Teacher's Handbook and Survival Guide at PCMS , Lac Brochet, Manitoba              1998 
Contents

I Community and Geography       
a)People        
b)Customs       
c)Institutions  
d)Landscape, flora and fauna

II Communication    
a)Phone, FAX, Internet (?), mail.       
b)Remote banking, mail-order.

III Transportation a)Aviation - freight and passenger procedures and options.      
b)winter road.  
c)snowmobiles and boats.        
d)Shank's pony.

IV Food  
a)Local sources -  hunting & fishing, gathering beries and mushrooms, 
     Northern Store.   
b)Safeway Thompson.     
c)passenger luggage, freight, mail.     
d)Staples - grocery list for a year.    
e)Cooking, water, vitamines.    

V Recreation    
a)Bingo 
b)Gym, halls, in-school.        
c)extra-curricular stuff.       
d)Hunting, fishing, shooting, hiking, outdoor stuff.   
e)Reading, sewing, horticulture, woodworking, hobbies, indoor stuff.    
f)TV, mail-order movies and music.      
g)Raven watching.       
h)Dog racing.

VI Accomodation

VII What they never told you in the Faculty of Education    
a)Classroom management. 
b)Planning.     
c)Budgets - time and supplies.  
d)Extracurricular stuff - bingo, dances, fundraising, canteen, 
      school trips, field days, sports days, carnivals, culture days, 
      parent-teacher meetings,...      
e)Science fair. 
f)Paperwork - registers, requisitions, reports,...      
g)ESL, developmental delays, peer pressure, drugs, late nights, 
       home environments,... 

VIII Health       
a)Nursing station.      
b)Itinerant dentists and doctors.       
c)Nutrition     
d)Exercise      
e)fellowship

I Community and Geography   
a)People        Lac Brochet is essentially the Northlands Indian reserve 
populated by Dene who occupy territory south of the Inuit and north of 
the Cree.  They traditionally migrated into the tundra following the 
caribou and the recent agreements between the federal government and the 
Innu is a bone of contention.      

b)Customs       The Dene migrated in family groups and the local culture 
is dominated by a few large families. The local Band Council is the local 
government by election and there is extensive consultation in the 
community to arrive at consensus where possible.   Dog sleds were the 
principle form of transportation in winter but have been mostly relegated 
to sporting events as snowmobiles are most popular. The purchase of fuel 
and machines has been a major change in the local economy compared to 
subsistence. Likewise, canoes have been replaced by motor boats. Hunting 
and fishing are still popular and supply the bulk of the diet.     

c)Institutions  The Petit Casimir Memorial School, the Northern Store, 
the Band Office and the Nursing Station are the major institutions on 
the reserve. The diesel generating station, the airport, the dump and 
Antsanen's Lodge are the nearby off-reserve institutions. There are a 
few small businesses supplying goods and services such as satellite 
receivers , gasoline and groceries.       

d)Landscape, flora and fauna    The land surounding Lac Brochet is 
rolling hills dotted with small lakes connected by streams and swamps. 
The soil is very thin and lies over sand and rock. The terrain was shaped 
by glaciation and erosion. Lac  Brochet is shallow and rocky and requires 
experience to navigate safely. The lake is a widening of the Cochrane 
river which runs from Saskatchewan south to Brochet on Reindeer Lake. 
This river has a few rapids and falls. The channel through the lake is a 
good spot for fishing. Lake Trout, pickerel and pike are the most sought 
fish, but suckers are netted all winter and are harvested in the spring 
when they spawn in tributaries. The most important species to the local 
population are the caribou which migrate near the community from about 
November til April in search of food, shelter and longer daylight hours. 
Local folklore is that the caribou return each year for the purpose of 
feeding the people. Other food species are the grouse and ptarmigan. The 
ptarmigan are white in winter and are found along the edges of lakes and 
in swamps where they dine on willow buds. The birds are fairly tame and 
are usually taken at close range with .22 or shotgun. Ducks nest in the 
swamps and geese visit in spring and fall when they migrate to and from 
the  tundra.       

