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Independent governance a slow change

BRANDON -- It's been more than a month since Sioux Valley Dakota Nation entered self-governance, but it could take until April before members start noticing any real changes.

"We're building a new way of going forward as opposed to being under the Indian Act," Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan said. "We're going to develop our own laws... and I hope nobody expects us to get it right all the time.

"We want to move cautiously and put laws in place that are going to work for us."

Voting on proposed new laws could take place in April, Tacan said, adding he hopes establishing new land laws will help them push forward a project planned for the Trans-Canada Highway at the junction with Highway 21.

Tacan said they are still in the "idea stage" for the location he believes would be ideal for a gaming centre and gas bar, or an equestrian centre and racetrack. But no matter what they decide to go with, Tacan said they want to take advantage of attracting highway traffic.

Since the Sand Hills Casino near Carberry opened at the end of June, Tacan said their own gaming-centre revenue has taken a hit. The Sioux Valley Gaming Centre is now bringing in $5,000 to $10,000 less each week, he said.

Sioux Valley's self-government agreement officially took effect July 1. The agreement, which took nearly two decades to forge, is the first of its kind on the Prairies involving a First Nation, the federal government and the province.


-- Brandon Sun

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