INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #IDW2019 — #BalanceforBetter

The late Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, Water Walker and Angela Trudeau at Anishinabe Ceremonies in Serpent River First Nation, 2017.

”Anishinaabe Kwewag (Indigenous Women), and all women, have the powerful ability to carry life which is born of sacred ancestral birth waters called forth by Nokomis Giizis (Grandmother Moon) after nine months. This process has taken place since time immemorial and reflects the sacred harmony of carrying/caring for the force we call “Life”.

It is therefore a woman’s responsibility to honour and care for Nibi (Water), the source of all life, for the next seven generations.” 

Grandmother Josephine Mandamin

BIMAADZWIN, AN INDIGENOUS-LED CONSULTING NEW-CO, CELEBRATES THE DIVERSITY OF THE WOMEN WHO MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF TEAM LEADERS IN THEIR FIRM!

International Day of Women is a wonderful moment to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of women in Canada generally, and those of Indigenous women specifically. When equal attention and power are given to diverse voices in public life, professional capacities and our personal relationships, everyone benefits and society is stronger.

These are the faces of the women of BIMAADZWIN– all strong, confident and accomplished women in their own right who support their communities, their families and who choose to work in the business landscape to cultivate successful business relationship that forge stronger Indigenous communities through “Affirmative Action”– an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups, women and to create Gender equality. 

It’s thanks to business leaders like Annette Vernschuren, a Canadian Entrepreneur, and former CEO of Home Depot Canada who demonstrated  to women around the world that they could breakthrough the glass ceiling to lead in a male dominated boardroom and to  women like Jody Wilson-Raybould,  an Indigenous leader and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, who were able to speak their truth and strive for excellence despite naysayers.  It’s women like these who help to give voice and encouragement for women to follow in leadership roles. The diverse and knowledgeable team of Women at BIMAADZWIN are reminiscent of these strong women blazing a trail for gender equity for all peoples.

“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about a legacy, but I have always loved teaching, watching people achieve and become happier because of it.” Annette Verschuren.

What is unique about working in this new Indigenous-Led Consulting firm is that more than 60% of the team are women and the work is performed virtually– allowing the team to have more work life balance. These women come from a wide range of professions including Law, Environmental Studies, International Development and Business Administration and have earned a masters in their respective fields of study. They come from different ethnic backgrounds and work collaboratively to support the growth and prosperity of Indigenous communities across Canada.

BIMAADZWIN , is a young company that is growing daily. It encourages and supports the empowerment of women— professionals wanting to make a difference in their communities and in society. This is done through transformational leadership that creates an interconnected and integrated team environment—the bonus is that this cutting-edge company offers a shared virtual work space that encourages Indigenous development and innovation. This of course wouldn’t be possible without the Core Values shared at BIMAADZWIN, they are; Highest Order of Inherent Right, Cultural Reciprocity, Environmental Consciousness, Shared Mentorship, Family, Professional Agility/Innovativeness and Accountability and Transparency – that has created an environment of work-life balance for all team members.

Today we celebrate diversity, gender equality and salute all Women for the hard work and tenacity to move the goal post even further– a collective and individual responsibility of every person in this country is to celebrate women in their accomplishments and also to support women in the continued efforts towards equality.

For more information about BIMAADZWIN, our services and associates, please contact, Isadore Day, CEO and President by email at Iday@bimaadzwin.ca or by mail at P.O. Box 192 – 511 Highway 17E Serpent River First Nation Cutler, ON POP 1 B0

Messages from the women of BIMAADZWIN

Charu Murti, Organization Development Coordinator

I am where I am today because of being a woman.

From the experience of giving life. To the many layers of relational accountability.

From being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend. To the studying, working and volunteering for decades.

Heart and mind were ready ten years ago to learn and work on what needs to be done as a newcomer on this land.

Heart and mind were ready to see how we needed to protect the children of this land.

Here’s celebrating today the center of the circle of life – the Indigenous woman.

May we learn from her on how to protect and uphold all that is sacred. Whether it is land or water. Whether it is human or non-human living beings.

May we protect and uphold the Indigenous woman, today and always!

