About the Joint Venture with the Nakina Sawmill
The Agoke Development Corporation (Agoke) is a forestry company owned equally by Aroland, Eabametoong and Marten Falls. Agoke was started in 2015 to build capacity to manage the Ogoki Forest and to develop economic opportunities through partnerships. The name ‘Agoke’ came from a group of respected elders to signify the takeover of the Ogoki Forest. With the three First Nations in the name (A – for Aroland, E – for Eabametoong and Ah-go-kay for Marten Falls) it was only fitting to name the partnership in that way. In 2013, It was at a Chiefs meeting in Marten Falls that Eli Moonias said make sure you say it right “it’s not Ogoki, it’s AGOKE!
The Agoke Board of Directors are appointed by each First Nation. They include Bernard Gagnon from Aroland, Bill Spade from Eabametoong and Lawrence Baxter from Marten Falls. The Agoke Board meets on a regular basis to discuss forest management and business development. The Agoke Board does Its best to separate the business from the politics which is the main reason it has been successful thus far. In June 2018, Agoke announced a joint venture (JV) agreement with the Nakina sawmill. One of the highlights is a goal for the Nakina sawmill to hire 75% of the workers from the three First Nations. This provides a major opportunity for people who want to work to get off welfare or build up a resume with legit work experience.
Today, there is about 85 workers in the Nakina sawmill and more than 80% of them are First Nations peoples. Another important part of the agreement is the setup of a working committee at the sawmill. This committee was put together to make sure the workers have a voice and bring up employee concerns to management. The Nakina Sawmill employee committee representatives are: Ross Kashkish, Montana Megan, Alexis Okeese and Mike Toblin. They meet with the Agoke Board and the Nakina sawmill management every two weeks. They talk about training, the need for lodging in Greenstone, transportation and child care services. There are many different types of job opportunities in the Nakina Sawmill. In the yard, workers are trained on heavy equipment like the log loader and forklift. In the sawmill, there are operators on machines that remove bark from the tree and make lumber. The lumber is later put through the planer where it is graded by workers, put on a rail car and sent out in bundles. Don’t think this job is just for the guys, some of the best machine operators are female. There is no prior experience required to work in the Nakina sawmill and if you are Interested in a tour of the sawmill or would like to apply, send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
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