CARRY THE KETTLE NAKODA NATION -- Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation is teaming up with British Columbia-based company Indigenous Bloom to create a new wholesale cannabis business on reserve land.

“Our objective is to work with First Nations in partnerships for the construction of growing operations and also seed-to-sale, so retail shops,” said Robert Louie, the executive chairman of Indigenous Bloom.

The First Nation plans to construct the facility at the site of the former Indian Head Tree Nursery. Carry the Kettle purchased the land and its existing facilities around two years ago, but it was designated as reserve land in December.

Carry the Kettle

Chief Brady O’Watch told CTV News the available space in the existing buildings – around 350,000 square feet in total – created an economic opportunity his nation could not pass up.

“As a priority as a chief, you’re trying to look at ways you can help your nation succeed, not only in revenue wise but also jobs wise,” O’Watch said. “One of the main purposes of what we’re doing is to create economic prosperity for my nation and this was something that was long overdue and will be able to supply jobs to our people.”

“We know that there is a need for communities like Carry the Kettle for employment, for opportunities, and to have good paying jobs and to have gainful and realistic employment,” Louie said.

This is Indigenous Bloom’s first formal partnership announcement with a Saskatchewan First Nation, though there are plans for more announcements in the future.

The cost right now is not set in stone, but estimates are in the millions. Engineers still need to inspect the facility to find out what type of renovations or builds will be needed.

The company says the operation will strictly follow the guidelines for cannabis growth laid out by Health Canada.

“We will not skimp out on any of the building materials, the design, it will be first rate,” Louie said.

It’s still too early to tell exactly when production could begin at the facility, but preparations are expected to be underway as early as this spring.