The Good Ally Project (GAP) is a project of True North Aid and founded by Kingston ON resident Katie Koopman. Her vision is to build bridges with the community of Eabametoong First Nation and Kingston in the spirit of reconciliation through good allyship and meet the practical and measurable needs in the community.
In an effort to draw attention to, and live out at a grassroots level the Truth and Reconciliation’s Committee’s calls to action, it is GAP’s desire to initiate relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members of Fort Hope and the Kingston ON community. Focus projects that are both intentional and measurable (meeting a need within the Fort Hope community ) are at the heart of this project. Current focus projects are Tell My Story, Be a Good Ally and Rez 64 Sports.
Mission & Goals
- To initiate annual focus-projects in/for the community of EFN that will meet a practical, measurable need in the community, and encourage relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups and individuals
- To highlight through these annual projects the current, systemic nature of poverty and inequality that the community of Eabametoong faces.
- To provide an opportunity for both education and discussion to take place at a grassroots level that will encourage non-Indigenous people to be a good ally through positive, measurable reconcili-action.
Annual Focus Projects
Tell My Story | A week-long youth mentorship that provides children grades 7 – 9 an opportunity to learn the technical skills of camera use by creatively exploring their community through this art medium. Participants will be highlighted through a short video interview and their photographs. Photographs will be celebrated in a community gala and digitally displayed to be purchased online. *Select photos will be used in a yearly calendar for purchase by the public with money funding the project for the following year.
Practical: To both mentor and empower Indigenous youth through a skilled art form by giving space to creatively express who they are and highlight the community they are from.
Be A Good Ally | A school-to-school initiative to build a reconciliatory relationship between Kingston and Fort Hope’s JCY Education Centre. Practical: To provide awareness as to the inequality Indigenous children experience living in remote communities, and to encourage practical initiatives in Kingston schools that might bring joy and hope to the students of JCY.
Rez 64 Sports | Seasonal promotion of, and fundraising for all aspects of sports costs including, but not limited to, equipment, tournament and day camp costs.
Practical: To highlight the discrepancy of access to sports opportunities in remote communities, and to provide an opportunity for the general public to contribute both monetary and in-kind donations toward sport initiatives in Eabametoong First Nation.
Who, What, Where & When
Eabametoong First Nation (Fort Hope)
The community of Fort Hope is located on the shores of Eabamet Lake in the Albany River system 360 km north of Thunder Bay. This is a fly-in community in the middle of northern Ontario with winter roads utilized February through March.
There are approximately 1500 people who live on the reserve, with an additional 700+ community members living off the reserve. While most residents speak English, it is common to hear people speaking Anishinaabe.
The Ojibway culture thrives in song, dance and art in Fort Hope.
Activities are closely linked to the land and include swimming, canoeing, boating, hiking, camping, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skating, and snowmobiling during the winter.
Hockey, however, is Fort Hope’s greatest love, and is home to the now famous, JCY Rez Girls 64 Wolves hockey team.
The landscape is beautiful. From the tall birch trees that tower above pines to the wild blue berry patches along the roadside, each season has its own beauty. The sunsets are particularly breathtaking on the lake.
Hunting and fishing are a continued traditional means of providing for the community. However, Corny’s store stocks typical groceries found in urban areas. Keep in mind, anything fresh is at a premium in terms of price and availability.
Enjoy a more complete history with old photos below.