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"The Sun Shines, the Grass Grows, and the Waters Flow"

NR 004.11- For Immediate Release- August 26, 2011

Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, SK-
“Our ancestors- our Chiefs had the insight to realize their way of life was gone- small pox was killing our people, European settlers were migrating to the West, and the buffalo had all but disappeared” explains Clayton Sutherland, the 135th Commemoration Ceremony event organizer. “Life changed for them and our ancestors realized that they had to change too- to preserve their culture and to preserve their families.”

August 28th, 2011 marks the 135th Anniversary of the official signing of Treaty 6 by Chief Beardy (KAH-MA-WIS-TAH-WA-SIT) and Chief Cut Nose (SAS-WAY-PEW). The treaty contained, with some variations the standard written clauses of earlier treaties: surrender of Indian land rights, provision of assistance in the transition to an agricultural economy; provision of reserves, establishing schools on reserves, and annuities of $5/person/year.

“We all have a responsibility to protect our treaties and a responsibility toward a healthier community” says Sutherland. “We all recognize that Treaties have a profound effect on our way of life, this commemoration is also part of our collective healing. We’re all experiencing a great deal of difficulty right now and this event brought a lot of people together to talk and to share.”

Commemoration ceremonies were conducted at the Willow Cree Arena between August 23-25th and included keynote speakers, a sharing circle, and other traditional ceremonies. For more information on Articles of Treaty 6, please visit: www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/al/hts/tgu/tr6-eng.asp

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"Jr. Rangers set example for province- and the world!"

NR 003.11- For Immediate Release- August 22, 2011

Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, SK - Twenty-six Junior Forest Rangers (JFR) from the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation have been recognized as some of the best Jr. Rangers in the province. The program, which began in 2009, has been selected as a Model program for the entire province of Saskatchewan for the third time in a row.

“Our program is successful because it’s diverse and we place our youth in situations that have real-world relevance” exclaims Alfred Gamble, the program Co-ordinator in Beardy’s. “Situations that, after they’re done will give them the confidence they need to succeed in the world and set them on a path to success. 72 countries in the world are modelling their programs after ours- it seems we’re doing it right!”

The Saskatchewan JFR program is a six-week summer work experience program that provides skill development for youth between the ages of 16-18. The JFR program provides youth the opportunity to earn certificates and gain knowledge in such areas as forestry, fire-management, environment, health and safety, mining, and cultural awareness. “I didn’t want to do just anything, I wanted to try something new” says Shasta Mike, a graduate of the JFR program in Beardy’s. “It was a great experience! I got to do stuff that I never thought I would ever do- camping in the bush, using fire-fighting equipment to put out fires- I’d definitely do it again!”

The JFR program is delivered in partnership with the Prince Albert Model Forest and its content focuses on developing in youth Forest and Environmental stewardship, and giving youth basic skills to enter the work-force.

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"Chief and Council announce $9M in Accumulated Deficit"

NR 002.11- For Immediate Release- August 17, 2011

Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, SK - After a week of long meetings and intense discussions, Chief & Council today announced the results of an internal audit completed by Myers Norris Penny, LLP (MNP) that found a $9M accumulated deficit.

“We are working vigorously to implement the revised RMP which took effect on April 1, 2011” explains Marcia Seeseequasis, the Band’s Co-Manager. “One of the major obstacles we face is that the Band is not generating enough revenue to pay its bills. This has resulted in many financial institutions losing confidence in the stability of our First Nation. Some [financial institutions] however have expressed optimism in the measures we have put forward- which is promising!”

The audit, which is available to the public but will not be officially released and outlined until September 5 th , details a $2M increase over the 2009/2010 Fiscal Year. Some points from the audit include:

  • Nearly $1M Accumulated Deficit (since 2009) in the Social Development Department
  • Significant overspending and unnecessary expenditures in all Band Departments
  • $1M in accumulated amortization (the depreciation of assets over a period of time)
  • $678,985.00 in Chief & Council salary and expenses during the 2009/2010 FY.

“Our community voted for change and accountability and they’ve got it” says Remonda Gardypie, Chief of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation. “We have already made significant changes and spending cuts while continuing the business of government. We’re about to implement more changes- they will not fix our financial problems immediately, but time will indicate that they are very positive steps in the right direction!”

A General Band Meeting has been called for September 12 th at the Beardy’s Rec Centre at 9:30am to discuss details of the audit and the implications for the Band.

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"Get rid of the water. Oh, fix the roads too!"

NR 001.11- For Immediate Release- August 12, 2011

Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, SK-
“Basically all of the road problems as a result of flooding on the south side of the reserve will be addressed” explains Everett Gamble, Director of Public Works for the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation and member of the project’s Management Team. “Road destabilization has occurred in several locations throughout the reserve so we’re going to see road re-stabilization work, or completely new roads in some areas. There’s a lot that is going to be fixed and some work yet to be decided. Our roads have been neglected for too long so this is good news for our community.”

“Road destabilization has occurred in several locations throughout the reserve so we’re going to see road re-stabilization work, or completely new roads in some areas. There’s a lot that is going to be fixed and some work yet to be decided. Our roads have been neglected for too long so this is good news for our community.”

The Chief & Council of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation announced today that work will begin very shortly on recommendations contained in a recent report completed by SAL Engineering Ltd. of Saskatoon. Approximately $1.8M worth of repairs will be completed on flood damaged roads located on the reserve. Another report which recommends flood mitigation work be completed has also been accepted. In total, the projects equate to approximately $3M to directly address flood damage to roadways and areas affected by flooding in the community.

Chief Remonda Gardipy explains that flooding and poor road conditions have affected delivery of essential services to the members. “We are one of most populous First Nations in the province and we utilize our roads for everything- student bussing, water delivery, garbage hauling, and sewer removal. Our roads affect our livelihood and when they’re not in proper order, our entire community is affected!”

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