Driftpile Cree Nation

DCN Newsletter May 2024


A Gathering of Traditions: The Driftpile Powwow Committee's Role in Cultural Preservation

Since 1987, the Driftpile Powwow has been a staple event to commemorate the transition of program and service control from Indian Affairs back to the nations and the Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council. The inaugural event took place on the homestead of Chief Kinosayoo, a signatory of Treaty 8 and Chief of the Driftpile Cree Nation, organized by the late Fred Campiou, and a newly formed committee. This celebration, deeply rooted in tradition and culture, is the largest annual event for the Driftpile Cree Nation, attracting visitors from across Turtle Island for three days of dancing, drumming, and cultural connection.

Councilwoman Caroline Isadore has played a significant role in the coordination of the powwow for many years. Her leadership and volunteer efforts, even outside of her official capacity, reflect her deep cultural upbringing and dedication to the event’s success. Caroline ensures that every detail is addressed, from logistics to hosting, always with a welcoming smile.

This year, we welcome Nancy Chalifoux as the lead coordinator of the 2024 Driftpile Powwow. Nancy, along with her husband Kirby, who has served as arena director and stickman, brings a wealth of experience to the role. Their family, including traditional dancer Kirby Jr. and renowned hoop dancer Petie, embodies the powwow spirit.

Assistant Coordinator Tina Isadore, a lifelong dancer and member of the touring theatre group Red Thunder, continues to showcase her cultural pride at powwows and other indigenous events. Tina’s role underscores her commitment to perpetuating powwow traditions and serving as a role model for the youth.

Laurent Isadore, inheriting a legacy of leadership from his parents Paulette and Georgie, serves in multiple capacities including drum boss and arena director. His quiet, humble approach to sharing traditional knowledge is invaluable to our community.

Georgie Isadore, a guardian of our language and traditions, remains a cornerstone of our powwows. His teachings in drumming and singing are critical for nurturing the next generation of performers, always shared with laughter and joy.

New committee members Nelly Isadore and Marcella Estachikon bring a wealth of experience and dedication. Nelly, still active in the women’s golden age traditional category, and Marcella, a maker of regalia and traditional dancer, both volunteer their time generously.

The Driftpile Cree Nation is grateful for everyone’s hard work and dedication to ensure another successful powwow celebration. This years powwow is June 14th to the 16th.

DCN On Reserve Dispensary Partnership Possibility With Realeaf Cannibis

Possibility of Partnership Between Realeaf Cannabis and Driftpile Cree Nation With A On-Reserve Dispensary: Your Opinion Counts

Realeaf Cannabis, a company that partners with First Nations across Canada, has approached Driftpile Cree Nation to explore the possibility of establishing a cannabis dispensary on our Nation. This collaboration represents an opportunity for economic development and partnership within the community, reflecting a growing trend of cannabis companies working closely with Indigenous communities to create mutually beneficial relationships. These partnerships often aim to support local economies, provide employment opportunities, and ensure that a portion of the revenues stays within the community, fostering growth and sustainability.

The elected leadership of Driftpile Cree Nation successfully hosted an engaging and informative open house session, and is excited to invite all community members to another upcoming information session. The recent event provided a fantastic opportunity for the community to come together, learn, and discuss the potential for a new partnership that could bring exciting developments to our area.

We were thrilled to share that Realeaf Cannabis, a company known for its partnerships with First Nations throughout Canada, has proposed establishing a dispensary right here on our territory. This represents a unique opportunity not just for economic development, but also for community involvement and empowerment.

Your input is invaluable as we considered this opportunity to potentially collaborate with Realeaf Cannabis. Together, we are ensuring that any development is in the best interest of our community, aligning with our values and goals.

Please keep an eye out for details of the next meeting, and join us for this important ongoing conversation. Let’s continue to come together as a community to explore this proposal and envision the future of Driftpile Cree Nation.

Please participate in the online survey, go to DCN450.com and click on the link.


For more information on Realeaf Cannabis and their work with First Nations across Canada, please visit Realeaf Cannabis online.

Join Us for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Awareness: Red Dress Day

We invite you to gather in honor and remembrance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples on the poignant occasion of Red Dress Day, this May 5th. The event begins at 12:30 PM at the local church addition, where we will commence with a sacred smudge and prayer to pay our respects and seek blessings.

