Matawa First Nations Prescription Drug Abuse/Misuse

Back to Our Roots Gathering IV: Ring of Wellness – Circle of Care

Mamow Kayahnokiimin

“On February 11-13 2014, Matawa First Nations Prescription Drug Abuse/Misuse Back to Our Roots Gathering IV Ring of Wellness – Circle of Care Mamow Kayahnokiimin was hosted by Aroland First Nation. The gathering took place at the Johnny Therriault Memorial School; it was a success with up to 90 people registered. Food was also served for all 3 days of the gathering to the participants as well as for the guests and the community. Several of Matawa First Nations members shared their stories of battling and overcoming addiction which proved that our people are strong and once we have our heart set on something, we can persevere through any obstacle. It was great to witness the laughter, joy and the determination of beating this prescription drug abuse epidemic. I believe our people are healing and will join together and overcome this crippling addiction and I can’t wait for the next gathering which will be hosted in a northern community. Stay tuned and will post more details! Meegwetch!”

HEALTH_PDAM Feb 11 photo 2 EDIT

Long Lake #58 FN Health Director Judy Desmoulin sharing a story during the gathering



Health and Social Meno Biimadeswin provides advisory, advocacy and technical support services in all areas of health and wellness programming.  The department oversees the management and administration of regional funded projects in collaboration with the Matawa Health & Social Services Task Group, comprising of First Nations Health Directors.

Health and Social Meno Biimadeswin department’s primarily role is to coordinate, facilitate, support and encourage our First Nations to improve health and wellness.  The department also works with specific First Nations to reduce the impact of suicide and family violence and offers limited services in crisis management and intervention, domestic/family violence and promotion of healthy lifestyles and wellness.

First Nation’s Health & Social Directors and/or their staff can contact our department for:

  • General information about services
  • Advocacy for patient/client services
  • Research
  • Educational information
  • Crisis Management and Intervention
  • Domestic Abuse (Women & Children)
  • Coordination of meetings
  • Providing feedback and direction
  • Sharing of information, ideas and suggestions


Matawa Health Department Staff

Francine Pellerin
, Health Director,  (807)-346-3651.
Francine Pellerin came to Matawa in the 2000 with over twenty years of experience in the Health related field. Francine in her early years were spent working in agencies and organizations such as First Nations Bands, Women’s Shelter, Health Canada, Ontario Province, Health Authority, and Patient Lodging and holding various positions in areas of project coordination, program administration and management.

Debbie Sault, Matawa Regional Crisis Intervention Coordinator,,  807-346-3662
Debbie Sault started with Matawa in May 2012. She comes with 22 years of experience in the social services field. She has worked with aboriginal youth, children, men and women in the areas of mental health, domestic violence, justice-case planning, child welfare, advocacy, family and individual counselling. She has received a diploma from Confederation College in Native Child and Family Work. Debbie is a member of Red Rock First Nation and mother to 4 children.

Rebecca Mattinas, Matawa Health Administrative Assistant, 807-346-6527

Rebecca Mattinas has been hired as the Health Administrative Assistant in December 2013. She had started at Matawa as the relief receptionist in May 2013 and has also worked at various native organizations.  She is a member of Constance Lake First Nation and a mother of 4 children she has been living in Thunder Bay since 2007.

Matawa First Nations Management Health Department Staff

Debbie Sault, Francine Pellerin and Rebecca Mattinas