The Gathering At-A-Glance

In the Oji-Cree language of Northern Ontario in Canada, Kuh-ke-nah means “everyone.. together” For Oji-Cree people it describes a traditional network of families living and surviving in the vast wilderness that we now know as the Canadian Shield. Today, Kuh-ke-nah also describes Canada’s SMART First Nations.

The SMART First Nations Demonstration project is a three year initiative led by the Keewaytinook Okimakanak (Northern Chiefs) Council in partnership with the government of Canada that blends community leadership with technological innovation. Together – with everyone – the Kuh-ke-nah First Nations are defining a new network of community development, opportunity and wellness.

During the past ten years, the Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Keewaywin, North Spirit Lake and Poplar Hill First Nations have applied information and communications technologies (ICTs) to build new skills and transfer knowledge, reduce longstanding forms of cultural isolation and physical remoteness and enhance community well-being.

Since 2000, these communities have adopted a SMART approach to ICT development. Each year they’ve identified and implemented new education, health and cultural services. And everyday the people living in the SMART First Nations are showing others how everyone really can be brought together through the use of ICTs.

The Kuh-ke-nah International Indigenous Gathering is the culminating event of the SMART First Nations Project. The Gathering will provide a virtual space for bringing together Indigenous people from around the world to show how they have used information and communications technologies. Participants will demonstrate on-line how they are influencing positive change in their communities by addressing community needs, achieving community development goals, improving community services, supporting cultural expression and building new capacities.

The Kuh-ke-nah Network Hub in Balmertown, Ontario, will host the live-virtual three day conference where lessons learned, good practices and the SMART project outcomes will be shared. On-line and on-site delegates and guests will exchange views and workshop new approaches and alliances. Kuh-ke-nah Chiefs and community ICT champions will show how advanced e-learning, telemedicine and community development applications have been both influenced and supported by Indigenous values and needs.

This conference will appeal to Indigenous ICT workers and policy-makers alike. Community representatives as well as government, academic and industry representatives will make the Kuh-ke-nah SMART International Gathering a diverse and rich experience -- a new world of communities in development.