Between 1912 and 1970, the St. Eugene Mission near Cranbrook, B.C., ran a residential school for Indian children.

Now, reports the Globe and Mail, that school is the centre of the $42-million Delta St. Eugene Mission Resort, which includes a 125-room hotel and a golf course. The resort also features a casino and is owned by the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Tribal Council, an umbrella group for five Indian bands.

For Sophie Pierre, chief of St. Mary’s Indian Band and tribal council administrator, it’s fitting that the former school will find a new purpose — and, that while Delta Hotels will manage the property, the tribal council retains ownership and control.

“The residential school was a place where children were sent and they really had no control, and their parents felt they had no control,” Pierre says. “It wasn’t right for us to turn it over and have someone else do the development and get the benefit from it.” The council’s desire to retain control meant the project was more difficult to finance and probably took longer to come together than it would have had the council simply leased the site to a developer, Ms. Pierre says. The federal government turned over the former school to the bands in 1973, and planning for the resort began a decade ago.

The mission’s history and appearance are expected to add to the resort’s appeal, as is its location — roughly a 10-hour drive from Vancouver and a four-hour drive from Calgary. The resort is close to several major ski resorts and golf courses, which is expected to help draw short-haul, long-haul and international visitors.

Delta was also willing to work closely with the tribal council to ensure that aboriginal culture became part of the resort, Pierre says. A native-owned craft co-op-, erative will operate out of a heritage building on the property, and an interpretive centre on the site is expected to offer guests an opportunity to learn more about the history of the region and its people.