Welcome : About OCN : Community Profile
Welcome to the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, a community with a thriving culture, a rich heritage, and bright future. Several thousand years ago the junction of the Saskatchewan and Pasquia Rivers became a meeting place for early aboriginal peoples. Today, it is the home to over 4500 people of Cree descent.
The Opaskwayak Cree Nation is the second biggest employer in the surrounding area and is one of the economic leaders among Manitobaís First Nations. OCN is a thriving community, which, since the 1960ís, has pursued the road to autonomy through the development of strategies that enhanced its economic base while controlling its own commercial enterprises, education and health services, community works, and finances. This has allowed OCN to expand and prosper. As OCN continues to develop this economic base, many new goods and service providers brighten the horizon.
OCN is also proud to own and operate the OCN Blizzard Junior A Hockey Team. The Blizzard is a member of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and plays out of the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. In their relatively short existence, the Blizzard has been extremely successful and has established a winning tradition of excellence.
The Opaskwayak Cree Nation is self-governing. Every two years, elections are held and a Chief and 12 Councilors are chosen to establish policy and provide direction for the administration of OCN public and community services.
OCN is an active and vibrant community that has much to offer its residents. OCN has many organizations with people involved in activities that reflect itís cultural values and heritage.
There are also family events that take place at OCN including youth programs, recreation, aboriginal culture camps, fishing derbies, arts and crafts, and various other festivals throughout the year.
Parks and Recreation
OCN has three parks which two are located in Big Eddy: Moose Park, Pike Lake, and Riverside Park. Moose Park and Pike Lake are often used for the Opaskwayak Indian Days traditional events and canoe races.
The third, Riverside Park, is located on Riverside Drive and overlooks the Saskatchewan River and the Town of The Pas. It has become a favoured place to watch the of fireworks displays during Canada Day Celebrations.
All three parks are beautifully scenic areas, which are busy during the summer months hosting family gatherings and ceremonies.
Another newly added recreational feature on OCN is the OCN Walking Trail. The trail begins at the OCN Arbour Site (located near the banks of the Saskatchewan River) continues past the Big Eddy Hill, and ends at Pike Lake.
The Opaskwayak Cree Nation region is blessed with a diverse abundance of big game and marine wildlife. Throughout the year, many tourists travel though OCN employing our aboriginal outfitters as hunting and fishing guides.
Joe. A. Ross School is an architectural approach to aboriginal concept and design and boasts an attendance of over 771 with over 15% of students from many surrounding communities such Moose Lake, Easterville, Grand Rapids, and Cormorant. The school continues to grow in attendance and plans are underway to construct a new technical high school that will serve the higher grades in the future
The Otineka Mall and OCN Shell
The Otineka mall was first built in 1975 and has been recognized the as OCNís first biggest achievement which consists of three levels with over 25 retail stores two main anchor stores: an IGA and a Saan store. Several government offices are also located on the upper and lower levels including a Video Lotto and ticket Centre. Located next to the Otineka mall is the OCN Shell and Gas Bar with eight very busy gas pumps and a snack bar.
OCN is home to the Aseneskak Casino, which is a joint venture with the Swampy Cree Tribal Council. It offers close to 200 slot machines in addition to various card tables. Included in the casino is the Eagles Nest restaurant and a gift store.
The Kikiwak Inn
The Kikiwak is a premium hotel facility located on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. The Kikiwak is a three and a half star hotel in northern Manitoba with over 60 rooms, meeting facilities, swimming pool, exercise room and a full service restaurant and lounge.
Events and Festivals:
Opaskwayak Indian Days (mid-August)
This is an event, which is held annually with over 28 events that continues to grow as many spectators, and competitors come to OCN for this 5-day celebration. Included in this celebration of native culture, is the Square dance competition, a talent night competition, and, of course, the famous canoe races with prizes of over $20,000.00 in some of the major races!
This special event is one of OCNís three day celebrated attractions bringing in thousands of people from Canada and the U.S. to watch or compete in this colourful and spectacular event. This is held every four years during the summer months at the OCN Arbour site on the banks of the Saskatchewan River.
The Pas Trappers Festival (mid-February)
The Pas Trappers Festival is an annual 5-day winter festival that is held in mid-February. The Pas Trappers Festival is a shared celebration in the Town of The Pas and Opaskwayak Cree Nation as spectators and competitors come from around province to participate as they vie for the trophies and prize payouts. The Pas hosts various events that make up the festival and some of its most celebrated events are the International Dog Sled Championship, which attracts dog teams from around the world. And also the King and Queen Trapper competition in which men and women compete in tests of strength and skill that were needed by the early residents of the region.