JANUARY 2012

 

Ah neen! Elders, members, youth and children! Another New Year! Another to year to begin differently, make new friends and build new relationships or just start new projects.  This year is beginning of a New Year of finished projects, start of new ones such as the Bridge and pavement.  As usual with the start of a New Year it brings resolutions that we hope to achieve in the year ahead. 

 

Already the Business Centre has outgrown its quarters and is now at the Old Band Building also known as the new Training Centre.  The Education Centre is not happy about moving but we have to make room for developing and growing businesses.  It will still be small but maybe this will encourage the businesses to make plans and set aside funds for a building in the future. 

 

We had a referendum this year as well; the O’Chiese First Nation Membership Code has passed.  We had to go to referendum twice.  The Membership Team will be visiting you to answer any questions you may have in this important Code.  We have set some guidelines and regulations so that we can ensure that our Nation retains its roots and linage.

 

As O’Chiese is part of the Yellowhead Tribal Council, we will be attending the Area Council meeting.  O’Chiese First Nation has submitted a BCR containing our Agenda that includes Unity, Transparency, structure, roles and responsibilities. O’Chiese First Nation for a long time felt they were excluded in decision making, some services and programs.  I attended for about an hour as I had an operation and was still feeling the effects. The Proxies were Cedric and Beatrice for those days.  From my understanding, the 5 nations were able to work through the issues and come up with another time to go through an evaluation that was done about 5 years ago.  As I understand it, we as a Nation must go through with our members what and how we would like to see YTC and how we can work together to achieve results in a fair and equitable manner.

 

I am glad that we were able to have Cedric act on my behalf in Ottawa to meet with the National Chief and Prime Minister.  I would also like to thank the Elders and the Council who went to support our Regional and Grand Chiefs in a meeting that was a long time in coming. Thank you.

 

It has already been a hectic December and now a very busy January. While we have met with members, Elders and Youth, we still need to continue to come to community meetings as this is where we get together and ask questions.  I noticed that we have had 3 community meetings in which people are not showing up.  We have held them at different times of day the usual 10 am then 4-7pm and finally on a Saturday.  We are thinking that there are lots of our members working so we tried to accommodate. 

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation

 

 

FEBRUARY 2012

 

 

 

Ah neen! Elders, members, youth and children! It has been a long time since I have seen and talked to some of you.  I apologize for being off reserve quite a bit this month.  This message will be a short one as I had surgery earlier in the year and I ended up with some complications, so I will be out for about a month or so.  Thank you for the support and the prayers.  In the meantime, our Council and senior managers will keep our offices, projects and businesses busy.  It is comforting to know that I have competent staff to keep our governance, businesses and programs so that our people can continue to receive services and employment.

 

I know that our Council and Band Manager will be holding a community meeting on March 8, 2012.  That community meeting will see a presentation from settlement trust, request some ideas from our members in regards to area council and set some continuing dates from our youth meetings.  There will be updates from previous meetings, the area council meeting and chiefs meetings.  Having community meetings is very important to me as I get to hear from you and I get to give you information.  I know that members have busy days and I hope that you will make time to attend these meetings. These meetings reduce conflict and misinformation. 

 

I will see you soon. 

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation

 

 

MARCH 2012

 

 

Ah neen! Elders, members, youth and children! I apologize, I am still out with complications and I just wanted to say thank you to all the visitors, the well-wishers and those who are praying for me. 

 

I realize that business has to continue, I am thankful of my staff that keep me informed of what is happening in and outside of our community.  I have been informed that we have suffered the loss of a family member and community member; I want to send my condolences to the family and also to those who have lost loved ones.  He was one of our oldest (94 years) and our community has lost not only a loved one, but an Elder whose history he took with him. A few years ago, O’Chiese Administration had undertaken and attempted to record this history unfortunately either we were not ready or we were misled that we had some of the Elder’s fascinating history.  I hope that we have recorded some but we will soon know as we have hired a couple of researchers who will be coming around in a month or so to start looking for this history that we strived to undertake a few years ago.  

