Red Crow College describes rebuilding as ‘a new start’

Nearly a year after it was destroyed in a fire, officials at Red Crow Community College announced they will be rebuilding the institution. When flames tore through the former residential school in August, it was met with mixed emotions.

“For a lot of our parents and grandparents, they suffered a lot of traumas in there,” Red Crow Community College Board Chair Lionel Weasel Head said.

But now, the college is starting over. Crews will be rebuilding across the highway from the old site.

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“I really think this will be a new start for the college and for the community,” Weasel Head said.

All that’s left of where the college burnt down is an empty field. The school could rebuild in exactly the same spot, but is choosing not to because of its cultural beliefs.

“We’ve been here for thousands of years and we have our own cultural ways and norms,” Blood Tribe Councillor Billy Wadsworth. “Part of those ways is the teaching that we don’t ever build on sites where there’s fires.”

College officials peg the financial loss of the fire at over $10 million. A lot of the re-building cost will be covered through insurance, but not all losses can be regained.

“One of the hardest things is some of those priceless items,” Weasel Head said. “Those elders’ interviews, even artefacts, those kind of things are going to be hard to get back.”

Last September, fire officials determined arson was the cause, but Blood Tribe officials have yet to see a report and no charges have been laid.

As for the re-building process, that can’t begin until the insurance money comes in.

“Frustration for me personally speaking is the insurance process being so slow,” Wadsworth said. “Being in leadership we have to answer to our community. There’s been a lot of public inquiry and students (asking about the rebuilding) and it’s been difficult to accept the fact that insurance processes are so long.”

There’s no firm timeline on when construction will start, but officials hope it will be within the year.

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