Ottawa, Home to the Country’s Finest

Miranda Claire Photo NDRAMA 2019 - Damon Karli Laval Xavier
The group in the Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario for NDRAMA 2019 (Photo credit: Miranda Claire)

By: Damon Hunter

During the days of April 23 – April 26, I was in Ottawa – an area scattered with jaunty, new personalities. Among this group (of which I once lived alongside), I met highly creative, motivated individuals. These ‘individuals’ included teenage Ojibwe language teachers, dancers, and the esteemed Canadian MP Anita Vandenbeld. Laval Namaypoke (the Mazina’igan’s Youth Engagement Coordinator), and Xavier Ranville (a past contributor) had also partaken in the experience by my side.

MP Anita Vandenbeld's Office - Ottawa trip
MP Anita Vandenbeld’s Nepean office in Ottawa, Ontario (Photo credit: office staff member)

During a three-day trip to my old city, Ottawa, Ontario, I was invited to attend NDRAMA 2019 and MamawiTogether as a ‘special guest’, though not initially planned. The whole thing was generously funded by TakingITGlobal through one of their offered travel grants. Even after an unfortunate, costly series of events they’d gladly upped the budget for us. A very charitable organization; co-founded by the ever-so-kind Michael Furdyk, whom I had the pleasure of ‘co-coordinating’ the trip with.

During my day attending the NRAMA 2019 Youth Conference at the Carleton University, I met Theland Kicknosway – an old childhood friend and neighbour who’s now a respected hoop dancer and public speaker, interestingly enough. We had both recognized each other’s names prior to meeting over lunch-hour. From “Do you want to come to my birthday party?” to speaking at the UN and hosting largely-recognized runs. Certainly an interesting situation.

Speakers such as comic book writer and author Jay Odjick, CBC Radio One host Rosanna Deerchild, and a few other eccentric figures attended, providing their life stories with undoubtedly thought-provoking morals in the auditorium.

The day following, I was scheduled to attend MamawiTogether at the University of Ottawa.

Before that though, I had the pleasure of visiting the on-campus CHUO-FM radio station. Xavier and I promptly received a tour of their workplace from a cheery figure named Mickey, who introduced us to a small-but-full room containing an almost monumental CD music collection. Shelf-after-shelf of 1990’s-2000’s underground tunes flooded the room. Next door to this was their recording studio, where Xavier and I both recorded intros to the show following the welcomed appearance of Darren, CHUO’s indigenous-focused radio host.

Shortly after our brief introduction to campus-radio we then directed our feet to the actual event: MamawiTogether. My time there was recognized a hundred times more than it was during NDRAMA 2019 – not that there’s a competition. Unknown people frequently approached and congratulated me on a personal level, providing much-appreciated support. If I remember correctly, I left that night feeling irregularly self-determined. This was my last full day in Ottawa.

The following day, my group and I readily arrived at the airport, set to board our plane to Winnipeg – home to the closest homebound airport capable of lengthy domestic flights.

The stay was great and the string of events within it, twice so. The two conferences welcomed my presence with an unexpected “special guest” title, though I didn’t speak. I screened a short version of my documentary thanks to co-creator Karli Zschogner’s cross-province editing and timeliness and met up with familiar faces in-between hour-to-hour busyness. All in all, it was an unintentionally perspective-altering experience and was, without a doubt, very interesting business. I hope to visit again soon – or travel elsewhere, who knows? “We’ll see”, as my signature phrase goes.

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Rez Life

By Virginia Loon

This reserve is better since the last story I wrote. Usually, I’m always busy doing something else or focused on school. I really love the reserve how it is now, rather than the way it was before. There is still bullying around but not as much as before.

But can’t anybody start activities for youth on weekends? I always see kids bored, walking around, or trying to vandalize.

Potholes in Naotkamegwanning

By: Laval Namaypoke

Our community, Naotkamegwanning FN, has been dealing with tricky roads for a long time and they will always be around due to unaffordability and other factors. Over time, most of the community’s members and regular visitors have been able to figure out the pothole hot spots – which makes it less bothersome.

The employed group that officially repairs the community’s potholes is the Operations & Maintenance crew. Though sometimes community members take time out of their days to fix the pothole problem themselves, they only provide a temporary solution. With the help of the O&M crew and community members, we do our best to ensure safe and smoother passage into our great community for visitors and our fellow community members. They always do a great job and they always make the roads smooth as they can be. Those people are always thanked and very appreciated for the repairs on our roads.

What is Canada’s Plan?

