OTTAWA — Keewaytinook Okimakanak, a chiefs council in Northwestern Ontario, is receiving $3.75 million from FedNor, the federal economic development agency for Northern Ontario.
It will use the funding to build new multi-purpose training, art, cultural and entrepreneurial centres in each of the six remote First Nations that it represents.
Community centres that include training and education space will be constructed in each of Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Poplar Hill, North Spirit Lake, Keewaywin and McDowell Lake First Nations.
Patty Hajdu, the minister of Indigenous Services and minister responsible for FedNor, made the announcement Monday in recognition of National Indigenous History Month.
Hajdu also announced $342,000 for Lac Seul First Nation to support the planning and implementation phases of a bioenergy pilot project.
The First Nation is purchasing biomass boilers to reduce its reliance on diesel fuel for heat and power.
It's hoped that the project can be replicated and scaled to meet the needs of other remote communities.
Elsewhere in Northwestern Ontario, Grand Council Treaty # 3 will receive $214,000 from FedNor to determine the state of the region's commercial fishery, and opportunities for future development.
The project is expected to create or maintain 30 commercial fishers and create 10 jobs in processing and value-added positions, plus five jobs in marketing, delivery and retail sales.
Naciatchewenin First Nation in the Rainy River district will use a $163,000 FedNor contribution to develop detailed designs for a new culture and learning centre to be used for community training in partnership with the Seven Generations Education Institute, Ontario Works initiatives, and other vocational and training programs.
Hajdu also announced FedNor funding for a number of Indigenous-led initiatives in Northeastern Ontario.