ARCHIVED - Swan Lake First Nation – Investment in its Community Development Projects

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See how the Swan Lake First Nation, located in southwestern Manitoba, has achieved economic success through investment in its community development projects.

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Transcript: Swan Lake First Nation – Investment in its Community Development Projects

Francine Meeches – Chief – Swan Lake First Nation

Swan Lake First Nation is located in Southwestern Manitoba and we're located about 30 miles from the US border… our population is over 1300 members.

We have approximately 730 members on reserve.

Craig Soldier – Councillor – Swan Lake First Nation

Back in 2002 our community was in a huge deficit … 2.8 million dollars.

…and today we are sitting above with a plus in our bank accounts and we've become successful financially…

…but we've also become successful socially within the community.

Todd Birkhan – CA, Auditor

Swan Lake has done a number of things to sort of take themselves from difficulties to a 'Have' First Nation …number one…they made a separation of politics and administration…

Chief and Council make big picture decisions, the Director of Operations is charged with following through with those.

Even with changes in Chief and changes in administration they've stuck to the plan and they've allowed the First Nation to move forward.

Secondly is they started putting in a budgeting system and really developed a plan.

Desmond Gould – Director of Operations – Swan Lake First Nation

We have to live within our means, within our budgets and our contribution agreements, identifying the expenditures annually… our Chief and Council have recognized the needs of the community…

They know what the priorities are and the priorities are with the people…

Some of our economic development ventures are that of our VLT lounges…

we also lease land to on and off reserve individuals…

…we have a gas bar…

… we also have a buffalo ranch.

We are able to generate enough revenue to enhance our housing program within the community.

We completed six log homes last year… we just completed our new administration building… we continue to restore various housing on the reserve … we continue to work on our infrastructure, namely that of water and waste water within the community.

Robert Green – Special Projects Manager – Swan Lake First Nation

We've built an 8 unit home for people that wanted to still live on their own but needed some assistance…

…we were responsible for building the new wellness centre.

…we're just completing a new splash park for the kids…

…there was close to $100,000.00 put into the playground at the school …there's been 2 school busses purchased …there's improvements on the roads…

 …plus we've done a lot of work on development of new businesses…

Craig Soldier – Councillor – Swan Lake First Nation

Accountability is a big thing in our community, right from Chief and Council to our own community members … our doors are always open….

Ken McKinney – Elder – Swan Lake First Nation

The work that's been done by administration …all the staff and everybody cooperates, working together it's a lot better…

Francine Meeches – Chief – Swan Lake First Nation

To be able to say, you know "I come from Swan Lake First Nation, I'm proud to be from there", that's important!

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