Nation-Based Sovereign-Based Government


Skownan First Nation

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This government was formerly known as the Waterhen First Nation. Not to be confused with the Waterhen Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Skownan First Nation is a Saulteaux (OjibwaFirst Nations band government whose reserve community, Waterhen Indian Reserve No. 45, a.k.a. “Waterhen”, is located 288 km north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,[1] on the south shore of Waterhen Lake, between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnipegosis.[2] As of May, 2015, the First Nation had 1,464 registered members, of which 750 lived on-reserve.[3][4]

The Skownan First Nation is a member of the West Region Tribal Council.

Skownan First Nation also owns and operates a local radio station, known as 98.7 SKO FM. The radio station services the community.



Originally, the First Nation was known as the Waterhen River Band of Saulteaux and later simply as Waterhen First Nation (not to be confused with the Waterhen Lake Band of Cree in Saskatchewan, known today as the Waterhen Lake First Nation). The Skownan First Nation is a signatory to Treaty 2. Their name comes from Ne-biimiskonaan, meaning “to turn around the point” or “turning point” in the Anishinaabe language.


The Skownan First Nation elect their council on a two-year term under the authority of the Act Electoral System. The current Chief is Cameron Catcheway; the Councillors are Cameron Catcheway, Sterling Catcheway, Joseph Maud and Charlotte Nepinak. The Chief’s and Councillors’ terms began on November 4, 2014 and expire on November 4, 2016.[3]

The Council is a member of West Region Tribal Council, a regional Chiefs’ Council.

Past Chiefs

  • Francois/Broken Fingers: Treaty 2 Signatory 1871
  • Katahkahwaynaas: 1872-1885
  • Baptiste O’kitchekeshowenin/Nepinak: 1885-1922
  • Hermus Nepinak: 1922-1950
  • Alex Catcheway: 1951-1955 (terms 1-2)
  • Moise Catcheway: 1955-1959 (terms 1-2)
  • Alex Catcheway: 1959-1961 (term 3)
  • Joe Catcheway: 1961-1963
  • Carl Gabriel: 1963-1965
  • Alphonse Catcheway: 1965-1967
  • Moise Catcheway: 1967-1969 (term 3)
  • Donald Catcheway: 1969-1971
  • Moise Catcheway: 1971 – 1979 (terms 4-7)
  • Harvey Nepinak: 1979-1983 (terms 1-2)
  • Larry Catagas: 1983-1987
  • Harvey Nepinak: 1987-1999 (terms 3-8)
  • Bernard Catcheway: 1999-2003 (terms 1-2)
  • Robert Lavallee: 2003-2005
  • Harvey Nepinak: 2005-2010 (terms 9-11.5)
  • Cameron Catcheway: 2010-


The Skownan First Nation has only one Indian reserve, the 1,856.7 ha. Waterhen Indian Reserve No. 45.

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