February 2020 – First Mover

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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Page 36 of 79

and that's not counting all of the hours spent in between—before arriving at an agreement on preserving important fish habitat," Smith says. She's also faced off with environmentalists who protest, with some effectiveness, that LNG is aid- ing environmental destruction through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. "We recently signed the Northwest Coast First Nations Collaborative Climate Initiative," Smith notes. "Our message is that increas- ing exports of Canadian-produced LNG to China will offset carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants." Ironically, the Haisla opposed the Northern Gateway project, a failed effort to pipe diluted bitumen from Fort McMur- ray to Prince Rupert. They're among 20 First Nations whose elected councils approved the Coastal GasLink pipeline, but that decision has led to conflict among the neighbouring Wet'suwet'en, several of whose hereditary chiefs want the proj- ect stopped. From economics to Indigenomics As Carol Anne Hilton sees it, the Haisla's cooperation with LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink is a perfect example of what she calls Indigenomics. Hilton, an MBA- educated business consultant from the Hesquiaht First Nation on Vancouver Island, coined the term as a hashtag in 2015 to tell and celebrate First Nations busi- ness stories. Besides teaching community economic development at SFU, she sits on a range of advisory boards specializing in First Nations economic opportunities. The sky is the limit when it comes to Indigenomics' potential, Victoria-based Hilton argues. "This is a power moment for our First Nations, a time to replace the past 150 years of colonial domination and design an economic framework based on an Aboriginal world view." Hilton believes non-Indigenous busi- nesses can learn a lot from the special relationship that First Nations have tradi- tionally had with the land. For her, Indig- enomics is an invitation for both sides to participate in an economy that respects and accepts Indigenous ways of being. As for growth, Indigenous businesses contribute more than $30 billion a year to Canada's gross domestic product, accord- ing to the Canadian Council for Aborigi- nal Business. The Toronto-based group predicts that this number could swell to $100 billion by 2024. The relationship between B.C. First Nations and the Crown has been unbal- anced for many reasons. Jeff Munroe, who served as Royal Bank of Canada's Aborigi- nal market director for B.C. and Yukon from 1994 to 2001, credits Clarence Louie, chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band ( OIB) in the South Okanagan, with breaking the pat- tern of dependency on federal government handouts. "Back in 1991, Chief Louie was the first person to separate business from politics," says Munroe, who is from the Wahpeton Dakota Nation in Saskatchewan. From vineyards to a golf course to a luxury hotel to a correctional facility, the OIB has seized opportunities wherever they arise. Now economic development officer for the Kwakiutl Band Council near Port Hardy, Munroe works to find solutions that lie within the framework of economic reconciliation as laid out in the Truth and Reconciliation report. Transport Canada has committed $12 million to build a new airport on unceded Kwakiutl territory. With a terminal that references Indig- enous architecture, the project will make every effort to employ Kwakiutl members for construction and operations. "This project truly represents the spirit of rec- onciliation," Munroe says. Today, First Nations rely on two major sources of income. Payments via a variety of federal government agencies regulated by the Indian Act help to finance infrastructure, education and health care. What's known as own-source revenue often comes from partnerships with the private sector. If you shop at tony Park Royal in West Vancouver, signs and art remind you that it's partly on Squamish Nation territory. HARPER: WIKIPEDIA; RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL: ANGLICAN CHURCH ARCHIVES; TRUDEAU: GOVERNMENT OF CANADA FEBRUARY 2020 BCBUSINESS 37 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally apologizes in the House of Commons on behalf of the Government of Canada "for the pain and suffering endured by former students of Indian residential schools–and for the damaging effects the schools had on Aboriginal culture, heritage and language." Harper also announces the formation of an Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bear witness to these atrocities 2014 The Tsilhqot'in Nation wins a historic Supreme Court of Canada decision focusing on Aboriginal land title based on traditional hunting and fishing territory and not just old village sites. The Tsilhqot'in are awarded 1,700 square kilometres of land west of Williams Lake 2015 The Truth and Recon- ciliation Commission of Canada report includes the findings of a national panel on residential schools. The federal government acknowl- edges its role in the "cultural genocide" of Indigenous peoples, and the report's 94 calls to action include economic reconciliation 2018 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes to the Tsilhqot'in people for the wrongful conviction and execution of their chiefs dur- ing the Chilcotin War of 1864 2018 B.C. Indigenous relations expert and hereditary chief Bob Joseph publishes 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, which becomes a Canadian bestseller •

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