderson Photography will appear as the official photographer at the fashion show; Tyson is a young, talented Aboriginal photographer from Manitoba.

"Everybody, First Nations and non-First Nations alike are welcome to get an educational understanding of Aboriginal women’s issues as well as to come take a look at what First Nations designers and performers have to offer." states Dabney.

The doors for the event open at 6pm at Oskayak High School on Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon. More info as well as contacts can be reached at the facebook event page: "Dreams for a Better Future: Culture & Fashion for a Cause". •