Red Earth Cree Nation
It has been 131 years since the Red Earth Cree First Nation adhered to Treaty 5. They have a vibrant traditional culture, based in the Cree language, and a long established hunting, trapping and fishing economy. Most of their youthful membership make their home on-reserve.
The community has two schools located on reserve, one school for K-4 students, and the other for grades 5-12. There is also a post-secondary education program to prepare young people for a variety of careers. On the reserve with the school are the Community Hall and Youth Centre. First Nations Trust funds will be used to complete the electrical work and septic systems work that was delayed by floods this year. FNT funds will also hire a Recreation Director who will organize programming, and recruiting students to help with activities and events.
Although the community is geographically distant from other economic markets, making it difficult for small businesses to thrive, Red Earth Cree Nation is determined to try to change this. They have used funds from the First Nations Trust to support local businesses, such as medical transport and other taxi services, as well as the Lionel Head Memorial Store, confectionary and gas bar.
With about one-quarter of the community employed, jobs and economic development are needed for the growing potential labour force. Economic diversification through small business growth provides some jobs as well as convenience and savings for residents. Ten years ago, the nearest service centre was about 100 km away. Now, the decision to invest FNT funds in local business means services such as medical transportation and taxi are available on-reserve when the need arises. In addition, the Lionel Head Memorial Store creates jobs for nine people.
Social development expenditures for both Elders and youth continue to remain high on the list of priorities for use of First Nation Trust monies. The funds have enabled families to travel to visit hospitalized relatives and helped to engage youth in sports leagues. Needs such as these would go unmet at Red Earth without the First Nations Trust distribution of gaming profits.