Indigenous leaders finish meeting with province to divvy up percentage of $2.9B gambling cash

Tina House
Indigenous leaders from across B.C. have wrapped up their meeting with the provincial cabinet.

One of the issues on the table is a program that divvies up seven per cent of the $2.9 billion gaming revenue the province takes in every year.

Michael Bonshor works with the B.C. First Nation Gaming Revenue Share Partnership.

“Just this past month and just last week we’ve provided over $77 million to B.C. First Nations,” says Bonshor.

The two year agreement will soon be a 25 year agreement with $100 million annually shared with First Nations.

It has taken more than 30 years to get the deal signed, making BC the last Province in Canada to do so.

So far 162 out of the 203 First Nations in B.C. have signed up for the fund, including Kukpi7 Wayne Christian of the Splatsin First Nation who attended the cabinet meeting.

“We haven’t had the opportunity as a community to discuss where we want to allocate resources but its a significant infusion of actual cash $400,000.00 per year and so that can give us the ability to look at in areas like culture and language.  Thing that are really if you think about whats happened with government over the years we can put those resources where they are most needed,” said Kukpi7 Christian.

Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit says the program is just getting off the ground and payments just started flowing in the last few months.

“We’ve heard many success stories about 30 houses being built people that in terms of infrastructure recreation, planning going on, education, culture, language so many areas that this revenue sharing stream will help,” he said.

Phillips says the program will expand with further opportunities.

“I see no reason why later on we will start looking into licencing. Casinos mean jobs, it means economic spinoffs to the regions,” said Phillips.

Kukpi7 Wayne Christian couldn’t agree more.

“It really is about the children you know I think we talk about the seventh generations what foundation are we going to leave for them,” he said.

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Video Journalist / Vancouver

A proud Métis from BC, Tina began her television career in 1997 as a talent agent for film and TV. She joined APTN National News in 2007 as a Video Journalist in the Vancouver bureau. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for her story on murdered and missing women and girls.