Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 acquires 2600 hectares of land

By Chadd Cawson

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

On January 24, Axxcelus Capital Fund, a Capital advisory firm that facilitates ownership in major assets for Indigenous communities, announced the closing of the land acquisition for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128. This transaction will provide opportunity to support community growth as the Nation acquired over

2,600 hectares of deeded fee simple land and 95 contiguous grazing leases. The land is located adjacent to the north and northeast portions of the Nation’s home reserve located 125 kilometres (km) northwest of Edmonton, Alberta.

The First Nations Bank of Canada, the first Canadian chartered bank to be independently controlled by Indigenous shareholders, provided the financing for this deal.

“Since our founding in 1996, we have been solely focused on delivering value and providing best-in-class services to our customers as the Indigenous economy continues to grow,” said Keith Martell, chief executive officer (CEO) of First Nations Bank of Canada in a January press release. “This deal is emblematic of the type of strategic transaction we are happy to support as we continue to champion Indigenous prosperity across the country.”

This new land, along with the grazing leases Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 acquired, will support the Nation’s growth for years to come. It will allow for a 1900 per cent expansion of the Nation’s cattle operations in the near term, providing significant economic and employment opportunities, as well as an added food security.

Long term plans could involve the land being converted to reserve land, which would support housing for the expansion of Whitefish Lake First Nation’s membership. This purchase will also provide the Nation with almost 100 new grazing leases for cattle, allowing for cattle grazing from the west and southwest borders all the way to the north and northeast borders of the Nation’s reserve.

“Today’s announcement is a monumental one for our proud Nation,” said Stan Houle, Chief of Whitefish Lake First Nation #128, in a press release on Jan. 24. “This deal is a significant step for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 along our path to self-determination and economic renewal, and I could not be more excited to see the many ways our community will grow and thrive for years to come as a result of this transaction.”

Axxcelus Capital Fund was the exclusive advisor for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 throughout this transaction; it is their mandate to help to facilitate and support Indigenous ownership of major assets and capital projects.

“On behalf of the entire team at Axxcelus, we want to extend our congratulations to Chief Houle and the entire Whitefish Lake First Nation #128,” said Paul Poscente, chief executive officer (CEO), Axxcelus, in a January press release. “We are happy to support the Nation’s vision and are excited to see what the future holds for Whitefish Lake First Nation, knowing that the impact this deal will have for the community will be far-reaching and long-lasting.”

Tom Jackson, chief executive officer (CEO), of Goodfish Lake Business Corporation, which is wholly owned and operated by Whitefish Lake First Nation, said this increased land base means a significant expansion of their cattle operations and will provide other economic opportunities for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 in the future.

“We are very pleased with the First Nation Bank of Canada for providing the financing for this historic investment, as well as the high quality of work and professionalism of Axxcelus, in assisting us to make it happen. This land purchase represents an important investment for our nation for generations to come,” said Jackson.

Chadd Cawson is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter  with THE COLUMBIA VALLEY PIONEER. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.




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