St. Mary’s Indian Band

St. Mary’s Indian Band

The St. Mary’s Indian Band or Aq’am is a member community of the Ktunaxa Nation and is made up of four reserves totalling roughly 18,420 acres or 7,461 hectares and has the largest land and population base of the other Ktunaxa Nation Bands. The Band is situated 5 kilometres from the city of Cranbrook in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia.

Band members are employed in fields such as local government, hospitality service, construction, transportation, tourism, forestry, and various other entrepreneurial activities. The Band Council consists of a Chief and four Councillors all of which are elected through the Band's own election by-laws. The St. Mary’s Band Administration operates a range of diverse program and services including the Aqamnik Elementary, Aqamnik Daycare, Aqamnik After School and Summer Program, Community Education Services, Community Health, Economic Development, Housing and Administrative functions which are centralized at the Band’s Administration Building.

The community’s infrastructure investment plan includes new housing and the development of a 77 unit serviced lot sub-division. The Housing Department is striving to build energy efficient and environment friendly housing that is available to all Band Members. The First Nations Market Housing Fund will assist the St. Mary’s Band in achieving the goal of creating new housing by supporting capacity development building in areas such as governance, financial management, and community commitment. The Fund will also provide the Band with the opportunity to secure financing for construction on-reserve. One of the reasons why First Nations such as St. Mary’s finds it difficult to find adequate financing for the construction of housing is due to the provisions under the Indian Act which limit seizure of property on-reserve making mortgage security unavailable. The use of the Fund will make it easier for its members to access housing loans on reserve, to purchase and/or renovate existing homes, and to build new homes.

The vision of their Ktunaxa ancestors, through their traditions, customs, language and beliefs continues to guide the people and a new framework of accountability and strategic long term planning will also secure the future of their children.

“St. Mary's Band is pleased to see that the government of Canada is taking the initiative to make Housing a priority in First Nation communities.  With the assistance of the Market Fund much needed improvements to existing homes can take place as well as the opportunity to construct new homes so desperately needed. St. Mary's Band also recognizes this initiative as an opportunity to work in partnership with Canada to make Article 21 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples a reality.”
— Chief Cheryl Casimer, St. Mary’s Band (May 2010)

Contact Information:

Michelle Shortridge
Housing and Capital Projects Manager
St. Mary’s Indian Band
7470 Mission Road
Cranbrook, B.C.
V1C 7E5
Ph.: 250-426-5717 ext. 3523
Fax: 250-426-8935