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About the Village of Pinehouse Lake

The Aboriginal community of Pinehouse, with a population of 1,450 is situated 480 kilometres north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on the beautiful Churchill River system. Since time immemorial the Indigenous people have used these lands, lakes and rivers for transportation, fishing, hunting/gathering, trapping and trade. These traditional lands have provided all the amenities for all our generations at any point in time; this sustenance tradition continues to this day.
logoIn the late 1700s, Indigenous families scattered along the Churchill River traded fur with the Northwest Trading Company. For nearly 100 years trade between European settlers and our people formed our first economy and provided the foundation for sustainable lifestyles. It led to the permanent settlement of what was originally called the community of Snake Lake which is now as the Aboriginal community Pinehouse.
logoToday, Pinehouse is very much in a state of transition. Over the last generation, Pinehouse has transformed from the “Drinking Capital of Northern Saskatchewan” to becoming the region’s most progressive community. Pinehouse has chosen to be proactive. It will meet its challenges by empowering community members to impact its own future directly. At the heart of the reclamation of our Indigenous culture, identity and values lies the theme of Aboriginal Holistic Healing. It affirms that only Aboriginal people can heal Aboriginal people, and through their own methods. From this, the “Reclaiming Our Community” program was born.

logoThe young people of Pinehouse now look to the future for the ultimate fulfilment of healthy and prosperous families while contributing positively to our rich and historic local economy, the Province of Saskatchewan and thus Canada.   This includes attaining quality education and sustainable employment while residing in our own community. Pinehouse is working to achieve this goal by building mutually beneficial relationships with Industry in around our territory. Capacity building is now at the forefront.

The Aboriginal community of Pinehouse, as represented by Kineepik Metis Local, has formalized its relationship with Industry. The collaborative partnership between Industry and Pinehouse is to be commended and to be looked at as exemplary.   It is our hope that through witnessing Pinehouse’s transition, similar northern communities now visualize their own prosperous future by embracing its own culture while working with industry and in modern economies!




A Vision of our Future

Pinehouse will grow and prosper as a healthy, self-determined, self-sustaining northern community that is united and takes pride in our Aboriginal culture and traditions through sharing and caring. We are reclaiming our community through a holistic approach and promoting identity, culture, values and beliefs.


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Reclaiming Our Community

The ROC has promoted both the use of the Circle of Courage principles for youth and the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel principles to the adults and all other Aboriginal clients.

The northern community of Pinehouse is moving towards a path of discovery and vision of what a healthy northern independent community should be. During this period of self-discovery and vision-making, Pinehouse needed to start thinking strategically in the delivery of its social initiatives which included home, school, adult healing & education. This meant assembling a disciplined team of individuals that are willing to try innovative ways of breathing life into the healing journey of Pinehouse. This also included adopting some tried-and-true methodologiesa such as the “Good-To-Great” principles of accountable leadership and, conducting a SWOT analysis for the community.

Pinehouse is reclaiming its community by teaching the transitional young population the tradition of caring, sharing and caring for one another. Reclaiming what we’ve lost directly or indirectly through the residential school system, foster homes and welfare. We instill in ourselves and future generations our cultural identity and values as Aboriginal people even in the face of modern influences like technology. It means maintaining most of our ancestral practices while still implementing many new practices such as modern child rearing methodologies. It means establishing tailored programs aligned with our needs and culture in an attempt to instill a sense of self-worth. Lastly, it means we keep strong ties to the land around us for it sustains us and nourishes our bodies to this day.

Download: Aboriginal Holistic Healing 2015

For Pinehouse to achieve its Mission and Vision both leadership and the ROC group have embraced the challenge of improving services by creating and implementing our own customized programs to meet the needs of community members. The ROC group’s mandate is that prevention, intervention and education be delivered to all community members.


The Circle of Courage (CC) principles, by Dr. Marten Brokenleg, are championed by Minahik Waskahigan School for positive growth development of all the students in the practical applications of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. Research has proven the Circle of Courage principles to be an effective tool to assist young participants. These principles are listed below:

Belonging – belonging to a community and interacting with one’s relations in an Aboriginal community is vital for an Aboriginal youth. This relating to people they know encourages and strengthens long-lasting relationships.

Mastery – school aged children that are taught by those with more experience tend to have greater impact on their lives especially if that youth knows the older person. Familiar elders that do this teaching to the youth are easily effective in this transmission of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge.

Independence – Elders and school staff teach the students to believe in themselves and not be afraid to try out new things in their lives. In this way, the youth is not only starting to master the task but also becomes more independent in his or her thinking ability. This builds confidence in the youth.

