The federal government awarded funding for the construction of high-speed fibre optic infrastructure through Pimicikamak Territory and into Cross Lake and Norway House in Manitoba.
The project will be handled by a joint venture called Kici Sipi Communications Partnership established between Pimicikamak Okimawin and Norway House Cree Nation in 2020. A press release from Pimicikamak Okimawin explains that Kici Sipi means “great river” in Cree. Historically, the river was a means for people to connect and communicate between villages throughout the territory.
“A united effort between Pimicikamak and Norway House Cree Nation will demonstrate our ability to succeed as a people on this critical project,” said David Monias, Chief of Pimicikamak Okimawin, in the release.
The project will form the foundation for delivering fast and reliable high-speed internet to all residents and organizations within Cross Lake, including the health complex, schools and businesses.
Additionally, the release notes that Pimicikamak’s national policy is to pursue objective standards enjoyed by all Canadians, and to make sure that it’s done right. Pimicikamak has been working to bring high-speed internet to the territory since 2016 in a rational, professional and fact-based approach.
Kici Sipi Communications has approval to install nearly 200km of fibre optic cable connecting Cross Lake to Norway House through the government’s Connect To Innovate program. The cable will be installed from a breakout point along Manitoba Hydro’s Bi-Pole III transmission line and routed to the respective communities. Construction is expected to finish by December 2022.
Alongside this initiative, Pimicikamak and Norway House are working with the federal government’s Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) to distribute high-speed broadband internet to organizations and homes, which will give people in the area access to reliable internet with speed 100 times faster than what’s currently available.
“Canada made a public policy statement to reconcile its relationship with Indigenous nations like Pimicikamak. Canada’s approval of our high-speed internet project is a demonstration of transformational change in action where our people will now enjoy the benefits of a reliable communication system,” said Pimicikamak Okimawin’s advisor to Executive Council, Lee Roy Muswaggon.
Pimicikamak is a Cree speaking sovereign Nation whose Territory is in what’s now referred as north central Manitoba. Cross Lake is the primary settlement for Pimicikamak citizens.
Source: Pimicikamak Okimawin