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A Historic Milestone for Beaver First Nation: New Band Office Reflects Community Spirit


After years of hard work, Beaver First Nation is gaining a much-needed asset for

the community this spring—a dedicated Band Office Administration Building.


Beaver First Nation’s current Band Administration Office


This milestone symbolizes progress for the community.


“Beaver First Nation has never had a dedicated administration office. We’ve had to use spaces normally assigned for other functions,” said Beaver First Nation Band Manager Rodney Chalifoux. “This has been a multi-year process with past and present leadership, and we are excited to finally see it move forward.”


Previously, the Beaver First Nation shared a space with the health centre, but it was quickly realized additional space for administrative work was needed. So, they were able to find a used mobile office to work out of for the past three years, but the band has outgrown that unit as well.


“Having all our employees, resources and services in one place is going to create more efficiency and will simplify the process of any band-related work,” said Taylor Adekat-Hirt, Beaver First Nation Community Development Navigator.


Beaver First Nation 2023 Staff Retreat


Receiving approval and funding from Indigenous Services Canada for the new band office was not an easy feat, but leadership and senior staff of Beaver First Nation are now thrilled to be discussing the space and design with them and Berry Architecture.


“Administrative buildings have not been on Indigenous Services Canada’s radar for decades as they have concentrated more on water and wastewater projects. This approval is one that we are truly grateful for as a Nation,” said Chalifoux.


After receiving the green light to move ahead with plans, a series of meetings were held with local community members to gain input on where the new office should be built.


“It was decided the new space would be located in Child Lake, near the Truth and Reconciliation monument,” said Adekat-Hirt.


Having a larger, more efficient band office is guaranteed to bring about positive changes—not only for the residents and surrounding communities, but also for the Nation’s employees.

“Previously, we were hesitant to fill new roles within the Nation because all our offices and temporary spaces were filled to capacity,” said Chalifoux. “Having more room, and having our entire team under one roof, will be a huge win in my eyes.”

BFN Band Manager Rodney Chalifoux & BFN Chief Gary Kipling

Once constructed, the band office will have unique features such as the special projects room, which will house coordinators and contractors while temporary projects and programs commence throughout the Nation. The Chief and Council will have their own dedicated offices, and there will also be a client intake entrance accessible from the parking lot.


“We are looking forward to having a fibre optic line,” said Chalifoux. “High speed internet will be new to our community and a welcomed service for all our departments.”


Chalifoux believes the new office will contribute to the growth and development of the Beaver First Nation and will allow them to focus more on the needs of their community.


“We have struggled to develop human resource, policy, law and bylaw capacities that are needed for positive development,” said Chalifoux. “Having everyone together on a daily basis can allow us to move forward and accomplish great things as a Nation.”


Chalifoux is excited for the future.


“Once complete, we’ll have the spaces needed for developing goals, objectives and plans to continue growing as a Nation. It will serve as the central hub for Beaver First Nation where great minds can continue to collaborate within healthy spaces,” said Chalifoux.


At the time of this writing, a Ground Blessing Ceremony and a Sod Turning Ceremony were scheduled for the end of April, and shovels were expected to be in the ground soon after.


“We invited our project partners to the event at the construction site in Child Lake. We’ve also invited Elders, membership, staff and leaders to attend and share in the ceremony,” said Chalifoux.


Getting to this point has taken many years, plenty of advocacy and countless hours.

Chalifoux is grateful for the opportunity to see the building become a reality, and he thanks every single individual and organization that made it possible.


“I would personally like to thank all those involved with making this project a success. Indigenous Services Canada Alberta Region, Berry Architecture, Krawford Construction, past and present leadership, Elders, memberships and staff members all contributed to the greater cause—I especially thank those who put tobacco down and prayed,” said Chalifoux.

Beaver First Nation is located east of High Level. The Nation is comprised of two Reserves—the Boyer River Reserve and the Child Lake Reserve.


 

By Dani Wearden | Photography Submitted

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