Thursday, April 24, 2014
Text Size

Kapyong plan off to Vegas

Sagkeeng man in $20-K contest

By: Alexandra Paul

Winnipeg Free Press

A young aboriginal man from Sagkeeng First Nation is headed to Las Vegas with a startup plan for a 40-room hotel on the old Kapyong military base.

The student, Kelly Edwards, 21, won a local contest for entrepreneurs sponsored through the University of Winnipeg, with judges from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce. The victory gave him the right to enter a higher-level competition in Las Vegas in mid-March. The prize money is $20,000.

If Edwards wins the Las Vegas prize money at the Annual National Reservation Economic Summit, it would help fund further study of what he believes is a realistic business proposal.

In an interview from Sagkeeng, Edwards said the hotel would only be built if Kapyong becomes reserve land. His plan is to turn one of the old barracks, a two-storey structure known as the Vimy Building, into a small hotel with a breakfast bar.

He believes the idea has a legitimate chance at the main prize because it takes into account the intricacies of economic development on a Canadian reserve where normal tax laws don't apply.

For that reason, he said he's pitching his plan to the six First Nations involved in the court case over the Kapyong Barracks property to win their financial support for a land lease. He also hopes to attract aboriginal investors to the project.

"If the court ruling stays in favour of the six First Nations, I think there will be a hotel built there. My business plan is the first viable business plan out there," Edwards said.

In a ruling last year, the Federal Court ruled the First Nations have a treaty right to be consulted about the disposal of the land. Ottawa appealed that ruling and was granted a hearing last week in the Federal Court of Appeal. The verdict isn't expect for a month or two.

The former base is a prize piece of Winnipeg real estate, but it has been tied up in court for years, the focus of a pitched battle between the federal government, which wants to sell it commercially, and six First Nations that claim it as a treaty entitlement.

Edwards is headed to Las Vegas with a second student from the University of Winnipeg's 12-week business entrepreneur program. Edwards is an earlier graduate of the program.

Travel expenses for both are covered by the university and the Las Vegas event sponsor, the U.S. National Centre for American Indian Enterprise Development.

Edwards said he came up with his business concept while enrolled in the program for young entrepreneurs, taught by Wab Kinew, the U of W's director of indigenous inclusion.

"He's my mentor," Edwards said of Kinew, a former CBC broadcaster best known for the Eighth Fire documentary series on CBC.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Write comment (7 Comments)

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

Write comment (2 Comments)

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

EVENTS

April 2014
S M T W T F S
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
Mon Mar 31 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
NICE ‘Indian’ Trust Funds
Fri Apr 04 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
THE 21ST ANNUAL ABORIGINAL MIXED CURLING BONSPIEL

John Bigface

imageimageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

Indigenous Writers Festival 2014 Opening Night

Write comment (0 Comments)

Chief Arlen Dumas Confronts NC Shawn Atleo

Write comment (2 Comments)

Employment