On Wednesday 25 August 2021 we opened the doors of our new company, Kihew FabCo, a fully Indigenous-owned steel manufacturing enterprise, in Melville, Saskatchewan. We are located a short distance North of Kahkewistahaw First Nation, east of Regina. Kihew FabCo is equally owned by Kahkewistahaw First Nation, and KFN member, Des Dumais.
Our grand opening featured several influential guests and speakers, including prominent industry dignitaries and political delegates. It was a proud moment for KFN and the Kihew FabCo team. Guest speakers praised our initiative for its drive to create opportunities for our Indigenous members from communities across Western Canada. We are excited to support the role of reconciliation in our national economic institutions through collaboration with non-Indigenous businesses. We are willing and able to meet industry and sector standards in providing efficient, reliable, and consistently foremost services to meet their bottom-line objectives. All while providing a diverse, and inclusive work and training environment for all Canadians.
As stated by Chief Cadmus Delorme of Cowessess First Nation, “It is places like Kihew that are going to make sure there are no barriers, that business will partner with Kihew”. This echoes Kihew’s prerogative to “provide quality mechanical and structural steel manufacturing services while strengthening communities through opportunity and education.” Our aim is to create job and learning opportunities for local Indigenous people in an effort to combat the rising rates of unemployment in our community. We are therefore happy to announce that we will soon be offering exciting mentorship programs with the purpose of educating the young or unemployed in our community in steel fabrication trades. These programs will bring hope and financial stability to many people who desperately need it.
Des Dumais believes that collaboration with non-Indigenous businesses and industries will also help to combat unemployment, while at the same time creating a path towards reconciliation, as requested by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action. Dumais states, "We want to meet industry halfway in reaching reconciliation. This must be the message we are sharing. By providing quality, state-of-the-art fabrication services, we exceed their supply chain service expectations through our efficient, technologically sophisticated workflow.” Our fully automated facilities will ensure this level of service we have committed to providing.
We have actively positioned ourselves to become an industry leader with the ability to not only meet industry compliance standards but to exceed them. This exciting progression, coupled with our focus on empowering members of our Indigenous community, is the type of progressive social thinking that we wish to promote in Saskatchewan. We would like to influence other companies to adopt this behavior model across the whole of Canada.
Our most important dream is for our people, Kahkewistahaw First Nation, to reach a state of independence and economic self-sufficiency, and we aim to work towards this goal through economic development. The launch of Kihew FabCo is just a step on the road to achieving our ultimate goal, yet it is one that will benefit Canadian industries, political directives, nations, communities, and Kahkewistahaw First Nation.