By: Laval Namaypoke

Canada’s plan for long-term management of used nuclear fuel is known as Adaptive Phased Management (APM). This plan emerged from a three-year dialogue with Canadians between 2002 and 2005. It reflects best international practice and features considered important by citizens. The federal government selected APM as Canada’s plan in June 2007”.

– Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada’s Used Nuclear Fuel book.

Our community, Whitefish Bay F.N, is part of Canada’s plan for long-term management of used nuclear fuel. NWMO is already in the process of the plan in our area. We are currently being educated about what the NWMO project is, what the plan is, and how the plan and the nuclear fuel are safe. Another thing we are working on is bringing awareness to the project. When’s the last time you heard about Adaptive Phased Management? I am here to learn more about the project and to share all I can with my community. Let’s all learn a little bit more each day, my fellow peoples.

What is used nuclear fuel?

Nuclear reactors in Canada are fuelled by natural uranium. The uranium is formed into ceramic pellets made from uranium dioxide powder and encased in zircaloy tubes called fuel pencils. These are welded together into bundles the shape of a fireplace log. Each bundle weighs approximately 24 kilograms. Each bundle is made of a strong, corrosion-resistant metal, called zircaloy”.  

The Nuclear Fuel Pellet

What I learned is that Fuel Pellets are made from uranium dioxide powder, baked in a furnace to produce a hard, high-density ceramic. Ceramics do not readily dissolve in water and are resistant to wear and high temperatures.

Nuclear fuel pellet diagram - Laval Namaypoke
A breakdown of a nuclear fuel pellet, visualizing its size and containment setting (Photo credit: http://www.nwmo.ca)

The Fuel Pencil

A fuel pencil is like armour protection – in my head anyway. Fuel pellets are contained in sealed zircaloy metal tubes, called pencils. These are welded together into a cylindrical bundle. I have one bundle in my office! It’s so cool to see what they actually look like. Pay a visit to your local Naotkamegwanning Band Office and check one out, if you’re super curious! (Ask to see NWMO workers)

The Fuel Bundle

Each bundle is composed of fuel pencils and is made of a strong, corrosion-resistant metal, called zircaloy. Fuel bundles are roughly the size of a fire log and weigh approximately 24 kilograms. Before being loaded into a reactor, the radiation hazards associated with unirradiated fuel bundles are relatively low. Radiation dose from unirradiated fuel bundles is in the order of 0.05 mSv/h. When operational in a nuclear reactor, each fuel bundle can generate enough electricity to power up to 100 homes per year!

I thought the same thing any other human being would think: “What are the dangers?”. A lot came to mind, like maybe the nuclear fuel will fall and break, maybe the transports will crash and the nuclear fuel will take damage, maybe the fuel won’t be safe underground and in the future. But all of my concerns were answered over time the more I attended NWMO meetings, read up about it, and spoke more with the people who work with and alongside the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Canada and the people of this project’s main focus is the safety of every citizen  The plan for long-term energy will be 100% safe for our kids, our kids’ kids, and so on. I, Laval, will be here to share all that I can with my community on our country’s future for long-term management of nuclear fuel.

Information gathered from: https://www.nwmo.ca/

Naotkamegwanning Mazina’igan – Short Film

On April 8, 2019, Managing Editor Damon Hunter of the Naotkamegwanning Mazina’igan released his first amateur short film on Youtube. The video was a submission for the charitable non-profit organization, TakingITGlobal.

While taking on a leadership role for participating youth as an audio/interview mentor, he also partook himself, producing the short-film alongside Mazina’igan executives Karli Zschogner and Laval Namaypoke.

The finished product features Ian Crow, Kirby Paul, Sherry Blake, and other prominent supporters in the area of Naotkamegwanning First Nation.

Aaniin ge izhi nagwaananad waabooz – How to snare a rabbit

By: Roland White

Shke, Shke, Shke… Mooz geyaabi doodem…
Agoodoodaa!!!!

Noopimiing izhaan, mikan ezhi bimikawed waabooz. Mikan dash onatoon ge izhi nagwaazod waabooz.

Niigaan mikan waabooz obimikawewin. Mikan mitig ji aabijatooyan, ji bimaakositooyan goysk imaa, ge izhi dadibinaman nagwaaganeyaab ji nagwaazod waabooz. Amii ezhi badakidooyan niizh mitigoon gegekayii, ji ziinjising nagwaaganeyaab. Miinaawaa bookonan zhingobiins amii imaa izhi attoon niigaan nagwaaganeyaabiing.

Ani waabang wiiba gigaa naadagwe daga ji nagwaazod waabooz. Wiiba dash izhaa jibwaa awensii gimoodamik gidagoodoowin.

