A local First Nation chief says they made history decades ago and many are not aware of it.

Dakota Tipi First Nation chief Dennis Pashe says their First Nation is the one that started what has since become a common situation with First Nations across Canada. 

"We were the first one that had talked about casinos back in the 80s, the first one that moved VLTs, and we were the first one that moved the gas and tobacco rebate system," explains Pashe. "So, we did a lot of initiatives here first that benefited First Nations people in Canada and Manitoba."

He says the provincial government did not originally control gaming at the time. 

"So, it seems to be a sacred cow of the provincial systems," adds Pashe. "We have to give life to this Reconciliation program. When they say, 'Nation to nation,' what does that mean? To me, it means that we are sovereign nation. And that's exactly what we are."

(The nation-to-nation relationship has been used to describe the manner in which indigenous groups could interact with governments in Canada but the exact meaning is still unclear.)

Pashe notes you can now see many gas bars and people working and getting rebates on their taxes across the country that they should not have been paying to begin with.

"We did that fight here and opened the door and opened the gates now across Canada," continues Pashe. "You see gas stations and gas stores across the land from Alberta to Saskatchewan. It all started here under our negotiations and our fight with the lawyers that we had in negotiating that deal. But it wasn't a very good deal in the sense that it didn't recognize the sovereignty of the First Nation."

He adds the government used the Indian Act to recognize the rights of First Nations people after the reserve's efforts, but Pashe says they need to go further with that.