Treaty 2 Territory – Chief David Ledoux is an even keel kinda guy. The Chief of the smallest First Nation in Treaty 2 doesn’t get too excited about things.
Gambler has an on-reserve population of about 30 members and about 90 total including family members.
The Gambler who has roots in many of the Treaty 2 western First Nations made adhesion to Treaty 4 in 1875 getting a bigger land base for his First Nation. Although Gambler’s today is a Treaty 4 First Nation, they benefit wholly because of being located within the Treaty 2 Territory the ties to the original treaty.
But what is coming gets him really excited.
Gambler First Nation is close to breaking ground on an Urban Economic Development zone adjacent to Brandon, Treaty 2 and he sees opportunity.
The Mayor of Brandon has been more than supportive in accommodating Gambler First Nation.
“I’ve never met anybody who treats us as good as we’ve been treated here,” said Ledoux. “The mayor mentioned to his staff after we got talking and discussing where we wanted to go with our property. I guess he told his staff either get this done or the Chief and I will get it done as far as our user fees go.”
The fees pay for services such as water, sewer and hydro in lieu of paying taxes to the City.
It has been pretty straight forward said Ledoux.
“They tell us what’s going on, what they’re going to do and then they ask for my approval,” he said.
Ledoux says the development of the urban reserve has the potential to be a big economic generator long term.
“We had a lot of projects for Gambler we couldn’t get going so the benefits of being in Treaty 2 allows us to be a part of something bigger, it gives us weight,” he said.
The timing of the formation of First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory was perfect for Gambler First Nation, of which he leads the Collective Economic Development and Management portfolio.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time. We need to change the way we’re doing business. The PTO model isn’t working. With Treaty 2 they are actually going after what we all need which is recognition as being self-governing but with the weight of everyone together formed the same way makes us better.”
Ledoux says he sees a much brighter future for Treaty 2 overall.
“Treaty 2, we have an opportunity to get into bigger businesses than we can with Gambler. Everyone can benefit, urban reserve, private land, we don’t have to turn all of our land into reserve. The opportunities are going to come and we’ll be ready if we’re organized and ready. They (big business) will do business with us.”
Philip Paul-Martin is the Communication Manager for the First Nation of Treaty 2 Territory and the Moccasin Trail News.
Last modified: May 7, 2019