Go to the bush, find rabbit tracks. Find a place where you will set a snare for the the rabbit. First, find the rabbit tracks. Find a stick to place across for the snare, and then wrap the snare wire on the stick where the rabbit will be snared. Then you will place two sticks, one on each side of the snare to secure the snare. Break a branch and place it in front of the snare.

Next morning, go early and check to see if you snared a rabbit. You will have to go early so an animal does not steal your snare.

Parents Hold Fishing Derby as Fundraiser for Daughter’s ‘Jingle Dress Special’ – Interesting Characters Met

Damon Hunter - Jazlyn Fishing Derby - Feb 2300011
Raven Crow with Jyles Copenace weighing a pike catch Jazlyn Fishing Derby (Photo Credit: Damon Hunter)

By: Damon Hunter

On Saturday 19, a local family had gathered a total sum of 39 participants to partake in a fishing derby. The derby was appropriately situated on the frozen Lobstick Bay ice road. With 19 teams of 2 and a large sum of money as the prize, it was reportedly an especially suspenseful event – as suspenseful as the sport of ice fishing can get.

The derby’s organizers, Jyles Copenace and Jolene Fontaine, said they particularly want to fund their daughter Jazlyn’s “Junior Jingle Dress Special”, which has the intended use of honouring her for how far she’s come in life.

Furthermore, the special is expected to be a large gathering which will hopefully help Jazlyn visualize the wide range of supporters surrounding her.

The special is set to happen at the Manito Ahbee Festival between the days of May 15-19, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“She’s going to be a young woman pretty soon”, says Jyles. “The people that are going to be helping her with this special are [also] going to be the people that keep helping her through[out] her life. So that’s kind of our way of honouring her at this young age”.

The derby had additionally been held to show respect and acknowledgement for the shockingly recent victims of Canada’s residential schools, especially the ones that prematurely passed.

Due to largely undocumented history, the current statistic is no more than an educated guess. The current estimate for student deaths within residential schools is, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, somewhere in the 3,200-6,000 range. To scale, there were over 150,000 Indigenous persons who attended residential school – many of whom had endured multiple forms of abuse.

To this day, some local elders and adults still recall certain events from these schools. One person, in particular, Jolene Fontaine’s mother, recalls the recurring average of 2 pupils per month going missing, according to Jolene.

“I want to honour the ones that passed on, [the ones] that didn’t get to go home”, Jolene recalls daughter Jazlyn saying.

The event had garnered enough attention that, through word of mouth, found its way to Gindon, who has only been a permanent resident of Canada for 10 years.

Originally from the Philippines, he’s now found joy in fishing. He says he was invited to the event by his friend, Jeff Qi from the Bimose Tribal Council situated in Kenora.

Filleting a fish just metres away was Bill Girard, from Northwest Angle #33. In conversation, Bill revealed that because of his parent’s interracial marriage, he had in turn, lost his Indian status.

It wasn’t until April 1985 that the Canadian government passed Bill C-31, effectively ending the inequality set before indigenous peoples.

He claims to have thankfully never attended a residential school or was ever expected to – a fortunate loophole.

On the flipside, his only education was at a university level, which he claims to have obtained through an indigenous-supportive program. He says he regrets never having a formal education.

At one point in his life, Bill says he worked as a tour guide for people from all corners of the globe. He once spent a day with Wayne Gretzky, touring and cooking for him. This was the highlight of his career, he states.

He also has experience in the traditional powwow scene. He proudly volunteered to work in the Pow Wow Committee for approximately 10 years, he claims. Alongside this, he also claims to have served as an Education Board member for about a decade as well.

Damon Hunter - Jazlyn Fishing Derby - Feb 2300012
Jazlyn Copenace Fishing Derby along the Lopstick Bay Ice Road(Photo Credit: Damon Hunter)

All in all, the event was a commendable and diverse get-together with an intriguing idea supporting it.

The winners are as follows:
1st – Tag and Jammice Joseph
2nd – Shannon Rochelle/Dale Cowley
3rd – Terence Gordon Sandy and Samantha Cowley
4th – Murphy Kakeeway and Raven Crow
5th – Fred Morrison
Subcategory winners:
Mystery Weight – Murphy Kakeeway
50/50 – Megan Cowley
Skunk Pot – Marcel Bill Girard

X Damon Hunter - Jazlyn Fishing Derby - Feb 2300013
Starting young:Jazlyn Fundraiser Fishing Derby – Feb 23 (Photo Credit: Damon Hunter)