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Red Lake Nation will run Manitoba complex

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Ron Evans lauded a new agreement with the Minnesota-based Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians to manage the future Spirit Sands Casino in what he called an historic achievement for Manitoba First Nations.

The ceremony was held Sept. 30 near a Provincial Park in Manitoba.

"This is an exercise in sovereignty between Indian Nations across so called borders," said Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr. "It's exciting, as it could open other doors of opportunity that may benefit Indian Nations, and to others as well."

Evans and Jourdain pointed out that the agreement between the AMC and Red Lake is the first example - that they know of - of the nation-to-nation trade called for in the 1999 Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation among Indian Peoples and Nations of North America. "This historic partnership is a concrete fulfillment of the declaration of unity signed between Canada's the Assembly of First Nations and the U.S. National Congress of American Indians in 1999."

In a process that originated with Red Lake Tribal Council Representative Al Pemberton of Redby, Red Lake Gaming Enterprises will manage a new casino for the Manitoba First Nations. Pemberton has long term connections with Manitoba's First Nations through his work in forestry and fishing. He called Red Lake Gaming Enterprises Chief Operating Officer Ray Brenny after he had talked with Rob Ballantyne of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs last March regarding a new Indian Casino Project.

The project slated for the Swan Lake First Nation Reservation, was to be constructed and operating within 24 months. Swan Lake is one of 64 First Nations in Manitoba. Although the new casino will be located at Swan Lake, all 64 Nations will benefit equally.

Brenny has significant experience at start-up projects, beginning with the Ho Chunk casino in 2003, and involvement with Grand Casinos and Shooting Star.

Red Lake has no money invested in this project and is not indebted. Red Lake representatives did help, however, in arranging the financing for the new casino project.

Elders blessed the land on the Swan Lake reserve prior to leaders breaking the ground where the $41-million complex will sit.

The reserve is located about 140 kilometers southwest of Winnipeg.