The Chippewas of Rama First Nation (Rama) has been known as ‘the gathering place’ where travellers journeyed to trade, to seek counsel or medicines, and attend great meetings. Today, it is home to Casino Rama Resort, a tourism attraction that brings thousands of visitors to the area daily for gaming, shows, conventions, shopping and fine dining.
Rama radiates with the spirit that has made us a thriving community. For centuries, our people have been leaders, entrepreneurs, artisans and harvesters. The Seven Grandfather teachings passed down from the Creator are at the centre of community culture. These traditions form the backbone of a community that draws strength and inspiration from the past while preparing for its future.
The community is approximately 90-minutes north of Toronto on almost 2,500 acres of land. Guided by long-term community visioning which has built a sustainable economic foundation, this provides members and area residents with employment close to home and services for family living and recreation.
Rama was chosen as the site for a First Nation casino after a comprehensive site selection process in 1994. With strong regional support and external partnerships in place, Rama was uniquely positioned to take on the challenge.
Chief Rodney Noganosh is part of a leadership that continues to work towards a community vision that makes Rama the proud progressive First Nation it is today. Having served as a member of Council for 16 years since 1996 when Casino Rama Resort first opened its doors, he is now serving his first term as Chief.
“In the early days, no one imagined the success that Casino Rama Resort would become,” Chief Noganosh said. “As a member of Council, I have worked with the OLG and the operator to ensure that our mutual interests are served in the continued development of Casino Rama Resort.”
Over the past 20 years, employment, business opportunities and local services have all grown in response to the tourism generated. Rama First Nation and Casino Rama Resort make social responsibility a priority, supporting local institutions and charities, including the recent Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital expansion.
Casino Rama Resort has generated close to $9-billion in revenues since opening with an estimated 3-million visitors yearly. It employs approximately 2,500 employees with a payroll in excess of $106-million annually.
Highlights from Rama’s business portfolio includes:
Two GTA Bingo facilities owned and operated by Rama Gaming, were used as pilot sites under Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s modernization for Bingo operations.
St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino in British Columbia, is a three-way First Nation partnership established in 2004.
Rama’s Property management portfolio includes retail and professional office leased space.
These businesses are among those managed by Rama’s Chief and Council, who are responsible for economic development. A trip through the community reveals the rewards of successful business planning and a clear vision.
The Seniors Complex is a showcase for Senior’s care, offering apartments and extended care for members in their golden years. Rama’s Health Clinic hosts visiting doctors and health care specialists. Social Services address counselling, support groups and specialized services for members.
Together, Rama First Nation’s Emergency Services, Police, Fire and EMS services are supported with leading technology, equipment and highly trained crews, ensuring that members and Casino Rama Resort patrons receive prompt professional response and quality care. Our vehicles are recognized throughout Simcoe County responding through mutual aid agreements.
Rama’s elementary school provides cultural programming and education from Early Childhood through to grade 8. Education programs have contributed to increased student success in secondary and post-secondary education, resulting in the largest per capita graduation rate in Ontario. Rama’s future is bright with the promise of coming generations.
“Every year, we hold a community graduation ceremony to celebrate student achievement. This year’s event was held on First Nation’s day, June 21st, bringing a national cultural event together with the pride of educational achievement.”
Rama was invited to sit on the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis business and community leaders from throughout Canada. The Board advises the federal government on strategies to increase the participation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian economy. Our community was also one of the First Nation cases examined for business leadership.
“We’ve always been involved in business and have a mixture of entrepreneurs on Council, reflecting the nature of our ancestors,” said Chief Noganosh.
Rama’s commitment to community and gaming management expertise remain focal points for the future. With long standing local and regional relationships flourishing, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation is poised to take the next step in solidifying itself as a leader in gaming.