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Sask. company finds success with clothing inspired by Indigenous hockey tournaments – CTV News

January 14, 2021

SASKATOON — Smudge the Blades clothing was inspired by Indigenous hockey tournaments, says company founder Harlan Kingfisher.

He started the company last fall and now he’s pleased to see hockey fans and even some Olympic and NHL stars sporting the gear.

“Just from playing hockey in these Native tournaments I knew that there would be a market out there to launch a ‘funny saying’ line for hockey,” says Kingfisher.

While growing up on Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Kingfisher played in many First Nations hockey tournaments before getting selected to play junior and college hockey.

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Bridges: Cort Dogniez shifts curriculum and perspective – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

“That has resonated with me, throughout my 41 years — it’s always that idea of developing an environment that is safe, inclusive, welcoming and respectful.”

Jan 14, 2021

It’s easy for Cort Dogniez to draw on his roots, considering they run so deep.

For all of his accomplishments after years of working in education, Dogniez sees his success as shared with those who came before him. His family, especially his grandmother, is always with him.

“My grandma grounded me. I was so fortunate that I spent so much time with her, and lived with her too, that I got her stories, her perspectives, her history,” he said. “It grounded me, so that when I speak about Metis perspective, Metis history, and identity, I know where I’m coming from, because I have her stories that support me.”

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New cultural lodges at jails in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert to expand programming – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The four new cultural lodges will be built at the Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert Correctional Centres as well as Kilburn Hall youth centre.

Jan 14, 2021

Cultural programs for provincial inmates in Saskatchewan are expected to expand when four new cultural lodges open at men’s jails and the Kilburn Hall youth centre this year.

The lodges at the Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert Correctional jails and Kilburn Hall in Saskatoon are expected to be completed by the end of June. Tenders for the construction projects were posted late last week.

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Sask. among highest COVID-19 case counts on First Nations nationally – CTV News

REGINA — Saskatchewan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases on First Nations in Canada, according to data released by the federal government on Jan. 12.

On Canadian First Nations, 11,502 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with 2,932 of those cases in Saskatchewan.

Alberta has seen the highest amount of cases on First Nations with 3,754, followed by Manitoba with 3,082 cases of the virus. Ontario has recorded 349 COVID-19 cases on First Nations.

There have been 107 COVID-19 related deaths on First Nations across the country.

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Paykiiwikay,’ Métis Culture Podcast keeps the Michif Language and Culture Alive

OTTAWA, ON, Jan. 12, 2021  – Canadian Geographic and Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) present ‘Paykiiwikay’ Métis Culture Podcast, a new online series exploring the rich Métis culture and Michif language.

Hosted by interdisciplinary Métis artist, mentor and author Leah Dorion, and produced by veteran broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent David McGuffin, the first ten episodes of ‘Paykiiwikay’, which is Michif for “come and visit”, takes listeners on a journey through Métis communities around the province of Saskatchewan.

“Working on ‘Paykiiwikay’ has been one of the highlights of my broadcast career,” said David McGuffin. “I am proud of my Métis roots, which date back to the fur trade.  Like too many Canadians my understanding of the story of the Métis people faded out at the Battle of Batoche and the defeat of Louis Riel. Working with Leah and the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan on this series has opened my eyes to the depth and richness of Métis history, language and culture. I hope our listeners gain as much from listening to this ten part journey, as I did from working on it.”

Relying on her own Métis life experiences, Dorion gets up close and personal with inspirational and diverse guests like Michif educator Russell Fayant, Métis musician and actress Andrea Menard, and Elder Norman Fleury. The range of topics is as varied as the personalities; from the impact of Michif language loss on Métis identity, to Michif cultural expression in the arts and Métis food and cooking.

“I learned so much from our guests about our many different ways of being Métis. Their messages are uplifting and I hope everyone enjoys listening to our conversations. I especially hope our youth get some inspiration from these wonderful cultural leaders in our Métis community,” said Dorion.

‘Paykiiwikay’, will address the very real need to preserve heritage, tradition and Métis identity. “Everything Métis people do is tied to our value systems, beliefs, and respect,” said MN-S Minister of Language, Culture & Heritage, Sherry McLennan, “this podcast series will help teach others about the rich Métis history that is an integral part of the makeup of this province.”

“Canadian Geographic is proud to be a partner of MN-S, and honoured to have been chosen to collaborate on this exciting project,” said Gilles Gagnier, Chief Operating Officer and Publisher of Canadian Geographic. “Through these podcasts, we will share important stories about Métis history, language and culture. We hope you enjoy and share these podcasts with others.”

‘Paykiiwikay’ launches on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 with new episodes released between now and May. They can be streamed on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, and at

Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) is the Government for Métis citizens in the province of Saskatchewan. MN–S represents the political, socioeconomic, cultural and educational interests of some 80,000 Métis through an elected representative system consisting of an Executive,12 Regions and approximately 132 Locals.