 

As you know according to our land settlement funds, which are held and invested by TD Bank, we were to provide a per capita distribution if it did not make any changes to the specified amount.  Our investments by our investor informed us that we did not do very well in the investment end as we had moved our money into safe areas such as bonds and bonds are safe that overtime they do make some money.  As you were told in the community meeting by our Corporate Trust and Trustees, the investments have not made an appropriate amount to distribute, so as the Council and the Trustees have prudently and wisely made a decision not to provide a per capita distribution this year.  This Land Settlement Fund must last for at least 20 years or more, at the time of signing the Settlement, we were thinking long term investments as we need to insure that our children and grandchildren may need a future to work with.  Thank you, Members, for attending the community meeting also for your support and understanding.

 

I will like to thank the Council who have been Proxy Chief and made decisions on our behalf.  Thank you to the Councilors’: Cedric for going to Ottawa, for Cleon in attending Chief’s meetings, Barry for accompanying the Research Team to Ottawa, Martin for representing us in Cultural Elder in Chief’s meetings, Robert for taking a winning team to Prince George, BC hockey tournament and answering all the questions about the Bus and its use and Douglas for being the Cultural helper on Reserve.  Thank you to Council for stepping up to the plate and assisting all of the Senior Managers to continue to deliver services, provide employment and making wise financial decisions.  Thank you. 

 

I will see you soon. 

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation 

 

 

APRIL 2012

 

 

Ah neen! Elders, members, youth and children! Another month has come and gone, I hear our community is getting busier as the spring moves into the summer.  I understand that the Senior Managers and Council have passed some budgets and it sounds like lots of our members will be working and we make a little of profit.  It is pleasing to our Council that we have been able to achieve what the members expected of us back in our early leadership days.  Those were the years that we struggled and during the struggle we learned what we wanted as Leaders, we learned what our community wanted and needed and we learned to work toward a bigger vision that was inclusive of all our members, no longer individualized and more about long term goals and objectives.  While I am healing, I have had time to think about our community. I see us improving, moving and growing in employment, training and education.  I know that it can be challenging and frustrating and I just want members to participate, take the challenge and get the training, the education or the employment.  We do not always start at the top and we do not always start with the top dollar, we are after all just learning and we do not have the education that some of our seniors have but today we have the opportunity; take it!  In the meanwhile, I just wanted to say thank you to all the visitors, the well-wishers and those who are praying for me. 

 

Despite my illness, I am still getting calls from members about our land claim settlement funds, which are held and invested by our Corporate Trust and trustees.  In that agreement, our Leadership tried to make provision for our members during the settlement and we did make provision to have a PCD within 5 years of our settlement if our investments had made a significant amount. As you were told in the community meeting by our Corporate Trust and Trustees, the investments have not made an appropriate amount to distribute, so as the Council and the Trustees have prudently and wisely made a decision not to provide a per capita distribution this year.  This Land Settlement Fund must last for at least 20 years or more, at the time of signing the Settlement, we were thinking long term investments as we need to insure that our children and grandchildren may need a future to work with.

 

I am thankful for the Senior Managers for keeping me up to date and informed.  I attended our regular strategic planning meeting for a couple of hours.  In these meetings, we try to plan for the next few years and pass budgets to reflect our projects and or businesses.  I see us employing more of our people and the opportunities our members especially for our young people. I look at the different type of employment opportunities in areas like the service type jobs more than what I had growing up.  We have given the opportunity to work within the hospitality industry, the oil & gas industry, and construction.  We still have the areas such as the Health Field, the Social Working field, the Trades field and so on.  We are trying to promote education, and opportunity.  I know that our senior’s get frustrated and feel the pressure to provide the employment opportunities and work more hours than they should.  I just want to encourage them to continue and to thank them for their vision and passion. 

 

We understand that some of our players also participate in Hockey Provincials so that our youth and their parents can play hockey and the parents can be proud of their young hockey players.  This opportunity will be reevaluated as this year’s behaviors have impacted the next provincials.  It is too bad that there are a few that do not think about the rest of the players and their parents. 

 

Our Nation is pulling together even though I am not there and I appreciate the Councilors for keeping the decision making together and for the good of the overall community.   Thank you to Council for stepping up to the plate and assisting all of the Senior Managers to continue to deliver services, provide employment and making wise financial decisions.  Thank you. 

