Bearskin Lake First Nation
Wednesday, MAY 28, 2003
Bearskin Lake First Nation
Sustainable Communities Initiative Proposal
1. Community Vision or Challenge
Bearskin Lake is an isolated First Nation located 430 km north of Sioux Lookout in
Northwestern Ontario. It is off the road and linked to the south only by air or, in winter,
by winter road. The community has a growing population (currently about 420 on
reserve) and, consequently, growing economic needs. While traditional land uses
(trapping, hunting, fishing and gathering) are widespread, many people, especially the
younger generation, are increasingly interested in exploring new economic opportunities
while maintaining a balance with traditional pursuits. At the same time, outside interests
(such as junior mining companies and prospectors) are beginning to appear on the
Bearskin Lake finds itself therefore on the verge of an exciting opportunity. With the
wealth of potential its traditional lands promise for both new and traditional activities,
and its need to develop new economic opportunities, the community is set to play an
active role in determining the future uses of its lands.
Bearskin Lake First Nation began a Resource Development Program in November 2002.
An advisory board made-up of community members is working with two staff as they
consult with the community to create a five-year Land and Resource Use Strategy. The
Strategy will outline the known resources on Bearskin Lake’s Traditional Lands, describe
how have they been traditionally used, and provide some direction on how economic
development may occur through resource development. It will give all players -
government, industry, and community members – an outline of Bearskin Lake’s
expectations for the use of its lands. The Strategy may include, among others:
• Maps of traditional land uses and the areas which should be protected, how, and
• Maps of existing outside land uses such as staked claims and a provincial park
• Maps containing the findings of five commissioned resource potential studies
• Opportunities in the area of mining, forestry, tourism, energy and commercial
• An updated Economic Development Strategy for Bearskin Lake First Nation
• Subject to the wishes of the people, a plan to initiate (or expand) any or all of
the following on Bearskin Lake’s traditional lands: mining, forestry, tourism,
energy, and/or commercial fishing.
• Employment and training needs and opportunities
• Joint venture opportunities
• Small business establishment
• Criteria for assessing the impacts of any major development
• Guidelines and procedures for outside companies interested in working on
Bearskin Lake’s traditional lands (e.g., environmental protection, hiring of
community members, use of services available in the community).
We will use computer-generated maps for planning, community consultation and
decision-making starting with extensive interviews of community trappers and other
harvesters. Through this work, Bearskin Lake First Nation hopes to protect its traditional
lands, and harvesting activities, while creating more employment in our community.
2. Leadership Commitment
A Band Council Resolution from the Chief and Council is attached.
3. Project Manager and Back up
As well as the Chief, there are three people directly involved in the resource development
X, Band Liaison
X is a Head Councillor for the Bearskin Lake First Nation. He has the Resource
X, Resource Development Co-ordinator
X is currently working with X on the mapping, community consultation, and
fundraising for the Land and Resource Use Strategy.
X, Assistant Resource Development Co-ordinator
X is working with X on the Values Mapping, Land and Resource Use Strategy
and searching for funding.
The Backup Plan:
There will be two people trained in GIS. If one of them becomes unavailable while
working on the project, the other trainee will take over and another will be trained.
4. Pilot Project
The key to the community consultation is an extensive mapping project. Sixty
community members will spend two days with an interviewer to mark a range of things
on a map and elaborate their cultural, historical or ecological meaning. Subjects will
• Lake and river names
• Place names
• The stories and legends behind the names
• Places of historic/cultural significance such as
o Burial grounds
o Places where people were born
o Meeting places
o Other important places
• Locations of harvesting activities including:
o Fishing areas
o Species and quantities harvested
o Time of year for different harvesting activities
• Tent frames
• Skidoo trails
• Winter travel routes
• Summer travel routes
• Canoe routes
• Locations of important medicinal plants and when they can be gathered
• Ecologically sensitive areas including:
o Fish spawning
o Migration routes
o Calving areas
• Places where the community used to meet
• Other important places
Once all of this information has been marked on paper maps, it will need to be compiled
and analyzed using Geographic Information Systems. The project staff will work with
elders to identify their areas and the intensity and time of year of their use, and to
translate, prepare and print a digital map of the traditional lands, which cover an area
greater than 35,000 km2.
