Sturgeon Lake First Nation
Orville Longjohn Sr.
On Behalf of my council, I would like to express my appreciation to the Grand Council for the commitment in advancing our collective Treaty and Self-government agenda. Through the collaborative strategies of the council we are able to map the future of our people and the children of tomorrow.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the membership and staff of Sturgeon Lake First Nation for their commitment to our community. I would also like to acknowledge the Elders and veterans for their guidance and support. Only by connecting and understanding where we have come from can we move forward with a clear vision.
Sturgeon Lake Reserves 101 and 101A are located 55 kilometers north west of the City of Prince Albert. The two reserves are in the Forest Fringe area of Saskatchewan. Just over half of the nearly 2,200 members of the First Nation live on reserve. Most of the other members live in the cities of Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
During the year under review, a General Election was held. The Council now consists of Chief Henry Daniels and Councillors Donna Kingfisher, Robert Ermine, Craig Bighead, Jonas Sanderson, Sandra Felix and Danny Moosehunter. General Elections are held every 3 years at Sturgeon Lake.
Grocery Store & Gas Bar
The expansion of this successful business was completed over the last year. The store now provides a full service grocery store, hardware, automotive supplies, fast food, tobacco products and gas service to the people of Sturgeon Lake and area. Adequate space is now available for the proper display of all product lines. The financial success of this business allows it to provide services to the community and the training/employment of a total of 15 people year round. Recently improvements were made to the administration of the business. Policies were developed and a minor restructuring of the business was carried out to ensure continued success and improved service to customers.
Community Infrastructure Improvements
The $2.5 million expansion of the West End Water Treatment Plant and the East End Pump House have now been completed. This has resulted in an increased capacity of the West End Pump House of from 15,000 gallons to 90,000 gallons of treated water per day to serve the entire Sturgeon Lake Community. The new water treatment facilities will provide much better water quality and adequate capacity to meet community needs. As part of this project, a pipeline was installed from the West Water Treatment Plant to the East Pumphouse. A total of 53 homes located near the pipeline were hooked up to the community water system. This is a major improvement to the previous need to haul water to each household by truck.
Plans are underway for the development of safe play areas for children living in the East and West subdivisions.
Solid Waste Disposal continues to be a problem. An engineering study was completed on options available for the future. One of the preferred options is to avoid future environmental damage on the reserve by hauling garbage to a transfer station (a large portable garbage bin) and then having the material hauled off the reserve to a central disposal site.
Premier Calvert’s Visit to Sturgeon Lake
Premier Lorne Calvert, Honourable Joan Beatty, Honourable David Forbes, Lon Borgerson, M.L.A. and Speaker of the House Myron Kowalsky, along with staff, visited Sturgeon Lake for a community barbeque on August 5, 2004. The guests and community members were treated to a demonstration of powwow dancing, singing, drumming and a round dance. The Premier and others visited Sacred Circle Youth Camp. In his comments, Chief Daniels noted that in the past most of our dealings were with the Federal Government, but it is becoming more important to have a good working relationship with the Government of Saskatchewan also. He mentioned the need for cooperation in our selections of land to settle the First Nation’s Treaty Land Entitlement and the fact that many of the members of the First Nation live off-reserve under provincial jurisdiction. The importance of the on-reserve vote in provincial elections was evident in the last election.
Sturgeon Lake Pow Wow 2004
The Sturgeon Lake First Nation held a very successful International Pow Wow July 23 to 25, 2004. Dancers, Singers and Drummers attended from many parts of Canada and the United States. This was the largest Pow Wow ever held at Sturgeon Lake. The organizers were pleased to note that there were 98 children in the tiny tots category of the competitions. The interest of so many young children ensures the future of Pow Wows and other cultural events.
Sturgeon Lake Education Programs
The Sturgeon Lake First Nation continues to have difficulty with insufficient space in Sturgeon Lake Central School for the growing student population. Planning for the design of an expanded school is expected to be approved for the 2005/2006 fiscal year and it is anticipated that construction of the school expansion will take place the following fiscal year. As a temporary measure, a portable classroom was put in place two years ago. Two additional temporary classrooms will be installed in 2004.
The Sturgeon Lake Post-secondary program has been administered by the Prince Albert Grand Council in the past. This program has been relocated to Sturgeon Lake Reserve and is now administered by the First Nation. A new building will be constructed in the fall of 2004.
The 2003-2004 school year successfully concluded on June 25. The school had a total student population of 339 full time students. There were 10 Grade 12 graduates. It is anticipated that the nominal roll will again increase in the 2004-2005 fiscal year.
Several new programs were initiated during the year under review. An in-school Elders Program was initiated. Elders spend a minimum of two days a week working with the students in the classroom setting. Plans are in place to expand this program to include traditional activities outside the regular school day, in the form of culture camps and related cultural activities.
Sturgeon Lake Health Programs
The Sturgeon Lake Health Programs continue to provide a wide range of services to improve the well being of the membership of Sturgeon Lake First Nation. This includes community health nursing, medical transportation services, NNADAP addiction services, mental health therapy services, home & community care program, day care services for children, dental therapy services, water quality testing, T.B. & other communicable disease control services, wellness clinics, pre natal nutrition program, youth therapeutic services, women´s’ & mens’ healing circles, traditional parenting program, and other related services.
The Sturgeon Lake Health Program has been active for many years in developing effective on-reserve health service policies at the local, district, provincial and federal levels. The Sturgeon Lake model for these services was adopted, almost unchanged, by the Assembly of First Nations as an appropriate model. During the year under review, the Health Program completed construction and held a grand opening of a permanent sweat lodge for cultural year-round healing purposes.
Funding was provided by Indigenous Peoples Health Research Council for incorporation of traditional health practices into the community health program at Sturgeon Lake.
An Elders’ Advisory Council was established for health programs. The Elders adopted policy documents and outlined their specific roles and responsibilities as Elders and defined the qualities of an Elder.
Sturgeon Lake was the successful PAGC First Nation selected to participate in the FASD Mentorship Program. This program will work with women at risk toward eliminating the dangers of FASD. The program will provide support and resources to families struggling with FASD.
Sturgeon Lake Elders’ Programs
The Sturgeon Lake First Nation took 32 of its elders on a summer cultural exchange July 31 to August 4, 2004. They visited Calgary, Banff and Edmonton.
Elders’ Suppers are held on a regular basis and Elders’ Wellness Clinics are held weekly at the Sturgeon Lake Health Centre.
Elders are assisted with high winter household expenses during 5 months of the year.
Hybrid Poplar Demonstration Project
The Sturgeon Lake First Nation, in co-operation with Forestry Canada, has developed a hybrid poplar demonstration project on reserve. Hybrid poplar trees mature in about half of the time that it normally takes a tree to mature. This project provided training and employment of members in planting thinning and related work managing the project. It is expected that the First Nation will be able to sell “carbon credits” under the terms of the Kyoto Accord.
Sturgeon Lake Claims
The Sturgeon Lake Treaty Land Entitlement Claim has now been accepted for negotiation by the Government of Canada. After completion of negotiations, this claim is expected to significantly increase the First Nation’s land base and offer opportunities for development projects.
The Sturgeon Lake First Nation has a Heritage Fund from the settlement of the Sturgeon Lake Timber Claim. These funds may be used for economic development purposes only, subject to the approval by a referendum of all members of the First Nation.