      This area is boreal forest but is thin because it is close to the 
tree line. The sandy soil is too thin for much vegetation but low 
blueberries and cranberries abound. In a symbiotic relationship with 
the conifers many mushrooms grow in summer and fall. Some are poisonous 
but with a field guide, edible boletes, sticky boletes and chanterelles 
should be found. The boletes can be very large, nearly a foot in diameter, 
and weigh a pound. They can be dried and frozen to make soups, pasta and 
pizza all winter. Fortunately, most boletes are edible but one should 
avoid any with red pores or flesh staining green when cut or bruised. 
It is possible to grow vegetables and flowers in the sand with the 
addition of local moss to retain water and a complete fertilizer. The 
sand is mostly silica and has few trace nutrients.    
     The most common birds here are ravens and jays but a few sparrows 
and snow buntings will be seen at times. Eagles nest close to the lakes 
and rivers where they fish. In spring several species of birds pass 
through including golden plovers. Swallows are very welcome summer 
residents.

II Communication     
a)Phone, FAX, Internet (?), mail.       Local telephone service by MTS 
is adequate but long distance services often have an echo which 
prevents good computer access to the Internet.  The school has a FAX 
machine for school business. A satellite downlink for Internet acces 
was installed but has never functioned correctly. It should make limited 
access possible for school business. This could be expanded to serve 
the community eventually. Mail service is available but is hampered 
because the post office is in the Northern Store with limited hours. Mail 
is relayed between the school and the postoffice a few times each week. 
It can take a week for mail to travel to or from Winnipeg but 3 or 4 days 
is possible.     

b)Remote banking, mail-order.

III Transportation 

a)Aviation - freight and passenger procedures and options.      
        Several small airlines serve the community. Calm air takes most
of the freight and passengers. They have a hub in Thompson and look through
Lynn Lake, Brochet, Tadoule Lake as well as Churchill and other places. Thus
it is very important to LABEL packages carefully. It is important to know when
your freight is coming in as things can disappear at the airport. Recently a
teacher had several boxes diverted to the Northern Store, because they looked
like groceries, and the fellow loading the truck could not read. I had 50
pounds of onions disappear once. Another neat thing about Calm Air is that
they have refined techniques for crushing things. If your china is on the
bottom of the pile, or the corner of the pile where belts secure the load to
the plane , or it falls 5 or 6 feet to the runway, bad things can happen.
Anything fragile or valuable must be shipped in a very sturdy box or wooden
crate. Sometimes only one person is available to handle boxes so they cannot
be very large or heavy.

        Air freight and travel are expensive here. The regular round trip to
Winnipeg is about $1250, so cheaper charters, seat sales, bus trips from
Thompson and park and drive are all options to consider. Parcel post may be
cheaper for anything not perishable.

b)winter road.  
        Near the end of winter, ice on the lakes is thick enough to carry
heavy trucks which bring in most heavy goods like lumber, fuel, 
school supplies and staples. A crew cleans snow off the ice to let the cold
freeze it thicker. If there is a warm spell or a mild winter, the winter
road is not available and the cost of living goes up. Fuel must be flown in
at a much higher price.

c)snowmobiles and boats.        

d)Shank's pony.
    That's walking, folks. There is a gravel road travelling along an esker
heading north for a few miles. It peters out to a trail at about five miles.
If you can hold your nose and avert your vision at the dump, it is 
not a bad trip. This route gets you quickly away from the community for
rest, relaxation, exercise and gathering. The high ground north of "First
Lake" (first pond after Lac Brochet), affords a fine view and substantial
boletes in August and September. Blueberries are plentiful too on the 
slopes. First Lake has a sweatlodge sometimes. Second and Third Lakes are
popular picnic sites. Only the hardy venture to Fourth and Fifth Lakes
because of the terrain (swampy).

