Yellow Quill creates urban reserve in downtown Saskatoon
- NC Raine | October 29, 2018
Yellow Quill First Nation has created a new urban reserve in downtown Saskatoon. The new urban reserve is located on the property of the First Nations Bank of Canada building, at 224 4th Avenue South, adjacent to Yellow Quill’s first urban reserve, located on 240 4th Avenue South. The new reserve, announced last week, was created thanks to a status change granted from the Government of Canada. Yellow Quill First Nation becomes the sixth urban reserve in Saskatoon, and first in a commercial office building in the downtown core.
“Attaining urban reserve status...is an important milestone for our nation,” said Yellow Quill Chief John Machiskinic. “The designation of reserve status will support us in securing additional tenants who value an on-reserve location in a major downtown centre. It also provides another source of revenue to assist us in funding various initiatives for our members living both on and off reserve.”
Yellow Quill originally purchased the building now home to the First Nations Bank of Canada in 1997. The band also has plans to construct an office building on the adjacent 240 4th Avenue S site, pending the securing of an anchor tenant. As the site has now been transferred to reserve status, it is no longer under City jurisdiction.
“This is another first in Canada, to have a commercial office building in the heart of the city be an urban reserve. I think the importance of showing that leadership and the importance of these steps is that it shows other communities what is possible, that this is productive and successful for everybody,” said Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark. “Yellow Quill buying this building in 1997, had that vision and saw the possibilities and potential. And it’s only been a positive, economic building, job creating, partnership building experience ever since then.”
The creation of the urban reserve not only benefits Yellow Quill through economic opportunities, but benefits the city through investment in new and existing businesses, and economic spin-offs from job creation.
“We’ve seen a very significant move to people coming to cities from first nations for opportunities in recent decades and recent years. And by having that...it shows how we are stronger as a community together,” said Clark.
Yellow Quill’s two urban reserves in Saskatoon join four others in the city: Muskeg Lake Cree Nation operating Asimakaniseekan Askiy Reserve and Cree Way Gas West; One Arrow First Nation operating Sounding Sky Reserve and Fire Creek Gas and Grill; and a vacant reserve lot created by Red Pheasant Cree Nation.
“There is no other city that’s doing what we’re doing with First Nations urban reserves,” said Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand. “It’s providing opportunity. And when we look at the perspective of what we can do downtown, we need to brag and talk about building relationships and partnerships with First Nations people. It’s something we have to be proud of.”
Yellow Quill First Nation is located about 250 kilometres north of Saskatoon, and has about 968 members living on reserve, and other 2,005 members living in other communities throughout the province.