In the heart of Manitoba’s Interlake, under big prairie skies, lies the community of Peguis First Nation.
It’s the largest First Nation in Manitoba with 10,000 members and roughly 3,500 living on reserve in bungalows that fan out along either side of the Fisher River, flowing north to lake Winnipeg.
It’s a close knit community, where so many people are named Sinclair, Sutherland and Spence that nicknames are more common than given names. According to local radio host Jesse Cochrane, you know you’re well liked if someone is teasing you, and neighbours are always ready to lend a hand.
So when the Fisher River spilled it’s banks in April of this year and historic flooding forced the evacuation of more than half of the reserve, it was the people of Peguis who worked tirelessly to save homes and protect the community.
Six months after the flood, Now or Never heads to Peguis to see how the community is recovering and to find out their dreams for the future.
Welcome to Grandparents Day at Peguis Central School! The kindergarten to Grade 12 school is a hub of activity in Peguis and today they’re throwing open their doors so students can celebrate their mooshums and kookums with songs, hand made cards, and performances.
If you want to know what’s happening in Peguis, tune in to Peguis Country Rock Radio where Jesse Cochrane brings you light-hearted banter, impressions of elders, and traffic updates courtesy of his binoculars. Jesse gives Ify a tour of the radio station and reflects on how the radio became a lifeline for many during the flood.
While water was filling up in her home, Linda Chick Sinclair made her way to work to help others save theirs. We join the Peguis Event Planner at the rec center as she decorates for Halloween and continues to do what she does best, look for ways to bring the community together.
For the Peguis Redmen Baseball Team, flooded baseball diamonds means driving two hours to Winnipeg to get a practice in. Host Trevor Dineen joins teammates Devon Garson and Dennis “DJ” Stevenson in Peguis as they share their love for the game.
Since marrying into the community 28 years ago, Karen Courchene Parisian has called Peguis home. It’s been six months and counting since her family was evacuated to Winnipeg and she’s determined to save her house and find a way back home.
Between COVID and the flooding, it’s been years since Peguis’ high school grads have been able to celebrate fully. This year though, they are dreaming big! Ify drops by the Bingo hall for a graduation fundraiser where future grads Julie-Ann McCorrister, Lizzy Thomas, Da Vine Thomas, and Shaniece Stevenson share their hopes and dreams for the future.
To say that William Sutherland, Director of Housing and Emergency Management, is busy would be an understatement. He takes Ify on a tour of condemned homes, replacement units, and future housing sites, as he shares his hopes and frustrations.