Traditional and Cultural Areas
Beaver First Nation’s two communities are home to several traditional and culturally significant sites. At Boyer River, significant sites include The Forks (at the confluence of the Boyer and Ponton Rivers), a traditional camping and fishing area used for community events such as Beaver Daze and traditional Tea Dance ceremonies. Other important sites include The Crossing and the Old Crossing, at points where the Boyer River narrows to allow crossing of the river, and The Ponton, which is an area of the Ponton River that many residents use for swimming. Boyer River is also home to several cemeteries, many of which have unmarked graves.
The Child Lake community is home to several culturally significant sites, including St. Bernadette’s Church and the Eleske Shrine, adjacent to a major bend of the Boyer River. St. Bernadette’s Church was built in the 1920s and is one of the oldest buildings in the community. Today the Church is frequented by Child Lake and Boyer River community members.
Following an apparition of the Virgin Mary, the church’s first priest Father Cesaire Mariman, planned and constructed the shrine between 1944 and 1954. The first pilgrimage to the shrine took place in 1945, and pilgrimages have occurred every year since then.
Today, several hundred pilgrims come to the shrine in July of each year. To the south of Boyer River is an area known as The Pasture, which is a large agricultural area home to horses and cattle. The northern portion of the community is home to Child Lake (the lake),
which was named for two orphan children who died many years ago while ice fishing on the lake. The children were never found, and Child Lake became the name for the lake and the community.
The Child Lake community is also known as Eleske, a Beaver word that describes dust from buffaloes roaming.