2010-2011 Annual Report
Written by Fort William First Nation - January 4, 2012
Message from the Chief On behalf of the Chief and Council of Fort William First Nation, I am pleased to present our first annual report for the fiscal year 2010-2011. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our current funding partners, the Federal and Provincial governments, who without their commitments we could not provide the programs and services to our Band membership.
I want to thank the management and the staff for their hard work and dedication in meeting our many challenges during the year. To my team, the Band Council, without your direction and your ability to meet the needs of our people, we could not have accomplished what we did this year. Thank you.
During the past year, we had two historic events take place. The visit and the announcement by Minister Duncan and Minster Gravelle that the negotiators for the Boundary specific claim have resolved all differences and an offer to settle has been made for both the Boundary and the Neebing Claims. In March the First Nation was able to make an distribution to the entire membership from the Neebing claim. I want to continue to work toward a partnership with all the First Nations in Northern Ontario doing business in our tradition territories, especially in the City of Thunder Bay. I am pleased that the Mayor acknowledged that the city is in the traditional territory of Fort William First Nation. We look forward to much social and economic development of our First Nation to meet the needs and aspirations of our members in the future.
Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins stated, “This is another historic day for Fort William First Nation and its members. Our people have always asserted that these lands belong to Fort William First Nation, and now the AbitibiBowater Sawmill lands are fully and properly recognized as a part of the Fort William First Nation Reserve.”
Message from the CEO
I introduce to you the theme of this report “Respecting the Past and Embracing the Future”. We believe it is important to take a look back and remember all those who worked tirelessly for our benefit today. This is an opportunity to honour our past leadership, our elders, our grandparents and parents. As we reflect on the past, we can show our gratitude to the Fort William First Nation members who fought for the rights and freedoms that we now enjoy. They made the difficult decisions and provided the community with a foundation that ensured future generations will prosper.
Fort William Days are being reintroduced and provide the community with time for members to gather, share stories, celebrate accomplishments and prepare for the future. This is the opportunity for Fort William First Nation staff to share progress reports and provide members with information. We will continue to plan this annual forum to allow us as management and staff to meet with members to create plans based on community feedback. I hope you take this opportunity to participate, provide input and celebrate your achievements.
This is an extremely busy time for all staff of Fort William First Nation. At this time, I wish to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the community and members. Staff and management have worked diligently, moving forward together, reorganizing operations, making necessary changes, and creatively finding ways to accommodate the needs of membership. I have been impressed with staff that is always ready and willing to take on even more responsibilities.
I would like to acknowledge the Elders of Fort William First Nation. These respected community members have wisdom as a result of facing all of life challenges and we look to them for the necessary guidance and advice.
Their ability to silently listen and offer themselves in times of need is a valuable resource for us to draw upon. Elders words and prayers are needed to give us the strength we need as we move forward.
Further, it is important to acknowledge the commitment and the vision of the Chief and Council of Fort William First Nation. Chief and Council continue to demonstrate strong leadership. They have successfully negotiated land claim settlements, built strong partnerships with industry, improved economic development opportunities while ensuring the needs of the community are met.
Since joining the Fort William First Nation team I have participated in many discussions, at Council meetings, staff meetings and with individual members. The message that I have heard is that we must all work together to ensure that children are provided with a brighter future. I have heard also that as we look at the past and plan for the future, we must stay committed and continuously remind ourselves that it is our sacred obligation to ensure a safe and prosperous community for all to enjoy.
The future is exciting for the community and as we gather and meet to create a vision for days to come, we must continue listening to our membership. The unity of our decisions will make us stronger as we are faced with new challenges. With your ongoing support we welcome the challenges ahead.