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 Likewise, canoes have been replaced by motor boats.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.