Social Media Link: @MNSask, @metisnationsask

The RCGS is dedicated to imparting a broader knowledge and deeper appreciation of Canada — its people and places, its natural and cultural heritage and its environmental, social and economic challenges. The Society is one of Canada’s largest non-profit educational organizations comprising more than 25,000 members from across the country. The RCGS is funded primarily by membership fees and donations. The Society’s Board of Governors and its program committees are composed entirely of volunteers.

For further information: Rena Montgomerie, Senior Communications Officer, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, [email protected], 306-250-1092; Keegan Hoban, Project/Communications Coordinator, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, [email protected] or (877)786-2376 ext. 138


Star Diamond Announces Initial Results from Tenth Bulk Sample Trench of Star – Orion South Diamond Project

  • 8.59, 6.52 (TYPE IIa), 5.09, 4.04 CARAT DIAMONDS

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, January 12, 2021 – Star Diamond Corporation (“Star Diamond” or the “Corporation”) today announced that a total of 3,423 diamonds weighing 199.36 carats have been recovered to date from the tenth (19FALCT006) bulk sample trench excavated on the Star Kimberlite by Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (“Rio Tinto Canada”) in 2019.

“We are pleased by the recovery of four larger 8.59, 6.52 (Type IIa), 5.09, 4.04 carat diamonds from Rio Tinto Canada’s tenth trench,” said Ken MacNeill, President and CEO of Star Diamond. “The initial results from the ten reported trenches continue to validate the grades outlined in our Preliminary Economic Analysis that was based upon Star Diamond’s own prior underground bulk sampling and large diameter drilling programs. The recovery of larger diamonds from Rio Tinto Canada’s bulk sample program, including larger Type IIa diamonds, also continues to strengthen our expectation for recovery of large, high value diamonds in a future producing diamond mine.”

Senior Technical Advisor, George Read, states: “The tenth trench (19FALCT006) has produced a total of 14

diamonds greater than 1 carat namely: 8.59, 6.52, 5.09, 4.04, 2.89, 2.10, 1.99, 1.65, 1.45, 1.44, 1.22, 1.21, 1.20 and 1.08 carats, respectively, and all were recovered from Early Joli Fou (“EJF”) kimberlite. The EJF is the dominant kimberlite unit within the Project in terms of ore volume and diamond grade. The breakdown of the kimberlite intercepted and diamonds recovered to date from trench 19FALCT006 is detailed in the table below.”

Initial diamond stone and grade results for Trench 19FALCT006:

Kimberlite1 Kimberlite Drilled2 Carats3 Grade4 Stones per tonne Largest
Type Intercept (metres) Tonnes (+1 DTC) (cpht) (+1 DTC) (+1 DTC) Stone (ct)
LJF 111.35-120.90 95.57 1.71 1.79 61 0.64 0.28
MJF 120.90-160.30 405.66 25.51 6.29 721 1.78 0.82
EJF 160.30-241.48 889.28 172.14 19.36 2,641 2.97 8.59
Total 130.13 1,390.51 199.36 3,423


  1. Kimberlite Types: LJF: Late Joli Fou Kimberlite; MJF: Mid Joli Fou Kimberlite; EJF: Early Joli Fou Kimberlite. The LJF was not included in the Star Diamond PEA mineral resource estimate
  2. The excavated tonnes are calculated using theoretical trench volumes and core pilot hole dry densities provided by Rio Tinto Canada. These are equivalent to dry tonnes
  3. Commercial diamonds are defined as diamonds that will not pass through a +1 DTC screen, which has round apertures of 1.09 millimetres
  4. cpht: diamond grade in carats per hundred tonnes

Star Diamond has now publicly reported initial results from all ten bulk sample trenches excavated by Rio Tinto Canada in 2019. Until all required work is completed, including critically important comprehensive diamond breakage studies, complete sample processing and the necessary audits of the work, the processing, diamond recovery and reporting of all diamond results on these ten bulk sample trenches is not complete. Once all required work is complete, a summary of the diamond results from the ten trenches will be reported.

As previously disclosed by Star Diamond, Rio Tinto Canada has provided a binding undertaking (the “Undertaking”), which was relied upon by the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan (Judicial Centre of Saskatoon) (the “Court”) in its August 10, 2020 decision involving the ongoing litigation between Star Diamond and Rio Tinto Canada. Pursuant to the Undertaking, Rio Tinto Canada has agreed that it will not call and/or conduct any meeting of the management committee under the joint venture agreement between Star Diamond and Rio Tinto Canada for a period of 120 days following Rio Tinto Canada completing the processing, diamond recovery and reporting of all diamond results on the samples previously taken from the ten bulk sample trenches excavated by Rio Tinto Canada in 2019. Star Diamond will vigorously resist any attempt by Rio Tinto Canada to resile from its obligations pursuant to the Undertaking.

Initial diamond results reported in this news release are based on diamond recovery processing conducted by the Saskatchewan Research Council through Geoanalytical Laboratories Diamond Services located in Saskatoon Saskatchewan (the “SRC”). Primary recovery processing consisted of X-ray transmission (XRT) sorting, X-ray luminescence (XRL), magnetic separation and grease table recovery methods. The SRC is an independent mineral processing facility which is accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard by the Standards Council of Canada as a testing laboratory for specific tests.