Sarah Yankoo, Director of Planning and Technical Sevices

“When we begin to understand the colonial legacy and its collateral damage to the minds and bodies of Indigenous women, we can begin to forgive, accept, and heal ourselves from the countless hurtful, damaging ways in which this trauma manifests itself. When we embrace our long-standing inner memory of the richness of our teachings, in those moments we reclaim and honor our ancestors’ truth, courage, and resilience.” – Nahanni Fontaine (Anishinaabe), in #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy

I was raised in the wake of my mother’s reconnection to the Algonquin Nation. Separated from her family in the 60s Scoop, my mother met her three sisters, her Aunties, her community and her culture as I grew alongside her. As the Truth portion of Reconciliation manifests, many are learning about the traumatic histories we have endured for the first time. So much of this illumination will be led and supported by Indigenous women, two-spirit and non-binary people.

While this day celebrates and recognizes women, as a two-spirit woman, I feel it is dually important to recognize two-spirit and non-binary identities:

“I am a Two Spirit, the third strand in a thick braid, and my identity is weaved in between the male and the female, the community and academia, the traditional and the modern, the spirit and the flesh. Being Queer and Indigenous we stand at the crossroads of culture and the intersection of identity” – Damien Paul Montano, Kimiwan Zine: sikwan 2014

As a spirit woven between many dualities, I honor the balance and vision of all the feminine energies I have had the privilege of encountering in this life.

Nikki Bakes, Director of Operations

I often admire the trail blazed by talented and dedicated Indigenous women in this country. Examples of Indigenous women excelling in their occupations and communities abound, regardless of whether they are poets, lawyers, artists, doctors, teachers, or politicians.  One example of an accomplished Indigenous woman who has strengthened Canadian society by using her voice is Dr. Cindy Blackstock. Dr. Blackstock is a professor of Social Work at McGill University, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS), and a member of Gitxsan First Nation. 

Dr. Blackstock is a prominent advocate for Indigenous children. She has worked for more than 30 years aiming for First Nations children and families to be treated equal to other Canadian kids and moms. Dr. Blackstock has laboured to have the government implement Jordan’s Principle, a child-first health-care funding process and to ensure First Nations children on-reserve receive equal treatment and funding as those off-reserve. “I am always just stunned that I have to be an activist to get equity for little kids,” she said. 

For me, Dr. Cindy Blackstock is an inspiration and an example of what International Women’s Day celebrates. She is one of many determined Indigenous women leaders whose tireless work ethic, steadfast integrity, and courageous conviction in speaking truth to power is an example to others for how to live by one’s values in pursuit of justice and equality.

We each have an opportunity to make Canada a better place for all women and girls by implementing Jordan’s Principle and ensuring funding in health care and child welfare is equitable for Indigenous kids. When Indigenous women and children are treated equally, Canadian society is stronger.

Allison Deer, Senior Projects Advisor

Today we celebrate the International Day of Women #IDW, which has me reflecting on what’s changed from the days of suffragette in Canada (1917) and the feminist movement (1960’s) and, more specifically, the impact on the corporate world.  While the feminist movement inched women along the road to equality, greater representation, and better pay equity, women in subsequent years continued to strive for parity with their male counterparts; hence the pursuit of gender equality is still alive and well, but I think we are getting better at this determination which is evident on today’s—day of celebration!  

Women today have successful role models,  are better educated, and have access to wealth and better health care.  All of which contribute to the ever-growing number of women, whose faces, stories, and experiences now share the spot light in Forbes, the Economist, Time Magazine and other renowned business periodicals.  

There is hope for future generations of female leaders.  With more female role models, greater access to education and a particular style of female leadership, being more transformational in nature, perhaps the time is ripe for women to lead nations and the business world, especially, during these challenging times. There is no doubt that role-models and mentorship greatly influence and encourage more women to advance and take their rightful place in the corporate world.  Still, corporations require a blend of both female and male leaders and more importantly, a blend of leadership styles that can greater contribute to gender parity.   We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.   Let’s continue to strive for better equality and continue this narrative. #BalanceforBetter

At BIMAADZWIN, the team is surrounded by talented, confident and professionals of women who lead by example, this is not surprising since its CEO and founder, encourages balanced leadership, team interdependence and interconnectivity, devolving future goals, and embraces innovation to attain our organizational goals;  #balanceforbetter is the goal. We are moving in the right direction!