Following the opening ceremony, we will hold a fire ceremony that symbolizes purification and renewal. Participants will then walk to the community hall, marking our unity and collective memory.

At the community hall, we have arranged a series of activities and ceremonies:

Feast: Share in a communal meal as we unite in solidarity and support.

Speakers: Listen to impactful stories and important messages from community leaders and advocates.

Mini Round Dance: Participate in this traditional dance to honor the spirits of those we’ve lost.

Giveaways: Tokens of appreciation and remembrance will be distributed to attendees.

This gathering is a chance to support the families and friends of the missing and murdered, acknowledging the ongoing struggles they face and reaffirming our commitment to bringing about change. It is more than an event; it is a vital act of community, memory, and hope.

For more information, please get in touch with Avis Giroux at 587-749-1210. Your presence will offer great comfort and support to those who continue to seek justice and healing.

Together, let’s honor our lost loved ones and strengthen our bonds as a community.

The Healing Lodge Day Program Relaunches May 14, 2024!

We’re pleased to announce the return of our beloved Day Program at the Driftpile Healing Lodge, beginning May 14th, 2024! Aimed at fostering community and personal growth, this program offers a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions and creative activities three days a week—Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 AM to 2 PM.


What’s on the Agenda? Each day, participants will delve into a range of topics, including addiction, recovery, intergenerational trauma, grief and loss, and essential life skills such as resume building and interview preparation. Our sessions are designed to enhance resilience and promote a healthier mindset through interactive activities related to the day’s theme.


Creative Afternoons Post-lunch, which we provide daily at noon, the afternoons are dedicated to arts and crafts. Join us to learn and enjoy traditional crafts like moccasin making, beading, and painting—a perfect way to express creativity and connect with cultural heritage.


Location and Transportation The program takes place at the Driftpile Healing Lodge, conveniently located behind the health center. Transportation is available for on-reserve members (please call ahead to arrange).


Who Should Join? Everyone is welcome! Whether dealing with personal challenges or simply seeking to enrich your life and support others, the Day Program is designed to be inclusive and supportive. Participants who complete the full three-month course will be honored with a “Reclaiming Our Sacred Voice” certificate and a special graduation gift.


Sign Up Now – Limited Spots Available! We have 8 spots open for this cycle, and they’re expected to fill up quickly. To secure your place, please get in touch with the Healing Lodge at (587) 749-1210 and ask to speak to the day program coordinator. Remember, this is a safe, confidential space designed to support and uplift all who attend.


Don’t miss out on this transformative experience—call today to join us in reclaiming and celebrating our collective strength and heritage!

Event Calendar

DCN 2024 May Monthly Calendar (2)[33662]

Celebrating the Pillars of Our Heritage: Mothers and Grandmothers

This Mother’s Day, we extend our deepest appreciation to the mothers and grandmothers who serve as the foundation of our communities. These remarkable women play essential roles not only as caregivers but also as custodians of our ancestral wisdom and traditions.


Our mothers and grandmothers are central to the transmission of cultural knowledge, from teaching us language to sharing important spiritual and life lessons. They are the heart of our families, providing both emotional and spiritual support, and connecting us to our heritage through stories, rituals, and guidance.


Their influence extends beyond their own families, impacting the community with their leadership and wisdom. These women are the threads that weave together the past and present, ensuring the continuity and resilience of our culture.


This Mother’s Day celebrate the enduring strength and nurturing spirit of these incredible women. Their roles are crucial in maintaining the cultural fabric of our communities, making them richer and more vibrant.


Happy Mother’s Day to all the dedicated and loving mothers and grandmothers in our community. Your roles in our lives are cherished and celebrated, today and every day.

Todd Johansson appointed Travel Centre Manager

We are very pleased to announce Todd Johansson as the new Travel Centre Manager. Todd Johannsson started with the Travel Centre in December of 2022. Todd originally was hired as a sales associate and quickly moved up to shift supervisor. As a member of the Driftpile Cree Nation Todd has shown great leadership in his supervisory role and quickly adapted to new roles and tasks within the Travel Centre. His ability to take on tasks and help train other staff aided in his appointment as Travel Centre Manager. We look forward to Todd’s continued success and believe that Todd as Travel Centre Manager, will not only help the continued success of the store but will also drive more growth and leadership for the Nation.

Driftpile First Nation Enterprises Now Hiring