Location

Berens River First Nation (Miimiiwiziipiing) is located on the east shore of Lake Winnipeg at the mouth of the Berens River. An all-weather road has been open for three years, allowing our community members access to nearby First Nations and Winnipeg. The community's treaty land and reserve boundary is approximately 2,547 hectares and is situated in the heart of Manitoba's boreal forest.

Population

As of December 31, 2019, the on-reserve population was 2,220 and the off-reserve population was 1,326 for a total of 3,546 members.

Chief and CFS Portfolio

Chief is Norman McKay, and the CFS Portfolio Councillors are Glen Boulanger and Tracy Berens.

Berens River First Nation

Berens River First Nation is the largest of the Southeast communities, with a location that offers many opportunities for land and water-based activities. Summer activities are held annually in the surrounding area of Berens River. The Log Inn offers cabins with a beautiful view of the surrounding area including the river that merges with the waterfalls and attracts many visitors.

The community has a large infrastructure to support its members including: Band Office; RCMP; Hydro Station; Meemee-siipii Inc; Airport; Berens River Log Inn; Daycare; Nursing Station/Chief Jacob Berens Mino-Berens River Health Centre (Community Wellness Programs); NADAP; BFI/BHC; Nutrition North; ADI; CPNP; Jordan's Principle Program; Training and Employment Program; Pump House; SECFS Office; Shawenim Abinoojii Homes; Head Start; Northern Store; Oshetoon Building Supplies/Store; Alix Enterprises Store; and, the Berens River Store.

The Berens River School offers nursery to grade 9 and is operated by the Frontier School Division. The children are required to relocate to Winnipeg and/or other municipalities to attend school beyond grade 9. The community offers an Alternative Adult Education Program which is also overseen by the Frontier School Division.

Shawenim Abinoojii has eight units in the community that are used for emergency, temporary, or longer-term placements to keep children in the community near their families. Some homes are used for reunification where parents and their children reside with a Mentor that provides support, guidance, parenting skills, and life skills training.

Staff

  • Director of Services - Stanford Boulanger
  • Community Supervisor - Stanley Boulanger
  • Direct Service Workers - Mabel Green, Dora Berens, Ernestine Swain, Muriel Green
  • Administrative Assistant - Reanna Andrews
  • Family Enhancement Worker - Candace Stoneman
  • Community Case Aide / Intake - Corinna Andruschak-Bouchie
  • Community (Berens River and Bloodvein) Alternative Care Worker - Laverne Everett
  • City Supervisors - Rick Paskaruk and Josephine Frey
  • Direct Service Workers - Kaylee Funk, Allison McKay, Brooke Evans, Kareen Thompson, Amelia Robertson, Claudia Sanchez, Errol Boulanger, Chantelle Hnatiw, Kelsuma Yussuf and Ashley Kirkness
  • Administrative Assistants - Kianna Greene and Cecilia Cook
  • City Case Aide - Bernice Berens

Highlights and Activities

  • As of October 2020, a team of local resources gathered to form a COVID-19 Working Group who met weekly to plan and to prepare should an outbreak happen in the community (which unfortunately did occur with the first case being identified on November 30). The Working Group and Chief and Council attempted to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a community curfew, travel restrictions, and recommending that no visitors to residences be permitted. Additionally, blockades were set up within the community to discourage people from visiting others.
  • The Agency continues to partner with the community to host limited community-based activities and events. Chief and Council and local businesses including the local store owners who made contributions or donated to the activities and events were positive endeavours.
  • The Berens River First Nation Annual Treaty Days was held in August. A tent was setup at the Treaty grounds entrance to check everyone's temperature plus there was a sign-in sheet as part of COVID-19 protocol. The event was a huge success as community members gathered and had a festive time with traditional games, entertainment provided by live bands, a jigging contest, Elder's appreciation, ticket draws, plus other activities. This year's Treaty Days marked the 145th year that we have been celebrating and ended with the usual loud firework display.
  • The Community Health Empowerment Support Services (CHESS) Program is a SECFS funded program comprised of a Program Coordinator and with youth who attend the program for work experience. The CHESS program is located out of the Sports Complex Arena and all activities were held outdoor and abide with all community COVOD-19 guidelines.
  • The Women's and Men's Groups were cancelled until a virtual program can be set up.
  • The Berens River city and community teams maintained regular family and sibling visits for children in care, where possible, and followed the COVID-19 safety measures.
  • The Berens River SECFS representative participated in the community local resource meetings that were held quarterly until the pandemic suspended the meetings.
  • The summer canoe training program was provided to the youth in August.
  • The Agency funded the Brighter Futures Initiative family fun week in October.
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