James Smith Cree Nation

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Wally Burns
Gerald McKay
Stephanie Constant
Alvin G. Moostoos
Harold Burns
January 2018, Two Year Term. 
P.O. Box 1059
Melfort, Sask.
S0E 1A0
Ph: 864 3636
Fax: 864-3336

Chief’s Message

On behalf of the people of the James Smith Cree Nation, Peter Chapman and Chakastaypasin First Nations, I wish to acknowledge and recognize the advancements made by the commitment and dedication of our leadership, staff and community members.

The James Smith Cree Nation is a community that was forced to amalgamate with the Peter Chapman and Chakastaypasin Nations. After many consultations with the citizens of the three nations, the decision to separate was reached.

Currently we share the same territory, the same administration and share the program and service delivery to all the members of the Peter Chapman and Chakastaypasin First Nations. We share the same tools and resources to survive and thrive and to work collectively with mutual respect. As we rebuild our Nations upon the three foundations provided by our forefathers, we will continue to work in partnership as we move toward full recognition of our peoples.

The re-establishing of our three First Nation communities has been a monumental challenge for the leadership and membership. As we become a more cohesive entity, our strength and commitment increases to develop into independent and viable communities.

We continue to advocate the right to self-determination in accordance with our Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights negotiated by our forefathers. It is in this spirit, that I, on behalf of the headmen and citizens of the James Smith, Peter Chapman and Chakastaypasin First Nations, offer warm wishes to the Executive, Elders and the Chiefs and Headmen of the Prince Albert Grand Council.


The James Smith reserve was historically known as Fort-a-la-Corne. Situated near the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, Fort-a-la-Corne became a gathering place of many different First Nations. Later this area would become a gateway to the western regions of Canada. Trading posts would eventually become a common place with the Hudson Bay Company, Northwest Trading Co., as both French and English traders competed for the economic benefits of the fur trade. Along with fur trade came the inevitable settlement of the Europeans around the fertile lands we occupied. They founded their homesteads, built an infrastructure including churches, schools and supply centres trading with the surrounding Indian peoples. Fort a la Corne became ´home´ to an Anglican Church which was built on the northside of the Saskatchewan river, remnants of the church site exist today with its gravesite markings still visible.

Historically, the three nations would be forced to amalgamate into one band. At present, James Smith, Peter Chapman and Chakastaypasin have initiated the processes required to re-instate their First Nations as separate, independent Nations. Each First Nation is in the midst of Land Claim negotiations and look forward to the complete restoration of their lands and governments.

Program Overview

Public Works

The public works program employs three water delivery contractors who deliver water to 133 water cisterns on a weekly schedule. One sewage truck, along with a garbage pick up, also are on contract with the community.

The community´s fire protection services are based out of a fire hall which has a mini-pumper fire truck on call. There is also the fire-suppression crew who work on a seasonal basis. There is a total of five men and a crew boss who work throughout the summer doing various clean-ups and fire prevention on the reserve. They are also on call for the fire base in Prince Albert.

Tri-Nations Economic Development

This past year, leadership from the three First Nations have mandated the Fort-a-la-Corne Development Corporation to address the Mega Projects. Each First Nation has selected members from their community who will have opportunities for both employment, training and small business ventures including, but not limited to:

  • Agriculture
  • Livestock business – horses, cattle, etc.
  • Investments (private)

Major Undertakings:

Hydro Project
  • Feasibility study to be completed for the first phase.
  • Teaming agreement signed between FLCDC and SNCLavalin and Peter Kewit and Sons, for the Engineering and Construction of the Hydro Dam.
  • Employment opportunities during construction and after would be estimated at 500-800 man years.
  • Estimated cost is 400 million to construct dam.
  • Negotiation with Sask Power and investors are currently underway.
Diamond Project
  • We have been meeting with the Exploration companies and both governments for our vested interests in our traditional territory.
  • FLCDC are currently meeting with potential industry partners from across Canada to pursue possible joint ventures and partnerships.
  • On-reserve exploration is also being examined with a firm in Saskatoon.
  • Negotiations have been completed with INAC for funding.
  • Potential employment would be estimated at 800-1500 man years.
Forestry Projects
  • The James Smith Council signed a Island Forestry Agreement with other First Nations that now has to be implemented.
  • We are pursuing Joint Venture Partners for purchasing mills in our territory.
  • We have planted hybrid poplar on our lands in partnership with federal government to address the Kyoto Accord.
  • Training is to be delivered for the Forest Industry and Small Business Opportunities.

