Poplar River is the northern most First Nation of the Southeast communities, being located on the east side of Lake Winnipeg at the mouth of the Poplar River in the heart of Manitoba’s Boreal Forest. The community is remote and there is no permanent road access. The main method of transportation is by plane; however, boats may be used in the summer. The winter road is open for a short period of time which allows supplies to be brought in and the members take this opportunity to obtain larger items that can be transported in by vehicle.
Poplar River is strong with its cultural traditions and the language is fluent, and has a rich historical background evidenced by the archeological significance at nearby Weaver Lake. The area has a number of burial sites and ancient drawings or pictographs on the rocks. Community members enjoy the outdoor lifestyle year round with land based activities and camping facilities at Weaver Lake.
Poplar River has an on-reserve population of 1,320 members and 525 off-reserve band members for a total population of 1,845. Community Services/Businesses: SECFS Office; Band Office; Sagaday Lodge; Airport; Apinonchisiwigamik Group Home; Water Treatment Plant; Nursing Station; Head Start Program; Daycare; Sanitation Service; Northern Store; Elders Lodge; Health Resource Center; Fitness Room; and, a Fishing Station. There are also a number of community owned stores and restaurants.
Poplar River First Nation has local control of the school which serves students from kindergarten to grade 9. Students in grades 10 to 12 must go to school outside the community, but Poplar River is scheduled to have its own high school in the near future.
Poplar River First Nation Chief and CFS Portfolio Councillor:
Chief is Vera Mitchell. CFS Portfolio Councillor Norway Rabliauskus.
Director of Services – Glory Lister
Community Supervisor – Sherri Hudson
Direct Services Workers – Chelsea Little
Intake/Family Enhancement Worker – John Valiquette
Administrative Assistant – Shanae Hudson
A/City Supervisor – Trisha Fox
Direct Services Workers – Debra McLeod, Cara Grapentine, Tyler West, Colin Smart, Matthew Zebrasky, Reina Aviles (Maternity Leave)
Administrative Assistant – Alainna Houle, Cheyenne Beaudry (Maternity Leave)
Highlights and Events
- Partnered with Ma Mawi W Chi Itata and the Red Cross during the evacuation. The Agency also provided emergency flights and/or transportation.
- Two full-time Recreation Workers provided prevention services in the community throughout the year, i.e. sporting activities and community family fun events.
- Supported the Youth Gathering and Youth Symposium held at the end of every summer.
- Community Partnered Events including: Sewing and Beading Group; Cooking Class; Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Feast; Fishing Derby; Easter and Halloween activities; National Native Alcohol Addiction Program events; and, Treaty Days where a number of children in care were flown in to attend.
- Community Christmas Dinner and Activities
- Staff work in collaboration with the group home re child placements.
- On and off-reserve staff participated in training to increase their skills i.e. Street Gang and Drug Awareness training offered by the Winnipeg Police Services, cultural teachings offered by the Agency’s Cultural Coordinator.
- City staff attended the community to meet with the families of their children in care cases.
- Staff participated in regular team days and unit meetings to improve communication and learn more about the family and community connections. Goals for the Upcoming Year
- Establish a community resource committee in Poplar River
- Develop a family enhancement program that is robust and provides comprehensive services to the families
- More active seeking of family members to be kinship placements to off-reserve children in care
- Hold regular on and off reserve case reviews to increase communication and knowledge of families and issues
- Use Shawenim Abinoojii Co-Parenting Home as a resource to support the family bonds between children in care and their parents, and with their older siblings who are not in care
- Coordinate training programs to staff and community members to increase personal and professional skills and attributes to be better parents and resources to clients