Oxford House was originally one of the trading posts set up by the Hudson’s Bay Company, en route to Norway House. People from nearby areas, as far as York Factory, moved to the trading site and formed the community of Oxford House. The main dialect spoken is Cree. The United Church played a major role in the development of the community. The ministers and their wives were the first nurses and teachers. Oxford House officially became a community in 1798. The location of the community is located along the Eastern shoreline of Oxford House Lake at the mouth of Hayes River, in Northern area of Manitoba. The First Nation is 950 kilometers North of Winnipeg.
Oxford House Band Council is housed in the Band Office located in the central area of the community. The Council consists of one Chief and five Council members. The Council has two-year terms of which are elected through democratic vote. Political affiliations are with Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC), Manitoba Keewatinohk Okimahkanak (MKO), Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), and Indian & Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
The community of Oxford House has four Churches that are present: The Northern Evangelical, The Roman Catholic, The United, and The Full Gospel. Native Traditional beliefs are still in place today. Christian beliefs and/or practices are observed within the community, as well as other neighboring communities.
The community is equipped with a nursing station that is operated and funded by Health & Welfare Canada, which is under the Medical Services Branch. It has room to employ five nurses. The nursing station also employs an administrative clerk, a janitor, and a maintenance person. The nursing station provides acute care in regular clinics, public health programs. Three Community Health Workers are on hand to provide prevention and
promotional education to the public and are employed by the Band. The table that follows include the part-time care provided to the people from other health professionals at various times. All other health professional needs, including Mental Health Services are referred to Winnipeg, Thompson, or Selkirk, MB.
Health Professionals & Availability
Doctor – Once every two weeks
Dentist – 2-3 weeks monthly
Optometrist – 2-3 times a year
Pediatrician – 2-3 times a year
Psychologist – Twice a month
Alcohol and Drug Counseling:
Substance Abuse Counseling, Suicide Prevention, Marriage Counseling, Court Order Supervision Services are provided by Native Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (NADAP) of Thompson, Mb. A NADAP is located in the community and employs two full-time counselors.
Oxford House Band operates the George Colon Memorial Home that provides personal care for the elderly. It serves the elderly in Oxford House and other surrounding communities. There are approximately 55 people who work at the home that consists of full-time, part-time, and casual workers. Workers include office personnel, health care aids, dietary staff, laundry staff, and a maintenance staff.
The Oxford House Education Authority controls the school that offers grades kindergarten to grade twelve to approximately 500 students. The school is employs some local teachers, office personnel, maintenance services, and guidance councilors. A new high school is now complete.
The First Nation as a recreation committee that organizes local volleyball, baseball, floor hockey, and ice hockey tournaments. The recreation committee also organizes winter and summer carnivals that can be participated and enjoyed by all ages. The sports facilities that are available to the people are a gymnasium, an arena, and three outdoor sport activity areas.
Water delivery and Garbage pick-up:
A local water garage is operated and funded through the Band. It employs one manager and six water delivery personnel. The garage chlorinates water pumped from the lake and maintains a sewage treatment plant. The garage provides its services to both members of the community and government owned buildings.
As part of the North Central Project, Oxford House was linked up to the provincial power system as of July 1997. The electrification project that supplies the 200-amp service has replaced the 15-amps service previously supplied by a diesel generator. Oxford House is the first of eight communities to be linked up to the system funded by the Federal and Provincial Governments. Manitoba Hydro manages the project.
Police and Fire Fighting
Policing is done locally from an RCMP detachment located in the community. The Band also employs five full-time constables and two casual constables.
The Band owns and operates a van that transports people to and from the nursing station on a 24-hours basis, if needed. Various people provide taxi services in the community. Semi-trucks from Winnipeg, and Thompson drive in on the winter road to bring in freight and fuel. The winter road season opens from February until March. Air transportation is available at the local airstrip that is maintained by Highways and Transportation. Several airlines fly in from Winnipeg, and Thompson daily and each of the companies provide at least one flight a day. Chartering flights is also an option for the people. Also, these companies provide emergency medi-vac services when needed. Docking facilities are available for floatplanes throughout the community’s shoreline.
The Northern Store Inc. is the largest business in the community. It owns two separate stores: the main store and the convenience store. Both stores employ 28 full-time and part-time staff. The main store sells grocery items to recreational items such as hockey stick to ski-doos.
The Triple B Motel is a six-bed motel that employs one manager. The motel is ‘bed and breakfast’ type motel, where guests prepare their own meals. The motel is owned and operated by John and Lorraine Muskego.
C. Grieves Hauling is a gravel hauling operation. Clifford Grieves, who is a youth and an entrepreneur, owns the company.
“BUNIBONIBEE CREE NATION”
Treaty: Adhesion to Treaty No. 5
Registered Population: 2 ,325
Band No. 301
Area: Approx.: 12,049 Acres
Recreation: Snow Mobiling, Hockey, Baseball, Water Skiing, Bingo, Annual Winter Carnival
Facilities: Arena, George Colon Memorial Home Nursing Station, Airport, Garage, Restaurant,and Radio Station