Lubicon Lake Band Begins Community Development Plan Process

Lubicon Lake Band has retained Neegan Burnside Ltd. (Neegan Burnside) to assist your community in preparing a Community Development Plan. We would like to inform you on the purpose of this Plan, the status of the project, the steps involved in developing the Plan and a little bit about who we are.

This Plan will ensure that your community is able to grow in a way that improves your quality of life while reducing harm to the environment and still be cost effective. This Plan hopes to identify suitable locations for future homes, potential community buildings (i.e., recreational facilities) and the infrastructure (i.e., roads, water system, wastewater/sewagesystems, waste programs, etc.) required to support future growth. The goal is to have a detailed plan outlining the next five years of growth in order to support the negotiation of agreements involving the community, Canada, and Alberta as well as secure the funds for this time period of planning, design, and construction of infrastructure. The longer term development plan (5 to 20 years) will be able to provide a guide for future land use and infrastructure development after the initial (approx. 5 years) period is up.

This project is just beginning and should be finished by the fall of this year. The planning process involves reviewing past studies, completing soils investigations, developing plans for housing and infrastructure, and most importantly gathering your input! This is your community plan and there will be opportunities over the next few months through surveys and meetings for you to become involved and provide feedback. Neegan Burnside would like to hear what is important to you and how you would like to see your community grow. Watch for articles in future issues of this newsletter and updates on the First Nation’s website for more information about our progress and how you can be involved.

Neegan Burnside is a majority owned, Aboriginal consulting engineering firm. We are committed to assisting First Nations in meeting their development and economic goals while remaining sensitive to First Nation community, culture, values and beliefs. We have successfully completed over 1,500 projects for more than 300 First Nation clients in North America. For more information about our firm please visit our website www.neeganburnside.com.

We look forward to working with you on this very important project.

News Release - Youth Initiative

March 4, 2015 for immediate release

The Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council (KTC) is a First Nation organization in North Central Alberta that is comprised of the Loon River First Nation, Lubicon Lake Band, Peerless Trout First Nation, Whitefish Lake First Nation and the Woodland Cree First Nation.

KTC’s total population is expected to surpass 5800 people.  They are comprised of a growing young population where 65% are under the age of 35.  The leadership of these Nations are proactive and support the development of initiatives that promote education, training and skills development for their youth.

In December of 2014, the Executive Chiefs of KTC passed a motion to support the coordination and implementation of a youth gathering where high school students from the member Nations would gather to explore educational opportunities, visit and tour post-secondary institutions and where they could provide input and feedback into the development of a KTC Health Human Resource Strategy.

Grand Chief Arthur Noskey states. “I fully support the efforts of this…initiative which aims to inform and encourage our youth for post-secondary considerations in health”.

Vice Chief Billy Joe Laboucan adds, “Any project such as this that can help our students make informed decisions about their future and how they will become strong, independent members of our Nation will benefit our students, our schools, and the community at large”.

Sixty-six high school students from the member Nations gathered in Edmonton this week and visited the University of Alberta, Concordia College & University, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Grant MacEwan University, tomorrow, March 5th, 2015 the youth gathering will wrap up and culminate in a working session where these students will be facilitated through a series of questions to guide the development of KTC Health Human Resource strategy.

On March 5, 2015 at 5:45 pm, KTC will host the closing ceremony and banquet at the West Harvest Inn on Stony Plain Road where Vice Chief of KTC and Chief of the Lubicon Lake Band, Billy Joe Laboucan and Vice Chief of KTC and Chief of the Whitefish Lake First Nation, Robert (Jessie) Grey will offer up a thank-you, closing remarks and encourage the youth who participated to learn from this week and take away the experience to consider post-secondary studies.

This youth initiative will serve to assist the member Nations of KTC in their efforts toward self-sufficiency.  This collaboration took the collective efforts of an interdisciplinary planning committee in addition to KTC Education, Health, Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy, Whitefish Band Office Administration, Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta, Alberta Jobs Skills and Training and the Northland School Division # 61.

For more information or clarification please contact:

Vince Dikaitis, Career Counseling Specialist, KTC Education @ 780 720 – 1374 or vince.dikaitis@ktcadmin.ca

Or

Al Rollins, Chief Executive Officer, KTC @ 780 910 -5249 or ceo@ktcadmin.ca

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Little Buffalo School launched their new website!

Little Buffalo School is pleased to unveil a new platform to communicate with students, parents, staff and community members.

The ECS to grade 12 school launched a new website that allows users to find information easier and it supports the school’s goal to keep students, parents, staff and community members better informed. Box Clever, an Edmonton website design and digital media agency, helped design a website for Northland School Division No.61 (NSD61) and websites for all NSD61 schools. Every school website offers a display of news, upcoming events, information for specific needs and teacher pages. They are mobile friendly and uses modern day technology. 

