Casino of the Rockies remains open during the closure of the Resort.

 
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St. Eugene Resort Closing, October 11th 2021

As of October 11th, 2021 St. Eugene Resort will be closed. The resort will reopen in Spring 2022. We are still accepting golf and hotel bookings for the 2022 season. As well as 2022 wedding & event tours.

The Casino of the Rockies remains open during the closure of the Resort.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the spring.

Welcome to St. Eugene Resort

Ki’suk kuk’yit and Welcome,

We welcome you, your family, and your friends to the St. Eugene Resort. 

The original building of our resort was once the Kootenay Indian Residential School until it closed in 1970. It was then that Ktunaxa Nation Elder Mary Paul said that “since it was in that school that our culture was taken away, it should be there that it is taken back.” 

Using those words as inspiration, the peoples of the Ktunaxa Nation and the Shuswap Indian Band opened the golf course, casino, and hotel in the early 2000s, the KOA RV Pak in 2018, creating an exciting future for this place from its dark past. This inspiring achievement, which builds on our truth and our story, is a testament to the strength of our people, our nations, and our cultures, and to our commitment to moving forward.  

We know that in these times, people from across North America have questions about how to honour children and survivors of Indian Residential Schools in a way that is respectful and appropriate. We appreciate this and appreciate you choosing to be with us. By spending time with us at St. Eugene Resort, you not only help us to honour those children, but to build a brighter future. 

We are excited to welcome you to St. Eugene. Together, let’s build that better future.

Anwunikit,

Board of Directors for St. Eugene Resort

Chair Sophie Pierre 

Directors Rod Bateman, Dave Butler and Lorne Shovar

Owners:  ‘Aqam, ‘Akisqnuk, Shuswap Indian Band, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it, Yaqan Nukiy

ʔaq ̓ am Statement on Discovery of Unmarked Graves

For Release June 30, 2021

ʔaq ̓ am Statement on Discovery of Unmarked Graves

The Leadership of ʔaq̓ am wishes to clarify information that has appeared on various social media platforms as well as national and international news regarding the discovery of 182 unmarked graves in a cemetery in the ʔaq̓ am Community and near the former site of the St. Eugene Residential School and the current site of the St. Eugene Resort.

Last year while conducting some remedial work around the ʔaq̓ am Cemetery, an unfortunate incident occurred whereby an unknown and unmarked grave was found. In order to ensure no other graves were disturbed, ʔaq̓ am Leadership, in consultation with Elders and Knowledge Keepers, made the decision to employ a ground-penetrating radar system to identify additional unmarked graves.

This was a deeply disturbing and painful experience for our Elders and community as a whole. Ktunaxa cultural protocols were strictly followed by ʔaq̓ am community members who participated in the process as well as the contractor who operated the ground-penetrating radar system.

Preliminary results from the investigation found 182 unmarked graves within the cemetery grounds, with some being only three to four feet deep.

ʔaq̓ am Leadership would like to stress that although these findings are tragic, they are still undergoing analysis and the history of this area is a complex one. The cemetery was established around 1865 for settlers to the region. In 1874, the St. Eugene Hospital was built near the St. Mary River and many of the graves in the ʔaq̓ am cemetery are those who passed away in the hospital from within the Cranbrook region during this timeframe. The hospital burned down in 1899 and was rebuilt in Cranbrook. The community of ʔaq̓ am did not start to bury their ancestors in the cemetery until the late 1800’s.

The St. Eugene Residential School, adjacent to the cemetery site, was in operation from 1912 to 1970 and was attended by hundreds of Ktunaxa children as well as children from neighboring nations and communities.

Graves were traditionally marked with wooden crosses and this practice continues to this day in many Indigenous communities across Canada. Wooden crosses can deteriorate over time due to erosion or fire which can result in an unmarked grave.

These factors, among others, make it extremely difficult to establish whether or not these unmarked graves contain the remains of children who attended the St. Eugene Residential School.

The community of ʔaq̓ am remains steadfast in its responsibility as caretakers of the ʔaq̓ am Cemetery and to those who eternally rest within. Further ground penetrating radar work will be done on the site and ʔaq̓ am is committed to working with external parties to identify as many graves as possible and to memorialize all unknown graves with stone markers to ensure that no soul is truly forgotten.

