Griffin signs with the Varsity Blues

Griffin Assance-Goulais signs a letter of intent with Greg Gary, head coach and manager of football operations for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues football team.
TORONTO – Today, North Bay football prospect, Griffin Assance-Goulais donned an exclusive Blues Football cap and signed a Letter of Intent to play for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
Following a number of conversations with the recruiting coordinator, coaching staff and eventually Varisty Blues head coach Greg Gary, Griffin made the decision to couple his academic career by playing varsity football in the fall.
“This has been an amazing experience and a dream come true. This is everything I wanted football to lead up to,” said Assance-Goulais, a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph-Scollard Hall.  Griffin is eager to credit hard work, his local coaches, his parents and his brother for his journey to U of T.
The U of T coaching staff, who have been in discussions with him for a number of weeks, are expecting to develop Assance-Goulais into a tight end or fullback.  He will be attending the training camp at Varsity Stadium in August.  The Varsity Blues are organizing their first exhibition game in Montreal.
In addition to keeping up his academic standing, Griffin will be following the strict U of T training regimen over the next four months.
“I am anticipating more hard work.  Not only am I ready to contribute to the team, I have to make it in one of the most prestigious universities in Canada. I feel like I’m up to the challenge,” said Assance-Goulais.
Also on Saturday, Griffin participated in a Varsity Blues Football Academy, a workout with the strength and conditioning coach and an exclusive tour of the varsity locker room.
An Anishinaabe of Beausoleil First Nation and Nipissing First Nation, Griffin will be playing with the Nipissing Wild during the upcoming summer football season.
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Our families are our most important priority

I wanted to send out a little note to let my friends and family know that I’ll be leaving the Assembly of First Nations in order to spend more time with my family at home.  Our families are our most important priority.
 For me, this difficult decision was guided by my values as a Midewiwin Anishinaabe man, a husband and father.

Chi-miigwetch to National Chief Perry Bellegarde, CEO Judy White and the talented and dedicated staff at the AFN. I only wish I could have spent more time with you.

On a personal note, Deborah and I, like many other families, struggle having a child of mental illness. Some days are harder than others.  Support, Love and understanding are an absolute necessity to cope with this lifelong journey. But so are much needed supports and investments in First Nations youth, both on-reserve and in the cities.

We sincerely appreciate all your kind thoughts, prayers and support.

 

All I want for Christmas… from your hard-working, loyal civil servant

bob_parliamenthillPublic servants are among the most hard working people in the world. We’re up early – usually in the office before the sun peaks over the horizon. Sometimes we forgo our lunch just to catch up on things. Breaks… what’s that? Very often we work late into the evening without overtime pay or any other reward.

Our bosses – our Chiefs, Ministers or even leaders a little further up the telephone directory hierarchy, are equally hard working and dedicated.

Many of us are not in it for the reward, the power or the limelight. We do this work for the people at home, our children, our grandchildren, our families, our communities and our Nation. I Love what I do because I know it will lead to positive changes for First Nations and improve the lives of Anishinaabeg everywhere.

…And then we read social media.

We hear from people who describe themselves as warriors – as righteous defenders of our Nations – whose only weapon is negativity and not-so-coherent verbosity. Arm-chair critics, without any facts, spewing their vitriol at the world claiming it’s for the greater good. There are those that post the profane one-liners. There are others that see themselves as activists, who make use of blogs, skewed media sources, shoddy research and speculation to make their case to the world. Keep in mind that 90 per cent of the content on the internet is either someone’s opinion, it’s inaccurate, out-of-context or just plain fiction. (To make the point even further, I freely admit I made up that statistic. I bolded it, just to emphasize my point. Now you’re going back to re-read the sentence. Now you’re working it out in your head. This is not a Jedi mind trick.)

I digress.

We need government. We need leadership. We need a public service, both First Nations and mainstream, to do the work of the people. We need people to provide sound public policy research, analysis and options and a second and third look at legislation, regulations and policies. We’re not simply spinning our wheels and collecting a paycheque.

Instead of clicking and clacking, join a committee, attend a seminar, read real research. Provide some informed public comment that just might contribute to constructive dialogue on important public policy matters. Ask questions, provide your feedback, ask for an update, provide a suggestion. Our work is not secret. In fact, we’re always seeking new ways to communicate our work to our constituency.

All I want for Christmas is goodwill toward men and women, including your public service.

