Chief Bruce Morin
Chief Bruce Morin, born David Bruce Morin, of Big River First Nation, Saskatchewan, Canada, is a proud husband, father, and Moshom to his loving family on the Big River First Nation. He has always been a promoter of family importance in his career as a leader and it is quite possible that this was the positive influence grounding his years of service that span the majority of his years.
Chief Morin started out in his early years working in a variety of areas that lead him to venture away for a period of time where he learned life lessons that would eventually serve him long term. Chief Morin then moved home to provide his family home roots and at a suggestion of fellow band members, tried his turn at a position for leadership. Chief was successful as he started his first year as a Band Councillor in 1979. He then would spend the next 16 years as Band Councillor where he was mentored and followed the teachings of Elders and their advice in terms of Band customs and policies, both traditionally as well as in the contemporary aspect. This time served him well as he would apply this knowledge in next steps in his career.
In 1999, Chief Morin, again at the suggestion of fellow band members and with the support of his family, decided to run for the position as Chief of Big River First Nation. The successful campaign saw him become Chief, and became what would be the beginning of a long term position as Chief. Chief Morin was successfully nominated and elected as Chief for 18 years or four terms in total. An accomplishment that did not come without sacrifice or hard work.
Early on in Chief Morin’s term, it became aware that in order for the Big River First Nation community to succeed, education was key. Thus began the direction that would take Big River First Nation on a path far beyond anyone’s expectations.
In 2003, Chief Morin and Council implemented the on reserve Indian Teacher Education Degree program on Big River First Nation and signed a partnership agreement with the University of Saskatchewan. A program that since seen four cohorts and three convocating classes with over forty-seven graduates completing from Big River First Nation and near and far surrounding communities. The employment statistics alone, (over 95% employment rate), post program is higher than the provincial average. The successful programming allowed for Big River First Nation to open its doors to neighbouring communities interested in obtaining their post-secondary goals. A program as successful as such, lead Chief Morin to realize another goal; Big River First Nation required a building for students to learn.
After years of success in various post secondary programming on and off reserve and encouraging Big River First Nation membership towards higher learning, Chief Morin and Council lobbied government and business successfully for the creation of a new building that would become the hub for higher learning. The Sergeant Darby Morin Centre; Centre for Higher Learning officially opened its doors in September of 2012. The DMC, as it is known locally, has been a hub not only for Big River First Nation, but for surrounding areas of North Central Saskatchewan. Big River First Nation has opened DMC’s doors for post-secondary opportunities, skills and trades training, as well as for business incubation and employment/career offices.
Big River First Nation, under Chief Morin’s guidance, has become one of the leading first nations in Saskatchewan to determine education initiatives, and to fully implement programs with success. In addition to the high rates of post-secondary programming on reserve, Big River First Nation also funds on average 80 post-secondary students yearly, a fact that resonates with Chief Morin as one of the high points during his reign as Chief. The Se-Se-Wa-Hum High School attributes to this number of post-secondary students as the average number of grade twelve graduates is 25 on reserve and 20 off reserve annually, most of who are encouraged to pursue secondary education. These facts point to the very ideals of the career and vision that Chief Morin saw for the future of the community still to this today.