Betrayal By Sprinkler

FTLComm - Red Earth
January 12, 2000

Last week there was a minor water outage resulting in John William Head Memorial School at Red Earth having to close but yesterday it was because of to much water. The newly rennovated and upgraded school's modern sprinkler system is an air charged system that lost pressure, water worked its way into the lines and near the East gym door a pipe froze and there was more then two inches of water on the floor when the staff opened the school Tuesday morning

just before they called for the buses to return the students home for the day. By four that afternoon Humboldt Electric and several other contractors were on hand or on their way to attempt to restore systems to functionality.

The broken pipe had to be repaired and some work had to be done to determine the cause of the damage. Fortunately the newly poured gymnasium floor had no problem dealing with the flood and there was no damage to the building by having that much water laying on the floor.

Though the two schools have just been thoroughly rennovated and undergone major reconstruction the Red Earth Band is having problems getting janitorial and maintenance services up and running to support their new buildings. This infrastructure problem may not directly have been a contributing cause of this problem but it has continued to be a problem for both schools for the first half of this school year.

The demands on Saskatchewan Reserves to meet their obligations continues to be a difficult matter. Bands like Red Earth, Shoal Lake, Cumberland House and Peter
Ballantine have to look after a
growing population with
extremely high birth rates and an impossible need for increased housing. The cost for infrastructure like water, sewer and basic roads are all in jeopardy as each band tries to make do with the resources available. Those resources seem less and less each year as there can be money provided from Indian Affairs for capital projects but meeting the costs of the day to day operations is simply beyond most band's means. Unlike municipal government which can raise taxes when needed, Indian Bands have only one source of income and even that is earmarked so that little opportunity exists for managing the priorities that are often impossible to address.