National Chief Bellegarde appoints new Chief-of-Staff

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Bob Goulais and National Chief Perry Bellegarde

(Ottawa, ON) ― Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chief of Staff who will be responsible for implementation of his political agenda affecting First Nation across Canada. Bob Goulais, an Anishinaabe from Nipissing First Nation in Ontario, brings a great deal of experience with indigenous organizations, government and the private sector to the AFN. Goulais will assume his new duties on November 7, 2016.

“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Goulais as my Chief of Staff. I have great confidence in his abilities and appreciate the diverse skillset he brings to my office,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “He will play a key role in providing strategic advice, political advice and advancing our agenda.”

“There is an unprecedented opportunity for First Nations in Canada to influence the public policy landscape and implement positive change for our peoples,” said Bob Goulais. “I look forward to the challenge of this important position and supporting the National Chief in representing First Nations rights, interests and perspectives.”

“This is an exciting time for the Assembly of First Nations, where we are solidifying corporate and political leadership with the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer and my Chief of Staff,” said National Chief Bellegarde. Mr. Goulais joins Ms. Judy White, a Mi’kmaq from Flat Bay, who assumed the office of CEO on October 31.

Mr. Goulais is an experienced senior executive, public servant and professional communicator who has provided more than 20 years of service to industry, non-for-profit, First Nations and government. Throughout his career, Goulais has excelled in situations requiring significant change management, organizational development and community engagement. Goulais recently served as President of Nbisiing Consulting Inc., the founding Director of Aboriginal Relations for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Senior Communications Advisor to the Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Manager of Cultural Policy and Strategic Policy and Planning for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and Chief of Staff for the Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation in Ontario.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde has also expressed his gratitude to former Acting Chief of Staff Wendy Moss for filling the role for the past five months.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

The Walking Dead is far to violent for populous consumption

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The Walking Dead is getting far too violent and disturbing. No question. The Season 7 premiere was cringeworthy, barbaric, grotesque and gutwrenchingly forlorn.

To kill a mindless, fictional zombie character in such a horrible way is horrible enough. But to portray not one, but two terrifying, bludgeoning executions of two beloved characters while their friends are forced to watch in horror is certifiably extreme.  “What, are you still there?,” said Negan. “I just popped your skull so hard your eyeball just popped out!”

The latest antagonist, Negan, is the most sadistic character I can recall in my many years of film, TV and literary experiences. Who gives the name “Lucille” to their barbed-wire covered baseball bat? Between the “eeny-meeny-miny-mo”, “try to reach the axe” and “go out and find my axe”, this is all a messed-up game for this homicidal character.

To top this all off, while fans are still reeling from the miserable events taking place, we are just about to see, potentially, the worse dismemberment scene in television history. Thankfully, our hero doesn’t have to go through with cutting his own son’s left arm off.  (I can’t believe I just wrote that last sentence!)  But as an audience, we can’t turn away no matter how sick it makes us feel. It really was sickening.

I now understand the critics (and my Momma-in-law) who say that TV has gone too far.  Indeed, this is far too violent and disturbing for populous consumption. I truly hope that parents are keeping tabs on what their young children are watching and that they aren’t watching TWD.

Which raises the question: who in their right mind can be entertained by such a gruesome and macabre story and imagery?

I can’t wait until next week!

This is my friend Mario… and this is handmade quilt can be yours.

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This is my friend Mario Wassaykeesic.  He is an inspiration to me and many other people. He’s a hard working social administrator, University language instructor prof, Ojibwemowin speaker and interpreter, Three Fires Lodge fireman & pipeman, marathon runner and roller coaster aficionado.  Hola!  He is also one of Anishinaabek territory’s hardest working fundraisers, raising money for all matter of great social causes.

This is a beautiful hand-stitched quilt.  You can win this quilt, support a good cause, and feel great by contributing to Oxfam.  All you need to do is buy a ticket.

All funds raised goes toward Oxfam, an important organization dedicated to eliminating poverty and injustice for women and girls in over 90 countries.  Oxfam is also supporting Mario in his goal of running in the 2016 New York City Marathon on November 6, 2016.

The Oxfam Anishinaabe Quilt Fundraiser

1st Prize:  Beautiful, hand-made/hand-stitched Anishinaabe quilt

2nd and 3rd Cash Prizes (based on ticket sales)  Second prize could be as high as $2500 and $1500!!