The issue of the remains of children victimized in residential schools and buried in unmarked graves is of great concern. ʔaq̓ am urges the other co-owners of the St. Eugene Resort, Ɂakisq̓ nuk First Nation, Yaqan Nuʔkiy (Lower Kootenay), yaq̓ it ʔa·knuq̓ ⱡiʔit (Tobacco Plains) and the Shuswap Indian Band to work with ʔaq̓ am to ensure that this vital work is undertaken.

ʔaq̓ am Leadership respectfully requests the public’s patience and understanding during this difficult time.

The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is a 24-hour phone line available to provide support for residential school survivors and can be reached at 1-866-925-4419. In B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line provides First Nations and Indigenous specific support and can be reached at 1-800-588-8717.

Taxa

For media inquires contact:
ʔaq̓ am Nasuʔkin (Chief) Joe Pierre·knuqⱡiʾit (Tobacco Plains Indian Band). www.ktunaxa.org

Thanking Allies for Their Solidarity With TḱEmlúPS Te Secwe̓Pemc and All Indigenous Communities

For Immediate Release
June 21, 2021

ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa / Kootenay Region, B.C.: Since the announcement on May 27 that ground-penetrating radar had confirmed the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, many non-Indigenous allies have expressed a desire to learn more about these institutions.
They want to know how to support efforts towards truth and accountability in regards to the impacts residential school institutions have had on Indigenous individuals, families and communities.

The Tḱemlúps te Secwe̓pemc, who are the home community of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, have issued a statement for the public outlining ways to support their community. The statement can be found on their website at www.tkemlups.ca, dated June 3, 2021.

People can also visit Qwelminte Secwepemc: For the Children to find out about events and avenues to provide helpful support.

SOME HISTORY
In ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa, the homelands of the Ktunaxa people, the Kootenay Indian Residential School operated as one such institution for 60 years, between 1910 and 1970. Thousands of children from many communities were forced to attend, subject to Canadian laws of the time.

By the year 2000, and after nearly two decades of effort by Ktunaxa Communities and partners, the site reopened as the St. Eugene Resort, welcoming visitors from around the world. The resort is within the Ktunaxa Community of ʔaq̓am, near Cranbrook, B.C.

St. Eugene Resort is owned by the five related Band communities of ʔaq̓am, ʔakisq̓nuk, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡiʾit, Yaqan Nuʔkiy and Shuswap Indian Band, who, as a collective, are responsible for overseeing resort operations and of leading the cultural reclamation efforts that are made there.

“We are communities of survivors and descendants of survivors,” said Sophie Pierre, who is chair of the board of the resort, and who attended the residential institution as a child.

“We share our grief with Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc and other communities who have been impacted and who are faced with the overwhelming prospect of consultation, investigation, justice-seeking and healing that is ahead.”

In the past few years, the public has learned in more detail about the unmarked burials of Indigenous children who attended residential institutions and who never returned home. (215 in Kamloops, 104 in Brandon MB, 35 in Regina SK).

As well, during Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation process, the commission was able to track thousands more missing children and unmarked burials around former residential institutions. The report on its findings is available online, and is called Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials.

Since the Tḱemlúps te Secwe̓pemc announced the confirmation of unmarked burials in Kamloops, non-Indigenous Canadians have expressed outrage, shock and sadness, and have asked for ways to help.

“The outpouring of empathy and public support for all of our Communities is appreciated,” Pierre said.

“In the case of St. Eugene, any initiatives will be guided by elders from our five Communities, with assistance from the Ktunaxa Nation Council. Community governments will reach out to the public with requests for support as these ways are determined.”

Pierre said that, while it is natural for non-Indigenous people to become more active in finding answers and demanding accountability from governments, churches and others who ran the residential institutions, the most helpful way to start is to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and to support legitimate services that are set up to assist survivors.

“Please, remember that these discoveries can reignite suppressed grief and the effects of intergenerational trauma for many of us,” she said. “As survivors, we know there is a lot of information about how to help appropriately to be found online, starting with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report, and going from there.

“We encourage our allies to research the history of residential schools and Canada’s current treatment of survivors and communities, and also to know that we deeply appreciate their solidarity.”

Qwelminte Secwepemc: For the Children

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports

Calls to Action

History of the Kootenay Indian Residential School (St. Eugene Mission School)

 

About St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino
The Resort you see today was once the St. Eugene Mission, a residential school for First Nations youth. Today, we employ approximately 250 people and are a destination for people across North America.
The owners and associates at St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino are proudly devoted to sharing our First Nations culture as well as the history of our magnificent Resort.

