Major Funding Announcement for Emergency Wellness Centre
On May 12, 2022, the Saskatoon Tribal Council and its Member First Nations gathered together for their annual spring assembly. The event started with a partnership announcement with the Ministry of Social Services and the City of Saskatoon, followed by an agreement signing ceremony.
The Government of Saskatchewan will provide up to $3.5 million to contribute to the Emergency Wellness Centre, helping support Indigenous people and all people to have a quality of life.
Social Services Minister, Lori Carr, attended the event and stated how important this partnership is with the Saskatoon Tribal Council and Seven Member First Nations because it will provide cultural supports, security, and health and wellness counselling.
Along with Minister Carr was Louise Michaud, Assistant Deputy Minister Disability Programs and Housing; President Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.
Mayor Charlie Clarke was also in attendance, saying that this deal is a “significant step in breaking the cycle of homelessness.”
Mayor Clark and Assistant Deputy Minister Michaud showed significant support in the event, participating in the Pipe Ceremony and Grand Entry.
Other partners in attendance were the Saskatoon Fire Department and Saskatoon Police Service.
Tribal Chief Mark Arcand addressed the audience, stating this was a historic event. He thanked the Chiefs of the seven STC Member First Nations for allowing this partnership to be implemented, saying, “this event is the second time in our history we had a Provincial Minister come to our First Nation Lands and address us directly.”
Tribal Chief Arcand mentioned that Minister Carr and our Member First Nations officials gathered together at a morning Pipe Ceremony, saying that for Indigenous people, the Pipe Ceremony is a stronger bond than the paper they are going to sign today.
“It’s an agreement, a partnership. It’s asking the Creator to help us work together.”
The Emergency Wellness Centre officially opened on December 15, 2021. It first opened with a 50-bed capacity, later increasing its capacity to 70. The Emergency Wellness Centre has helped more than 8,000 people in four-and-a-half months.
For Saskatoon Tribal Council, $3.5 million toward a 12-month pilot supports our people who need it, our families, relatives from other First Nations, brothers and sisters, and non-Indigenous peoples.
Tribal Chief Arcand concluded the signing agreement ceremony by stating: “publicly in front of our people, in front of the province – we want to take over the work in Saskatoon for the shelter – to take care of our people in a cultural way that will benefit our people for the right reasons.”
“Nobody should be homeless in 2022.”
~ Tribal Chief Mark Arcand ~