For the past 10 years, I’ve been working through the complexities and difficulties that exist between Industry and First Nations. More often than not, these challenges have stood in the way of progress, development, partnership and growth. In most cases, the barriers have not been calculated, intentional or malicious; instead, they have arisen out of the very different realities of the two groups.
Industry and First Nation communities speak a different language when it comes to business: from the ways they describe a particular project, to their understanding of project impacts, to the contrasting and conflicting interpretations of project value, profit and inclusion. The inability to find ways to speak with one another, in order to identify shared value and positions of commonality slows progress, development and engagement.
Many companies don’t have the time to learn a different way of doing business with potential Aboriginal partners and often, First Nations communities don’t have the capacity to meet the ever-expanding requests from and expectations of Industry wanting to do business.
The good news is, meaningful, successful Industry- First Nations partnerships exist. But they take time and effort to create, foster and grow, and require the willingness and commitment of both parties to see and hear the world from the other’s perspective.
I am fluent in the languages of First Nations and Industry and work with those who have a genuine interest in learning how to speak one another’s language, to build relationships, partnerships and projects. If your organization is looking for support and guidance in its’ First Nations engagement and inclusion efforts, contact me to set up a time to discuss your specific situation in more detail.
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