Angela Trudeau, Cultural Coordinator and Administrative Suport

Recognition and empowerment of women today makes stronger families, communities and nations. International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women globally, while also raising awareness for the continued need of collective action for a gender balanced world. Although, inequity of women continues to be a global issue, more and more women and girls are rising to prominence, taking their place on the world stage of influence.  

At Bimaadzwin, the diverse influence of its women is revered and vital. It embraces an Indigenous value of balance. Inclusiveness, gender balance and shared leadership are values at the foundation of Bimaadzwin’s success. I unequivocally believe, if the world would embrace women equally, the world would be in a much better place than it is today. It’s all about creating a better world for our girls so that they don’t struggle with inequity issues the way our grandmothers, mothers and we have. And when they are women, it is my dream the equality gap will have been closed for them to thrive as world leaders.

Photos of the women of BIMAADZWIN

IWD2019 Reading List

Stolen Sisters: The story of two missing girls, their families and how Canada has failed Indigenous women
The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet
Birdie
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival
Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature
Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems
Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada
Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women
Mean Spirit
Split Tooth
Half-Breed
April Raintree
I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism
Secret Path
#Indianlovepoems
Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity
The Break
A Recognition Of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood


Bimaadzwin's favorite books »

Do Not Lose Sight of Health Services for our Most Vulnerable

OTTAWA – POLITICS – This past Tuesday, the provincial government announced that it will create a “super” agency called Ontario Health that will eventually dissolve the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LIHNs), and six other agencies which include Cancer Care Ontario and eHealth Ontario. The North West LIHN covers half of the province’s land mass and serves a mostly First Nation population.

Originally posted in the NetNewsLedger. Read More

Sovereignty, Indigenous partnerships, licencing were main themes of 2nd National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference (NICHC) held this week in Ottawa

(Ottawa, February 22, 2019) For the first time ever, two federal ministers spoke at a cannabis conference – Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Border Securities Minister Bill Blair, who is in charge of Canada’s Cannabis Act. Both Ministers made encouraging statements yesterday on the need to further include Indigenous peoples in the hemp and cannabis industry.

“We are supporting Indigenous communities who want to have a role in the cannabis landscape,” said Minister Petipas Taylor, who pointed out that Canada’s legalization and regulation of cannabis presents an historic opportunity to do things better. “Our government respects Indigenous peoples needs, desires and perspectives.”

Minister Blair pointed out that Indigenous Services Canada has recently modernized its economic development policies in order to address participation in the cannabis industry. “Our government recognizes the important link between economic development and improved outcomes in health and social development. The Cannabis Act provides an open and fair licencing process.”

When asked by a delegate if the government would respect the Algonquin sovereign right to produce and sell cannabis in the territory that includes Ottawa, Minister Blair replied: “We acknowledge and respect the jurisdiction of First Nations. There is an important nation to nation discussion on how both of our jurisdictions are recognized, especially in the health and safety of our peoples.”

Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, CEO of Bimaadzwin, who chaired the conference, said there is a multi-billion-dollar potential for partnerships among the 300 delegates, exhibitors and fledgling Indigenous companies/retailers who were present. “That mainstream cannabis train is going to keep on going. Let’s jump on our own track, under our own steam. At the same time, we need to build trust with governments and the Canadian public. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all our Nations to partner and participate in this growing industry.”

Kahnawake Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton stressed that his community is developing its own cannabis law in order to ensure public health and safety and access to a population of three million in the Montreal area. “We are already a major contributor to the economy. We employ a lot of people. We need to educate the provincial and federal governments on what we do. We’re going to take advantage of our location. If cannabis is one product that’s going to be in demand, then let’s do it.”

Opaskwayak Cree Nation Onekanew Christian Sinclair brought his remote Manitoba community out of debt by investing and partnering in cannabis production and retail companies in Canada and California. “Because of the current cannabis shortage for years to come, this is a golden opportunity for all First Nations to get into the game.”

Bimaadzwin continues to work towards clarifying and setting out challenging policy discussions. These challenges are being identified by working with Indigenous cannabis entrepreneurs, communities, and leaders within First Nation, federal, and provincial jurisdictions in regard to participation in the hemp and cannabis economy.