Ticket Prices:

  • 3 tickets for $5
  • 6 tickets for $10
  • 12 tickets for $20

To purchase tickets, which can be paid for by Interac eTransfer, please contact:

Mario Wassaykeesic
E-mail: alterdnative@hotmail.com

 

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Building Indigenous Capacity in Trust Management

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12th annual Aboriginal Trust and Investment Workshop
October 26-27, 2016
Vancouver, BC

There’s no more important skill for indigenous administrators than managing finances.  Making these even more complex are the numerous requirements of a community trust.  First Nations are not simple entities. Modern indigenous communities and organizations can be quite sophisticated, managing millions of dollars including diverse interests and investment portfolios.

If any of this applies to your community, you might be thinking of developing your own community’s capacity and skills in managing community investments and trusts.

The 12th annual Aboriginal Trust and Investment Workshop is taking place from October 26-7 in Vancouver, BC. This annual event is one of Canada’s premier trust and investment conferences linking First Nations trustees and investment managers, lands staff and financial staff with a wealth of Canada’s top advisors in the areas of trusteeship and wealth managers. The workshop is designed to educate and engage participants in discussion on the fundamentals of Aboriginal settlement trusts and investment management.

  • Effectively Manage and Invest Settlement
  • Capital and Resource Revenue
  • Learn about Successful Strategies from Communities across Canada
  • Meet leading Tax, Trust Law, and Investment Experts
  • Building Endowments from Resource Revenue Impact and ESG Investing
  • Legislative and regulatory compliance for Canadian Trusts
  • Fiduciary Duty & conflict of Interest
  • The “Investment Challenge Game”
  • Appropriate Business Structures
  • Impact Benefit Agreements and Industry Partnerships
  • Special Keynote Speakers

To register or for more information visit: http://www.aboriginaltrustandinvestment.com.

I’ve finally got it! The TV Train Wreck Factor

donaldtrainFor over a year, I’ve been trying to understand America’s fascination and support of “The Donald”.  Could it simply be mob mentality?  Perhaps.  Can it be a lack of intellect or common-sense?  No comment.  Can it be that the ultra-conservative movement and Republican ideology is finally coming into it’s own and it’s actually that ridiculous?  That’s certainly viable.

This morning, I finally put my finger on it!

What do Sanjaya, William Hung, the Pants-on-the-Ground guy, any “Real Housewife” of anyplace, and pretty much every reality show (including Celebrity Apprentice) have in common?  They’re all train wrecks.  Some ridiculous.  Some loveable.  But train wrecks nonetheless.

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America loves train wrecks.  (Why else would someone watch Fox News?)  Grassroots republicans are in on the goof.  Primary voters were in on the goof.  They just need to watch.

It’s also feeds an addiction.  They have to keep watching, voting and attending rallies in order to get more of what they love.  The more ridiculous it gets, the more viewers they get.  The more they support him, the more antics and ridiculousness they get in return. Bewildering policy ideas, overt bigotry, fear-mongering, the thin-skin rapport, the luscious maliciousness… all perfect fodder for the mindless, live TV audience.

That’s why, I predict that tonight’s Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be the most watched political event in television history.  After all, it has potential for the biggest televised train wreck of the week.

The big question is: will Americans continue the goof?  Do they really want to see a train wreck of a President clashing with world-leaders?  Taking the Trump show on the world stage.  Do they really want to see what he’ll do next?

Stay tuned.  Viewer discretion advised.

(Apologies to all survivors of real train wrecks.  No real trains were harmed in the writing of this blog.)

Indigenous Gala supports youth suicide prevention

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I’ve been pleased to support some very worthwhile and important work that is bringing hope for indigenous youth.  Jewel’s Cause was established in response to the passing of Jewel Monture, a Mohawk youth who took her life at the tender age of 12. Known to her community as Gah wediyo, from the Turtle Clan. She was an accomplished dancer in tap, jazz, ballet, hiphop, lyrical and Smokedance.

She was also a victim of abuse and bullying that ultimately left her in a state where she felt there was no way out.

Many of us, and many of our family and friends have been touched by youth suicide. Despite their grief and sadness, families have found the strength to overcome their pain in an effort to raise awareness to this difficult issue. It also raises awareness of some of the associated issues suffered by the youth, including bullying, online-bullying, abuse, depression, anxiety disorders and addictions.

