The community consists of the Northern Hamlet of Patuanak with 64 residents governed by a Mayor and 3 councillors  and the adjoining Wapachewunak 192D Indian reserve of the English River Dene Nation with 482 residents (Canada Census 2011). The reserve is governed by a Chief and six councillors.
Patuanak is located west of the Shagwenaw Rapids on the Churchill River. The community stretches for a mile and a half along the shoreline, with the reserve near the year-round open water below the rapids and the non-Treaty homes facing onto Shagwenaw Lake. Most of the families now at Patuanak traditionally lived down river at Primeau Lake, Dipper Lake and Knee Lake or Cree Lake.
As in most northern communities, the Hudson's Bay Company set up a store at Patuanak to replace those further down the Churchill River, which made Patuanak a fur-buying centre.
Patuanak's permanent population remained small until 1968 when all the people in the surrounding areas began moving in.
In 1968, the school opened at Patuanak and many families moved in so their children could attend. Prior to 1968, the children were sent to the mission schools at Beauval and Ile a la Crosse, while their families went north to trap.
The traditional activities of the people of Patuanak can be seen on all sides during visitations, such as moose hide tanning, beadwork of various sorts and birch toboggans.
On April 27, 1885, during the North-West Rebellion, most of the personnel and dependants of the Hudson's Bay Company Post and the Roman Catholic Mission of Île-à-la-Crosse, who were alarmed at the looting of the Green Lake Post the previous day, fled to a small wooded island north of Patuanak and were helped by the Denesuline of the area. On May 24, the exiles erected a large cross on their island of refuge (now known as Cross Island ) and returned to Île-à-la-Crosse on May 29.
Wapachewunak 192D is part of the English River Dene Nation. As of May 2012, the total membership of English River Dene First Nation was 1,451 with 774 members living on-reserve and 677 members living off-reserve.
- "Canada Census 2011 (Patuanak, Northern hamlet)". Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Municipal Directory System (Patuanak, Northern hamlet)". Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "Canada Census 2011 (Wapachewunak 192D (Indian reserve))". Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "AANDC (Registered Population)". Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "University of Saskatchewan (Northern Research Portal) English River". Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- Marchildon, Greg; Robinson (Sid) (2002). Canoeing the Churchill A Practical Guide to the Historic Voyageur Highway. Regina: University of Regina. p. 160. ISBN 0-88977-148-0.
- "Batoche: les missionnaires du nord-ouest pendant les troubles de 1885". Le Chevallier, Jules Jean Marie Joseph. Montreal: L'Oeuvre de presse dominicaine. 1941. Retrieved 2013-07-20.