About Star Diamond Corporation

Star Diamond Corporation is a Canadian based corporation engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties. Shares of the Corporation trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “DIAM”. The Corporation’s Fort à la Corne kimberlites (including the Star – Orion South Diamond Project) are located in central Saskatchewan in close proximity to established infrastructure, including paved highways and the electrical power grid, which provide significant advantages for future mine development. During 2018, the Corporation announced the positive results of an independent Preliminary Economic Analysis (the “PEA”) on the Project. The PEA estimated that 66 million carats of diamonds could be recovered in a surface mine over a 38-year Project life, with a Net Present Value (“NPV”) (7%) of $2.0 billion after tax, an Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) of 19% and an after-tax payback period of 3.4 years after the commencement of diamond production (see news release dated April 16, 2018).

All technical information in this press release has been prepared under the supervision of George Read, Senior Technical Advisor, a registered Professional Geoscientist in the Provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia and Mark Shimell, Project Manager, a registered Professional Geoscientist in the Province of Saskatchewan, who are the Corporation’s “Qualified Persons” under the definition of NI 43-101.

For further information: [email protected] or (306)


Coconut Software providing free software to support COVID vaccination for First Nations communities in Canada

SASKATOON, SK, Jan. 11, 2021 – Coconut Software, the leading provider of customer engagement solutions for the banking and credit union industry, has announced that they’ll be providing their appointment booking software completely free of charge to any First Nations communities in Canada in order to provide COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We believe it is critical to help First Nations communities battle against the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s imperative that we help ensure vaccinations are scheduled in a timely manner.” states Katherine Regnier, CEO of Coconut Software.

Coconut Software will equip these communities with software to quickly schedule, measure and manage in-person vaccine appointments. Individuals will simply visit an online scheduling link and select the most convenient date and time slot. The solution will also provide community groups with the ability to add in custom questions to be answered during the appointment booking process, as well as reminders through SMS and emails for upcoming appointments.

“The orchestration of the vaccine deployment to keep our healthcare workers and communities safer is something Coconut can help with – we’re thrilled to do our part.”

Interested First Nations groups should email [email protected] for further information.

About Coconut Software:

Coconut Software is a leading provider of customer engagement solutions for modern banks and credit unions and is backed by investments from Conexus Venture Capital Fund, Information Venture Partners, SaskWorks Venture Fund, Bay Partners, ScaleUp Ventures, PIC Investment Group, with additional financing by CIBC. By providing technology that elevates the customer experience while improving operational efficiencies, Coconut’s solutions consistently improve satisfaction scores, decrease churn, and increase sales.

For further information: Elissa Riddell, Director, Marketing, [email protected]


Cuthand: 2020 was challenging, and 2021 promises change – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The upcoming year has a list of events with the potential to make changes in Indian Country.

The common theme is that 2020 was a terrible year and one of the worst on record. However, while we can look back on a challenging year, we also look back on a year where we rose to the challenge and settled into a new reality where materialism meant less and family and community mattered more.

In Indian Country, we went into a lockdown and the reserves implemented roadblocks limiting the number of people coming and going. In the north many people chose to go out on the land as their approach to social distancing.

But we can’t avoid the irony of the times. First the public was told to hunker down, stay at home and practise social distancing. The attraction of some politicians to the warmth of the Caribbean or the United States was met with disgust and in the end, resignations and demotions.

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Support comes far and wide for 10-year-old Sask. Indigenous student shamed over ribbon skirt – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Jan 08, 2021

Isabella Kulak, a member of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, wore her ribbon skirt to school last month when it held a formal day before Christmas break.

Chris Kulak says his 10-year-old daughter, Isabella, thinks it might be time for a new downstairs closet to hold all the ribbon skirts arriving from around the world.

The brightly patterned handmade skirts adorned with bands of ribbon are worn by Indigenous women during ceremonies and as an expression of cultural pride — something the Grade 5 student has touched off in others after a bad experience at her school.

Isabella, a member of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, wore her ribbon skirt to school last month when it held a formal day before Christmas break.

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COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey Phase II


In the spring of 2020, CCAB, in collaboration with the COVID-19 Indigenous Business Response Taskforce, undertook a preliminary survey to understand the impacts of the pandemic on Indigenous Businesses across Canada. The initial COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey results have been used to inform CCAB programs and Government response plans to ensure relevant timely support for Indigenous businesses. Updated information is needed to understand ongoing vulnerabilities as well as the early stages of recovery.

It has now been over six months since the first COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey, and the pandemic continues to disproportionately impact Indigenous businesses and communities across Canada. CCAB is undertaking this follow-up research to understand current impacts of the pandemic, impact of government supports, as well as crucial business needs.

This survey is open to Indigenous businesses that previously participated in the COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey and those who did not. If you completed the initial survey, we thank you for your contribution to this important project but kindly ask that you re-enter your owner and business details.

It is equally important that we hear from Indigenous business owners who have closed their business since the onset of the pandemic, either temporarily or permanently. Your experiences can help inform policy to support businesses at risk of permanent closure.

Please complete the Survey here COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey

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