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation 

 

MAY 2012

 

 

Ah neen! Elders, members, youth and children! I would like to take this time to thank the people who have been thinking about health and wishing for a good recovery.  I would like to thank our ancestors and our people who have continued to practice and retain our cultural medicinal ways.  With the combination of the new health ways and our ways, I have the best plan to mend my health issues.  With that, community members, our health is important to your children and your family so take good care of yourselves.  Health is important but so is the running of our businesses and our services.  One of the issues that our Nation struggles with is capacity, renewed interest in education and careers.  As part of the Leadership, the Council and I are trying to create a community that can sustain itself through businesses, employment and education.  We need to start showing up, be productive and make our community the place to work, to have fun and maintain our cultural identity.  I have heard that even if we have the best strategy, the best plan, or more money; if we do not have the best people, O’Chiese will not go forward and we will become beggars again.  So as your Leader, I am asking you young people, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to help us to take advantage of the opportunities that our ancestors through our Treaties negotiated and today what we have firmly negotiated for you. 

 

One of those opportunities that O’Chiese First Nation has taken advantage of is taking an office downtown Calgary for our O’Chiese Energy LP.  As some of our members are internet savvy and some are business oriented, we know that the capital city for oil and gas is Calgary.  In order for O’Chiese First Nation and O’Chiese Energy LP to take advantage of contacts, potential employment opportunities and potential partnerships, we need to be in the heart of oil and gas country.  This will enable our Oil and Gas Company to go forward and be more successful.  Do not forget community members that employment is also a way to gage success and profit.  One person employed is about 25 to 30 thousand per year and that is part of profit but more importantly that one person is working and creating a life that the person can be proud of.  One of the issues that you as members wanted when I became Chief 8 terms ago were to create employment, create opportunities and create profit.  I believe we are doing that today.

 

As I am on a healing journey, I have had some time to think about our community, I realize that you as young people will be standing where I am; what are you going to do to build on what this government has done, how can we be assured as we get older that you will take the foundation we have built to another level?  As Chief for many terms now, I wonder how we will keep the current quality of life, the employment and businesses.  But more importantly, I realize how much business sense, how much education we needed to accomplish what we have and the hours of planning and implementing and the many person hours it takes to build what we have.  I noticed the commitment, the dedication and the love that our current business developers have, the hours they put in and the ideas that they still can produce to make our community not only culturally alive but also viable.…how will you plan for that?  We are looking at you-young people to start careers, to not be intimidated by the amount of work that it takes, the knowledge required- all of these senior managers started from someplace and they have learned from their mistakes; so take a risk---go and learn from them…talk to them…get to know them…you might be surprised with yourself that it might be something you will be doing!

 

 

I attended our training restaurant program at the community center, where we have about 15 trainees learning to cook, waiter/waitress, hostess and dishwasher as well as other duties.  I sure enjoyed the trainees beginning to learn professionalism, taking my order and watching the cooks.  The meal was excellent, the service was great and the atmosphere was fun.  Keep training, keep learning and do the best job, I will come back again and I will tell others as word of mouth is the best advertising tool. For the Trainers, you are doing well, thank you! 

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation 

 

JUNE 2012

 

 

Ah neen! Elders, members, youth and children! Busy month for our community, we have the road construction continuing, treaty day, graduations and summer jobs for some.  June is an exciting month as it begins the summer.  More importantly, our cultural ceremonies also begin this month and of course our businesses and programs continue. 

 

June is also a month for celebrations like graduations! Congratulations to the two High School Graduates, thank you to the four Elders who did the prayer and all the people who showed up to watch this momentous moment.  Enjoy the moment, Graduates, then move on to the next goal, hopefully it is toward post- secondary schooling but in the meantime a summer job. The Leadership and I hope to see your application to YTC post-secondary and good luck in your success.

 

I would like to take this time to thank the staff who set up their information boards; they were well done and provided good information at the Off-Reserve Community Meeting.  The off reserve members comments were this is very good, more comfortable and they noticed how we have grown.  For us as Leaders, we got to visit and hear their concern and/or their comments in a relaxed atmosphere.  Thank AANDC for attending. 

 

I attended some of the meetings organized by the senior staff.  These were informative and while no decisions were made, the meetings still had directives attached.  Due diligence is important to making informed decisions and if we want to invest, we need more information and a little bit more direction. 

