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Working together can bring great results – Northern News

Mar 12, 2024

There have been so many changes over the past couple of decades for Indigenous First Nations and I am amazed at how life has changed for many people. Most of the changes have been for the good and that of course has to do with more access to education and employment opportunities. Sadly, we have also experienced a terrible time of drug addiction in our communities that have made life difficult for a lot of people and many have died.
It is hard to believe that our communities are finally being included by resource companies in all kinds of agreements providing funds, employment and training. I see the changes in First Nations up the James Bay coast, throughout Northern Ontario and right across Canada. It is so good to see family and friends finding employment in all kinds of resource development jobs and making a good living. People are better able to provide for their families these days, they are purchasing better housing situations and their lives in general are much better.

A good example of Indigenous success in mining is in the presentation of the 2024 Skookum Jim Award at the recent Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC). The award is presented annually to a recipient from an Indigenous group including First Nation (FN), Inuit or Metis.  This year the award went to Wabun Tribal Council. The council is headed by the Executive Director Jason Batise who is guided by the council’s member First Nation Chiefs including Chief Murray Ray of Flying Post FN, Chief Jennifer Constant of Mattagami FN, Chief Anita Stephens of Chapleau Ojibway FN, Chief Sonny Batisse of Matachewan FN, Chief Renae Vanbuskirk of Brunswick House FN and Chief Wayne Wabie of Beaverhouse FN.  In a way I have grown up with Wabun Tribal Council and their First Nations over more than two decades. I have seen the good work of so many Chiefs, Elders and staff members over the years starting with past historic Chief Barney Batise and then under the guidance of his son Shawn Batise who held the position of Executive Director for many years. Today Shawn’s brother, Jason Batise leads the council as Executive Director.

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