Province Prepared To Back BATC In Casino Flap

Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 15:32



The minister of First Nations and Metis Relations says his department is preparing to hand over control of profits from the Gold Eagle Casino to a new tribal council.


Maynard Sonntag says the 25 per cent stake that previously went to the Battlefords Tribal Council will soon go to the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs.


The move is drawing sharp criticism from the BTC, which claims the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations overstepped its bounds when it approved a resolution earlier this year that handed control of the casino to the BATC.


The BTC says it will fight the move in court.


In spite of the lawsuit being launched by the BTC, Sonntag says his department will respect the FSIN’s decision in the matter.


A spokesman for the BATC believes his group can do a better job of managing revenues from the Gold Eagle Casino than what has been done previously.


Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Sheldon Wuttunee says the management of casino funds is at the heart of this dispute.


Wuttunee’s group says it is willing to share the profits from the casino with other interest groups — including First Nations in the BTC.


A BATC news release says amendments to the Gaming Framework Agreement will be ratified by the First Nations chiefs of Saskatchewan at a special FSIN gaming assembly in Saskatoon next week.