New Chief of Dokis looks to a bright future

...The new Chief of Dokis First Nation is proud after being elected on May 21. Gerry Duquette Jr. also works as the Lands Management Coordinator for Dokis. “I’m very proud that our community came out, even the individual members that put their names forward on the ballot. It shows that members truly care about our community. Successful or not they would not have put their names forward to run if they didn’t care. “

Chief Duquette says the future is bright.

“We are far away from major centers so we will take whatever ventures we  can to fulfill some of the gaps that we have. We have a lot of members  who are living off reserve that are very educated. We can utilize  everyone not just the people here.”
Chief Duquette explains that their new land management powers give Dokis  First Nation a seat at the table when decisions are made. The Framework  Agreement on First Nation Land Management is a government-to-government  agreement signed in 1996 by 13 First Nations and Canada.
“The relationship with the federal government has changed with The Framework Agreement.
“It has taken First Nations across Canada out of the shadows of The  Indian Act on lands management. As an example, today I’m meeting with  Public Works Canada. They are our neighbours with their own dams. We  have a seat at the table for our decisions.”

The new Chief said that everyone was re-elected with former Chief Denise  Restoule moving into the Deputy Chief position. “The continuity of our  Council shows a lot. Now we are on our third term together as a team. It  shows all our hard work pays off.”
Chief Duquette commended staff as well.
“I want to recognize all our staff. They bring issues forward and  administer our programs. We, as a Council, really rely on them.”

Chief Duquette really appreciates the community support. “I want them to  know that we’re here to support them. We appreciate our community and  their confidence in us to move forward.”
Dokis First Nation is on the French River about 120 kms from North Bay and Sudbury.

Dokis Okikendawt Project brings green energy to Ontario consumers


During construction of the Okikendawt Project in 2013, Dokis Chief Denise Restoule said that she was enormously proud to be building a generating station that will supply clean and renewable energy for Ontario electricity consumers.

Recently, she pointed out that Dokis was proud to contribute to creating green energy and assisting in climate change while world leaders were discussing this topic and challenged Canadians to recognize the importance of environmental stewardship.

“The Okikendawt Hydro Project is a ground breaking initiative for our First Nation Community and lays a sustainable foundation for our community for generations,” says Chief Restoule.  “We shall re-invest the savings from the project wisely in economic development, community infrastructure and facilities, and membership services.”

Dokis set up a trust with a board to administer the net proceeds from this project. Benefits will be used to supply health, education, infrastructure and economic and community development services for the membership.

1n 2013, Chief Restoule predicted that this project would lead to significant investment in construction related activities, services and equipment contracts which would benefit Dokis membership. Dokis First Nation began to supply commercial electricity from the Okikendawt Project to Ontario consumers in the summer of 2015. Construction on the Okikendawt project began in 2013. This green energy hydroelectric project located adjacent to an existing dam that controls an outflow from Lake Nipissing into the French River on traditional Dokis territory. The Okikendawt Hydroelectric project is a commercial venture jointly-owned by Hydromega and the Dokis First Nation. The 10 megawatt facility will sell 100% of its power to the Ontario Power Authority for a forty (40) year term through a Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) power purchase agreement.

Discussions on this proposed project began in 2007 and the local Dokis community was closely involved in this process. Chief Restoule emphasized that “the community are your main decision makers and you have to consult with them and report back to them.”

Dokis First Nation membership voted to opt out of the sections of the Indian Act dealing with land issues and ratified their own land code in 2013. By ratifying their own Land Code, Dokis membership took a bold step to manage their own lands, resources and environment as enabled through the First Nations Land Management Act. Furthermore, Dokis ratified the Okikendawt project by an overwhelming majority of 97%.

Dokis First Nation Councillor Gerry Duquette was the Land Code Development Coordinator during the recent Dokis Land Code ratification process. He spoke about the differences a First Nation experienced in pursuing economic development with and without a Land Code. He stated that Dokis spent about $8 million and considerable time in trying to get approvals from governments in order to develop its hydro project before ratification. After Land Code ratification, Dokis was given a seat at the table and was able to speed up development. This hydro development is on federal land but the transmission line runs through the community.