We invite you to join us and experience the St. Eugene Story, one that we will continue to share as time moves forward. www.steugene.ca

About the Ktunaxa Nation Council
The Ktunaxa Nation Council is comprised of elected officials from the four Ktunaxa Communities of ʔakisq̓nuk First Nation, Yaqan Nuʔkiy (Lower Kootenay Band), ʔaq̓am Community and Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡiʾit (Tobacco Plains Indian Band). www.ktunaxa.org

Every Child Matters

For immediate release

June 1, 2021

Every Child Matters

Cranbrook, B.C. – Just a few days after elders from the Ktunaxa Nation blessed the St. Eugene Resort, as it re-opened for the summer season, it was announced that the remains of 215 Indigenous children had been found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. That news has brought back painful memories.  The present-day resort was originally constructed and operated as the Kootenay Indian Residential School for 60 years before it was closed in 1970.  Today, the Resort is owned and operated by the four Indian Bands of the Ktunaxa Nation and the Shuswap Indian Band.

Nation members along with many staff members held a ceremony at the resort on Friday after the tragic discovery and this week staff are wearing orange shirts in memory of all residential school children.

Sophie Pierre, Chair of the Board of St. Eugene Resort, recalls that it was the words of Ktunaxa Elder Mary Paul, a visionary for the resort, saying: “Since it was within the St. Eugene Mission School that the culture of the Kootenay Indian was taken away, it should be within that building that it is returned” that guided the creation of the resort.  Her words continue to guide us today.

We encourage all Canadians to become fully informed on the true history of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous People, including the very sad truth regarding residential schools.

“We are honoured to tell the story of so many who did not have that opportunity,” said Sandra van Steijn, CEO of St. Eugene Resort. “We do not want to erase our past but learn from it and keep St. Eugene a safe place to learn, grow and heal,” she added.

St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino Announces New CEO

For immediate release

April 30, 2021

St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino Announces New CEO

The Board of St Eugene Resort LP is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandra van Steijn as Chief Executive Officer, following the retirement of Barry Zwueste on April 30, 2021.

Ms. van Steijn has 10 years of previous experience at the resort, beginning in 2010, serving as General Manager as well as Acting CEO.

“We are very fortunate to welcome Sandra back to the resort,” said Sophie Pierre, Board Chair. “With her experience, Sandra is most qualified to lead our excellent management team and associates in continuing to make St. Eugene Resort a destination of choice for our guests. We are sad to see Barry Zwueste leave but wish him a very happy and well-deserved retirement.”

Mr. Zwueste was appointed CEO of St. Eugene Resort in January 2016. Among his many accomplishments was the development and successful opening of the RV Park and the major renovation of the Casino, making it a year-round attraction. Mr. Zwueste supported and encouraged the creation of the Indigenous Culture Awareness Training as well as the Speaking Earth experience programs. Over the past 13 months, Mr. Zwueste provided critical leadership navigating the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. Eugene’s world-renowned golf course is now open. The RV Park is currently accepting local residents’ reservations. Management plans to fully re-open St. Eugene Resort on May 25, following all British Columbia travel and health guidelines. The Casino of the Rockies does remain closed however looks forward to reopening year-round, once restrictions are lifted.

St. Eugene Resort & Casino is an exciting travel destination in the Canadian Rockies near Cranbrook. The resort has a historic past and a bright future with a new CEO at the helm.

For more information, please contact:
Michael Sprake
Sales & Marketing Manager
St. Eugene Resort
P: 250-420-2021 E: msprake@steugene.ca

 

St. Eugene Resort Season Closing Oct 12 2020

St. Eugene Resort season closing, October 12th, 2020 

Cranbrook, B.C. – Covid-19 has had significant impacts on tourism businesses across BC and Canada. St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino is no different and has made the decision to temporarily cease all of its operations, with the exception of the Casino of the Rockies, for the winter season on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 12. St. Eugene will re-open fully for the 2021 spring and summer in April as a seasonal resort with a year-round casino going forward.

“We expected to see fewer guests this winter because of COVID-19, and this decision will now allow for St. Eugene to focus and plan for what we do extremely well, and that is offering a unique destination of choice in a historic setting during the spring and summer in the Kootenays.” said Barry Zwueste, CEO.