IV Food  

a)Local sources -  hunting & fishing, gathering berries and mushrooms, 
Northern Store.          

b)Safeway Thompson.     

c)passenger luggage, freight, mail.     

d)Staples - grocery list for a year.
        Groceries for a year is an unusual concept for most folks so here
are some suggestions that matched my needs. One can vary things to suit 
your diet.
        Staples  10 kg dried peas
                10 kg rice
                10 kg dried beans (a pressure cooker is fast on these)
                40 kg flour
                20 kg frozen/dried mixed vegetables
                1 kg yeast
                2 kg baking powder
                3 kg raisins
                3 kg dried apricots
                15 kg sugar
                1 lb salt
                1 lb pepper
                1 lb chile powder
                1 lb oregano
                1 lb basil
                5 kg mozarella cheeze (can you tell I like pizza?)
                3 kg popping corn
                5 kg rolled oats
                10 kg corn meal
                5 kg pepperoni
                10 kg lean ground beeg
                9L canola oil
                8 lb butter
                5 lb fresh garlic or the dry equivalent (1 lb)
                20 lb potatoes
                20 lb onions (you can really save space and weight by drying these)
                15 kg frozen veggies
                5 lb powdered eggs
                7.5 kg powdered milk

Comfort foods
                3 lb cocoa
                3 lb citric acid                 \To sodafy 2L cold H2O
                3 lb baking soda                 / to make soda pop
                100 6g packets of drink flavour /


e)Cooking, water, vitamines.    

V Recreation    

a)Bingo 

b)Gym, halls, in-school.        

c)extra-curricular stuff.       

d)Hunting, fishing, , mushroom collecting, shooting, hiking, outdoor stuff.     
      A good parka with hood, lots of pockets, windproof layers and lots
of insulation. Two kinds are popular with teachers, downfilled (or synthetic
equivalents) like the SNOWGOOSE, or bulletproof and heavy like military
surplus or hydro parkas. Balaclavas, fur hats, neckwarmers, scarves,
contact lenses, and handwarmers all work and you should have most of these.
Some of the top of the line parkas can cost over $300 so the tougher folks
who like to save money go with military surplus which cost less than $100.
I like the military surplus mitts and mukluks too, they save more than half 
the cost of more fashionable items, but can take rough use.
     Above all, you should never leave home without several means to make 
fire (bootlace and knife, flint and steel, magnesium firestarter, candles,
waterproofand windproof matches) and a little something to rig up a quick 
shelter like rope and a tarp or space blanket,
food, water, compass and GPS, and maps. It is a good idea to take some of 
these 
things along on flights in and out although airport security will object.
If they save your life once, any hassle will be worthwhile. You can die in
an hour if you get cold and wet and have no shelter.

e)Reading, sewing, horticulture, woodworking, hobbies, indoor stuff.    

f)TV, mail-order movies and music.      

g)Raven watching.       

h)Dog racing.

VI Accomodation

VII What they never told you in the Faculty of Education    

a)Classroom management. 

b)Planning.     

c)Budgets - time and supplies.  

d)Extracurricular stuff - bingo, dances, fundraising, canteen, school 
trips, field days, sports days, carnivals, culture days, parent-teacher 
meetings,...      

e)Science fair. 

f)Paperwork - registers, requisitions, reports,...      

g)ESL, developmental delays, peer pressure, drugs, late nights, home 
environments,... 

VIII Health       

a)Nursing station.      

b)Itinerant dentists and doctors.       

c)Nutrition     You are what you eat. It is difficult and expensive to 
obtain a good balanced diet in Lac Brochet, but it is necessary if you 
are to stay in good condition throughout the school year. The Northern 
Store has some variety in fresh produce but many prefer to order from 
Thompson Safeway as well as to ask friends to send in CARE packages and 
to pack plenty in the luggage on return flights. Local blueberries and 
cranberries and mushrooms , meat and fish can go a long way to ease the 
cost of nutrition here. Just remember your four food groups and plan 
ahead.  

d)Exercise              Teaching is stressful  at the best of times. In 
the dead of winter, when the kids seem to go crazy, temperature is -45C, 
there is not enough daylight to go around, and 1/4 of the staff have some 
bug, the stress index can go through the roof. An important element in 
the defense against stress is regular exercise.  Hall walking, gym 
activities, and , for the hardy, ice-fishing, hunting, hiking, canoeing 
and camping are all good choices.         

e)fellowship    When times are tough, it is great to be able to talk with 
friends about the troubles, or , better, other things that hold common 
interest. Dinner, TV, barbecue and popcorn  parties are favourites.