For more information, please contact:

Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca or 613-863-1764

All photos by Fred Cattroll

Indigenous Cannabis Consortium to be launched at National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference

“Now is the Time for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples to Secure Their Position in the Global Cannabis Market”

 

Serpent River, Ontario, Jan. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — “The second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference (NICHC) to be held in Ottawa, February 19-21, represents a significant opportunity for First Nations and Indigenous peoples to secure a significant competitive position in the national and global cannabis and hemp markets,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, and publisher of Growth and Prosperity Magazine at https://bimaadzwin.ca/magazine/

“The first NICHC brought together  a national consortium and working group that is focused on supporting those Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities who want to participate in the cannabis market,” said Mr. Day. “There are a number of questions and concerns on policy, process, and participation that we need answered at next month’s conference.”

Key Open Questions Include:

Indigenous communities must be able to fully participate in Canada’s cannabis industry and the global market – from seed to sale – in a manner that respects our sovereignty, community by-laws and global commercial reality. When will the government provide clarity on critical issues?

Indigenous communities want to have the ability to sell cannabis products to their own members, the Canadian public, and also export internationally. How do we as First Nation companies establish ourselves to compete across all markets? If cannabis products are tested and meet current Health Canada standards, will there be any other federal/provincial barriers to full commercial participation?

How can Indigenous communities access federal health and education funding to understand and communicate cannabis health risks and benefits, especially to inform and protect our youth and to support our harm reduction challenges? We have specific concerns about edibles and derivative products as they aren’t well understood or tested but are soon expected to come to the market.  

“We know that Wiisag,  a First Nation cannabis company, and one of the invited participants,  deals with these types of questions every day. We have heard that they have been working out these questions with every community and entrepreneur they have been forming alliances and partnerships with,” added Mr. Day.

“We are extremely excited to have Wiisag participate in the second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference.  They seem to stir up much excitement among the participants with their vision of a national and international Indigenous brand,” said conference organizer Howard Silver.

“Wiisag is looking forward to another great experience and thanks the tremendous efforts of Bimaadzwin and the conference organizers for extending Wiisag the opportunity to participate and engage with all of the conferecnce participants.  We wish everyone safe travels,“ said Jake Linklater, Executive Chairman of Wiisag.

The conference opens with a reception at the Ottawa Shaw Centre on the evening of February 19th, sponsored by Bimaadzwin, Wiisag, and the Capital Hill Group. Parliamentarians have been invited to attend. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is one of many conference speakers. For details on the 2nd National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference, please visit: www.nichc.ca

Attachment

Bryan Hendry
Bimaadzwin
6138631764
bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca

Indigenous Peoples stake more claim in the Cannabis and Hemp Industry


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –Treaty No.7 (Calgary, AB.) November 22, 2018 – The first ever National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference at Tsuut’ina Nation attracted approximately 500 participants and resulted in a common goal of working together to stake claim in the growing need of Cannabis and Hemp.
The common themes that emerged from the three-day conference and trade show was, Indigenous Peoples must work together with both government and industry in order to secure a considerable share in Canada’s newest multi-billion dollar industry.
“The issue of jurisdiction is the overwhelming priority coming out of this conference. Asserting our jurisdiction in the cannabis and hemp industry must be respected by mainstream industry and at all levels of government,” said Chief Isadore Day, who chaired the conference. “Economic sovereignty, health and safety, and community risk and impacts are the main themes we heard. Most importantly, we heard there is a growing interest in establishing a national network of Indigenous producers and retailers in order to compete with the larger multi-billion dollar cannabis companies.”

Representatives from Health Canada and Indigenous Affairs were also in attendance and presented at the conference. The federal government seems willing to support First Nations participation in the industry, while at the same time respecting jurisdiction.

“Elders have long talked about cannabis being the medicine that will help. We must maintain our symbiotic relationship that this medicinal plant offers and all other Indigenous medicines. There has to be balance as we move forward. If the only driver is economic development then it becomes the drug of addiction and the people will be foreign to the help that this medicine provides. We must move forward with our fundamental beliefs in mind so our Peoples and others will benefit from the healing aspects of this medicinal plant,” said Chief Lee Crowchild, of the Tsuut’ina Nation.

“The legalization of cannabis has created an enormous opportunity for Indigenous Peoples. The challenge we face now is that time is running out. Our Peoples need reassurance that we can still be major contributors to this new economy so everyone can benefit. We are eager to continue our focus and momentum that has been created by our communities, cannabis experts and business developers,” concluded Chief Day.

