Fire Destroys School Which Held First Indigenous On-Reserve Rugby Matches

On Tuesday, May 27th, tragedy struck Waterhen Lake First Nation. 

At around 1:00 PM a fire started in the roof of Weweyekisik Education Centres industrial arts shop. Thanks to a quick evacuation, no injuries were reported but the community still felt the loss of one of the staples that brought many together. Waterhen Lake First Nations and the surrounding communities suffered a loss of place, connection, and joy as the school was an anchor to the childhoods and early development of so many people.

The cause was reportedly caused by a lack of structural modernity with little effort given to making the necessary changes. Since the Weweyekisik Education Centre is 75km outside of Meadow Lake, the Fire Fighters couldn’t get there in time to mitigate damages but nonetheless, the building’s damages would cost millions.

There is expected to be Federal help as well as community outreach to make the best of a bad situation. There are expected portable classes to be set up to continue education.

Sask Sport History Lost Shortly After Conception

Through many relentless efforts to bring rugby to life and to keep the culture of rugby thriving in the Northern community in Meadow Lake, Rufas Crawford took pride in beginning a successful girl’s rugby program named the She-Devil’s Rugby Club and a boys program called the El-Diablos which planted the seed for rugby to grow. 

Through this seed, Rufas put forward an application for the Team Canada Olympic Day Grant for the Waweyekisik School for launching a pioneering girls’ rugby program, while aiming to introduce the sport to First Nation communities in Saskatchewan, fostering inclusivity, skill development, and pathways to regional and international competitions.

This Indigenous team, called the Wolfpack  was a dream turned reality as it found its debut on May 23, 2024 through a mini-tournament played at Weweyekisik Education Centre which presented the Eagle Feather Cup (shown on the right) which was a symbol of new beginnings in the Saskatchewan Rugby community through an indigenous lens.

Understanding the gravity of the situation and the efforts taken to foster a beginning pathway for Indigenous rugby in Saskatchewan, we are working hard alongside important stakeholders, supporters, and sponsors to make amends and ideally restore the program.

We wish the best for the Waterhen Lake First Nation community and a quick recovery to its previous glory that the north held to such a high degree!