Sipekne’katik First Nation is a community rooted in the traditions and history of our ancestors and we take pride in our Mi’kmaq culture, language and way of life. Sipekne’katik First Nation is one of 13 First Nations located in Nova Scotia and is the second largest Mi’kmaq band in Nova Scotia. Sipekne’katik First Nation includes the communities of Indian Brook IR #14, New Ross, Pennal, Dodd’s Lot, Wallace Hills and Grand Lake.
Sipekne’katik First Nation is a vibrant, growing, and close-knit community of 2,588 band members, with approximately 1244 members residing in the community and 1344 members residing out of the community. Located in Hants County, Nova Scotia near Shubencadie, Nova Scotia, the land area of Sipekne’katik First Nation spans 12.13 sq. km. Sipekne’katik is conveniently located a short distance of 68 km from Kijipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and 28.8 km southwest of Truro, Nova Scotia.
In Sipekne’katik, community wellness is a shared goal, as is continuing to provide Band members with access to exciting cultural, educational, social, recreational, and health and wellness opportunities, for example, the food! The social and ceremonial lobster fishery is an important part of our community culture and social activity, as is the Sipekne’katik Multipurpose Centre, which brings people together for community meetings, events, and social gatherings. The L’nu Sipuk Kina’muokuom (LSK) School opened in 2008 and offers primary to Grade 12 education, specializing in Mi’kmaq studies and Mi’kmaq language courses. Further, the Sipekne’katik Health Centre provides critical community-based health care and health and wellness programs such as Maternal Child Health, Parental Education, Healthy Lifestyle Clinic, and the Child Oral Initiative. Additionally, the Recreation Department oversees health and wellness programs such as sports, fitness classes, nutritional support, and sports assistance for youth up to the age of 21.
Since 2012 the Sipekne’katik Band Chief and Council has focused its attention on removing barriers to local governance processes, strengthening band oversight and management, improving financial management and accountability as well as pursuing financially responsible economic opportunities for Sipekne’katik First Nation. To aid in these processes, the Sipekne’katik Band Strategic Plan 2014-2019 was commissioned in 2014 which outlines a five -year short-term strategic plan for Sipekne’katik. The report was driven by consultation with band members, and adopted a population health approach to determine the priority needs of the community. Outlined in the report are priority areas identified which include: Leadership, Financial Management, Early Childhood Development, Education, Health Services, Health Promotion of Health Practices, Employment, Training, Cultural Revitalization, Social Support and Social Inclusion, Infrastructures and Environment, Housing Strategic and several more. With our plan well underway in 2016, we are confident that the prosperity of Sipekne’katik will only continue to grow!
Economic sustainability for Sipekne’katik First Nation is a key priority of the Chief and Council. We want to ensure that all Band members have access to essential good and services, economic, and employment opportunities, to ensure individual and community financial security. Sipekne’katik First Nation offers band members financial assistance through economic support programs, and access to business loans and financing for entrepreneurs if they are unable to obtain support from a traditional financial institution.
Currently, Sipekne’katik is in the process of developing the Sipekne’katik Economic Development Corporation to manage all community owned businesses and business interests. Several Sipekne’katik community-owned business ventures continue to thrive, including the gas bar that was re-opened in 2009, the Tobacco store on Robinson Road, and most recently the Sipekne’katik Entertainment Centre officially opened its doors on January 17, 2014. Located in Wallace Hills, Nova Scotia, the Sipekne’ktaik Entertainment Centre has 45 Video Lotto Terminals to enjoy at your convenience. The Sipekne’katik Band continues to seek out and assess viable business ventures for the band, and pursue economic interests that increase community revenue.
Sipekne’katik First Nation is in the process of undertaking exciting new development projects that we hope will create opportunities for all Sipekne’katik Band members. These include the ongoing plans for the land development of the Wallace Hills IR #14A 54-acre site near Hammond Plains, Nova Scotia. Wallace Hills is situated in an ideal location, alongside a heavily used commuter highway, and is ideal for either commercial or residential development. This land development plan has been a long-term commitment of Sipekne’katik First Nation, as the process to acquire the Wallace Hills site began in 1965 and after a long battle of more than 40 years, in 2011 the land “officially” became part of Sipekne’katik First Nation. The first business enterprise located on the Wallace Hills site is the community owned, Sipekne’katik Entertainment Centre. The Sipekne’katik Band supports future commercial development at the Wallace Hills site, and currently is going through the Land Use Designation process with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Chief Rufus Copage, 12 councilors and 78 administrative staff lead Sipekne’katik Band. Currently, the Band Council operates under the Federal Indian Act of Canada. The Grand Council was traditional senior governmental level of Mi’kmaq people until the Government of Canada passed the Indian Act in 1867. After that, Bands were required to elect representative governments for their communities. The Sipekne’katik band elects Chiefs every two years and Chief Rufus Copage was re-elected for a second term in 2014, serving as Chief Since 2012. The Band Council meets twice a month to discuss band issues, review current projects, and plan future initiatives.
The Sipekne’katik Chief, Band Council, and administrative staff are dedicated to working with Band members to continue building a strong, vibrant, healthy community that provides opportunities for all members to thrive!