A "new" chief is leading Dakota Tipi First Nation as of last week. Dennis Pashe is returning to the role he served for 24 between 1978 until 2002. 

He says it feels good and he's set to develop some of the visions that he has for the community.  

"It's going to involve working in partnership with municipalities, governments, the city, and trying to move forward with reconciliation and see how that might address the needs of our community," says Pashe. 

He notes the council now includes Karl Stone, Myles Miller, and Trent Gladue. 

"We've been extremely busy trying to reset everything and trying to find where we are with the finances, organizational structure, companies, who are delivering what, and what has happened in the past," continues Pashe. "Some of the things we're concerned about is the housing, I don't think we've had value for money, but we'll have to discuss that with the contractors. Some owe us houses yet, and there are some disputes. We'll see how we can resolve that."

He says the biggest issue they have to deal with at the moment is public safety.

"There is a lot of meth in the community and meth dealers," adds Pashe. "It's really dangerous. There wasn't a whole lot of action on that file with the previous administration. So, that's probably why the administration changed because it's fairly dangerous. There are some incidents and we want to work closely with the RCMP and the Portage legal system to see what we can do with getting our bylaws recognized, enforced, and working with our security people here to all hours of the night. So, we might get into a curfew and stop traffic from traveling around in the community."

He notes people are there who don't live there, while others are walking around the community intoxicated.

"There are lots of that going on," notes Pashe. "So, we need to clean it up a bit and try to get our businesses going again. The gas bars and the VLTs need a lot of work, as well as gaming. So, it's a lot of challenges, for sure."

Pashe says they're also planning to start up a radio station.

"That's going to be constructed this fall," says Pashe. "Then we're also working on vertical farming (hydroponic system of growing vegetables). We want to get our own source of some of our own food and have food security. And we're looking at constructing more homes. We're looking at constructing a new administration building with the Jordan's Principle program (a program designed to provide Indigenous children with the products, services and support they need in Canada), which has quite a bit of a need for office space and activity area. The school here is not coming together very well due to a lack of facilities. Some kids are going to Portage. Some kids are staying here."

He says another high priority is to learn where they stand financially in order to determine how they can address those issues. 

Having been chief in the past, comparing his time and comparing it to the state of the community today, Pashe says he has to start rebuilding all over again. 

"A lot of it's gone down the tubes," adds Pashe. "That's what we're looking forward to -- approaching our needs and issues in a positive and constructive manner."