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Big River chief surprised by honourary diploma PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dean Bear   
Friday, 23 June 2017 12:49


Photo courtesy Big River First Nation Facebook page

The chief of the Big River First Nation has received an honourary diploma in business from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology.

Bruce Morin was given the award for his role in making education a priority in his community. He received the honours during SIIT’s convocation exercises in Saskatoon Thursday.

He said he was a bit surprised when he found out that he was receiving the honourary diploma because it wasn’t just him that has pushed for better opportunities for his community.

"Sitting down with my councilors and the people I work with and brainstorming on how we can do more for our people, we thought it was best to try and help them further their education," he said.

Morin said the First Nation partnered up with the University of Saskatchewan to help bring the Indian Teacher Education Program to his community to give people an opportunity to broaden their education at home. He said the program just had its third graduation this spring.

"We have had students, not only from our own community, but also from other First Nations like Pelican Lake, Witchekan Lake and Ahtahkakoop," he said. "We even had one from Black Lake this past year."

Morin said there are also upgrading classes for those who want to get their Grade 12 education. The chief says there are advantages to having students learn at home.

He said that attending university in places like Saskatoon or Prince Albert is expensive with the cost of living. He said that there are other supports at home for young mothers who can rely on their own parents for babysitting when they are at school.

Morin said that when it comes to funding, the First Nation hasn’t said no to any student yet that wants to get their post-secondary education.

"We don’t take any administration charges from our post-secondary funding or pay staff out of that pool of money," he said.

The community has also topped up their funding with own source revenue to ensure that students can get the education they want, either at home or in Saskatoon or Prince Albert.

Morin says when students succeed, the First Nation is successful.

Last Updated on Friday, 23 June 2017 13:04
Pinehouse mayor says village has nothing to hide PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 23 June 2017 11:08

Mayor Mike Natomagan at a New North meeting on June 22. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

The mayor of the northern Saskatchewan community of Pinehouse says the community has nothing to hide about its finances.

Mike Natomagan was somewhat surprised and perplexed to learn the province’s privacy commissioner cited the community seven times in his latest report for failing to even respond to freedom of information requests from his office.

Natomagan says he has a limited staff, and it was impossible to meet the complex requests for information within a short period of time. He says there is nothing to hide, and he can’t understand why the community of 1,500 seems to be a target.

Natomagan says the village holds two public meetings a year, where residents can look at the books. He adds there are many more important issues to deal with, including crime and building a local economy.

"The whole community is trying to do something positive," he said. "We are moving up, we are creating our independence to do our own thing, now it’s wrong."

A number of the information requests asked for the finances of the village’s business development corporation, Pinehouse Business North.

The mayor says that information is confidential for competitive reasons. He says he has a legal opinion to back that up.

One of those trying to get that information is freelance journalist, D’Arcy Hande. He lives in Saskatoon, but says there are residents of the community that also want to know what’s going on.

"We know there is weird stuff going on," he said. "But we can’t get documents to substantiate it."

Hande represents a group called Pinehouse.info, a group Mayor Natomagan has no use for.


Last Updated on Friday, 23 June 2017 11:42
La Ronge prosecutor named new judge PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 23 June 2017 09:28

Photo courtesy of sasklawcourts.ca

The regional prosecutor in La Ronge has been appointed as a judge to the provincial court in La Ronge.

Robert Mackenzie has a long history in practicing law, including working as the legal aid director for Meadow Lake and La Ronge before moving over to the prosecutor’s office, where he has spent the last 11 years.

"Judge Mackenzie is an exceptional appointment to the bench," said Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant. "He has made valuable contributions to the legal community in La Ronge and across the province for more than 30 years. His extensive knowledge, experience and commitment to public service will certainly enhance the judicial system in our province."

Judge Mackenzie has been very active in La Ronge, having served as president of the Lac La Ronge Conservancy Inc. He has also served as a board member and chair of North Sask. Special Needs Housing, Employment, Recreation Inc.

He is a member of the La Ronge ski and canoe clubs, and has a passion for long-distance sports, including running, skiing and cycling.

Judge Mackenzie replaces Judge R. Lane, who is relocating to the provincial court in Prince Albert.

Last Updated on Friday, 23 June 2017 09:35
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