In order to follow-up on the pressing issues and themes that emerged during this past week, the second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference will be held in Ottawa, Ontario on February 19-21, 2019. www.nichc.ca

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Media Inquiries, please contact: Nicole Robertson – nicole.robertson@telus.net (403) 616-4999 Bryan Hendry -bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca (613) 863-1764

WIISAG Announces Safe, Effective, and Affordable Cannabis Health Program for First Nation and Inuit Patients

 

(November 26, 2018, Toronto, ON) Wiisag Corporation, a First Nation cannabis company headquartered at Neyaashiinigmiing, ON, is pleased to announce that it will offer personal health services designed and delivered by Indigenous Nurses. These services are for those First Nation and Inuit patients who either have an existing authorization to use medicinal cannabis or want to determine if cannabis is potentially beneficial to their personal health.

“We are welcoming patients into the Wiisag family. We strongly believe that it is necessary for health professionals to not just authorize access to cannabis but, to guide patients throughout their journey until we all know more about the impacts of cannabis,” said Juanita Rickard, Registered Nurse and Director of Wiisag’s Health Services Bureau. “Cannabis products are very complicated and impact every person differently, depending on a whole range of factors, such as pre-existing medicines and current health. Our Health Services team is made up of Indigenous Nurses who will monitor each patient’s personal health journey with cannabis, and study how cannabis is impacting their health and well-being and recommend appropriate adjustments in products.”

Wiisag is in discussions with the Federal government and Licensed Producers to make the cannabis products our Wiisag Nurses deem appropriate for our patients affordable. Wiisag has recommended that the Government pay for cannabis only for patients who also fully participate in the Health Services Program until more analysis is available concerning the benefits of cannabis as part of a holistic health program.

“Wiisag is committed to improving the health of our First Nation/Inuit brothers and sisters across the country.  Wiisag’s vision of health excellence is evidenced in our investment in carefully selected health service professionals and in our partnerships with academic institutions and industry players,” said Isadore Day, Government and Community Relations. “Sadly, we know that First Nations and Inuit people in Canada are on average in poorer health and have shorter life expectancies than other Canadians.  We also know that First Nations and Inuit people in Canada suffer disproportionately from such disorders as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, nausea and opioid addiction to name a few. The proper use of cannabis, supervised by indigenous nurses may be a real improvement for our people’s health

Wiisag has supply and cooperation agreements with select Licensed Producers. Wiisag health services professionals have identified select cannabis products from these LPs that they believe will potentially be beneficial to Wiisag patients. These LPs have sublicense Wiisag’s brand and will supply Wiisag’s authorized patients.

“We want to provide comfort and certainty to our patients first and then the system. Our nurses are working with a select few Licensed Producers to choose appropriate strains and thc/cbd combinations which will be offered as Wiisag brand cannabis products. We are well on the road to safe and effective use of cannabis with our nurse’s program and now we are focused on ensuring that cannabis products are affordable for our First Nations and Inuk patients. We are working on a number of strategies to achieve this critical objective,” said Jake Linklater, Founder and Executive Chairman.

Wiisag is a First Nations integrated cannabis business active in all elements of the cannabis business; Cultivation (indoor and outdoor), product development, processing and packaging. In addition to these activities Wiisag is investing in a unique Cannabis Health Services program based on consultations with First Nations leaders and communities. Wiisag intends to compete globally as the authentic First Nation cannabis company and invites all First Nations leaders to reach out for further information.

To further advance this endeavour, Joel Strickland, Founder and Chief Executive Officer said, “We intend to create a competitive, authentic, indigenous global brand to compete in the cannabis industry by making it attractive for First Nations communities and indigenous entrepreneurs to join Wiisag’s national network. We have listened carefully to Chiefs, Councilors, Elders, leaders and communities’ concerns about (and hopes for) cannabis. We then went to the indigenous health care community to understand how they could be effective in terms of facilitating a safe, and effective experience with cannabis for suitable patients.”

Interested patients, whether you already have an existing authorization to use medicinal cannabis or not are invited to pre-register with Wiisag at info@wiisag.ca as the program will go live on February 14, 2019.

