Note: The All Parties Core Agreement Ended March 31, 2010
Socio Economic Director
The Socio Economic Director is responsible for monitoring regional socio economic issues, acting as a resource for the regional Industry Relation Corporation Directors and managing approved business plans. The Socio Economic Director will also have a day-to-day working relationship with the five First Nation Industry Relation Corporations (IRC). Following are the initiatives that the Socio Economic Director has been implemented.
The primary purpose of the Addictions Committee has been the development of a multi-faceted strategy to address the addiction problems of First Nations in the RMWB. One aspect of this strategy is the development of an “Addictions Business Plan” which will act as a catalyst for identifying gaps/issues facing addictions workers, First Nation leadership and the communities as a whole. The intent of the Addictions Business Plan is to develop a sustainable approach to deal with addictions for all First Nations in the Wood Buffalo Region.
The four steps to fulfill the Addictions Committee mandate are:
1. Identify opportunities that will address and prevent addictions through culturally
appropriate methods. These methods would build self esteem and awareness, support
Community initiatives and work with existing program.
2. Gain an understanding of how addictions abuse affects First Nation Communities
3. Develop an effective and inspirational tool to help define the overall strategy.
4. Develop a tool for advocating change.
The four goals/activities have been identified as key in the Addictions Business plan are:
1. Gap Analysis issues identification
2. Community engagement
3. Engage Leadership
4. Community Strategic Planning
Once the Addictions Business plan has been completed including the community engagement and gap analysis, the findings will be shared with each of the communities. Solutions will be implemented through the community implementation process.
Gap Analysis Issues Identification
The Gap Analysis Report has been completed as of September 24, 2007 and is available at the ATC office. A number of gaps were identified as a direct result of the consultation process, these gaps were not exclusive, in most instances, to a specific community, but rather they were seen to “cut across” all the ATC communities, the gaps identified they are presented collectively as opposed to individually and by community. The Addictions committee is currently working on some of the gaps identified such as:
Elders and Youth Cultural summer Camps:
Youth, particularly those in the 10 to 13 years age group and then those who were youth adults expressed a profound need to understand their past, to regain what they considered to be lost culture and values. The addictions committee agreed one of the ways to address this gap was to have an Elder/Youth Cultural summer camp. Combine the elders and youth to come together to develop strategies to connect with each other to learn from the elders and to “hear their wisdom: and to understand “where they (youth) come from” in order that we all move forward with a sense of renewed hope and confidence.
2007 Ghost River Rediscovery Cultural Summer Camp
In July 2007 we sent our youths to Ghost River Rediscovery cultural summer camp. Ghost River Rediscovery is a charitable foundation that supports youth to find their place in the circle of life, drawing on the wisdom of indigenous activities. They provide powerful culturally-based outdoor experiences for youth to learn and grow and create opportunities for youth and the adults that support them to recognize and achieve their true potential. The camp was a huge success; we have positive feedback from the youth.
2008 Youth & Elder Summer Camp
On July 11-15, 2008 an Elders and Youth cultural Camp was held in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. We utilized the camp facilities of Nunee Health Society; the camp was located at Fraser Bay, a beautiful spot by Lake Athabasca. There were 30 to 40 youths participating each day with eight elders. Participants came from the five ATC communities. We closed the camp to the general public during the day where we offered different sessions to the youth. The camp was open to the public at 6:30 pm each day and we had a lot of visitors each night. Fort Chipewyan was a wonderful host. The camp was very successful; the evaluation forms came back with positive remarks. Hope this will be an ongoing in the future.
Following are initiatives that the committee is working on:
We would like to implement as a one year pilot project. One of the biggest issues w are faced with in Fort McMurray is the issue of members of the five ATC First Nations being unable to access counseling and or treatment services while residing in Fort McMurray. The ideal scenario would be to have a “one stop shopping model” for a referral service right in Fort McMurray. First Nation members can then access referrals right in Fort McMurray either to treatment and or counseling services or any other type of social services that the clients may need. We are still in the planning process and will keep you updated through your community representation that attends out monthly meeting. This initiative is on-going.
Post Treatment Counseling and Support:
The need post treatment is for support through a combination of designated community based counseling programs for discussions about their problems, their fears, their challenges, and their potential opportunities. Aftercare is a big concern with all of ATC communities. Individuals returning to the communities post treatment, or following admission to treatment centre, spoke of the need to have ongoing counseling and support throughout the initial phase of their recovery. These individuals spoke that they frequently returned to the very situations that had contributed to their addictions.