 

The Treaty Day activities were very good, there seemed to be a lot to do and it looked like the people enjoyed it.  Having everyone participate in any one of the many activities is important and there seemed to be lots of food.  I could only stay for a while as my energy still does not take me all day. I heard the fireworks were excellent and this is another year for O’Chiese First Nation to celebrate, to enjoy, to laugh and to play as a community.  The Elders, I heard showed us how to enjoy ourselves to the fullest!   I enjoyed what was there, and thanks again to the staff, the RCMP and AANDC for participating on this day. 

 

I thank my family who organized the slow-pitch memorial and thank all of the teams who made it out.  Thank you for the support and I thank all who made the weekend memorable for my family and me. I was amazed at the amount of teams and participants who came to support and play.    

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation 

 

 

JULY 2012

 

 

Ah neen! O’Chiese Elders, members, youth and children! Already it is summer time; a time for gatherings such as Pow-wows, family barbeques and lakeside fun with your family and friends.  Summer is also a time of an increase in heavy road construction, housing projects and other projects that require the summer sun.  I have not enjoyed too much of the sun but I heard that it has been raining pretty heavily lately.  As I am still healing, I have not had the opportunity to do the things I normally would be doing during the summer such as watching my daughter play ball, attending ball tournaments, being out on the golf course or travelling. So enjoy the outings, family gatherings and safe travels. 

 

I like to thank Phyllis for going to the AFN National gathering to vote on my behalf and for Councilor Barry for attending.  It is well that we keep ourselves knowledgeable about what is happening nationally.  And congratulations to returning AFN Chief, Shawn Atleo! Congratulations to all the incumbents! Stability is important to our Nations as we need to build trust, diplomacy and strategy.  Again congratulations to Chief Shawn Atleo!

 

This article will be short as I am still in healing.  The healing journey has been difficult on my family and friends and I want to thank the visitors; Elders, friends and staff for their encouraging words, get well cards, their hugs and their laughter that they bring to my family and me.  Those words, hugs and laughter help to speed the healing, so thank you again for all of the support.   I also like to take the time to thank other Nation organizations and businesses for sending cards and balloons, their words of encouragement and their prayers; thank you!

 

The Nation and its business team keep the Nation business continuing and they continue to promote employment and training.  I know that we have a skeleton staff, as staff also needs time off.  My family and I appreciate the Nation staff for continuing to provide the best services possible and to continue to keep the Nation business running.   The team keeps me informed of our Nations business, our Nations issues and how they have been able to solve the issues and provide solutions. I realize that the Nations programs, services and businesses need to continue and the day to day operation needs to continue to make decisions that lead to employment, training and profit. 

 

The Elders will be on their way to their annual Elders Trip, so I wish them well and safety but most of all that they have a good time.  I know that the senior managers will ensure that they are well looked after and the drivers will get them where they need to go safely and back again.  I wish I could go with you as we have so much to report.  I know that our senior staff will be there to provide as much information that we can give you. 

 

Thank you to the Youth Worker and NNDAP program for taking our youth to a youth conference, I know that being with other youth will inspire our youth to participate in our activities, achieve their goals and appreciate and gain knowledge of our cultural ways. Our ways also have teachings just for each specific gender and I thank our cultural person for teaching knowledge to our young men.  It is important to continue to teach our young people of the way of life. 

 

I also know we have a number of summer students participating in meaningful summer employment.  Thank you to the departments for taking on some of these youth and creating a work area that will hopefully continue to teach our young people to stay in school, go beyond being a laborer and take care of our housing investments.  The Leadership and I have thought of you to try to make your educational pursuits a little easier by providing off reserve student housing, by working with our post-secondary institution and planning our businesses so we can provide work for you when you finish.  Thank you for doing your part by staying in school, attending school directly affects your marks and achievements. Taking your future into your hands and making something happen. 

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation 

 

 

AUGUST 2012

 

 

Ah neen! O’Chiese Elders, members, youth and children! Well summer is on its way out as you see the leaves already changing color and starting to fall. Hope everyone enjoyed their summertime with their families, vacationing, pow wow-ing, playing sports and enjoying the sunny weather.

