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Independent First Nations propose $1.28 billion stadium.


It is an idea that is great, but so far the odds against a $1.28 billion First Nations owned structure coming into play appears to be even greater.

The proposers, planners, and owners of the idea are ten independent First Nations in Saskatchewan, the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The only First Nation named in the deal is the Beardy's & Okemasis First Nation.

Along Dewdney Avenue in Regina would sit the huge 55,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof, and to top it off the Hard Rock International trademark attached to its name with its famous hotel, cafE, and Indian casino. It would further serve as a venue for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

For now, it is simply an idea up in the air, with a few hurdles to jump through in order to make it a reality.

The first hurdle is overtaking all the other proposals for a Regina stadium. So far, there have been six other groups who have come forward with ideas for the Regina stadium or an entertainment venue. It is worth mentioning that the proposal put forth by the First Nations was the most publicized.

The second hurdle is convincing the Province to cede its casinos in Moose Jaw and Regina and using profits to support the venture. Enterprise Minister, Ken Cheveldayoff reported to media at a news conference on March 4, that the province is not even considering selling its casinos, but he is willing to meet with First Nation officials to hear what they have to say.

The third hurdle would involve seeking out sources to fund the project as a whole. So far, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Aboriginal entities and the Seminole business affairs arm of the tribe has been secured. The US group will provide a $600 million investment and $600 million in credit, it is an enterprise that owns the chain of Hard Rock Hotels in the US and elsewhere around the globe. Additional funding would need to be sought out to complete the project, including the federal government.

Although a March 5 press release issued by the Seminole tribe stated that the Tribal Council had "not considered or approved any aspect of any project in the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada" a few days later, it was confirmed that the tribe has separate entities that look after Tribal affairs and Tribal business affairs.

A Seminole tribal business affairs official who knew of the deal confirmed with a CANWEST news source that they were indeed partners in the proposal phase of the idea, which would have to go through the approval of the Seminole Tribal Council in order to be accepted.

Designs for the structure are included in the proposal, created by First Nations architect Douglas Cardinal, who has a lot of accolades to his name including the First Nations University and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The designs put forth for the stadium by Cardinal can be found at portfolio/currentprojects.html

By Christine Fiddler

Sage Staff Writer

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Author:Fiddler, Christine
Publication:Saskatechewan Sage
Date:Mar 1, 2010
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