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Larry Wuttunee

Red Pheasant First Nation: A Community Profile

Reprinted with permission from
The Indigenous Times - Christmas Edition 1998 - pg. 4-5

Larry Wuttunee

The Red Pheasant First Nation is situated approximately 20 miles south of Battleford, Saskatchewan. The community comprises a land mass of approximately 22,320 acres, with an additional 24,800 of TLE acres in reserve status.

The First Nation has a total population of 1686 persons, 680 of whom live on the reserve. The Red Pheasant First Nation signed Treaty No. 6 on August 23, 1876, and is a member of the Battleford Tribal Council.

There are currently one hundred and sixty homes in the community, all boasting sewer and water, telephone, and natural gas hookups.

The Chief of Red Pheasant First Nation, Larry Wuttunee, has served a total of five terms as Chief since 1982. He was first elected to council when he was only 21 years old. Chief Wuttunee and his wife Jean have seven children.

The Band is served by an eight member council that includes Harry Nicotine, Lennox H. Wuttunee, Emile Wuttunee, Robert Wuttunee, Gale Benson, Glen Keskotagan, Lionel Peyachew, and Charles Meechance. The next election for the band will take place on April 12, 1999. The band employs twenty-eight people, eleven of which work in the band office itself.

The community's school, which was built in 1986, recently celebrated a $2.2 million addition with a grand opening on November 24, 1998. The addition included two new classrooms consisting of a library/science room and a full-sized gym. The school facilitates one-hundred and sixty students, from Kindergarten to grade eight, while the high school students are bused to near-by North Battleford.

The First Nation will also celebrate the opening of a brand new day-care on January 15, 1999. The facility will fill an important need in the community, and will employ an additional seven people.

The band's full-sized arena was built in 1993 and is used primarily as a facility for their hockey teams, and powwows.

Like several other bands have done, the Red Pheasant First Nation achieved their Treaty Land Entitlement shortfall acres settlement in total of $18,964,666.46. The band purchased 14,000 acres of land in several communities in the province including in the areas of Pierceland, Cando, and Battleford. While the majority of the land is agricultural, one of the key aspects of the land acquirement is the access to the mineral resources, such as oil and gas and other minerals. Under the New Port Replacement Agreement, the surface mineral rights belong to the band, which according to Chief Wuttunee, is the first agreement of its kind in the country.

This land acquisition has created more business opportunities for band members including outfitting, hunting, and fishing, and the mining of undisposed surface minerals, with a 50/50 proceed split with the government.

The band has purchased 10 trailers for $50,000, and they are also involved in numerous investments to create new economic opportunities. They are share-holders with the BTC tribal council in the Avord Towers, Gamex Bingo, the casino, as well as General Plumbing and Jackfish Lodge.

Red Pheasant First Nation has also opened a new solvent abuse centre for youth which opened its doors for the first time on November 30th, 1998. The youth come from communities all over Canada. At present they have 17 beds available to accommodate patients.

The community is also trying to deal with the shortage of housing. According to Chief Wuttunee, there are one hundred and fifty people on the waiting list for homes.

The Red Pheasant band is forward thinking as they understand that the health of their community and its future lies with their youth. To ensure that the next generation stays on the right track, the band has set up a youth program in their community to give young people things to occupy their time so they will be less inclined to get themselves into trouble.

They have hockey, skating and swimming programs for their teens in the evening after school every day. Also of interest, is the fact that the majority of the reserve kids are involved in the army cadets, which keeps them busy, while providing them with practical skills.

For the approximately 100 Elders, the community holds round dances and powwows and sends them on cultural trips. They also hold an annual dinner for the Elders and honor them with gifts.

Links: (click on X in top right corner of outside link to return to photo gallery)

Red Pheasant Signs Oil and Gas Agreement, Saskatchewan Indian, Winter 1997

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