Choices Seminar is a unique personal development program that leads your through a journey of visiting experience in the past, evaluating current circumstance and making new choices about what your future will be. Using NAADAP (National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program) guidelines and community after-care strategies each community will offer to send their clients to choices from the treatment programs. The Addiction Committee supports the Choices Program as part of the after-care treatment program for current addictions clients. Support is allocated for this program.
2009 Regional Youth Conference:
Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. Youth clearly understand that, in due course they will be expected to become leaders within their communities. They believe very strongly that there is a gap in a system that does not offer or provide them with some form of leadership mentoring or skill development. There is a need to develop and implement programs within the communities that will assist in the development of leadership skills. The Addictions Ad Hoc Committee hosted the first of its kind a Youth Addiction/Awareness Conference held at the Sawridge Hotel in Fort McMurray, AB. The conference was held on February 10, 11, 12, & 13, 2009. The target age for participants is from 13 yrs to 17 years old group.
1. Medicine Wheel Teaching Ghost River Rediscovery
2. Drugs & Youth RCMP
3. Positive Choices Adrian & Tale LaChance
4. All 4 Self Travis Dugas
5. Teen Suicide Shane Baker/Tessa
6. Urban Dancing Angela Gladue
7. Drumming Lessons Randy Martin
8. Hip Hop Music Shawn Bernard
The Conference was a huge success; we had 98 youths who participated. The opening ceremonies was great, we had approx. 150 people in attendance. There was representation from each of ATC communities. We had the two RCMP members with their red serge, the Fort McMurray First Nations Dancers, the facilitators with their regalia, the youth with the flags, it was awesome. We wanted to keep and capture the attention of the youth and we selected facilitators that would keep them focused and I have say that the facilitators did an awesome job, they managed to get all the youth to participate at each of the workshops.
Indigenous Games/Cultural Retention Committee:
Cultural Retention was recognized through the Key Concern Area process adopted by the ATC All Parties Core Agreement. The Dene Games and the Arctic Sports was identified as an important element to reintroduce into our communities for our youth. As a result of participating in the 2004 Arctic Winter Games, it was the first opportunity for many of the youth and community members to experience the Games. In bringing the Key Concern Area to the Management Committee, an Ad Hoc committee has been formed and the following business plan has been developed for your input and approval.
It is the intention of the Cultural Retention – Indigenous Games Committee to see our local youth trained and the youth participate in a number of regional recreational events as they receive their training. We understand with the ability to compete, their skills will be learned quickly and retained for the long term. The Games will be hosted at the five First Nations Treaty Days in the years to come and the youth will be in a position to compete for the 2008 Arctic Winter Games as well as future events.
We see our mandate as a three pronged approach. First, we bring the Games back to the communities. Secondly, we reintroduce the games to our culture and thirdly, we organize the sport so it is self sustaining.
We have set specific goals to ensure this happens in a timely manner. We feel it is necessary given the fast approaching dates of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games and the desire to have youth trained for the 2005 Dene Gathering in Fort Chipewyan; we need to initiate the first portion of our business plan by early January 2005.
- To train and prepare athletes for Dene games and arctic sports competitions
- To recruit, train and organize coaches and people resources to support athlete development
- To engage community organizations in Dene games / Arctic Sports program development
- To establish and operate an Indigenous Sports Provincial organization
- Ensure sustainability of the Alberta Indigenous Games Association initiative in our region
Youth Initiative Program:
The Youth Initiative was recognized through the Key Concern Area process adopted by the ATC All Parties Core Agreement. The APCA has approved funding that has been budgeted to initiate a sporting event for athletic youths from the rural First Nation communities. There is no other source of funding from either the Governments or the municipality for this initiative.
To focus on our youths from the First Nation communities and involve them in organized sporting activities by developing and promoting the youths’ positive self-growth as an individual to gain a life long interest in sports and recreation.
- To develop individual and team skills by participating in teamwork with the spirit of sportsmanship and gaining social skills.
- To bring our First Nation youths together thru a friendly competition of a winter sporting event.
- To promote health and wellness thru participation and involvement.