Generosity – the act of being generous and considerate of others is always taught to each student, and continually reinforced. In this way, each student starts to be conscious of the world around him or her. Each student starts to put value in fellow students and family members. Positive contribution is encouraged.

The Circle of Courage principles encourage strong positive emotional growth of all students at Minahik Waskahigan School. This positive growth is vital to all students as they continue to attain successive education and contribute to the wellbeing of the family and to the community.

The Reclaiming Our Community’s mandate is on prevention, intervention and education to be delivered to all community members. Besides the Circle of Courage principles, Pinehouse also utilizes the traditional Aboriginal Medicine Wheel principles to assist adults and all other aboriginal clients experiencing difficulty with alcohol or drug abuse issues and treatment. This philosophy is championed by the Social Development Team that includes the Social Development Co-ordinator, Kineepik Metis Local staff, and the Village Elders program.

Generally speaking, it is recognized that the older generation in Pinehouse has unique experiences from growing up in a more traditional lifestyle. The childhood of the majority of these individuals involved being out on the trapline, commercial fishing, wildrice harvesting and food gathering. These individuals were subjected to both the “simple life” on the land and the basic nature of instinct and survival. Although well-adjusted, these individuals face unique problems brought on by the loss of their personal way of life, the gradual decline of their culture, the lack of proper nurturing when young and hard physical work just to survive. Sadly, these individuals were also subjected to pure neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and generally uneducated and not adequately prepared to deal successfully the changing environments around them.

To assist in this process Pinehouse utilizes an Aboriginal Medicine Wheel Counselor to explore a positive role in society for Aboriginal clients and to help these people identify with a community that embraces Aboriginal culture and their place within that community. This Aboriginal Medicine Wheel involves helping the Aboriginal clients to understand the following eight principles which comprise a successful healing journey:

  1. Trust

  2. Respect

  3. Feeling

  4. Caring

  5. Tolerance
  6. Understanding
  7. Acceptance

  8. Forgiveness
Ultimately, the goal of the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel is to provide a model of healthy human development from an Aboriginal perspective. This includes providing an accurate and culturally appropriate view of the citizen in crisis and his/her personal and contextual issues and needs for change as well as a vehicle for managing this change while fostering self-directed adult learning. In addition, Aboriginal Medicine Wheel counseling helps to create opportunities for all community members to take part in cultural programs, healing programs and sharing circles designed to heal members from the history of oppression, neglect and assimilation. The goal is to move away from “stunted growth” into self-realization, self-forgiveness and a new found growth and hope in a brighter future.

It is recognized that mainstream health services delivery does not always work for the Aboriginal members of our community when it comes to specific personal development issues and when trying to employ the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel principles.. Recovery Lake is a home-grown detoxing program which utilizes Nature, Aboriginal culture and the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel principles. This homegrown solution was started in the 1980’s and up until recently was continued in a grass roots approach. The Musqua Lake Campground is utilized for the Recovery Lake campouts which is situated about 19 kilometers south of Pinehouse. Due to cold winter months, the Recovery Lake program is able to be delivered only in the summer months of July and August.

Recovery Lake is where the theme of reclaiming our indigenous culture, identity and values are implemented based on the concept of Aboriginal Holistic Healing through the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel. This theme is but one example of how a homegrown aboriginal healing model is being used for positive results. Through this Aboriginal Holistic Model delivery tool called Recovery Lake, the mission to empower people to make their own choices by building on their strengths to create and develop tools that will give them the ability to manage their own families and build their own future.

Although Recovery Lake coupled with the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel principles is still in its infancy it has been well received by most community members especially the older transitional generation who seem to find solace and comfort within the Recovery Lake atmosphere. If this model is to continue to be a successful tool in aiding the community of Pinehouse, a more sustained approach, coupled with support, will be needed going forward.

Overall, with time, it is our hope that the combined efforts of Recovery Lake, Aboriginal Medicine Wheel and the Circle of Courage program will ultimately lead to healthy, happy families who are self-sufficient as they grow together. It is truly our belief that only home-grown solutions will address and combat the systematic disintegration of Indigenous culture, language, identity and values. These solutions can only be arrived at by fully living out our Vision & Mission statements and by meeting our eight(8) strategic goals.


Leadership & Management


Technical Services

Matt Vermette
Northern Research Group Inc
Prince Albert, Sask.


Jerome Slavik   .    Legal Counsel
Ackroyd LLP
Edmonton, Alberta



Environmental Stewardship

In partnership with Cameco Corporation, a Youth Engagement Strategy has been developed to facilitate better planning and communication strategies our youth.   In addition, an Environmental Workshop is being planned for the fall of 2015.

