Sustainable economic growth is a top priority for the Tsq’escen’emc (Canim Lake Band), which announced this week the creation of a brand new economic development corporation.
The Spelqweqs Development Corporation will act as the primary business arm of the Canim Lake Band, and has been in the works for close to two years, according to Cecil Cheveldave, spokesperson for the board of directors.
“It’s something that we’ve been looking forward to achieving for quite some time,” Cheveldave said. “It’s been a great accomplishment.”
Heading up Spelqweqs will be Chief Executive Officer Jeff White, who has a background in the forestry sector and has worked with Indigenous communities throughout the province.
Kukpi7 Helen Henderson said in a release that White’s knowledge and experience will help bring the band’s economic visions to life.
“There are a lot of opportunities resulting from the recognition of our Rights and Title,” Henderson said.
White, who will report to the board of directors, said he was “humbled and excited” to be leading the charge in boosting the community’s business opportunities “in an era of reconciliation.”
“It really is an opportunity to help establish First Nations as more full partners in the region and in Canada,” he said.
With a focus on job creation, partnerships and business opportunities for the Canim Lake Band, Cheveldave said that Spelqweqs will have a strong focus on sustainable development.
“One of the driving factors will be sustainable creation of a greater economy that not only the community can benefit from, but also the entire region,” he said.
Several companies currently owned by the band will be taken over by Spelqweqs, including Teniye Logging, Sisk Pipelines and Kenkeknem Forest Products.
The name “Spelqweqs” means “Eagle” in Secwepemctsin, a symbol of excellence. The corporation’s logo will feature copper, a symbol of wealth, and teal, representing the many lakes within Tsq’escen’ territory.