They will also plot other land uses such as traplines, park boundaries, reserve boundaries,
winter roads, and staked claims. Finally, the information from the mineral, energy,
tourism, fishery, and forest resource surveys will also be plotted.
The end result will be a dynamic, multilayered and organic electronic document that will
have planning applications immediately and in the future, as well as being an important
historic and cultural document for the people of Bearskin Lake First Nation. The
planning objectives may include:
• To provide a local focus for development and employment using physical and
• To prepare a Land and Resource Use Strategy for Bearskin Lake First Nation’s
• To negotiate Provincial and Federal planning objectives into this strategy in a
manner which achieves both First Nation and provincial requirements.
• To provide for the planned transition between community traditional uses to a
combination of new and traditional uses in a manner which preserves the best of
the past and provides a sustainable vision for the future.
• To address policies and licensing requirements in plan development.
Approximate Project Timeline
Establish Advisory Board November 2002
Board Training Dec 2002-June 2003
Design & execute, Land-use Mapping Jan-September 2003
GIS project start May 2003
Plan & execute Community Education Feb-June 2003
Design, execute, analyze Community Res. Dev. survey March-December 2003
Write Land and Resource Use Strategy To July 2004
6.Training and Deployment
Two project staff including X will be participating in the training.
X, Assistant Resource Development Co-ordinator, is currently working on the Resource
Development Project. An extra position, “GIS Technician”, has been incorporated into
the master project workplan.
X has developed the advisory board and is working on the mapping project,
communicating with the community, and researching for funding, all of which will
culminate in the five-year Land and Resource Use Strategy. He has also hunted, fished
and trapped in the traditional lands, received prospector training, and worked in fire
fighting, and tourism.
The second position will be posted as a GIS Technician. When the funding is in place.
We will seek a candidate with appropriate qualifications, including academic, computer
ESRI Canada will provide training in Winnipeg, MB
Introduction to ArcGIS I (for ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo 8)
The course introduces students to ArcGIS and provides the foundation for becoming a
successful ArcView, ArcEditor, or ArcInfo user. Participants learn how to use ArcMap,
ArcCatalog, and ArcToolbox and explore how these applications work together to
provide a complete GIS software solution. This course covers fundamental GIS
concepts, as well as how to create, edit, and geo-reference spatial data. Attendees learn
how to manipulate tabular data, query a GIS database, and present data clearly and
efficiently using maps and charts.
This course also provides students with the fundamental ArcGIS knowledge and
experience needed to enroll in Introduction to ArcGIS II (for ArcView, ArcEditor, and
ArcInfo 8) as well as several other ESRI courses.
Lake Superior First Nations Development Trust:
When trainees finish the Introduction to ArcGIS I in Winnipeg, they will be receive field
experience in a job placement in Thunder Bay at the Lake Superior First Nations
A 4-day training workshop will be held with X and one other person at the Lake Superior
First Nations Development Trust office in Thunder Bay June 19 – 22 in order to establish
a Bearskin Lake First Nation Traditional and Contemporary Values & Knowledge
collection and mapping framework. This framework will ensure that the project visions
of the community are appropriately addressed and built into a template for data
compilation and analysis which is specific to Bearskin Lake and the data sets which will
utilized and created. A draft Terms of Reference for the values collection project will be
created for Simon and one other person to take back the community for approval and
provide a blueprint to follow.
The training period is known as: COLLECTING & DATA BASING TRADITIONAL
ECOSYSTEM KNOWLEDGE. Training will provide Simon and one other person with a
strong base of skills, knowledge and datasets from which to take to their community and
undertake the project. Data Coding sheets and tables, Interview questionnaires and
working with TEK values within an ArcView environment will be covered. Training will
be undertaken utilizing the NTDB 1:250,000 base which will be brought by Simon and a
session will be held to demonstrate how to utilize the NTDB codes to rendering the data
prior to data collection and input. A sample values collection and input phase will be used
with fictitious TEK data. Rendering and symbolizing the values and hardcopy
production will also be incorporated during the training program.
