Pelican Narrows - Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation
The road to Pelican Narrows is long, but at the end of the road, the expanse of lake, land and sky is a breathtaking sight. Known in Cree as Opawikoscikcan, the community, which forms part of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, stretches along the lakeshore between Pelican Lake and Mirond Lake.
It's a bright summer day. Kids are fishing on a partially submerged pier and from a bridge down the road. Preparations are underway for a traditional gathering. Litter is being picked up by a youth group, wood is stacked and two tipis are already up. Summer is great, and so is the roster of winter activities available in the Napoleon Merasty Memorial Arena. Pelican Narrows has invested First Nations Trust funds in an array of exercise equipment, a fitness room, and the capacity to host sport and recreation events.
The Napoleon Merasty Memorial Arena is NHL size. It looks even larger in mid-summer, without the players, a packed house and the zamboni circling the ice. The Merasty Arena is set aside for youth from 9 to 9 on weekdays. The Recreation Director encourages the youth to determine daily activities for the Arena. While the ice is out during the summer, activities include floor hockey tournaments, inline skating, and dances organized by youth.
Having an NHL regulation-size arena means that Pelican Narrows can now host Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) games. Every season the La Ronge Ice Wolves, Flin Flon Bombers, Notre Dame Hounds and the Nipawin Hawkes each take to the ice on-reserve. Two autographed jerseys from the Bombers and the Hounds hang by the arena entrance, reminders of SJHL hockey nights in Pelican Narrows.
There is plenty of chance for getting in shape using the new Fitness Room located in the Arena. It's fully equipped with weights, and elliptical, walking and jogging machines with electronic feedback monitors. During the summer, exercise activities, programs, and weight training are used daily by about 15-20 people, and once the school-year begins staff, teachers and others will join them re-establishing their exercise routines. Thanks to the FNT distributions, all ages in Pelican Narrows have a wider range of sports, health and recreation activities they can enjoy year-round.