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Band Office/Health Clinic Opens In Cumberland House

Gloria Ledoux

"It is with a lot of thank you's that I stand here this morning to celebrate the official opening of the 'Pine Island Cree Nation Band Office/clinic'" Chief Pierre Settee stated as he cut the ribbon to officially open the bands new facility on September 22.

Official Band Office/Health Clinic ribbon cutting Settee also appealed to Dave Nicholson, the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Medical Services Branch of National Health and Welfare to provide a federal field nurse to work on the reserve, for the newly constructed health facility. He presented Nicholson with a Band council resolution supporting his request. Nursing services are being provided by the province through the Cumberland Village which Chief Settee says is contrary to Treaty.

Settee also requested the transfer of medical transportation services to the band. Medical transportation is authorized by the village nurse and administered by La Ronge Social Services, which is contrary to treaty according to Settee. He acknowledged former Chief Joe Laliberte for starting negotiations between the Band and medical services and Indian Affairs.

Opening prayers were offered by Reverend Kaufmann and Elder Joe Turner from the Prince Albert District Chiefs Office. Duane Adams, Regional Director of Health Services introduced special guests and took the opportunity to commend Chief Settee "When negotiations first started it was for a health clinic only which quickly expanded to include a band office".

Nicholson and Ray Gamercey, District Manager of Indian Affairs each presented the band with a plaque. The Prince Albert district representative Milton Burns, on behalf of the PADC Tribal Council presented the chief with a framed picture. As a token of appreciation, Chief Settee made presentations to Dick Wall, Zone Director of Medical Services, Cathy Moss, Assistant Superintendent of Band management, Indian Affairs. Gamercy accepted the plaque on behalf of Chief Bowman and August Kolen, both of Indian Affairs. Elder Lena Stewart was assisted by Chief Settee, Ray Gamercy and Nicholson in cutting the rawhide to officially open the band office/health clinic.

The Cumberland House Band has a population of 433 with 252 living on the reserve. It is expected an additional 600 people will acquire band membership status under Bill C-31. The band moved to Cumberland House 23 years ago from Pine Bluff. The name "Pine Island" is derived from its former homestead.

Guests were invited to a luncheon prepared by the band members. Each visitor also received a cap bearing the name Cumberland House Cree Nation and a piece of rawhide as a momentum of the occasion.