The KOFN’s short and long term goals are to:
- Establish Economic Sustainability Strategy
- Establish Practical Sovereignty through Community Owned Businesses
- Integrate Economic Development and Community Capacity Development
- Create employment and Business opportunities for greater community benefits
In order to attain the above goals, KOFN intends to complete the following specific project tasks as the first step:
- Complete the construction of Community Business Center
- Perform Feasibility Analysis for establishing community owned Destination Resort and Ojibway National Park
- Establish community owned Destination Resort
There are basically two components in the operations level of Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nations, one being the administration component, which comprises the programs and services provided to the community and members. The other is the First Nation’s economic development officer which includes assisting membership in pursuing business ventures, and management of band-owned businesses and partnerships. This component also includes First Nation’s planning and development of businesses to provide opportunities to the membership for employment and business prospects. The other segment is liaising and providing assistance to existing businesses to enhance their viability in their marketplace. The various First Nation’s programs and services, and business interests are detailed in the attached organization chart.
At present, the community is directed by its Chief and Council who provides strategic dimension and advisory support to every economic undertaking. Chief and Council is continuously charged with willingness to improve the standard of living of KOFN community members and welcomes every new idea that holds potential to foster the economic lives of its members. Chief and Council strives to identify various opportunities available on and off reserve that could prove beneficial for the community economic development. The construction of Community Business Center too was started under the mentorship of Chief Norman Bone and the completion of the same is the prime concern of the leadership at present.
The Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation (KOFN) has had a number of names in the past. When its forefathers signed Treaty 2 in 1871, it was called the Riding Mountain Band, a title based on the location where the people lived. Before Keeseekoowenin became Chief in about 1874, it was also called Okanase’s Band and Mekis’ Band. The Keeseekoowenin First Nation has three reserves. The largest reserve, Indian Reserve (IR) 61, is located adjacent to the village of Elphinstone, about 80 kilometers northwest of Brandon, Manitoba. The next in size is IR 61A, on the shores of Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. A third and smaller reserve, IR 61B, is located next to Bottle Lake. As of May 2005, the Band had a registered population of 973, of whom 463 lived on the reserve. Today Keeseekoowenin has over 1200 people on reserve and they have come a long way from where their ancestors had left them, both economically and culturally. Despite valuing its culture and traditions, today KOFN is open to embrace all the modern developments and endeavors to have access modern management techniques and latest technology with readiness to utilize its natural resources for the betterment of its community members’ present and future.
The KOFN will be conducting starting September 2010, a Comprehensive Community Planning (CCP) process. The CCP is a planning process that allows a community to plan its development (both present and future) in a way that meets its needs and aspirations. It’s a process that is ongoing and one that addresses all aspects of community life, including governance, culture, health, land use, environment, economic and social development and physical infrastructure.
Comprehensive community planning recognizes that all these areas of community are inter-related and dependent on each other. By taking a comprehensive approach that coordinates and integrates all these areas, the community can develop a common shared vision that is focussed and ensures an effective use of resources. May be that’s the reason some even term it as a holistic process.
Following the path Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation has a strong vision and interest to see the sustainable economy for present and future generations and this would be an effort toward building the foundation for all the future programs and projects.
We value our culture and have immense respect for it. Nothing gives us reason to disrespect our culture, traditions and our natural resources for economic gains. Our love and respect towards our mother earth shall remain eternal the way it has remained for centuries.
We respect our elders, we know their importance and we value their blessings. We shall always give prime importance to serving our elders in better and better ways since we believe that it’s the blessings of our elders and ancestors that has brought us to where we have advanced and it will keep us motivated to move ahead and prosper.
We count on our youth to drive community’s future economy and feel responsible towards them as they are going to be the future strategists, leaders and innovators of our community. They shall be the ones who will bring prosperity to Keeseekoowenin. We continuously take efforts to inspire our youth by giving them ideal teachings in order to make them good human beings. We motivate them with the teachings of respect towards humanity and nature.
We feel gratitude towards our social system for what we have achieved and feel deeply obliged towards society. We realize that in order to be happy we should learn to make happy. We shall strive to bring up every underprivileged person of community, and even outside it, to the level of earning his/her self-respect and livelihood by sharing what we have with them. To achieve and maintain healthy social atmosphere, we feel responsible to take every possible step in that direction and we shall do it. We shall offer food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, medication to the ill and education to the untaught.
KOFN’s vision is to Establish Practical Sovereignty through community owned businesses by creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment in order to attain economic sustainability.
KOFN’s mission is to attain high employment rate and deploy as many members of community on varied on-reserve projects by business opportunity creations and capacity building initiatives.
To support its vision and mission, KOFN has been strategizing the community development and economic prosperity by identifying and creating employment and business opportunities in various industries wherein tourism and eco-tourism industries are at the forefront. KOFN has also engaged a professional community planning consultant and project management firm to support its initiatives.