Resource and Environmental co-management agreement is currently being pre-negotiated with the Province to implement and move towards control of our territories in the Fort-a-la-Corne Forest and Hudson Bay Forest Territories.

Training needs are being identified for all sectors of our developments. A major submission is being prepared for HRSDC under ASEP for our long term requirements.


Post-secondary Student Support Program

“Education is our salvation” – This First Nation is honoured to support students that are pursuing careers that will enable them to join the work force and be role models for other students. The majority of jobs require credentials that must be earned past Grade twelve, Job opportunities are significantly increased with successful First Nation Post Secondary training.

Students are encouraged to earn careers that will be gratifying, lucrative and are in demand. The ensuing school year has supported students to enhance their education at institutions such as First Nations University of Canada, the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan, SIAST campuses in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, SIIT, Cumberland Regional College and Calgary SAIT.


Community Justice Report

The Justice program continues to move toward supporting our community through crime-prevention initiatives and activities. Along with the Alternative Measures program, our community recently received funding to hire a youth worker who will assist in this area.


Awasisak Ochi Daycare

The daycare has been operational since February 13, 1999 and to date 208 registered children have accessed the program. The daycare employs 5 staff along with substitute careworkers. The philosophy embraced by our program strictly adheres to ´protecting the overall needs of the child, and to provide the best possible care and education to the children, by promoting all aspects of their development.

Culture Camp

In July, the youth were given the opportunity to attend a cultural camp at Okema Beach. There were at total of 121 children between the ages of 8-14 who were in attendance. For many it was the first time they have shared in the various cultural ceremonies and activities.

Youth Development Program

Coordinated by Gerald Sanderson, the Youth Development Program is aimed at youth between 18 and 27 years. It provides an opportunity for the youth to work in various programs on the reserve. This year some youth had the opportunity to work with some offreserve programs. This program is not only geared to helping our youth gain experience in the work-force, but also assists the First Nation programs in achieving extra help and assistance. Our Elders also benefit from this program as youth assist in them in different capacities. Throughout the term of the program each youth has an opportunity to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Through different workshops and a lifeskills courses, youth are encouraged to build upon their strengths and continue to develop themselves both professionally and personally.

Cultural Days

The community had their Cultural Days in September. It was a successful event that was enjoyed by our Elders, youth and community members. Our community has shown through their support, the commitment and determination to reclaim and embrace their cultural identity.

An Elder commented that “this can only be done if the Leadership takes a serious combined effort to participate in activities of this nature so that they fully feel the impact of what was lost and what needs to be revived. They are the leaders who can plan where this needs to be done, in various projects and activities.” The education system and most importantly as leaders they are role models and if they ´lead´ wisely the people will follow.”

Future Initiatives

Leadership has recognized the need to develop and build a new Community Hall. Currently, we do not have access to a hall for community functions. The school gym, health centre and John Godrey Memorial Centre are often used for large functions, however, at times that compromises any programming that was originally slated for use of that time.


A staff retreat will be held the first week of October. The retreat will be aimed at refocusing and motivating staff as they prepare for the next 12 months.

The Community Health Nurses are kept busy with the Immunization Program, Wellness Baby Clinics are held on Wednesday of each week. Preparations are currently being made to begin 3 new vaccines starting this fall. These include vaccines for Meningococcus, Varicella and Pneumonia. The Community Health Nurses are also very involved in the Delivery of the FASD Program.

Home and Community Care hold wellness clinics every Wednesday. This is usually a fun day. Blood sugars, blood pressures and feet are monitored, as well as a lunch is shared and games are enjoyed.

A physician sees patients at the clinic every Tuesday and Thursday. These clinics are usually well attended.

High speed internet was installed at the clinic this past year. So far, Community Health Nursing, Home Care Nursing and NNADAP are hooked up. As well a data entry clerk is employed to input data for the Immunization Program and the Chronic Registry.

We had a West Nile Project during the months of July and August. The emphasis of this project was to create an awareness and to educate the community on this particular topic.

The Therapeutic Counsellors are facilitating a Women´s Inner Child Workshop in September 2004, at St. Peters Abbey in Muenster, Sk. A Men´s Inner Child Workshop is also scheduled for this period.