Series focuses on wealth & prosperity through partnerships
- EFN Staff | April 08, 2017
Saskatchewan First Nations hold a large amount of land as a result of land claims settlements. Prosperity Through Partnerships, the last of a three-part series on creating wealth through the land claim settlement process, explores the opportunity to realize the potential that exists if this asset is approached collectively.
Held March 8th-9th at TCU Place, the conference looked at:
- The reserve creation process for the purpose of working together through local and provincial partnerships in Saskatchewan;
- How to increase economic prosperity and the quality of life for both First Nations and the wider public in the province by identifying actions for enhancing Aboriginal well-being and participation in our community;
- How business communities have entered an era of newfound partnership and prosperity with Saskatchewan First Nations, urban and rural municipalities, which began with the 1992 Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement.
Shaun Soonias, Director of Stonecutters Group, brought attention to the need to preserve, and revitalize the language, culture and values of Indigenous communities through leveraging assets such as land base, and First Nation’s trust dollars, which equal nearly $10 Billion in the Canadian banking system. He says, “We need to be edgy, and look at introducing new concepts like implementing Indigenous Sovereign Wealth Funds and First Nations Direct Investment.” Having a land base means that Indigenous people have the opportunity to lead the value add discussions when it comes to resources. Shaun suggests that this is a prime opportunity to look at development with a different lens.
The wealth generated from development could be approached differently as well.
“Often there is a one-time event that brings money into communities. There needs to be an understanding of the global economy and how to build a financial nest egg that takes into consideration banking risks and good governance. We should be focused on seven generation planning.”
The three-part conference series is a partnership between the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the City of Saskatoon, the City of Regina, Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority and the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network.
Former Treaty Commissioner and Member of Parliament Bill McKnight attended the event and offered these comments.
“There are so many opportunities for partnerships to take advantage of business development and create new wealth. First Nations and Indigenous people have a land base. Non-indigenous people have expertise and financing. If we can’t bring the two together, we will miss out as a province, and a country.”
Prior events focused on financial and resource partners and additions to reserves for community development.