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Community News

Fisher River Elders Welcomed Home 35 Years Ago

todayJuly 23, 2021 101 1

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The Ochekwi-Sipi Personal Care Home celebrates 35 years in operation this month, a milestone that marks when the Fisher River Cree Nation community was able to welcome their elders home.

Before Ochekwi-Sipi opened, Fisher River’s elders who needed specialized care were sent to personal care homes away from the community.
“We had elders in Sagkeeng, Sioux Valley, different care homes throughout the province,” said Chief David Crate.

Brenda Hart has worked at Ochekwi-Sipi since the PCH opened on July 2, 1986, when she was 31 years old and remembers lobbying with other community members to establish a care home in Fisher River.

“Past leadership with former Chief Wesley Hart heard and listened to our people’s voices,” said Hart. “It was their dream to keep our elders here and bring home those who had gone away.”

Ochekwi-Sipi opened its doors to 30 communities including, Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Paungassi First Nation and even James Bay, Ont., said Hart.

Since 1986, 350 residents have passed through Ochekwi-Sipi through re-spite services, short- or long-term care.

“Change is definitely a huge factor through-out the 35 years,” said Hart. “The pandemic period, evacuations, renovations … but change is good.”

Hart has worked as a health-care aide, nursing unit clerk, support personnel and most recently as a COVID-19 support worker during her time at Ochekwi-Sipi.

“I like being of assistance to whoever needs help,” said Hart.

Ochekwi-Sipi created several jobs within the community, giving Fisher River residents a place to work and earn qualifications close to home.
With the Peguis First Nation com-munity, Fisher River offers a licensed practical nursing program every few years as well as health-care aide training.

“Training is one part of the ongoing support to the personal care home to ensure that we have our own members trained in the health-care field,” said Crate.

The elders can also feel more comfortable adjusting to life in a personal care home because they recognize the staff from the community.

“The elders that are at our care home know our staff, our people. It makes it an easier transition for our members going into the care home because there’s people there that they already know,” said Crate.

“I think it’s a good thing that families know that there is a place within the community that’s there to support our members as they get older and know that there’s quality care provided,” said Crate.

Ochekwi-Sipi hopes to celebrate the PCH’s 35th anniversary with music, entertainment and an opportunity to visit residents throughout the day when COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Article courtesy of Express Weekly News

Written by: fisherriver

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Highway 224 Petition

The background to this petition is as follows: Provincial Road number 224 serves Peguis First Nation, Fisher River Cree Nation and surrounding communities. The road is in need of substantial repairs. The road has been in poor condition for years and has numerous potholes, uneven driving surfaces, and extremely narrow shoulders. Due to recent population growth in the area, there has been increased vehicular and pedestrian use of PR 224. […]

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Fisher River Cree Nation is a community in which our history, language, traditions, and culture are paramount to who we are as a people. We will protect and maintain the spirit and intent of the treaties and our inherent rights. Fisher River will be a self-sustaining progressive community with a strong and accountable government. We will provide an environment where all people are healthy, safe, and respected.