Onion Lake First Nation
Sharing and honouring Elders are principles basic to First Nations traditions. Onion Lake First Nation has an Elder Assistance Program that shares a portion of the First Nations Trust distribution monies with its Elders. During 2003-2004, the Onion Lake First Nation Elder Assistance Program was able to assist approximately 50 Elders from Onion Lake with both rent and utilities. This initiative makes a difference to the Elders, their families and the people. It has contributed to the quality of life and has enabled many Elders to remain at home within the Onion Lake First Nation community. In other instances, they are able to assist some Elders who have had to move off reserve in order to obtain their health care. So, although the amount of money the program is able to share with each of their Elders is not a large amount, it can ease their Elders' financial burdens a little each month.
Currently, the Elder Assistance Program is stressed because there are more Elders than they are able to assist, but Onion Lake will continue to support their Elders. The monies distributed by the First Nations Trust have helped make a difference to the Elders of the community, but much more is needed to improve existing programs and provide healthy living for every age level in the community.