Protecting the Past and Preparing for the Future
The Stony Plain 135 Indian Reserve, just west of Edmonton, and on the western edge of the City of Edmonton and Stony Plain 135A Indian Reserve, about 120 kilometres away and south of the Town of Barrhead are the homes of the Enoch Cree Nation (ECN).
Chief Billy Morin comes from a long line of chiefs—his name is in honour of antherf Chief William Morin. William (Billy) Morin IV (Nahtokitopi – Rides a Sacred Horse) was newly elected to the responsibility of Chief in August 2015. Chief Morin is a fifth-generation direct decedent of Chief Alexis Morin and fourth-generation decedent of his Son Chief William (Billy) Morin I. He shares two sons (William Morin V & Wilton Morin) with his wife Felecia.
Characterized by youth and education, Chief Morin is the youngest Chief in the modern history of Enoch Cree Nation. Having achieved a diploma in Civil Engineering Technology and a Bachelor of Technology Management from NAIT; it is his hope that the young people of Enoch take a similar educational journey in order to better serve the Nation and its people. Championing Enoch Cree Nation’s new strategic direction – “Investing in our Future to Protect Our Past”
The ECN have a long legacy of trade and entrepreneurialism in this country. The Lapotac Band (which would later become Enoch Cree Nation) had a primary economy of fur trading and hunting for the Hudson’s Bay Company by operating buffalo pounds. ECN is a self-sufficient, unified, and prosperous Nation because of its foundation of honesty, respect, fairness, growth and empowerment.
ECN is a progressive and proud First Nation, and continually strives towards the empowerment of its people. In April of 2018, ECN made a significant step towards the continual preservation of its culture at a sod-turning ceremony for a Maskekosak Kiskinomatowikamik, a new, state-of-the-art school for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12. The Government of Canada is investing $22.5 million in this project and Enoch Cree Nation is contributing an additional $1.5 million. With construction beginning in March 2018, the school opening is scheduled to open in September 2019.
“As a Nation, we are extremely excited for our new K-12 School Project. I’d like to thank my colleagues, Indigenous Services Canada, The Workun Garrick Partnership, Fillmore Construction, and our New School Building Committee for their continued efforts to make this project a reality,” says Chief Morin.
Canadians outside of ECN may be acquainted with the First Nation through its popular River Cree Resort, the $210-million resort with casinos, restaurants, entertainment and hotel which opened in 2006. In 2014, ECN obtained full ownership of the resort. The move to acquire full ownership was to expand its capacity for projects, gain autonomy, and pool resources for the betterment of the community. Illustrative of ECN’s economic development acumen and financial solvency, the resort was originally to be a 25-year partnership with Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming, with ECN buying them out in 8 years. The River Cree Resort is regarded as one of the most successful First Nations entertainment resorts of its kind in the country, and continues to be a source of revenue for the community.