By James Wastasecoot
FISHER BRANCH (July 13, 2018) – Community members and officials of Peguis First Nation and Fisher Branch were in a celebratory mood today at the Grand opening of the One Stop Gas and Convenience Store, purchased by Peguis from owners John and Dave Plett of Fisher Branch. About 120 turned out on a beautiful, sunny Friday to witness, feast and hear speakers talk about the new ownership and what it means to both communities.
Chief Glenn Hudson said the venture was first broached a few years ago but a sale was not concluded at the time. It was rekindled a few months ago as funds for the acquisition were arranged with various entities. Chief among these was the Peguis Treaty Land Entitlement Trust (TLE) which is mandated to select and acquire lands under the Trust Agreement. The TLE contributed the lion’s share of the purchase price. First Peoples Development Fund also loaned funds for the purchase and Peguis Development Corporation worked out the details which led to the deal being finalized last week. “This is just the beginning,” said Chief Hudson. “We need to look at helping ourselves as a people, and not relying on government in terms of what they owe us. They us a lot. But the fact of the matter is we’re not going to wait. We’re going to work with partners, businesses out there.”
He added: “This is historic for us. We’re breaking new ground and certainly, there’s a bright future for us, I know that. This is just the beginning.”
Business man John Plett told the crowd that he was moved to cut a deal with Peguis by “advancing age and a need to slow down.”
“We always worked with community. We always promoted community, working with community. This should just enhance it, working together more and more.”
Clint Web who sits on the council of the RM of Fisher said: “The council are excited for this new ownership. We believe this acquisition will be a tremendous asset to our community. We look forward to working with you.”
Floyd Sutherland and his family led the smoking of the pipe, singing and prayers to the four directions. A water song, which honours the spirit and sacredness of water as a main ingredient of life, was sung led by April Ballentyne. A barbeque followed the saying of prayers.