For more information, including a backgrounder, contact:

Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, bhendry@wiisag.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technical Writer/Policy Analyst (Full Time Employment – 6 Month Contract)

 

Technical Writer/Policy Analyst (Full Time Employment – 6 Month Contract)

Who we are:

Bimaadzwin is a newly formed company founded by former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day.  Our clients include health care professionals, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, capital ventures and First Nations, to name a few.  In our short time in existence we have grown rapidly and need someone who is a competent writer with a solid background in Indigenous issues.  If you can work under tight timelines in an independent manner providing top quality work, you will quickly become an invaluable member to our team.

About you:

To be successfully considered for this role, you will have:

  • Post-secondary education with a relevant college or university degree;
  • A solid understanding of First Nations and Indigenous Issues in Ontario;
  • 4 years of demonstrated experience as a policy analyst or a technical writer;
  • An understanding of at least one or more of the following areas: health, education, social policy, communications, infrastructure, economic analysis, and government relations;
  • The ability to take complex information and summarize it into easy to read reports;
  • Can demonstrate an ability to deal with sensitive and confidential information;
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, with abilities to simplify and communicate complex technical data to various audiences quickly and effectively.

Additional Considerations:

This position will be a full-time job at $24.00 per hour.

Candidates in the Ottawa Region are preferred but we remain open to other regions within Ontario, provided a candidate can demonstrate the ability to fit within our team with minimal support.

Before you apply, please learn more about Bimaadzwin by visiting www.bimaadzwin.ca.  If you think you are a fit with our organization, please send a cover letter, resume, and your references to employment@bimaadzwin.ca.

This job listing will close on Tuesday November 20, 2018; but applications will be reviewed as received.

As an Indigenous organization, we proudly act as an equal opportunity employer.

Elected Municipal Leaders in Ontario can benefit by promptly reaching out to First Nations on Urgent Matters and Mutual Interests including Climate Change

(Toronto – October 23rd, 2018) Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, congratulates newly elected and re-elected municipal leaders across Ontario. To those that served and were not successful or decided to step back and let a new generation lead, they too are respected and acknowledged for their sacrifice and contribution.

“Serving local interests and addressing the needs of the people at the community level is rewarding overall and will always have its challenges – that goes without saying. Finding ways to work collectively with other jurisdictions and finding mutual goals is something that should never wait until a region is in the midst of a crisis or emergency,” says Chief Day, who spent 15 years as an elected First Nation official in his community of Serpent River First Nation, and is former Regional Chief of Ontario.

“This year when the PCs defeated the Liberals in Ontario to form the next provincial government, political priorities became altered and a new focus would see a diminished Ontario Reconciliation agenda, cap and trade, and many social programs that were making a ‘quality of living’ difference for Ontarians and First Nations. An inevitable response: find a way to address issues at the local and regional level with strong and strategic partnerships.

“The reality is that we rely on local leaders in First Nations and in municipalities across Ontario to address the standard critical issues facing regional populations and communities. These critical issues include economy, procurement, employment, regional services and infrastructure investments. But the big question in everyone’s mind is, will we survive as a human species 20 years from now?” questions Chief Day.

Failure of local governments, First Nation and municipal leaders to come together, results in ineffective regional clusters of communities unable to realize their collective strengths and opportunities. Far too many times, local governments fail to build necessary bridges beyond community borders, resulting in missed opportunities like making necessary impacts on the global level like trade policy, national energy policy, and the scariest issue of our time – altering the impacts and uncertainty of climate change.

“Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.” United Nations on Climate Change – http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/

Chief Day also says that building bridges between municipal and First Nation governments will take education, awareness, understanding the different histories and governance structures, setting priorities, and creating a partnership tables, and making investments of time and effort. Ultimately, joint effort and action plans are far better than having no plan at all.

“On a pragmatic level, communities protecting the environment together, making Reconciliation a collective value, and pooling resources for making communities stronger together – that is where we are going to see the greatest impacts on the bigger issues,” he concludes. “First Nations, as rights holders, are neither provincial structures of the province, nor are they federal subjects, rather First Nation Chiefs and Councils who are jurisdictional partners that can strengthen regional planning and achieved success. The first step is for First Nations and municipal leaders to convene in one mind and in one heart – there is no alternative to collective leadership solutions.”

Bimaadzwin is an Indigenous Organization that offers capital venture, advisory, facilitation and policy analytic services with a focus on bringing mainstream, Firss Nt Nation communities, and governments together toward successfully reconstituting Indigenous nationhood.[/vc_column_text]