Canoe Lake First Nation
Fifty Elders are able to stay cozy and warm in their own homes through the winter at Canoe Lake because they have their fuel costs paid out of a program their First Nation developed with the gaming profits distributed by the First Nations Trust. The Elder-at-Home program covers the heating expenses for their homes for seven months of the year, as well as power and utilities for the entire year.
This past winter $120,000 was spent by the Canoe Lake First Nation on fuel costs for their Elders and a fuel supplement for single parents. Canoe Lake First Nation has kept its focus on their people; community members receive assistance to bring home family members who live away due to special care needs. It means that visits to the reserve are possible for people who would not be able to come home otherwise. All these journeys are very meaningful and keep everyone in touch with family, friends and changes going on in the community.
Elders are included in everything at Canoe Lake and relied on for their expertise, consulted on planning and community well-being and development. Along with the youth, the Elders are involved in a culture camp supported by gaming profits distributed by the First Nations Trust. For those Elders who wish to attend gatherings at Patuanak, St Laurent or Ste Anne receive assistance with their camps, meals and transportation to go on pilgrimages.
Nineteen new housing units under construction received $150,000 toward building costs out of the Trust distribution this past year. Other uses of Trust monies included social programming support for solutions Elders are intent on finding. That great divide between their way of life and current social issues that are finding their way into the community, are among the challenges Elders are working to resolve in the Canoe Lake First Nation.