The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) is moving into a larger headquarters.
A sod turning ceremony was held Thursday in Saskatoon for a new two storey 50,000 square foot building on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation urban reserve located east of Sutherland.
However, the steel archers being erected for SIGA’s future home represent a bigger milestone.
Oct. 2, 1988, the Cree Nation and city created Canada’s first urban reserve. Thirty-years later, more than 120 exist across the country, including 54 in Saskatchewan.
Mayor Charlie Clark said the urban reserve stands as an example of how partnerships can benefit everyone.
“As a city, we’re glad that SIGA calls Saskatoon home and runs the operations from this place, from this site, the first successful urban reserve in Canada.”
“Sixty-five percent of their 1800 staff are First Nations and Metis. Many of those staff go on to work in other companies,” said Clark.
Looking back, Muskeg councillor Paul Ledoux said credit goes to past leaders who saw the vision for a better future for their community.
“Kind of thinking outside the box and knowing that economic development was a very important factor to our community to prosper and grow.”
Ledoux said the success of the urban reserve has returned $7-million dollars to the community to offset unfunded programs.
“We have 2,200 members. We have a lot of youth in our community and outside our community. We’re able to provide assistance to do the sports, to do the music, to do the arts,” Ledoux said.
The urban reserve is home to many businesses, including the head offices of SIGA, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the Saskatoon Tribal Council.
Construction on the SIGA building is expected to be complete in July 2019.