Saskatoon Tribal Council, Nutrien strengthen relationship
- EFN Staff | November 22, 2018
It was a busy day at the Kihiw Waciston School on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. The Saskatoon Tribal Council had invited their business partners to come and witness an assembly and meet the Chiefs and Councillors from their seven member First Nations. Nutrien President and CEO Chuck Magro, their mine supervisors and procurement specialists as well as seven legacy partner companies that are interested in doing business with Tribal Council entities came for a day of signings, gift giving and food.
The significance of the visit wasn’t lost on Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand.
“When we look at a global partner, this company does business all over the world and they have chosen to partner with us at the Saskatoon Tribal Council and our seven member First Nations to make a difference in our peoples lives through procurement, jobs and community investment,” said Arcand. “I am happy to say it is a rewarding experience and we encourage other organizations to learn from what Nutrien has done regarding investment and procurement opportunities. It shows the really hard work of reconciliation and working together as partners.”
Nutrien President and CEO Chuck Magro was presented a star blanket, a ribbon shirt and a beaded medallion with the Nutrien logo. He also visited the Muskeg Lake Veterans Memorial where Carol Lafond told him the story of the contribution that Muskeg Lake citizens have made to Canada through military service. Magro then presented a special wreath from Nutrien that will be used at veterans’ events. An eagle flew by as the drum played an honour song. Pictures and gifts were exchanged with all the Chiefs. It was a powerful visit.
“It has been incredible. I was prepared for the business part of the visit. The partnership, the relationship. All those things that we are focused on and that I am well briefed on. The part that struck me the most was how warm and welcoming the Tribal Council has been to Nutrien and to me personally. I have to admit that CEO Cliff’s and Chief Marks comments struck a chord with me. They were personal and non-scripted and really something that I will remember for the foreseeable future,” said Magro in an interview. “As to the relationship. I think that this is a base organization and relationship that can be replicated in many parts of the world. We have Aboriginal issues and opportunities in Australia and parts of South America and I think that this is a best practice when we can kind of help our community together. What we have in this area are great building blocks and a will and commitment and trust to take it forward but I would like to see it more at a strategic level. What that means I think is Chief Mark as well as the Nutrien people need to roll up our sleeves and figure out what that means. I think the opportunity is unlimited.”
Jason Mewis is the President of EngComp and he came to sign a legacy agreement to work with the Tribal Council.
“I see a movement happening in the First Nations community and we want to be a part of it,” said Mewis, an engineer who is Métis from Prince Albert. He figures there is great opportunity in Ag Processing from crop to table from right on reserve. “To bring us all together here today is very impactful. It is amazing to see a leader like Chuck Magro of a large company like that make an effort to come out here in person. It shows a strong commitment. I don’t think that just happens. That’s because of this movement that I think is happening. The Truth and Reconciliation process has a long way to go, but this is something that has been happening for a long time and STC has clearly paved the way to get to this point today.”
Once all the signings were done and gifts given, the Nutrien team went to tour a farmer’s operation on reserve and the Tribal Council went back to the business of the day knowing good things had happened. “The more partners you have and sustainability that can show outcomes and results is huge. The little things Nutrien does like investing in our schools, our youth business clubs and for our people to get jobs, those kinds of investments give people confidence, that’s the win,” said Tribal Chief Arcand. “At the end of the day it is about the people, not us at the Saskatoon Tribal Council. It is about the people that we serve and the more opportunities we can create like this they all win.”