The website can be viewed at www.littlebuffaloschool.ca


Canada and Lubicon Lake Band Take a Major Step Forward with Signing of Negotiation Framework

On December 1st  an important step forward was made between Canada and Lubicon Lake Band. Leaders sat down in Ottawa and signed a Negotiation Framework which is the first step on the path to settling land claim negotiations for Lubicon Lake Band, who is the last of the Treaty 8 isolated communities that were missed by the Treaty Commissioners at the time of Treaty making over 100 years ago. 

 The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Chief Billy Joe Laboucan, councilors of the Lubicon Lake Band, and MP Chris Warkentin aim to set out processes for addressing the three priority issues in a concurrent fashion with the Negotiation Framework. Their Framework will bring clarity and mutual agreement between the federal and Lubicon negotiators on the nature of the work ahead of them.

 The three main priorities that were identified in the Negotiation Framework by Lubicon are: 

  • the establishment of a reserve pursuant to Treaty
  • community construction on the future reserve lands
  • resolution of Lubicon’s claims to other treaty-related benefits
Our Government remains committed to enabling First Nations to take advantage of the economic prosperity this country has to offer. The Negotiation Framework signing brings us one step closer to our goal, of moving forward together, in the spirit of reconciliation, with shared priorities that will ensure that long-term benefits flow as quickly as possible to Lubicon members leading to improved living conditions and increased well-being.
— Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
We are now hopeful and excited that we will conclude this 80-year-old claim. Our people have waited a long time. The signing of this agreement today not only confirms the productive progress we’ve made in the past several months but outlines the work needed to finally resolve our claim.
— Chief Billy Joe Laboucan, Lubicon Lake Band
I am pleased to see this important progress toward settling a long-standing negotiation with Lubicon Lake Band. In partnership we can continue to seize opportunities that promote prosperity and economic development for the benefit of all Canadians.
— Chris Warkentin, Member of Parliament for Peace River

Forensic Audit Shows Former Lubicon Chief Collected $1.5 Million While Community Went Without Running Water

Former leadership spent more than $27.5 million dollars over a six-year period with little sign of benefits or investment in the Lubicon Cree community of Little Buffalo.

LITTLE BUFFALO, ALBERTA (September 9, 2014) – The Lubicon Lake Band Chief and Council are reacting to the results of an MNP LLP forensic audit into the Cree Development Corporation covering the period of March 1, 2006 to February 28, 2012.

The corporation, which was meant to provide economic development for the Lubicon Cree community, was controlled by former Chief Bernard Ominayak and his immediate family and supporters. In a period of just four years, Ominayak and his family paid themselves more than $3.3 million.

“For many years our community has suffered without basic necessities like running water, while a small number of people got rich,” said Billy Joe Laboucan, the recently elected Chief of the Lubicon Lake Band. “Dictatorship rule has cost our community tens of millions of dollars and countless opportunities. This is a wake-up call that never again should we allow ourselves to be governed in this way.”


The audit shows large sums being paid, including almost $1.5 million spent on financial and credit card payments and nearly $1.2 million on automotive costs. Community members say they do not have access to the cards or vehicles.

An open letter (http://ow.ly/BhcDW) has begun circulating in the community, calling on the former leaders to account for their expenditures and asking the current Chief and Council to hold restorative justice circles in the community.

“We may never know the full extent of what we have lost as a community financially, but we know what we have lost in trust,” said Chief Laboucan. “We are hopeful that this will never happen again because our members have seen the truth, they have a voice and they are able to make fully informed decisions. It will take all of us working together to heal and rebuild our community.”

The results of the forensic audit can be downloaded here: http://ow.ly/Bhf3X

The open letter can be read here: http://ow.ly/BhcDW

Contact Information:
Lubicon Lake Band
Andrew Frank
Communications Specialist
604-367-2112

www.lubiconlakeband.ca

Media Advisory: Forensic Auditor to Present Analysis of Lubicon Lake First Nation’s Cree Development Corporation

PEACE RIVER, ALBERTA (September 6, 2014)

Attention News Editors:

Media are invited to a public presentation by forensic auditors from MNP LLP in Peace River on Monday, September 8 at 1:00pm. 

What: A forensic auditor from MNP LLP will present results and analysis from a forensic audit into the operational transactions, assets, liabilities and revenue sources of the Lubicon Lake First Nation’s Cree Development Corporation covering the period March 1, 2006 to Feb. 28, 2012.


A Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Chief Billy Joe Laboucan will be available for interviews.


When: Monday, September 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm MT

Where: Belle Petroleum Centre in Peace River, Alberta. 

Contact:
Lubicon Lake Band
Andrew Frank
Communications Specialist
604-367-2112

www.lubiconlakeband.ca

Strategic Planning Session allows for Council to focus on 2014/2015 Priorities

The Lubicon Lake Band received funds from the department of Aboriginal
Affairs and Northern Development Canada to host two strategic planning
sessions. One session took place in October of 2013 and the second took
place in February of 2014.

The 2nd session in February focused on infrastructure development, policies and procedures and programming for membership.