Elsipogtog First Nation, unceded traditional Mi’kmaq territory, New Brunswick — Indigenous Services Canada
This week, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, visited Elsipogtog First Nation to meet with Chief Arren Sock and council to discuss community priorities and challenges, and toured some of their new health and education infrastructure projects.
Minister Hajdu first visited the Elsipogtog Health & Wellness Centre to thank the health staff for their dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also spoke with staff to learn about the renovation and expansion of the community’s health centre. Once complete, the updated facility will provide the community with improved access to care. The project is currently in the design phase to modernize and expand the overall space of the existing health facility to 1,068 square metres (11,495 square feet) to better serve the needs of the community.
They then visited the community’s Oetjgoapeniag Elnoei Family Services Agency where they learned about the programs offered by social workers and other employees including counselling and afterschool mentoring and other activities for at-risk children. Minister Hajdu also heard about the challenges faced by the team during the pandemic and thanked them for their commitment to their community. In 2021-2022, Indigenous Services Canada provided $8.03 million to Elsipogtog First Nation Child and Family Services for maintenance and prevention programming as well as administration of the organization.
Chief Sock and Minister Hajdu also discussed the brand new Lone Eagle Healing Centre, which is nearing completion and will replace an existing facility that is more than 30 years old. Indigenous Services Canada provided $4.5 million in funding for the construction of the new treatment centre that will provide a wide range of services for problematic substance use and additional space to support cultural healing programs, training, education and physical activities. The centre will be able to accommodate six clients in six individual rooms with an additional room for staff to stay with clients 24/7. The 800-square-metre (8,611 square feet) facility will offer private counselling rooms, a full kitchen and dining area, and an office for visiting health professionals.
The tour also included a visit to the new Elsipogtog First Nation K 4-8 school that was completed in summer 2021. The new school provides students with a modern facility to support their learning goals and includes a library, technology and computer room, cultural and distance learning centre, innovation room, two learning resource rooms, a lunch/multipurpose room, kitchen/canteen and a gymnasium.
The Elsipogtog school also houses the community’s new 60-square-metre (646 square feet) dental clinic, which includes an operatory, laboratory, waiting area and workstation for the dental therapist. The clinic will enable the First Nations Inuit Health Branch to provide year-round dental services for the community.
“Elsipogtog First Nation is doing incredible work through their health and wellness facilities, their child and family services, and their beautiful new school. I commend Chief Sock and council for their determination and drive to make these projects a reality for the community, and to keep children and families together. These efforts mean better access to health care and better educational opportunities for more people, and that’s good news for everyone.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
“On behalf of Elsipogtog First Nation, we are pleased to welcome Minister Patty Hajdu on her visit to our community. As we make our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community is excited and eager to resume many of the plans and projects that were put on hold as a result of the pandemic. Elsipogtog First Nation is committed to building and maintaining relationships with Indigenous Service Canada and their partners to ensure that we can continue to pursue our economic, social development and cultural goals as a community. Minister Hajdu, thank you for taking the time to visit our beloved community and we look forward to building our relationship to maintain a meaningful dialogue that is beneficial to our people and Canada as a whole.”
Chief of Elsipogtog First Nation
- Elsipogtog First Nation is located on the Richibucto River, eight kilometres southwest of Rexton, in the province of New Brunswick. The community’s total population of approximately 3,400 includes 2,628 community members who live on the reserve.
- The project to renovate and expand the Elsipogtog Health & Wellness Centre is in the design phase. Construction is expected to be completed in 2023.
- The Lone Eagle Healing Centre is expected to be completed by April 2022 and will replace an existing facility that is more than 30 years old.