 

Our Nation and families take pride in playing baseball during summer. It is good for the mind and good exercise for the body and for parents and grandparents it makes us proud to see our future generations playing baseball. I was very happy to hear that O’Chiese held a youth baseball tournament this year at the baseball diamonds on the reserve. Organized sports is good for our youth by having them be a part of a team, participating in positive activities and socializing in a healthy environment with the support of their parents cheering and watching. Thank you to the staff, volunteers and organizers who took the initiative to host this event for our youth and I am sure everyone had fun!

 

There is much happening on our Nation in terms of building and construction so it is important for the safety of our staff, the workers and our people to follow the road crews signs and instructions, please slow down in construction zones especially on very dusty days. To the road crew always use your safety gear following the safety core rules and regulations as safety is important to us. We are working hard to improve our roads so thank you for your patience. 

 

Also school will begin soon and the school buses and children will be on our roadways. Follow the bus rules and slow down when youth are on the road. Thank you to the bus drivers for getting our youth to the school and on time every day. Education is important and we want our children to arrive safely. Youth, try really hard this school year to learn as much as you can, to get good grades and set the long term goal of graduation in your future! Every O’Chiese Student needs to have graduation as a goal; the best way to achieve that goal is by your attendance. You need to be in school every day to learn and once you achieve your high school diploma so many doors, options and opportunities automatically open for you! Options such as moving on to higher education at colleges and universities, entry into work employment training programs and obtaining part or full time employment in a broader field not just the entry level or low paying jobs. The future for our youth is bright so take full advantage of the education provided to you from our dedicated teachers and our dedicated principal Jollymore, they are giving you a strong educational foundation and we expect you to go to higher education.

 

The Elders attended the annual Elders Trip sponsored by ConocoPhillips and our Nation. We are very appreciative of all the guidance, support and cultural direction that the Elders provide us throughout the year and these trips are a small token of our way of saying thank you. Our elders are the link to our past, they know the history, the language and the culture and we have so much to learn from them. The Elders have worked hard throughout their lives working hard, providing for their families, learning and remembering the old ways so now in their older years we are very thankful to them and will continue to look to them for direction in our endeavors. Thank you to the bus drivers for getting them to their destinations safely. I am sure the Elders enjoyed their well deserved vacation.

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2012

 

 

Ah neen! Well fall is definitely here you can see it in the changing colour of the leaves and by them falling, letting us know winter is on its way! With colder weather comes the cold and flu season so do what you can to stay healthy.

 

Eight years or so ago, at a Band Meeting, the members asked us, as Leaders, to create employment, train and hire our people; well the O’Chiese First Nation Leadership went on to build a Common Vision that included building a nation that was and is safe, cultural, educational and prosperous. We as Leadership needed to start with what we wanted and what we needed.   

 

One of the things that I had wanted to achieve during my time in office was to have ownership of our minerals.  I wanted an oil and gas company that produces, builds infrastructure, offers training and educational opportunities and creates employment in all aspects of this industry from pipelining to drilling to servicing.  I am encouraged that positive partnerships will increase our chances of success. 

 

Today, O’Chiese Elders, members, youth and children will eventually have a life that is filled with opportunity, employment or training opportunities and hopefully a community that shares their talents, strengths and culture.  That is the kind of community that I aspire too and with the assistance of our Council and our staff, we are able to build our future.  We need to continue to believe in ourselves and those people we put in place to accomplish what we set out to do eight years ago. 

 

We need to continue to own and build our businesses, do business with pride and also in a way that promotes our Nation values and traditions and of course that we make some money.

 

As you can see we have another business adventure that is employing and changing our landscape it is the pipeline industry. O’Chiese assists in developing the employment sector, creates partnerships so that O’Chiese members will be able to participate in the pipeline industry. In addition with the pipelining and oil and gas industry O’Chiese has developed a safety services so that we can ensure safety in the workplace.

 

I believe that O’Chiese has a bright future and as a nation we do have something to be proud of; our belief in ourselves! Our endeavors do come true. For example the bridge, we needed a new bridge and we got a new bridge, we are pleased to announce the unofficial opening ceremonies for the Bridge will be on October 18, 2012 at noon. This initiative along with the soon to be open truck stop and café will and has created jobs for our people bettering our economic future!

