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News From the North

Nunavut

RANKIN INLET, Nunavut - Private health care is on its way to Nunavut.

Inuit-owned management company Piruqsaijit, Ltd. plans to open the territories' first laser mammography clinic. Tests will cost approximately $200, based on the patient's ability to pay.

Efforts are being made to have the territorial government include mammography exams in its health care plan, according to CBC-North.

Company spokesperson Hilary Rebeiro said she hopes Piruqsaijit will make its laser mammography clinic available to women in other areas of Canada where the service is currently unavailable. She said the company has already been contacted by women as far away as Toronto that will make the trip north for the examinations.

The clinic is expected to open in January 2003.

Indian Affairs and Northern development

OTTAWA - Minster Robert Nault reinstated the First Nations Governance Bill (C-7) and the Specific Claims Resolution Bill (C-6) on Oct. 9 after debate on the controversial legislation was delayed by the summer recess in the House of Commons.

The government contends Bill C-7 "would enable First Nations to create community governance systems designed to reflect their needs."

The bill is almost universally opposed by the First Nations who see it as an attack on sovereignty and paternalistic attempt at maintaining control. Several native organizations, including the Assembly of First Nations, have organized demonstrations and protests against the bill.

Bill C-6 seeks to establish an independent claims body to replace the current Specific Claims Commission. Ottawa says the new body will be more efficient and resolve the scores of unresolved and historical claims across the country.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

TORONTO - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip concluded their tour of Canada in Toronto on Oct.10. Official events included meeting with representatives of the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario.

The community brought several historical objects from the reserve's Royal chapel. These items include a communion plate donated by Queen Anne in 1711, a Bible donated by Queen Victoria in 1842 and a silver chalice presented to the Mohawks by the current monarch during a visit in 1984.

"We recall, with great honor, the political and military bond of mutual affection the alliance that has marked the relationship between the Mohawk people and the British and Canadian Crown for the past three centuries," said Mohawk Chief Donald Maracle. Maracle also thanked the Queen for the generous donations Prince Charles has made for the restoration of their community church.

Tyendinaga, also known as Joseph Brant, was a Mohawk chief during the American Revolution who allied with the Crown against the colonists. Following the American victory, Brant and his followers resettled in what is know the Canadian province of Ontario.

Blood Tribe

STANDOFF, Alberta - Local homes and schools have been sprayed by drive-by paintball shootings in what the Canadian Press and local police are calling "a deliberate and targeted attack against aboriginal people" on the Blood Tribe Reserve near Glenwood, Alberta.

Three non-native teenagers were charged with hate crimes because the normally minor mischief was directed at an identifiable group and may have included racial slurs. Amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada in the past few years have made this type of behavior a criminal offense.

The Blood Tribe is located about 130 miles southeast of Calgary.

Yukon

WHITEHORSE, Yukon - The Yukon Department of Education is concerned that many First Nations and rural high school students do not see university degrees in their futures.

The territorial government released a survey on Oct. 10 showing only 38 percent of native students are expected to complete a degree program as opposed to 67 percent for non-native students.

Educators say high dropout rates, alcoholism and family violence that have plagued the Yukon for generations prevent many youths from graduating high school.

The fact that many students must travel to Whitehorse from remote communities and live away from their families while completing high school is another factor lowering graduation rates, according to Liz Bosely of the First Nations Access Program at Yukon College.

"When people are raised in that type of environment I think that it's pretty detrimental toward them continuing their post-secondary education," Bosely told the Canadian Press.