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AUGUST 26, 2009

Gathering moves back to Obabika Lake

The annual fall aboriginal Changing of the Seasons has been moved from Wakimika Lake to Obabika Lake.

This year's event had been scheduled for Wakimika Lake, but organizers cited logistical problems. The event had previously been held on Obabika Lake and will now return to the original site on Red Pine Point.

Teme-Augama elder Alex Mathias hosts the traditional aboriginal gathering during the fall equinox on his tribal land on Obabika Lake.

Participants for the September 18 to 21 event need canoes, food and camping equipment. Access is by canoe.

Contact Amber Ellis at Earthroots for more information at 416-599-0152 ext 11.

  EXTERNAL LINK:  Earthroots event info

BACKGROUND:  Gathering 2009 info

                        Gatherings from the past

                        Gathering photos 2008 

AUGUST 16, 2009

First Nation graduates first doctor

The first member of the Temagami First Nation to become a medical doctor burst through the bannock barrier.

Zhiish Tracy McKenzie graduated this spring from Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Thunder Bay.

McKenzie will be starting her residency at the University of British Columbia in family medicine with a focus on aboriginal health. She is the daughter of Barry McKenzie and his wife Bertha, and Pauline McKenzie.

She was not the first to cross the barrier. The first lawyer did that. McKenzie finished its demolition.

Catherine Mathias McDonald passed the bar in 2002 and practices family law in North Bay, location of the district's family court. She serves a mixed aboriginal and non-aboriginal clientele.

McDonald is the daughter of Linda and George Mathias.

Who's next? Leanna Farr is entering her second year at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. She is the daughter of Bob and Gladys Farr.

These professional achievements are remarkable from a population on Bear Island that tops 200. What's next from the island in the sun?

 
Photo: Ferguson Bay from Mt Napoleon, Lake Temagami
 

AUGUST 4, 2009 1:30 P.M.

Is that sun?

Yes, the sun succeeded in reaching Temagami, if ever so tentatively, through clouds over Ferguson Bay of Lake Temagami. The sun, of course, has been AWOL in the midst of this wet, cloudy season. Taken minutes ago atop Mt. Napoleon with a Blackberry. Heather Gibson and Gail Spencer (daughter and mother) are in the foreground, and Ferguson Mt. in the background.

 

Photo: election sign for Roxane Ayotte of Temagami First Nation

AUGUST 1, 2009

Potts out, Ayotte in

Today for the fourth time in a year, Roxane Ayotte entered the Temagami First Nation offices as chief, and for the first time, Gary Potts wasn't sitting in the chief executive's chair. He had bucked overwhelming opposition from his own people for a year, but this time, after a resounding defeat in yesterday's court-ordered election, he'd run out of  excuses to stay.

The election poster refers to two elections that Ayotte won last fall, but were ignored by Potts.

PHOTO:  JOHN TURNER

Ayotte, ironically, was installed as chief by him. She had been elected a band councillor in 2007. Re-elected when Potts ran in 2008, she garnered more votes than him, but never contemplated herself as chief.

Her second term was short-lived. She quit in outrage after he brushed aside the constitution. Once out of office, she found herself leader of a movement that fought to restore it. But Potts' cavalier attitude fed public anger and that catapulted her into the election.

John McKenzie, the TAA chief, became second chief by defeating the incumbent, Peter McKenzie, 95-60. With 83 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots, it is believed to be a record turnout.

Potts' vote this time remained virtually unchanged from the 52 votes in his 2008 election. The unusual coalition that supported him was largely drawn from his family, and an anti-land-claim-settlement group of Becker and Friday family members.

What a strange reversal. The latter were his old enemies, instrumental in killing the original settlement agreement he had shepherded in 1993. It's death ended his political career. They supported him this time because he pledged, in a flip-flop, to suspend negotiations.

On July 30, at 8:30 p.m. in the community centre, as the Ayotte-McKenzie victory was announced, the hall erupted in applause. Normally the crowd at the announcement of results is small, but over a third of eligible voters were there.

Apparently anticipating defeat, neither Potts nor Peter McKenzie had attended.

In an unusual move the crowd called for Ayotte and McKenzie to speak.

With tears, she thanked everyone. McKenzie called it the "people's victory."

The chiefs plan to move on amending the constitution, restarting negotiations, and focussing on the financial hit of legal fees from the court battle.

  RELATED STORIES: Three Elections, Two Chiefs, One Quagmire

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First Nation chief and council impeached

TFN chief and council stripped of authority

First Nation votes to oust Chief Potts

Potts council beleaguered

Court hearing on Potts' impeachment

Mediation falls flat

Respect their dignity

Last chance at mediation

First nation mediation commiseration

Court orders new election at First Nation

Court sets rules for new election of chiefs

TFN election day July 30

 

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