Sakitawak Bi-Centennial, Ile-a-la-Crosse 1776 - 1976

We Have Not Lived In Vain - Part Two

Voyageurs. Voyageurs.
RCMP Station.
RCMP Station.

The Old Hudson's Bay Store.
The Old Hudson's Bay Store.
Now Terry's Cafe.

Senior Citizens Home.
Senior Citizens Home.

A courtyard of green surrounds the RCMP station. Several officers, maintain the legal rights and privileges of a peaceful society. Manning their vans, they serve as a source of safety amid comfort in times of accident, injury, or emergency. Unflinchingly, they maintain the laws of their country with pride.

The old Hudson's Bay Store, now is home to a restaurant and pool room. Therese Morin gives a warm chair and hot coffee to the village. The clean and bright room is appointed with several historical photographs serving to maintain the inherent pride of her people. many are those who visit for the comfort of its simple existence.

Across the street the "old age home" gives a quiet room for the peace of the village's elderly. Here, Mr. Malbouf sits on many an evening, chatting with the occasional visitor. Inside, cards and conversation brighten up the last years of these grandparents and great-grandparents. Willingly, people like Marie Rose McCallum will tell of the days long since past. In here a treasure house of history is still to be found and kept for tomorrow.

The house of local government sits next door. Here, is the planning room of a growing community. Here, is decided the direction and philosophy of the town. In the head chair, Leo Belanger meets with his councillors and tries to gets as much for this home of their's as provincial budgets will allow. Here also, is the community's library. A modern and appealing room rests comfortably with its own special treasurers.

A log cabin is guarded by a massive rack of a moose. Recently built, it houses the ideals and programs of the Metis Society. Here the young progressive citizens gather to debate the future of their people, plan community projects and serve to help educate their people in a "White" dominated world. Jimmy Favel is the guiding key along with Jimmy Durocher. This plain and pleasing building, is a happy stopping place for the young adults, who will soon inherit the community controls.

Metis Society Building.
Metis Society Building.

Convent and Hospital.
Convent and Hospital.
Church Ile-a-la-Crosse. Senior Citizens - Mr. Malboeuf.
Ile-a-la-Crosse Church
Senior Citizen, Mr. Malboeuf.

A long simple building houses the Co-op Store. A no-nonsense atmosphere suggests that as a competitor to the "Bay", it means business. People-owned, little is wasted on the luxuries of dazzling the eyes of all beholders. Food, dry goods, hardware and conversation are the chief goods obtained. Here many come to meet with friends and neighbours or just browse while enjoying a sweet treat.

And that imposing and unconventional structure? The school is the community's life-blood. A new school designed by a Metis architect Douglas Cardinal, now serves to lead the young to a more confident future. This year of 1976 is a first in many ways for the school. Grade twelve now allows the village children to keep the security and comfort of home while attending school. The school design now permits a more tangible arts program; a solid science program; music in a miniature concert hall setting; more student government programs and initiative; a pleasing and appealing resource centre., both audio and visual; and of course a warm atmosphere for learning of reading mechanics. The circular design dispells the feeling of helplessness; of aloneness, of being boxed in. In all, it is worth the three and a half million dollars it cost to construct. The future will eventually bear witness.

All is not work in Ile-a-la-Crosse. With the ideas, enthusiasm and efforts of Thomas J. Roy, the community's recreation director, the village often is kept happily involved in activities and sporting events. T.J., as he is usually called, directs the hockey and softball teams in their regular season play against other northern community teams. He has the use of an indoor hockey arena, curling rink, bingo hall and large playing fields. Hours have been devoted to the planning and co-ordinating of youth activities; and always an eye is kept open for new events to keep his community healthy and happy. T.J. has given an extra portion of himself to the town. He has planned, co-ordinated, advertised and worked the winter festival for the winter games, as well as the special Bi-Centennial Celebrations of July, 1976.

Canoe racing, long-distance running, outdoor dances, bingos, special events and a beer garden. Celebrate in style. Thousands come to pay honour, and tribute, to this special hour of Ile-a-la-Crosse. Riel would be proud of his growing "Metis Nation". Two hundred years later! Sakitawak! Ile-a-la-Crosse! Who are you? What are you?

New homes, colour television, education, the church, self government, locally controlled education, and of course those who practise the traditional life-styles of forefathers. Ile-a-la-Crosse is more than all of this. Ile-a-La-Crosse is a special place, with a special past, looking for a special tomorrow. Sakitawak - two hundred years proud!

Ile-a-la-Crosse celebrates Bi-Centennial.
Ile-a-la-Crosse celebrates Bi-Centennial.
Courtesy of "DENOSA".

Vital Morin
School Board Chairman

"We have a local board elected and looking after the total operation of the school here. There were a lot of meetings from the take-over. There was quite a conflict within the community. A lot of people thought that the local people would never be able to run their own school. But, the majority of the parents, thought that the local board would run a better school".

"The school itself, is going to be one of the best. With the new school and equipment, I hope it will impress the students that are attending this school and make it more interesting to them, so that they attend more regularly than they have been doing. We have a lot more to offer in the school now, than we've ever had before".

"By having the knowledge of what the kids at Ile-a-la-Crosse need as far as education is concerned, the types of programs, we would point these out to the type of teachers that would be able to teach these types of programs".

"Some of the things that the people thought should be taught here, is our own culture, our own history. People were starting to lose interest in their own culture. These are the things we thought we could bring back and sort of keep the people aware of what they are, and not lose it in the white society. We know for sure all our kids won't become doctors, lawyers, and office people. There will always be a number of people who are thinking of going back to trapping and fishing, and try to do their own type of living that they have done before. These are some of the things we consider could be taught in the school. By having our own local board, a lot of these things can be implemented in the school.".

"The students have to be prepared to take this kind of schooling or take the white man's ways. In order to make kids interested in attending school, we have to make an interest inside that school".

New School - 1976.
New School - 1976.

"In 1960, I was put on the ratepayers association. That was an elected body. It was a fairly limited body. We were under the jurisdiction of the Northern Administration District. We had a gentleman by the name of Bill___________, who was a government services man in Prince Albert, that used to come out periodically and sit with the ratepayers association. We had five members on the association. Our positions were advisory positions. We advised the government services as to what might be needed in the community. This went on for four or five years".

"Then we graduated to LAC - Local Advisory Council. This was a step up. We had a little more say in what went on in the community".

"A few years later, we became an LCA - Local Community Authority. Our LCA has, definitely, more strength in the say of community handling and performance than previous boards. We have to make budgets every year. Money is allotted to us, so much for fire protection, so much for roads, street lighting, etc., all the services for the community, We've enjoyed good relations with government services people. They have respected our decisions".

We are fast becoming closer to what we will have to graduate to next, the municipal level. Our settlement, will then be called a village. There is only one drawback about going into villages and towns, the tax base will expand. I expect that within the next five years, we will be a village.

LCA - Local Community Authority.
LCA - Local Community Authority.


Author: Webmaster -
"Date Modified: July 21, 2024."

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