The chief of the Tsuu T'ina First Nation expects the new Grey Eagle Resort will bring an economic boost to the band.

A special ceremony was held Friday to officially open the 178-room resort hotel which sits next to the band's casino complex southwest of Calgary.

"We now have the opportunity to fully realize our potentials as Tsuu T'ina and our nation is now in a position to fully implement our vision of economic prosperity," said Chief Roy Whitney.

He said the hotel creates more jobs and money for the Tsuu T'ina people which can be used to help build houses or pay for band members' education beyond what the federal government covers.

Tanya Eagletail, now working at the hotel's front desk, said the hotel's opening means she can work in her profession in her home community.

"It's awesome. I'm really excited because this is on the reserve, so it's like history today for us, making a new beginning for the nation."

Southwest ring road update

Tsuu T'ina will vote in a referendum next month on whether to designate the land along the future southwest ring road for other economic development ventures.

The band agreed last fall to transfer 400 hectares of its land to the province for the ring road.

In exchange, it gets $275-million and 2,100 hectares of land which will be added to its reserve.

Ric McIver, Alberta's infrastructure minister, said the federal cabinet must first change the boundaries of the Tsuu T'ina First Nation before construction can begin but he doesn't know when Ottawa will make that decision.

"When I get the opportunity, I encourage them to do it sooner rather than later but to be clear, it's their decision and they have the authority to make it."

Under the terms of the deal, construction of the ring road must be completed within seven years of federal approval to change the reserve's boundaries