The provincial government initiated a program to aid at-risk First Nation mothers during their pregnancy and after. The program involves doulas, or birth coaches. The idea is to have private investors finance a total of $3.2-million for 200 mothers, and, if successful, investors will be reimbursed with significant interest. Emotional, physical and religious support is intended.

It's a two-year pilot project.

Dakota Plains First Nation Chief Orville Smoke has some hope for the effort.

"In our case, since 1981 and to date, we've dealt with the province. Many times, the province kind of missed the mark," explains Smoke. "Maybe we can convince private funding that we are, in fact, capable and able people to look after our children. Maybe they can give us a chance to prove that."

He adds, "Our children are very precious, and they shouldn't be used for making money. I think we have to maintain the home properly, or develop homes properly for them, and take very serious consideration in the future. If, in fact, the current responsibilities of the government stop, then we have to do something with our children. And that's got to be done today before it's too late."