Cost for this training program will be $x a day for a total of $x (for X and one other
person it will be $x) which includes preparation of training materials, use of GIS
workstations, printers and plotters (including hardcopy production). Lunch will be
After the training period X will be supported through phone, email and fax and
subsequent face to face visits by X to Bearskin or Simon returning to Thunder Bay.
When the trainees return to the community their work will receive support from two
sources. David Mackett of the Lake Superior First Nations Development Trust will act as
a GIS mentor to make sure the GIS technicians get the support they need at the beginning
of the process. They will also receive support from a Land Use Planner who is familiar
with this project and has been working with us in this Land Use Study. He has extensive
experience in land use planning for resource development with First Nations.
7. Elements of the SCI Program Useful to the Community
a. A continuing dialogue to understand the community’s requirements
b. Computer systems upgrade if required (for geo-spatial, internet, decision-support
c. Access to data, i.e. identify sources and method of acquisition
d. The design of a pilot project to meet major requirements of the community
e. Training of members of the community in the context of the project
f. Advice regarding the development of partnerships and opportunities
g. The dissemination of knowledge gained among members of the community, and
to other communities.
Budget Part 1: SCI Contribution
Workstation (Compaq Pentium lV w. 19”
Large format digitizer
Software ESRI ArcView 8.3 (x2)
Training Introduction to ArcGIS tuition (x2)
Introduction to ArcGIS travel and
Custom training (LSFNDT) tuition
Custom training travel and accommodation
Expertise Technical support
Technical support travel and accommodation
Budget Part 2: Community Contribution
Rent, Phone, Internet, Heating, Support staff, in-kind
Hardware (2 computers, 2 printers) in-kind
Budget Part 3: Partnership Contribution
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund (NOHFC) and FedNor have indicated an interest in
supporting this project. It is expected that NOHFC will be the primary funder for this
project and we are working on a detailed proposal. NOHFC will fund the two GIS
Technicians salaries and the mentor.
FedNor has indicated interest in supporting specific projects components especially the
extra GIS cost, incurred beyond the $x from Sustainable Communities Initiative. These
are: map printer, light table, scanner digitizer mount base, consumable costs, user support
package and freight. We have divided the equipment between SCI and FedNor in such a
way that the SCI grant covers the equipment essential to start the project.
We are confident that with NOHFC and FedNor will support our work and we are also
pursuing other source of funding as a backup (eg. HRDC). Should we experience a delay
in securing the NOHFC & FedNor funding, we will also delay spending the SCI grant
until all the required pieces are in place.
Hardware: Map Printer
Digitizer Mount Base
Consumable Supply Cost
Drafting Clinic HP/DC User Support Package
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporaton
Geographical Information System Technicians
Ministry of Natural Resources is providing the base data for free.
Bearskin Lake First Nation agrees to Sustainable Communities Initiative to submit a
Progress Report, every 6 months and as well as the Final Report.
10. Communications & Acknowledgements
Bearskin Lake First Nation agrees to maximize communication opportunities and to
coordinate communications in this project. Upon commencement of the project, a
communications strategy will be established with the agreement of SCI. This will
include public acknowledgement of SCI support by various methods such as including its
logo on all newsletters and notices, community radio announcements, and other.
11. Financial Administration
Bearskin Lake First Nation will maintain the invoices and payments for services, data and
equipment acquired. Bearskin Lake First Nation will provide financial statements as
12. Willingness to share with other Communities
Bearskin Lake First Nation agrees to share their results and experiences with others
facing similar situations. It is understood that Bearskin Lake First Nation may wish to
keep some types of information private. With the above understanding, Bearskin Lake
First Nation undertakes to provide the SCI Project Office with a copy of material to be
posted on the Sustainable Communities Web Site.