FOND DU LAC DENESULINE FIRST NATION
Willie John Laurent
Fond du Lac, Sask.
Father Gamache Memorial School reported a successful year for their
students and staff. The nominal role in September 2003 listed our
school with an enrollment of 312 for the 2003-2004 year, the majority of
students were found in the Head-Start Program through to grade eight.
Father Gamache Memorial School celebrated with the second
graduating class in October 2003 with four students graduating from
Throughout the academic year, our Grade seven class
collected "one square meter of material for each day
they were present." The squares were then used to
make individual quilts that were presented to each
student at the end of the year.
In March of 2004, there was a one-week cultural event
held on the school grounds. This consisted of
demonstrations in setting traps, tent raising, fire
building, snow shoe races, preparing and smoking dry
meat, which culminated with a community feast on the
last day of events. The teachings were delivered by our
Elders, who passed on and shared their cultural and
traditional knowledge with our youth. This week was of
high priority and importance to our community.
The Breakfast Program continued throughout the year.
This program focuses on the delivery of nutritional
meals to each student every morning.
The academic year was successful and many of our
students will continue on into the next academic level.
The Athabasca Awards were presented to students in
grades seven to nine.
At the end of the year, nineteen students received new
bikes for their achievement, as the top academic student in each class. All students enjoyed celebrating
the year-end with class events that were made
available by fundraising activities that were held
throughout the year.
The Day Care Center is a place for children from 18
months and up to stay, while parents are either at
school or work.
Our center closes at the end of June and reopens at
the end of August. Our staff has planned for an exciting
year where our children will have the opportunity to
have fun and learn at the same time. In addition to the
Day Care Center, our community has an Aboriginal
Head Start Program that is housed out of Father
Gamache Memorial School. The Head Start Program is
a school readiness program for children between the
ages of 3 and 4 year old.
Post Secondary Students Support Program
Last year we had 31 students that were funded through
the Fond du Lac Post Secondary Student Support
Program. Overall there were ten graduates from the
various technical and university programs for the 2003-2004 academic year. This year there will be 28 students funded to
attend further post-secondary training.
Local Volunteer Fire Fighters
Our two groups of volunteer local fire fighters were invited to attend the
provincial fire fighters competition in Onion Lake in August 2004. Both
groups dominated the competition, coming up in top positions - 1st and
2nd place. The 1st place team also came in 1st at the Fire Power
competition in Saskatoon. The team will be going to Chilliwack, B.C. on
September 18, 2004 to compete in the National First Nations Fire
The Fond du Lac Health Center is currently operating with two full time
nurses with an additional nurse joining the team in December 2004.
Pre-natal classes are held every two weeks covering different issues on
pre-natal care. There are also cooking classes once a month, which
include activities such as a baby food making. The program also gives
out safety car seats to expecting mothers when they leave for the south
to have their baby. There were 15 car seats given out since the
beginning of the year.
The school programs will resume this fall. With the support of the Chief
and Council, school staff and our CHR hosted a Bicycle Safety week on
the school grounds. The main goal of this event was to highlight and
implement the use of safety helmets, night reflectors, etc.
Baby Wellness Program
The Baby Wellness program is up to date with a 100% immunization
rate for infants 0 to 18 months.
Home Care Program
We currently do not have a Home Care Nurse, this position has been
vacant for quite some time. We have two Home Care Workers who
provide residential services to our clients.
Brighter Futures Program
We held our Annual Youth Conference in March of 2004. The
conference was a success with many students from the surrounding
communities in attendance. We also had the Annual Elders
Appreciation Night in December of 2003. The whole community was
invited to attend a Feast which was held in honour of the Elders.
Recently, we initiated a travel club to raise funds for our youth to take
part in future trips.
Dental Therapy Program
We have not had a full-time dental therapist for some
time now. All services are provided to our members
outside the community. But great news! We are
expecting a new Dental Therapist - Roberta Ducharme -
who will be working in the community as of September
2004. Our Dental Aide will be back providing dental
programming within our school.
This year the Family Violence Program will be delivered
as a separate program. Although funding for this
program is limited, the goal is to implement awareness
and prevention programming on family violence related
issues in cooperation with other the community
The NNADAP center welcomes the new programs that
will be operating out of the centre: Brighter Futures,
Early Childhood Intervention Program, Family Violence
and Mental Health. Our goal is to have a "one - stop" wellness center to try and assist our community
members in all aspects of healing.
Our Annual Winter Festival was held in March of 2004.
We also hosted our annual Halloween Dance in
October 2003, which offered different prizes for a
number of different categories. Thank you all those
who participated to make this event a huge success!
The Social Assistance Program provided clients with
special needs - needs such as furniture, groceries, etc.
The Social Development program bought bulk groceries
and distributed them to all Social Assistance clients.
Special Projects and Events
This past year our community recognized the need to
take a collective approach in the following areas:
a) developing effective stable programs; and
b) dealing with various challenges within the
community.It was decided that an interagency approach would be re-started. The
goal of the group will be to meet regularly and to take on an interagency
approach to deliver the programs and services within the
The Interagency group will include the following:
Chief and Council representatives, Education, Health, Recreation,
NNADAP, Brighter Futures, Family Violence, ADCFS Inc, Economic
Development, Northern Store, Local Parish, RCMP, etc.