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Little Pine Chief Eli Bear

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      NOVEMBER 1972      v03 n10 p14  
Eli Bear

Chief Eli Bear was born and raised on the Little Pine Reserve.

Mr. Eli Bear became or was elected the Chief of Little Pine on April 5, 1972 after the former chief, John Nighttraveller, resigned due to business reasons. At the present time Chief Bear is serving the remaining term, one year, of the former chief's term.

During the short time in which Chief Eli Bear has been serving his people, he has taken great strides in the field of agriculture, providing numerous jobs and increasing the band farm operation.

Chief Eli Bear took the initiative role in applying for a farm loan through the Indian Economic Development Fund for the purchase of a tractor and for possessing working capital for the Band Farm.

Mr. Bear also takes a great, part in the actual operation of the Band Farm and can be seen at times looking like a real down to earth farmer, never fearing of getting a little dirt on his hands. He does the supervising of the workers on the band Farm and also on other field operations.

At the present time Chief Eli Bear has the Band Farm with 800 acres under cultivation and has the farm operating with leased land from individual band members on a crop-share basis.

Chief Eli Bear has made use of the Work Opportunity Program and made substantial changes in the Recreation area enabling, the reserve, Little Pine, to host the North Battleford and Meadow Lake Play-offs in Men's and Ladies Fastball, Junior Sandlot Baseball, and in Senior and Junior Soccer.

Through the Work Opportunity Program Chief Bear had the skating rink reconstructed after using the existing material to house the pow-wow MC, also with the same program constructed granaries to house the grain harvested from the band farm.

Chief Eli Bear has also taken a great interest in the field of education for the benefit of his band members. With the aid of his council, he had made it possible to have a Guidance Counsellor Aide on the reserve in assisting the Guidance Counsellors from Indian Affairs with matters pertaining to education, and also in hiring a Cree Language Instructor in teaching Cree to children on the reserve from Grades 1 to 3.

In relation to the idiom, Strike while the iron is hot, Chief Eli Bear has taken the initiative role in administering new programs mainly, Welfare, Water & Sanitation, and with Housing Wages.

In carrying out the Welfare Program, Chief Eli Bear has hired one of the band members to, serve as the Welfare Administrator. Chief Bear sees that at every two weeks the required assistance is given to each applicant in cheque form. Through various projects Chief Bear has managed to keep his welfare recipients down to a minimum. At the present time Chief Eli Bear has the band engaged in administering 12 basic grants which are obtainable from Indian Affairs and also the band funds.

Chief Eli Bear is a noted enthusiastic curler and has made plans for a long active period of curling for the winter. Not only is he active in curling but has an overall interest in other sports as well.

Better known to many, who are not too keen on who Eli Bear is, may have at one time or another seen him holding a mike at a pow-wow during the summer. Mr. Bear has taken many active roles on his reserve and on other reserves trying to hold onto one of our many customs, which we are slowly losing, and that is our grass dancing.

I am sure we will be hearing more from Chief Eli Bear in the near future whether he seeks reelection or not.