STAND OFF: Families gathered Wednesday for a feast and a tour of the big orange building that's set to house the Blood tribe's newly re-opened house manufacturing plant.
A joint venture between the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Blood tribe and Aboriginal Affairs, the plant is coming back to life after almost 20 years idle.
"It's a tremendous shot in the arm for our community - both financially, job-wise and career-wise for some of our young people," Chief Charles Weasel Head told reporters during Wednesday's festivities. "It's just a real boost."
A boost indeed. The tribe contributed up to $750,000 of the $1.6 million needed to upgrade the plant which will go toward building 30 new homes this year for the reserve itself. They've also applied to build another 30 for the reserve next year. Meantime, they plan to market their product to outside business, hoping to keep the plant going throughout the year. That would mean the 45 new hires at the plant could retain their jobs.
"When you drive in here and you can see 45 young people taking home a pay cheque and feeling good about themselves at the end of the day, it gives me a little bit of pause to reflect and say we've done a good thing today," said Weasel Head. Stand Off has a population of about 11,000 people with an estimated unemployment rate of 45 to 70 per cent.