The Secwépemc people have long sustained economic activity on the land. This includes hunting, fishing, food and medicine gathering, agricultural activity and trading. The healthy relationship with the land allowed the community to be self-sufficient, as witnessed during the great depression when the community was able to feed itself while others were not. This traditional economic activity will continue and may even grow.
Skeetchestn continues to have tremendous economic opportunity and the Band has capitalised on some of those opportunities. Successful commercial enterprises including the Big Sky Station (a gas service station, convenience store and restaurant), Painted Rock Aggregates and business opportunities through the Natural Resources Corporation all contribute revenue and employment to the community. In addition, Band operations and administration provide employment opportunities. Skeetchestn has also concluded agreements with industry and government that recognise the economic contribution of resources within the traditional territory. These agreements will continue to be pursued so that the community can reap maximum economic benefits while continuing to steward the land and natural resources.
Technology plays an important role in today’s business development and while there is internet and cell coverage the community can build on its rich cultural heritage to leverage unique business offerings. These might include a cultural and education centre, a hotel and conference centre, retail outlets and agricultural production and processing. There may also be opportunities in alternative energy production. This requires focussed planning and careful assessment of the infrastructure requirements as well as financial feasibility of each opportunity to build partnerships and create long-term employment and revenue streams for the community.
The Band was successful in obtaining funding to develop its Economic Zone (Designated Land) Land Use Plan in 2015.
AANDC is the funder at 80% and the Band is contributing the remaining 20%. Here is a progress memorendum as we stand on October 20th 2015. The project is expected to be completed by March 2016.