City, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation & businesses celebrate urban reserve anniversary
Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in collaboration with its business partners and the City of Saskatoon, is celebrating its anniversary as Canada’s first created commercial urban reserve.
“Thirty years ago, the City of Saskatoon and the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation took a bold step to create Canada’s first created commercial urban reserve,” says Mayor Charlie Clark.
Mayor Clark says for 30 years Saskatoon has benefitted from increased economic activity, job creation and a closer relationship with the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.
“This is something that we can be proud of in Saskatoon. We want to lead the national conversation about how to create a more resilient, inclusive community that is working together with First Nations partners toward reconciliation. I would like to offer my largest thanks to everyone involved for making these past 30 years so successful.”
Urban reserves are a significant locally-grown initiative because it was the first agreement of its kind. The federal government, Muskeg Lake and the City paved the way as Treaty Land Entitlement emerged for a new way of doing business that was rooted in respect and recognition. In the years since, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation established a separate board of directors to oversee the business that ensures stability and security for investors in the McKnight Commercial Centre.
“Our board is building a successful future, a board that is independent and has created stability for business and investors, it is important that we recognize and honour those who laid the foundation,” says Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Chief Kelly Wolfe.
Demonstrating the solid foundation, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) will be strengthening its ties to the urban reserve.
“SIGA has been a staple tenant with us for over a decade,” says Murray Westerlund, Board Chair of Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Investment Management Corporation. “We are ecstatic with the decision they have made to expand their new head office located within the Asimakaniseekan Askiy (Veteran’s Land) urban reserve.”
The new two storey development will be 100% occupied by SIGA as their new head office and will also include 6284 sq ft for their new Slot Management program. The new building will be 50,630 sq ft which will bring Muskeg Lake Cree Nation’s total developed space to 185,031 sq ft.
“We are confident this land will continue to develop for the benefit of all Saskatoon citizens and continue to be a relationship model and business model,” Westerlund says.