Bigstone Cree Nation

How smart planning and quality data helped one Alberta First Nation transform its reputation for sickness to success

BIGSTONE CREE NATION – If you drive north out of Edmonton, up past the boundless farmer’s fields, over the historic Athabasca River and right to the end of Highway 813, you’ll find yourself in Bigstone Cree Nation. Located in the heart of the Albertan oil sands, about four hours from the provincial capital, there’s no arguing that this beautiful and remote First Nations community is out-of-the-way—but that doesn’t mean it’s off-the-grid.

Made up of a total of seven communities that house more than 3,000 residents on about 21,000 hectares of pristine lake-rich Northern boreal forest, this sprawling Woodland Cree community is home to a wealth of services and facilities. This includes its own hospital, health-care centre, home-care program and school, to hotels, restaurants, gyms, a beach and a full-service hockey arena. There’s even a nearby golf course.

At the centre of all this is Wabasca, the geographic and administrative heart of Bigstone’s cluster of communities. Though it’s derived from the Cree word wapuskau , which means “white rapids” (in reference to a nearby river) Wabasca’s name could just as easily be interpreted as “where it all happens.

Read More:

For more information about the RHS and FNIGC, please visit

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More