The story of Swan Lake First Nation begins long ago. In 1876, Chief Yellowquill and his followers settled on Swan Lake First Nation Reserve.
Swan Lake First Nation is located in South Central Manitoba along junction Highway #23 and #34. SLFN people are known as Anishinabe people, meaning “original-peoples”; their native language is Saulteaux (Wikipedia, 2011). SLFN is divided into four areas: SLFN #7, which is the main reservation; #7a Carberry which consists of residential and commercial developments; #8 Indian Gardens, ¾ of which is under agricultural lease and #8a Headingley which will consist of mainly commercial developments. A recently settled Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) with the Federal Government has enabled them to expand their land base for future developments.
With regards to governance, Swan Lake First Nation is signatory to Treaty 1, which was established in 1871 between Queen Victoria and various First Nations residing in South Eastern Manitoba (SLFN, 2011). An elected Chief and Council who are voted by community members in a two-year political cycle govern SLFN; their elections are still administered by Section 74 of the Indian Act. However, the community would like to extend its political cycle.
In terms of economy, SLFN is located on prime agricultural land and thus has a robust agricultural economy. The economy also consists of: a commercial buffalo ranch, two gaming centres, Spirit Sands Casino, Kitchi-Nodin Wind Farm and Four Corners gas bar and convenience store (SLFN, 2011). Swan Lake also has Indian Springs School, and a Health Centre. The community has a population size of approximately 1477, with 408 members who live in the community and 1053 who live outside the community, some in other provinces and countries (SLFN, 2019).
SLFN is working towards their vision of having a healthy, prosperous and self-sufficient community. Completed community projects include the Kitchi-Nodin Wind Farm, Youth Camp, as well as the new Band Office development. The recycling depot is completed, however it needs programming to truly reach its potential.
Registry (Membership) As of August 16, 2021
Registered members 1477
On Reserve 408
Off Reserve 1053
Registered Males 694
Registered Females 783
Voting Citizens 1067
Non-Citizen residents on- reserve
Non-First Nation Residents 3
Other First Nation Residents 8