EDMONTON -- “It’s a great day, it’s an awesome day,” Chief Calvin Bruneau said at the grand reopening of the Papaschase First Nation’s gas station on Calgary trail and 30 Avenue Thursday.

The Ote Nikan Gas Station and convenience store is now owned by the nation that originally inhabited the land, before the signing of Treaty Six.

“We wanted to create revenue for our nation, and we needed jobs for our people,” Bruneau said before the official cake and ribbon cutting ceremony in front of dozens of guests.  

The station has hired over 15 local workers since taking over the day-to-day business in December.

“We definitely want it to be a money maker, it’s a good location, has traffic going both ways and we have great staff,” Bruneau said.

But the store will provide more than just conveniences. Bruneau hopes the story of the Papaschase people is passed along to customers as well.

“We want to educate the public. When people come in and ask who are you guys, we tell them a little about our history, explain that our ancestors were here,” he said.

And now they look to the future, ‘Ote Nikan’ in Cree.