Currently, the Casino of the Rockies, like all casinos in B.C., remains temporarily closed due to COVID-19. The Resort is looking forward to when the Casino can resume year-round operations, based on government approval. 

This marks a significant change in the operation of St. Eugene, but is one that will see the resort thrive and prosper in the years ahead.

Book your Holiday Party

The holidays will be here before you know it, and St. Eugene would love to host your Christmas or Staff get-together! Planning early alleviates disappointment later. St. Eugene is now accepting bookings for your corporate and small business holiday parties!

Our quaint and cozy venues are able to seat smaller groups, and the Chief David room seats up to 72 guests.  The Joseph Creek Pavilion which seats 225 comfortably for dinner is also available for rental until the end of October.  For a complete listing of available venues, click here.

Should you wish to stay the night with us after your event, we are also offering a special holiday room rate!

Guests stay for as low as $79 per night
You get $10 free play voucher per guest

To discuss menus and availability, call or email our Sales & Events Manager, Susan at 250.420.2023 or by email: snilsson@steugene.ca

Meet The Manager Monday – Cassandra Hayward

This week, the St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino’s, “Meet the Manager Monday” piece features our Events & Marketing Coordinator, Cassandra Hayward. Cassandra joined the St. Eugene family a year and a half ago, first in the capacity of Executive Assistant to the CEO, and quickly moved into her new role last August. She relocated to the Cranbrook area from Canmore where she held the position of General Manager of Spring Creek for nearly a decade. Before Spring Creek, she was one of the original owners and worked as the Director of Marketing & Team Athlete Manager for Jones Soda in both Vancouver & Seattle. Cassandra’s enthusiasm and background in Marketing made her the ideal candidate to take on the role of Events Coordinator!

From inception to completion, Cassandra will oversee all major events presented by St. Eugene, including the annual Wedding Fair, and our upcoming “WineSpring” – a weekend wine festival being held in early April. Cassandra’s passion is infectious, and she would love to hear from our area locals to see what fresh new ideas you would like to see hosted at St. Eugene. Some initial thoughts are to hold a, “Kootenays’s Got Talent” event, tattoo convention, “November Noel” prelude to Christmas event, and gaming convention, just to name a few.

Cranbrook, just like Canmore, is an ideal destination for Cassandra, and the opportunity to live near the Kootenay Rockies and Purcell mountains really drew her in. “I’m just not a sit-still kind of person, and my two hobbies – dirt biking in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter – make the East Kootenays an ideal place to live!”

Being employed at St. Eugene has really done something for her spirit. Cassandra states, “I just wake up each morning, grateful for the beautiful place I live in, and I can’t imagine letting that go anytime soon. It’s a good community too – good people, good parties – and I never need to just be sitting around.”
There’s something special about S. Eugene, it is a rare jewel just beginning to be discovered, and I look forward to working alongside my team to raise further awareness of all our beautiful resort has to offer. One of the most important things that has kept Cassandra here is the emphasis on ‘all things fun’ that St. Eugene strives to deliver to our guests, and the awesome team she works with – when asked where her unending enthusiasm stems from, her answer is simple “I truly love my job!”

To contact Cassandra with suggestions or ideas for future events, call 250.420.2051 or email chayward@steugene.ca.

Found Money Donation Made To Big Brothers Big Sisters

The Casino of the Rockies at St. Eugene recently made a Found Money Donation to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook.

The organization will use the funds to further enhance the services and support they offer to our local and area youth.  “These funds help give the gift of mentorship to children in Cranbrook and area. Serving as role models, our mentors teach by example the importance of giving and giving back, of staying in school, and of having respect for family, peers, and community. By supporting such a worthy cause you are helping children in our community reach their full potential resulting in positive outcomes such as a reduction in poverty and unemployment.

Donations such as this make a difference by providing funding needed for our professional, trained staff to carefully screen volunteers and match them in long-term, safe mentoring relationships, while providing necessary ongoing management and support for the volunteers, children, and families all free of charge.”

So what exactly is ‘Found Money”? Well, it is comprised of any monies left behind by casino patrons, such as the few cents that are left over when you cash out a slot machine ticket. These nickels and dimes truly add up over time, enabling the Casino to make a substantial quarterly donation to a registered charity.