Regional Gathering Committee:
The gathering of ATC Regional Gathering in the Wood Buffalo Region is an opportunity for the ATC First Nation to gather together for cultural celebrations that honor the richness of our culture, the strength of our spirits, the courage in our hearts and the determination to create our own destinies. The importance of understanding, appreciating and practicing traditional values and culture and honor each First Nation through their participation from children to Elders to celebrate culture, feastings, songs, stories, dances, ceremonies and wisdom, and share information for the betterment of our people, and the strength to keep moving ahead. In July of 2006 ATC had the first regional gathering which was hosted by the Fort McKay First Nation. The ATC communities recognize the need to develop or expand programs that will introduce the traditional values and culture to help connect with the past and gatherings is one of the ways of achieving that goal.
Recognizing the changing times, we can strategize a plan that will enable our future generations to keep their culture and heritage alive. This will be an ideal opportunity for individuals, leaders and community members to express and gain new ideas in programming and to discover successful outcomes. This business plan will identify strategies where the ATC First Nation communities will come together with a common goal and vision to sustain our tradition.
ATC First Nation communities will come together with a common goal and vision to sustain our traditional culture. Teaching the younger generation about traditional ways. Keeping the languages, dancing, stories, cultural teachings alive.
A. Engage First Nation Leadership
B. Engage community Process
C. Select representatives from each community to sit on the planning committee
D. Organize and plan the Regional Gathering
The 2006 & 2008 Regional Gathering event was a huge success; the time together was used primarily to share our culture by passing down traditional ways of life of the First Nations people from this region. We raised awareness of our traditions and culture, developed a video of the five day event which can be referenced for future use.
Sustainable Employment Committee:
The APCA Management Committee requested ATC communities and leadership to document concerns related to the impacts of industrial development on the First Nations. A number of employment and training issues quickly emerged and the Sustainable Employment Committee was established to increase sustainable employment opportunities for members of the First Nations which make up the Athabasca Tribal Council. The Sustainable Employment Committee’s business plan identified four critical steps to advancing First Nations employment in the region:
1. Implementing a comprehensive ATC Labour Pool Analysis, the purpose of the analysis was to:
- Understand what the labour pool looks like for the five First Nations within the Regional Municipality Wood Buffalo;
- Identify the number of underemployed and unemployed either seeking sustainable employment or upgrading; and
- Identify major barriers to Employment.
The ATC Labour Pool Analysis 2003, has been completed and is now available in the ATC office. In 2006 we updated the Labour Pool Analysis, the report has been completed and is now available in the ATC office.
2. Develop a ten year Labour Market Analysis, the purpose of the RMWP Regional Labour Market Analysis was to:
- Review existing and planned oil sands projects over the next ten years;
- Determine existing RMWB employment numbers and new jobs over the next ten years;
- Collate existing data and break down employment by direct and induced categories, occupations and sectors;
- Summarize minimum academic requirements by occupation;
- Analyze factors that could influence employment.
The RMWP Labour Pool Analysis , has been completed and is now available in the ATC office.
3. Build a training and employment strategy based on the ATC Labour Pool Analysis and the Market Analysis.
Five Life Management programs (Life skills) will be offered to the ATC First Nation in fiscal year 2009-2010. These programs will provide First Nation members an opportunity to obtain meaningful sustainable employment with industry companies or with Aboriginal businesses providing services to companies within the Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The First Nations understand that in order to access higher skill level job opportunities, further education is required.
Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership:
In 2003 Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC) and the Métis Nation (MNA) went in partnership and submitted a proposal to the Federal Government to the HRSD’s Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) Program, Industry and AHR&E to provide programming to Aboriginals. It is designed to promote maximum employment for Aboriginal people on major economic developments across Canada and to provide lasting benefits to Aboriginal people with the skills they need to participate in economic opportunities.
ASEP’s overall objective is sustainable employment for Aboriginal people, leading to lasting benefits for Aboriginal communities, families and individuals. ATC submitted a proposal and was approved for 3.9 million in 2003. The objective of the ASEP program is to provide 10 Minimum, 20 Maximum Aboriginal candidates each year for the next five years.
The ASEP Program gave the candidates personnel development, employability skills, occupational skills, and their General Equivalency Diploma, safety tickets, occupational training and a industry paid work experience term that is needed to become employed in various position as entry level/semi skilled positions within industry.
The program was comprised of employability skills, career planning and occupational skills training, work experience and job placement. Occupational skills was delivered in 4 occupational areas: Mine Operations, Mechanical Construction Trades Preparation, Process Operating and Power Engineering.
As a result the entity Wood Buffalo Partners in Aboriginal Training – Aboriginal Skills and Employment Program (ASEP) was formed. This program will be complete as of March 2009.