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First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative

Lac Seul First Nation, Municipality of Sioux Lookout, and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, ON

  Lac Seul First Nation (consists of four communities) Municipality of Sioux Lookout Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug
Population


 Frenchmen's Head: 450
Kejick Bay: 300
Whitefish Bay: 150
Canoe River: 2
Off-reserve: 2,327

5,037

995 on-reserve
443 off-reserve

Regional Population/ Service Area

Sioux Lookout is an important service hub for First Nations across northwestern Ontario.  For example, the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre offers health care services to over 30,000 people in 32 communities. These communities include Sioux Lookout, 28 Nishnawbe Aski communities (mostly northern and remote), Lac Seul First Nation, and residents of Pickle Lake and Savant Lake.

Connection trumps distance in this relationship. Two of the CEDI communities - Sioux Lookout and LacSeul First Nation - are 30 km apart, while their partner, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), is 400 km farther north and accessible only by airplane or winter road. The communities have focused on each partner's strengths to increase access to healthy food in northern communities.

Major industries and economic drivers

Economic drivers in the area are commercial and public services, tourism, lumber and the health care sector.

History of the relationship

Even though Lac Seul First Nation and Sioux Lookout signed a Friendship Accord (developed through FCM's Community Infrastructure Partnership Program) in 2012, the communities cited racism as an ongoing problem.

CEDI's focus

The communities identified two priorities:

  • Developing a Regional Distribution Centre at the Sioux Lookout airport to provide food and other supplies to remote First Nations communities farther north.

  • Improving communication and relationships among the partner communities.

Milestones

November 2013

Needs Assessment workshop is completed.

April 2014

Relationship-Building and Strategic Planning workshops are completed.

June 2014

Chief Clifford Bull of Lac Seul First Nation and former Mayor of Sioux Lookout, Dennis Leney, are featured on a First Nations - municipal panel at FCM's Annual Conference and Trade Show in Niagara Falls, ON.

July 2014

The three communities' Economic Development Officers submit a joint proposal for a Regional Distribution Centre project to Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and FedNor. It requests funds for a feasibility study and hiring of a coordinator.

September 2014

Lac Seul First Nation and Sioux Lookout celebrate their regional collaboration by jointly hosting Ke-ondaatiziying, a regional economic development conference focused on First Nations.

 

The three communities sign a contribution agreement with CEDI to do capacity-building and a study tour. The grant is worth $48,000.

November 2014

Sysco, a large food distributor in Winnipeg, welcomes elected officials from the CEDI communities for a tour of its facility.

January 2015

A project coordinator and consulting firm are hired to work on a feasibility study for the Regional Distribution Centre.

February 2015

FedNor Minister Greg Rickford announces $81,500 to support the feasibility study, adding to funds already supplied by CEDI and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

May 2015

A first-ever meeting of Chiefs and regional Mayors convenes more than 16 communities at Lac Seul First Nation to discuss the feasibility study.

July 2015

At a meeting in Sioux Lookout, the consulting firm presents a final draft of the feasibility study to the three communities.

September 2015

The feasibility study's final report says the dream requires:

 

  • Construction of a 10,000-square-foot distribution centre in Sioux Lookout complete with office space and refrigeration.
  • A $1.5-million investment.
  • Other partners or means of funding to cover the cost of operations and shipping to the site.

December 2015

Creewest GP Inc. signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lac Seul First Nation and KI to build a Regional Distribution-Northern Logistics Centre at Sioux Lookout's regional airport.

 

Federal Indigenous and Northern Affairs officials, in conjunction with Agri-Foods and Health Canada, reach out to the partners to discuss how they can support the Regional Distribution Centre.  

 

The head of the Northwestern Health Unit agrees to help with marketing of the Centre and to partner with the CEDI communities to develop specifics of a food subsidy program.

Page Updated: 18/04/2016