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DOIG RIVER, B.C. — Doig River First Nation (DRFN) has had a busy couple of years and has accomplished many projects, particularly in the financial sector, so the nation can become more self-reliant.

The nation also had a successful First Nations Financial Management Board Financial Management System Audit and certification, the first in Treaty 8 B.C.

“We’ve been working pretty hard towards being certified with the First Nation Finance Authority and the management board,” Doig River First Nation Chief Trevor Makadahay said.

“That opens up a lot of doors for our nation in financing.”

They also reduced the nation’s debt from 2021 to the fiscal year end of 2022 by 48 per cent.

Makadahay says this was part of the nation’s plans to reduce debt and increase self-reliance.

In the last year, DRFN added Mitul Ramani and Frankie Fraser to their finance team and Wynette Attachie to the reception.

For the ninth consecutive year, they had a successful general assessment by Indigenous Service Canada.

Since 2020, the nation has been approved for $1.3 million in government funding for renovations, including siding repair, painting, deck replacements, kitchen replacement, full bathrooms and exterior basement repairs.

The nation implemented SaFire, a new Indigenous governance management platform for data management and accountability.

Additionally, they built a new Doig River First Nation website that went live in October 2021, reportedly to improve communication with members and active updates on the nation’s social media pages.

In the health and social development sector, DRFN performed work in many capacities, including in social assistance programs, mental health and addictions, healthy living promotions and employment training.

The nation also participated in National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Pink Shirt Day over the past couple of years.

DRFN opened Tsaa? Natsadle Aboriginal Head Start program in 2021 and ran the first year of programming for infants, toddlers, after-school care, and a summer program.

According to the nation, the program and facility also recently received its Child and Community Care License and the Northern Development Trust funding to support the first year of operation.

According to the nation, they have 47 students in School District 60.

Amanda Gauthier was hired in 2022 by the nation to take on the employment and training coordinator role.

DRFN funded 12 members in bachelor of arts, sciences, nursing, water and wastewater operator, master in kinesiology, Juris of laws and medical transcription.

On National Indigenous Day, DRFN and the community came together to celebrate the three parcels of land in Fort St. John becoming the Gat Tah K’wa reserve.

Makadahay says it became a reserve on April 5th, 2022.

“That was one of the fastest additions to reserve I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“It’s all about the relationship we have with Fort St. John and the support we got from locals, especially from the city council and the mayor at that time.”

Over 300 students from School District 60 also attended to sing Tsuu Neh Yeh or Be Kind.

“I just wanna say how proud our people are of the direction we’re going, and we’re all on the same page in our community,” Chief Makadahay said.

“Unity in Doig right now is at an ultimate high in the last decade.”

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.