First Nation chief included in warden’s election ceremony for first time

Aamjiwnaang First Nation Chief Joanne Rogers continues to break new ground.

On Wednesday, Rogers – who became the first female chief of Aamjiwnaang First Nation this summer – also became the first local chief to preside over a warden’s election in the 168-year history of Lambton County.

“We searched the records and we couldn’t find any evidence of a self-identified member of a First Nation presiding over a warden’s election,” county solicitor David Cribbs said. Read More


Young activist is on the front lines of First Nations’ fight against pipelines

Vanessa Gray’s hand shakes as she talks about the prison sentence dangling over her head.

The 23-year-old activist says she’s “a little scared,” but also hopeful she won’t be convicted of mischief endangering life when her case goes to trial next year. Crown prosecutors charged Gray and two others last December after they allegedly sabotaged a pipeline in Sarnia.

If convicted, the three could serve time in a federal penitentiary.

Gray, who hails from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Southern Ontario, was at McGill University last week speaking about her fight against Canada’s energy industry. Read More.


Joanne Rogers first woman elected chief of Aamjiwnaang First Nation

Voters at Aamjiwnaang First Nation made history Friday by electing their first female chief.

Joanne Rogers was elected to a two-year term, with 431 of the 593 votes cast for chief of the band council for the First Nation neighbouring Sarnia.

“I’m excited,” she said.

“It’s a new journey for me.”

Rogers, who is a life-long resident of Aamjiwnaang, retired in 2014 after serving 21 years as a Justice of the Peace.

Prior to that, the SCITS graduate had served on council and also held positions with the band, including clerk, stenographer and receptionist.

Over the years, Rogers has attended courses at Lambton College and Queen’s University.

“I’ve always been involved in the community, and sat on numerous committees,” she said.

“I’ve always, always cared about my community.”

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New Aamjiwnaang greenhouse goes back to the future

A project to enhance and restore the plants and trees that historically grew in Sarnia-Lambton is underway in a new greenhouse at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

The joint venture between the band’s Environment Department and Return the Landscape will result in the sale of plant native to the Carolinian zone of southwestern Ontario.

Kyle Williams, the operation’s greenhouse technician, said he’s been playing in Aamjiwnaang’s woods and collecting seeds from its wild spaces since he was a boy. Read More.


Wheels to Lambton program in motion

Judith Morris has seen the issue come up constantly.

The president and CEO of Lambton College, who previously worked at Sault College in Northern Ontario, said they’ve issued surveys to find out the main reasons Aboriginal students were either not attending classes or were dropping out of school.

“In every single survey of the top three issues, transportation was (ranked) one or two,” Morris said.

Which is why a collaboration of local First Nations communities, Lambton College, industry members and workforce development has come up with a program to shuttle students to post-secondary classrooms. Read More.

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First Nations lead protest against pollution in Ontario’s Chemical Valley

Hundreds of climate activists marched in a ‘Toxic Tour’ through a bleak industrial landscape on the edge of Ontario that is a frontline in Canada’s climate wars.

They were gathered to support the tiny Aamjiwnaang First Nation, whose traditional territory lies near an area known as “Chemical Valley” — a 15 square-mile area in Sarnia, where over 40 per cent of Canada’s chemical industry is based. Nearly 60 oil refineries and factories are crammed into an industrial strip overlooking the St. Clair River. Read More.

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Future engineers have fun at Aamjiwnaang First Nation camp

Simulated earthquakes, levitating water balloons and an opportunity to play with electrical circuits.  Not exactly your typical day at summer camp.

But for a group of 23 Aamjiwnaang First Nation students, that’s exactly what their five days of camp looked like as they channeled their inner engineers while learning about science, technology, engineering and math in a relaxed and interactive setting.

The elementary school aged students took part in Engineering Science Quest’s annual Summer Science Camp, which took place at the Aamjiwnaang Community Centre from July 6 to 10. Read More.

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54th Annual Aamjiwnaang First Nation Pow Wow

Come celebrate this Native American Cultural Celebration with us! Gates open at 10 am both days with a beautiful display of Native dancing & singing beginning at 12 noon both Saturday & Sunday lasting until sundown. Also available will be Native food vendors, craft vendors, crafts and listen to music. Remodeled Pow Wow Grounds & Facilities. More information.


First Nations CN rail blockade continues

SARNIA – As a large crowd gathered at Sarnia City Hall Monday morning for a rally and march in support of the Idle No More movement, city officials were working to end a blockade of a CN rail spur line near the Aamjiwnaang First Nation industrial park.

The blockade began Friday in support of the national movement.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley met Monday morning with Police Chief Phil Nelson and other city officials over the issue.

“Phil and myself were asked to visit the protest yesterday, which we did,” Bradley said. Read More.