Pinehouse residents continue a variety of traditional and cultural activities, including hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering. Annual Cultural camps for youth and annual Elders Gathering help to educate citizens and preserve the traditional ways of the Aboriginal community of Pinehouse.

The Aboriginal community of Pinehouse, as represented by Kineepik Metis Local (#9) has carried out a qualitative and quantitative mapping study. The 2010-2012 Use-and-Occupancy Map Survey has over 38,000 data points, 122 traditional resource users participating. The Pinehouse use-and-occupancy map survey has been designed and conducted by Terry Tobias, author Living Proof: The Essential Data-Collection Guide for Indigenous Use-and-Occupancy Surveys”.

For the last 6 years, a northern Saskatchewan Elders Gathering has been held in Pinehouse with over 500 visitors from 30 northern communities enjoy connecting with relations and friends and enjoying traditional country foods.

Every summer, the Recovery Lake program is held at the Musqua Lake Campgrounds 19 km south of Pinehouse. Utilizing nature and the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel philosophy, local people are weaned off addictions and received personal healing.


Community Infrastructure

Since 2012, 13 new turn-key homes have been constructed for low to medium income families with pre-approved mortgages.

A new hockey arena with artificial ice and new offices has recently been completed. Community members now utilize the hockey arena for recreational activities. Local organizations, including the new radio station, will be moved into the newly constructed offices.

Pinehouse is looking into the feasibility of a new high school, a new elders complex, new health center, a new motel and resort and new sub-division development.





Since 2007, over 500 community members have gone through various upgrading and training. This adds to capacity needs and starts to attain higher skilled members and management.

Pinehouse is moving forward with education & training with the future in mind. Great efforts have been taken to improve high school graduation rates, including moving to a quad semester system to allow students to earn credits in condensed periods of time with longer classtime to better instructional retention.

PBN Labour Services Division is registered as a Category 2 School which can offer recognized training and certification. 393 community members are captured and monitored in the Community Skills Matrix for planning and training purposes. All students’ hours are tracked using time cards.



Training and Apprenticing

Adult 10 Upgrading and Adult 12 Program

Office Education Driver’s License Class 7, 5 3A, and 1A

First Aid/CPR, Fire Extinguisher, WHMIS

Heavy Equipment Operators

Industrial Mechanic

Radiation/Environmental Monitoring and Mine Tech program

Construction Craft Labourers

OH&S Supervisor Training, HCSAS Hoisting and Rigging

Flag Person, PME Audits, Confined Space, Fall Protection

Chainsaw Safety

Project Managers

Surface & Underground Drilling

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Human Resources


Construction Safety Officers

Quality Management

Electrical, Plumber, Heavy Duty and Carpenter Apprentices




Economic Development

The 100% locally-owned and operated Pinehouse Co-operative continues to operate profitably with the increased revenue streams.

IMG_1834The Northern Village of Pinehouse, in partnership with Kineepik Metis Local Inc(#9) signed a $200 million Collaboration Agreement with AREVA Resources and Cameco Corporation in 2012. This agreement will expand Pinehouse’s capacity through partnerships that foster workforce and business development, community engagement and investment, and environmental stewardship.

header-cco-logoThe people of the Pinehouse established a community economic development corporation, Pinehouse Business North, in 2007 in order to create wealth, employment and infrastructure for their community. Pinehouse Business North, is working to diversify its business portfolio to ensure a more sustainable future for the community.   PBNThe Collaboration Agreement ensures more certainty of sustainable contract opportunities for PBN. In turn, profits are utilize to supplement community infrastructure and social programming.

PBN is also in the process of setting up yearly contributions to small business entrepreuners in the amount of $10,000.

DOWNLOAD the Northern Village of Pinhouse FINANCIAL STATEMENT 2014

DOWNLOAD the Northern Village of Pinhouse FINANCIAL STATEMENT 2015

Download the JIC Report

Download the JIC Report













Aboriginal Community
of Pinehouse

Hilltop Ave., Box 130
Pinehouse, SK. SOJ 2B0

Phone: (306) 884-2030/2035
Fax: (306) 884- 2212

Mike Natomagan
Phone: (306)884-2030

Martine Smith
Village Administrator
Phone: (306)884-2030

Vince Natomagan
Corporate Engagement Officer
Phone: (306)884-2016

Greg Ross
Government Relations

Glen McCallum
Social Development Officer

Walter Smith
Manager of PBN Labour Services

Reyna Natomagan
Community Development Officer
Kineepik Metis Local Inc/ Minahik Achimowin Inc
Phone: (306)884-2016

Pinehouse Business
North Limited Partnership

Alex Ross
Supervisor of Operations

Sherlyn Ross
Office Manager