Berens River Unit

Location

Berens River First Nation, the largest community in the Southeast region, is located on the east shore of Lake Winnipeg at the mouth of the Berens River. The community was a remote First Nation until December 2017 when an all-weather road connecting Berens River to Bloodvein First Nation was completed. The community is approximately 2,546 hectares large and is situated in the heart of Manitoba’s boreal forest which provides for many opportunities for land and water based activities that the natural setting offers. The community has beautiful Log Inn cabins, available for visitors, that overlook the astonishing Berens River.

Population

Berens River has an on-reserve population of 2,125 members and 1,185 off-reserve members for a total population of 3,310.

Community Services/Businesses

Band Office; Meemeesipii Inc. Berens River Log Inn; Daycare; Nursing Station; Chief Jacob Berens Mino-Berens Centre; Berens River Training and Employment Program; Berens River Tug Boat/Barge; Pump House; SECFS Office; Head Start; and, a number of
privately owned stores and businesses.

School

Berens River School operates kindergarten to grade 9 and belongs with the Frontier
School Division. Grade 10 to 12 students must leave the community to further their education.
The community also operates and an alternative adult education program for adults.

Berens River First Nation Chief and CFS Portfolio Councilor

Chief is Hartley Everett. CFS
Portfolio Councillor Steve Berens.

Staff

Director of Services – Stanford Boulanger
Community Supervisor – Laverne Everette
Administrative Assistant – Ernestine Swain
Direct Services Workers – Dora Berens, Mabel Green, Muriel Green
Intake/Family Enhancement Worker – Candace Stoneman
Supervisors City – Rick Paskaruk, Anetta Russo
Administrative Assistants – Fiona Keeper, Lindsay Nobess
Direct Services Workers – Tania Guimond, Rebecca McIvor,  Jim Urquhart, Monika Flett
Kareen Thompson, Tricia Garton, Errol Boulanger, Cynthia Eyeshemitan, Kristene Gudmundson, Angela Uta (Student)

Highlights and Events

Berens River has the most number of foster homes of the Southeast First Nations. The majority of the below events and activities were partnered with various community resources including Chief and Council:

  •  Community Health Empowerment Support Services (CHESS) Program – SECFS funds this unique year-round community prevention program that sees a Program Coordinator and two Youth Workers who operate out of the Sports Complex Arena, and organize age appropriate activities for the children and youth to keep them busy with fun events and be in a safe environment.
  • Various community events and cultural activities throughout the year
  • Anishinaabe Ombigjiiowsowin (traditional caregiving training) provided
  • Two groups participated in the FAST Program that involves six sessions with families who get together and have group discussions and prepare a meal. A graduation ceremony is held for those who complete the program.
  • Christmas Dinner for the foster parents and children in care and Winter Carnival for families and children
  • Sponsored a hockey team to Southeast Tribal Days; School’s Bullying Workshop; Treaty Days including arranging for children in care placed outside the community to attend these events; and, funded 16 children to attend a Bomber game in Winnipeg

City Units

With the high number of city cases and number of workers required to manage the cases, three
of the workers are overseen by another Unit Supervisor (Rick Paskaruk) to make cases more
manageable. This structure may change in the future.

Highlights and Events

  • The two units made great effort to maintain regular sibling visits
  • City workers visited Berens River First Nation to meet the families of their children in care cases
  • Regular team days and unit meetings to increase the communication and support amongst the workers, and share knowledge for improved case planning and to return children to Berens River i.e. new Four Bed Homes opened new child care placement options in Berens River
  • The Annual Berens River Family Picnic was held in August with games, crafts, and food. Gently used household and clothing were collected by the staff to donate to the families.

Goals

  • Establish and actively participate on a community resource or local child care committee in Berens River
  • Train the Family Enhancement Worker to provide more intensive family support services to families in Berens River and transfer more family cases to the Family Enhancement Program
  • Increase the number of joint city-community case reviews and team building activities
  • Increase participation in community events and activities
  • Provide more unit specific training to the staff to enhance their capacity to more effectively serve their children and family cases