About this project: Stories of success

Indigenous communities are increasingly forming alliances with natural resources firms to create economic opportunity and enhance self-sufficiency now and into the future. They are relationships that continue to evolve.

Early industry and Indigenous partnerships often provided limited economic benefits, the approach did not represent true collaboration nor provide opportunities for meaningful improvement.

Today, the picture is changing. There is a rise in meaningful partnerships that generate success on many levels.

However, too often these stories remain untold.


> Visit project page: Success in the Making

> Read the October 2018 Roundtable Report that summarizes the findings of several roundtables held in Western Canada


The Canada West Foundation and its Indigenous partners want to highlight these stories of success. Our goal is to provide examples of success – and the many different ways to get there – in an attempt to help others build sustainable partnerships. By better understanding a variety of reciprocal relationships between Indigenous communities and natural resources firms, we can see how a variety of factors come together to produce success.

To undertake this project, the Canada West Foundation has partnered with Name to Place, a First Nations-owned research firm that specializes in community-based research and programming design, and Medicine Rope Strategies, an Indigenous-owned consulting firm that builds engagement strategies and relationships between natural resources companies and Indigenous communities. Our approach is mindful of authenticity, culture, relationships and ethics in storytelling.

We recognize that success comes in different shapes, sizes and forms. Our intent in this project is not to prescribe or evaluate success, but to enable different groups and individuals to share their successes, in whatever forms they may arise. We want our audience to know that success cannot be confined to a checklist, and that all forms of success can and should be celebrated.

Anticipated outcomes

We believe the results of this project will foster a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between Indigenous communities, resource companies and government decision-makers.

• For Indigenous communities, the project will highlight the pathways that grow self-sufficiency and economic sustainability in ways that are aligned with community values.

• For resource companies, the project will provide greater understanding of how to build relationships and create conditions for the approval of new projects, and the achievement of objectives for ongoing projects.

• For federal and provincial governments, the project will identify where policy actions inhibit or support the strategic outcome of achieving full participation of Indigenous individuals and communities in the economy.

• For the general public, the project will present a more accurate picture of today’s reality, by dispelling the myths of dependency, showing how Indigenous communities are increasingly self-sufficient, and how this enhances Canadian economic prosperity.

What comes next

Case studies: We plan to undertake “deep-dive” case studies in communities across Western Canada that allow us to delve into the specifics of what made partnerships work. These case studies draw on the perspectives of community leaders, elders, youth, women and businesses.

Interviews with industry: We will conduct interviews with representatives from natural resource companies who were involved with the case study projects to understand the factors they believed were critical in creating a successful approach.

Reporting: We will develop individual community reports as well as a final report upon completion of Success in the Making.

Outreach and knowledge transfer: We will create opportunities to collaborate in discussions about how to use the research information. This includes presentations, op-eds, media coverage, etc.

Lana Garcelon, Policy Analyst, Canada West Foundation