 

O’Chiese Nation leaders are doing and advocating as much as we can for our students and employment we are seeing we need higher education, we need more than just labourers. We require our members to increase their skills and education as we will be taking over our own business matters and management. We really need to build our community ourselves with reduced assistance from others. We request from our members that we strive to seek mentorship, educate ourselves and increase our knowledge in all areas of business expansion.

 

As you can see we are moving into the hospitality industry which again requires another set of skills, motivation and confidence to service not only our people but non-O’Chiese members. We are proud of the current truck stop restaurant training program. Congratulations to those 15 students who graduated! I understand that we will be offering another hospitality training program please make the most of these training opportunities it will benefit yourselves as well as your children and community.

 

As always, I thank the community, elders, and employees for their continued support, encouragement, and prayers. Always my biggest supporters, my wife and family; I thank you.

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation 

 

 

OCTOBER 2012

 

 

Ah neen!  This is the first month of putting in some office time; it was different.  After being away for a time, the office is quiet until our people know I am there.  It is good to see the people, I appreciate the visiting and I get a chance to thank the people for thinking and praying for me.  This month, I have been telling the Senior Managers to stay focused, report, review and get their programs on track.  In addition, Senior Managers need to have regular reporting to the members.  So we will have an open house for our members.  The businesses and programs will provide booths for you to ask your questions in private or obtain brochures and read about it and ask your questions later.  This month I understand O’Chiese had a number of grads who were recognized by YTC Education and we had meetings with the MLA Joe Anglin and the Mayor of Drayton Valley. 

 

Some of the issues we are facing are our housing program now called Property Management.  We are still undergoing restructure as we are trying to understand the best way to implement an underfunded program and how best to address the current issues.  Another program that underwent restructuring was our Social Development program.  Of course, the main program, Child Welfare which is run through YTSA continues to have its issues and as a Nation, we are doing our best to assist in a way that is best for our children. 

 

Congratulations to the Graduates who have spent a considerable time in gaining good marks, late nights and building papers to achieve their Degree, Diploma, Certificate and high school diploma.   Congratulations once again. 

 

Our School did a very good event for our community.  The cultural days were very good and it was good to see our young members wearing traditional dress and dancing to our own drum group.  In addition, I heard that Firman and others provided some buffalo meat for the feast.  Thank you to all of those who assisted in organizing this event.  Good job!

 

Thank you to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada in partnering with us in building a new 2 lane bridge.  That bridge is just the beginning in expanding our ability to enhance and build our economy.  Thank you to the construction company, Westpro, the engineering firm, Genivar and Shane, O’Chiese Capital Officer in ensuring that the construction of the bridge went well and mostly, without a hitch.  Thank you to our partner, Bellatrix for attending our unofficial opening. 

 

We appreciated the meeting with Joe Anglin, Wildrose Party MLA for our area, who spent the time to meet with us and hear our concerns.  O’Chiese in the past had minimal meetings with our MLA’s and so this was good.  The next meeting will occur on O’Chiese with not only MLA, Joe Anglin but also with Wildrose Party Leader, Danielle Smith.  We will inform you of the date, and hope you come out to listen or ask your questions.

 

Thank you to my wife and family, Advisors, Elders, Council and members for your continued support. 

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford,  O`Chiese First Nation

 

 

NOVEMBER 2012

 

 

Ah neen!  I am glad to be at work again and I would like to thank all of the Elders and members who have come to visit me in the office and those who have invited me to their homes.  It feels good to be back at work.  These last couple of months, I have been catching up on what has been happening, making the managers’ review and restructure programs that require better standard of care, service and workmanship.  We need to understand that all of us play a role in how we build, fix or provide a service and we should be increasing our standards.  I realize that since I have been back, we need to care on how we manage our homes, our services, and our equipment that we are privileged to run. We also need to care about how we treat each other.  For the past month, I have been focused on how we are delivering services, not only how we deliver but with what attitudes, with what standards and with what policies, if any.  So these months, we have focused on housing, on lands, and on child welfare. 

