Progress for Red Lake Nation: New Fitness Center to be Part of Larger “Rec Center”
When the new Red Lake casino was built on the reservation line on Highway 89, Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr. said in his State of the Band message, that the tribe would “turn the Humanities Center back to the people.”
The Red Lake Humanities Center, built in the 1970’s was the former home for the casino and has been used for many things from hockey games to swimming. It has housed tribal programs from Head Start to college classes, and everything in between. Funerals, boxing matches, concerts, bingo, powwows, and more...the Red Lake Humanities Center has been a versatile venue indeed.
When Indian Gaming began, the Humanities Center was used - for a short-lived time - as a bingo hall with a casino on the north end. The bingo hall lasted only a short time, but the casino lasted until early 2010 when a new first class casino was built near the south reservation line.
Now a refurbishing has begun in the area of the old casino at the Humanities Center. Part will be for Elderly Nutrition, and another area will house a new Fitness Center. According to to Activities/Cultural Director, Ron Lussier, this new fitness center is at the vanguard of what will soon be known as the new Red Lake Recreation Center,
“The new fitness center will have state of the art machines; two bikes, two ellipticals, four treadmills, medicine ball, free weights, universal gym, and a couple of big screen TV’s,” said Lussier. “Humanities will be renamed the Red Lake Rec Center. This will be more than a fitness center, and we will expand on what we have. There is now a men’s basketball league and a boxing club that use the facility. We’ll encourage more walkers to walk the perimeter especially during inclement weather, which should also be a nice access for the elder nutrition site.”
Lussier expects the Humanities/Rec Center to be a hub of activity.
“When we have basketball games here, it’s not unusual to have a hundred people come to watch,” said Lussier. “We will also have co-ed volleyball. The 7th and 8th grade teams practice here, and High school girls basketball plays here once in awhile.”
Eventually Lussier hopes to be open from 9 AM to 10 PM daily and estimates that the Rec Center will be open for business by November. “Right now we are waiting on new wiring in the Fitness Center, as it was wired for casino which is not the kind of electric we need for the new exercise machines.”
Down the road, Lussier would like to see more and other activities. “I’d like to see the swimming pool here be repaired and re-opened," he said.
And Lussier wants to put together more activities for youth. “It’s so important that youth have something to do on the Rez,” said Lussier. "I want to not only see the kinds of recreation that are current, I’d also like to see more social things for youth, perhaps dances or concerts, a way for young people to get together."
Lussier says that years ago “we used to have swim classes from the high school, roller skating and ice skating, although ice skating will be out because of the floor, and roller skating isn’t as big as it once was.”
Finally Lussier said there may be a change to the powwow grounds.
“I’d like to see a raised platform for elders so they can have the same advantage of stadium seating," he stated. "I like the seating because the stands rise so quickly and high. As one looks down, everyone is close to the action.”
Lussier also would like to have some kind of cover for the stands, showers, toilets, camping, and better and more organized parking. “It’s pretty dusty,” he said.