Birch Narrows Dene First Nation

The Birch Narrows Dene Band signed Treaty 10 on August 28, 1906. They were originally part of the Peter Pond Band, but separated in 1972 into the Birch Narrows and Buffalo River Dene Nations; most of the Birch Narrows Dene Nation Reserve adjoins that of the Buffalo River Dene Nation. The present settlement was created when the residents of the old village on Churchill Lake relocated to have Churchill road access. Half of the community is non-status (many are related to First Nation people): because of the difference in the status of the two populations as it relates to treaty rights, jurisdictional conflicts have been common. Community infrastructure includes a taxi service, candy store, band store, a health clinic, youth centre, learning centre, justice program, educational complex, day care, post office, fire truck and fire hall. Economic development opportunities involve a fish plant, forestry, hunting and trapping, and tourism and adventure tours that include opportunities to learn about Dene culture if so desired. The band's three reserves at Churchill and Turnor Lakes total 2,693.6 hectares; Turnor Lake (193B), located 124 km northwest of Ile-à-la Crosse, is the smallest and most populated site. The band has a membership of 586 people, but only 321 live on reserve.

Christian Thompson