 

We have brought Herman Poorman on board to start as our Property Manager, he was with us as we went through our housing policy, staffing and how best can we serve the Nation’s housing.  As we grow, the needs get more and more complicated and we need some guidance, we need better tools and better workmanship to have the necessary staples of having a roof over our heads.  As we broke from our housing meetings, I felt like we were going in the right direction.  Our members have been asking for change for a long time and have been patient and again I am asking for more patience as Herman begins to implement the new structure.  I know that our members want a housing system that they can count on. 

 

Lots of changes are occurring in the political world with Alberta trying to change its Consultation Policy to better reflect what they want to regulate.  This brings me to the Lands department.  We changed it to better streamline and to bring the structure back in line with the Leadership providing the direction.  We changed it to better reflect the consultation procedures so now it is called the Consultation Office.  With Acting Consultation Officer, Andrew Scott at the head, we believe we can protect, preserve and sustain our Treaty rights, culture and heritage in our traditional lands.  It is important that we do this work as the Canadian and Provincial Governments are trying to eliminate the rights that our Ancestors fought for. 

 

At the same time, our Leadership is trying to build an economy that keeps people working, trying to bring economic stability and trying to build a community with standards of service, quality workmanship, progressive and business like attitudes without out compromising who we are as a people and community. 

 

Christmas is around the corner and we have dates that should be posted on our website, in our newsletter and posters at the band office and store.  Please come share in a Christmas meal and entertainment with us on December 12 at the community centre and pick up your Turkey’s as well.  Also the PCD day is on December 18 and I understand that the staff will be donated to our community children Christmas toys with will be distributed by Councilor Cleon and his helpers. 

 

Thank you to my wife and family, Advisors, Elders, Council and members for your continued support. 

 

Respectfully, Chief Darren Whitford, O’Chiese First Nation

 

 

DECEMBER 2012

 

 

Ah neen!  I hope that everyone had a good holiday, spent time with your families and liked all the food and gifts. For those families traveling, have a safe journey.  Thank you to Councilor Cleon for organizing the employees toy drive for our Nations children, thank you to Conoco for their provisions for our community and thank you to the employees who spent hours organizing events for members and for their peers. In addition, we had meetings that needed to get done like our Board Meetings for our Businesses.  As we have a number of businesses we need a few days to get through them all.  Our Business Centre will be providing an annual report on all the businesses to keep our members informed. 

 

It was an honor to have the Official Opposition Wildrose Leader, Danielle Smith and Joe Anglin visit our community and thank them for taking the time to meet with our Leadership and taking a tour of our Nation and its Assets.  This is the First time that we have had any political party interested in our community, in our way of businesses and the decisions made by Alberta’s government decisions that impact us, such as the Consultation policy.  I also along with Councilor Barry Saulteaux attended a Minister’s Economic meeting arranged and organized by Honorable Robin Campbell.  These sessions were also attended by Treaty 6, 7, & 8 and other Nations.  This event was well attended.  In the New Year, we will be inviting Honorable Robin Campbell and Honorable Diana McQueen.  These two Ministers responsibilities include Aboriginal Relations and Sustainable Resources.

 

I attended Chief’s meetings as well during this month and the big issues on the table are the omnibus bills that Prime Minister Harper is trying to push through, without any consultation, will impact our Treaty and the Indian Act.  These impacts will not be beneficial for our Nation and will cause problems and already other Nations are organizing protests and one Chief is going on a hunger strike.  As Chiefs, we now need to stand together and begin to strategize on how to ensure that our Treaties are intact.

 

Congratulations to the staff Award winners, the Elder and Youth award winners and the Christmas light contest winners!  It is good that we take pride in our members who go above and beyond their employee roles and thank those who recognize and respect each other’s areas of growth and expertise. We have been recognizing our people and staff for almost 9 years and we have grown considerably.  Again Congratulations to all of the winners and to those who had not been recognized yet, you know in your heart that you help contribute to the Nation’s success and growth.  Thank you to the staff, Elders and youth for contributing to your community. 

 

I enjoyed the community and staff Christmas dinner and entertainment.  Thank you to Derric Starlight for making us laugh and good luck to you in your upcoming audition.  The community members especially the little ones sure enjoyed your show.  I also enjoyed the School Christmas concert; our youth are very talented and great job to the teachers.

 

Thank you to my wife and family, Advisors, Elders, Council and members for your continued support. 

 

Darren Whitford, Chief, O’Chiese First Nation