FSIN and Kahkewistahaw First Nation break ground for head office, economic development site in Saskatoon
FSIN and Kahkewistahaw First Nation leaders breaking ground on an Airport Drive new development project on Aug 27. 2020/
SASKATOON -- Leaders of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the Kahkewistahaw First Nation broke ground in a special sod-turning ceremony for the FSIN’s new home Thursday morning at a vacant field beside the John G. Diefenbaker Airport at 2175 Airport Drive.
The 40 acres of land purchased by Kahkewistahaw in 2017 will now be known as Kahkewistahaw Landing and it will feature new office space for the FSIN, a gas station, a drive-thru car wash, a hotel, a convention centre, a restaurant and much more office space for rent.
“After every one of us leaves this world, our children’s children will be benefitting off of this piece of land and that’s a positive thing. This is what our elders have wanted us to continue to work towards, to build a legacy and a foundation around the Treaty-based economy. Kahkewistahaw is doing exactly that,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron.
“We’re extremely happy and proud that progress is being made. We approached FSIN and asked them when their lease is up, do you need a new building and everything just kind of came to fruition. The stars lined up. The FSIN then went through the process. We signed the deal today and a lot of behind the scenes things had to happen,” said Chief Evan Taypotat of Kahkewistahaw.
Speaking to a crowd at the podium, Chief Taypotat talked about the difficulties Indigenous people face living in Canada and about federal government funding shortfalls. He said Kahkewistahaw's leadership has been focused on seeing see their First Nation succeed.
“Kahkewistahaw’s approach is we’re not going to wait for the government. Our First Nations peoples have been doing that for hundreds of years. You have two options, you can kick tires and feel sorry for yourself or actually do something about it and what we’re doing is economic development. We want to be a sovereign nation and not depend on anybody.”
Chief Taypotat said all of Kahkewistahaw Landing’s revenue will help its 2235 band members who need help in recreation, housing, social development and education where the federal government has been unable to help with due to funding caps.
“Everyone thinks we get tuition paid for free, we don’t, there are always shortages and there are always people we have to say no to. This land is going to make sure to help us.”
Kahkewistahaw also owns land in Yorkton where the Painted Hand Casino is located; it owns the gas station and hotel beside the casino and a custom steel fabrication shop in Melville. Chief Taypotat says he is excited about the future.
“This land is going to help Kahkewistahaw, other First Nations, the City of Saskatoon, it doesn’t matter what skin colour, ethnicity or race you are, this land is for you, you can come work here, you can be business partners with us so this land is for all of us in Saskatoon. In business to use baseball lingo, we’re at the AAA level, major leagues is just coming around the corner. Thanks to our previous chief and councils we are now sitting at a level of where we’re at the cusp of something big,” said Chief Taypotat.
Construction is expected to start next year.