September 13, 2002, at 9 a.m., Minister of Indian Affairs Robert Nault and his team including Frank Beardy (Special Representative for Infrastructure & Economic Development), Arun Dighe (Assistant Regional Director, Northern Ontario) and Patti Skillen (Special Advisor to the Minister, Ontario Region) arrived in Deer Lake.
They were greeted and welcomed by our Chief Royal Meekis. From there they went to the Band Office where a meeting was held. During the meeting, Band staff prepared a meal for the special visitors and for the community members.
At approximately 10 a.m., buses loaded with school children, teachers arrived to meet with the Minister. They brought signs, banners and posters they made at the school. The signs welcomed the Minister into the community and thanked him for the new school.
Some time passed before the meeting was over and the Minister was able to come out of the Band office. The school children and teachers formed a big circle where Minister Nault and his group went around greeting everyone with handshakes.
Minister Nault made the announcement that everyone was waiting for: “We have made a commitment to build a new school in Deer Lake. The school material will be hauled through the winter road. Construction will start in the spring, 2003 and it will take approximately one year to build it. So go to school, stay in school and listen to your teachers.”
After that speech, Nault took a tour around the community. He visited the nursing station, KiHS and other places. On the tour, the Minister saw and heard lots about the community expectations and developments. He told Oscar Meekis, Deer Lake e-Centre Manager, "I really like what I am seeing here" as he watched the KiHS students doing their Grade 9 and 10 courses (see the Honourable Robert Nault's visiting the Deer Lake KiHS classroom)
Back at the Band office, people prepared meals for them and the rest of the community members joined in the celebrations. The Minister and his group departed about noon on their way to another community.
See the pictures of the minister's visit to Deer Lake.