On Saturday, September 24, Jewel’s Cause is hosting the Purple Tie and Glamour Gala, in association with Brampton’s first-ever indigenous festival, Akweni Ki. The Gala will take place at the Brampton Fairgrounds in Caledon, Ontario. Proceeds of this star-studded gala will go towards suicide prevention programs that will inspire, educate and empower youth through education, fashion, creative arts and mentoring.

Please support Jewel’s Cause by buying a ticket and attending the Gala.  For tickets, visit: www.oneidacircle.org.

 

It’s time to speak up for our Lake, the Nbisiing fishery & our rights from it’s biggest threat.

nbisiingfisheryThere are a few people around here that think they are back in the 1970s and 1980s fighting for Anishinaabeg fishing rights. They’ll post videos and messages that will trick you into thinking that they are the last free band of Indians fighting for their rights and freedom.

But it’s just not the case.  In reality, these misguided few are acting out of greed demanding their individual rights above all else.

They speak of “inherent rights” and “treaty rights”.  But what they’re really demanding is their individual rights above their fellow band members, above their grandchildren, above the Lake and above the fish.

Well let me tell it like it is.

These Nbisiing fisherman… or let me rephrase that… these “Nipissing-Indian-Band-status-card-holders” are fishing illegally! They’re certainly not acting like real Anishinaabeg.

They are, in fact, the biggest threat to our Lake, our fishery and our rights.

More reality…

  • The right to harvest fish is a collective right.  Period.  It belongs to me, you and our compliant commercial fishers.
  • The right to an indigenous fishery also means we have the right to regulate ourselves. Nipissing First Nation, our elected Chief and Council is doing just that with the help of the MNR.
  • My unborn grandchildren, your grandchildren, even their grandchildren and seven generations of future Anishinaabeg also have a right to fish.  They most certainly have a right to harvest walleye.
  • The fish have a right to survive as a species on our lake.
  • We have a right, responsibility and obligation to adhere to our most sacred of Anishinaabeg teachings: to look after all of Creation as stewards of the land and water… to speak for all those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. The Lake Nipissing walleye.

Do those fishing illegally care about these rights??  Of course not.  They are on the wrong side of the rights fight.

Our research… yes, Nipissing First Nation research which includes accepted scientific data, methods and analysis, clearly indicates, unequivocally, that the walleye fishery is in severe collapse.  The MNR’s data shows the exact same thing.  Our commercial fishery is not sustainable. That’s why our Chief and Council have closed the fishery.

You argue that the numbers aren’t right. Well you got us on that one!  They’re not right because you hide your real numbers in your freezers and coolers strewn about your front yards.  If we had more accurate numbers from you, the data would certainly show the fishery is far worse shape.

By your actions, you are saying “F*CK YOU” to the rest of us, to responsibility and to the collective rights of us Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.  You wrap yourself in a phoney cape of a “rights crusader” and continue to take-take-take.  That’s all you know.  Take-take-take.

You claim to be harassed by the MNR.  Well, for the first time in history, the MNR is on our side.  Nipissing First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding that enables them to help enforce our fisheries regulations.  They’re lifting your nets because we want them to.  The MNR and our fisheries department are working in partnership to stop you from fishing illegally in order to protect our fishery.  This is a good thing.

With all due respect, if it was my choice – you’d not only lose your nets.  You’d lose your boats, trucks, and ATVs too.

You don’t offer any new ideas to help the situation that you’ve helped create.  How will you help protect our fishery?  How will you ensure the sustainability of our fishery?  How will you protect the walleye that had fed us for millennia?  Instead you call your little meetings, talk sh*t about our Chief and Council, our fisheries program and accepted science, and wail on about standing up for indigenous rights.

Well boys and girls, the right to take-take-take is NOT Anishinaabe.  To disregard me and your fellow band members is NOT Anishinaabe.  You teach your children to disregard the fish, the science, regulations and the rest of your fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.  If you continue on this course the walleye fishery in Lake Nipissing will be extinct.

Our ancestor’s signed the Treaty, created this way of life and fought for these rights for the benefit of seven generations into the future.  Not just for you.  Not just to take-take-take.

Here’s my call to action:

ACTION:  My fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, I’m asking you to speak up.  It’s time to stand up and protect the lake, the fish and our right to a future fishery.  I’m asking you to stand up and speak out against those who threaten our fishery.  That’s not the MNR, our fisheries officials or our Chief and Council.  The real threat are from those who are fishing illegally, pretending to be the righteous, who disregard what is right.