CALGARY, October 4 – A new project from the Canada West Foundation and its Indigenous partners tells stories of successful partnerships between natural resources firms and Indigenous communities and businesses.

The project, Success in the Making: Stories of partnerships between Indigenous communities & natural resource firms, explores Indigenous-industry partnerships across Western Canada, challenges they faced along the way and how they arrived at success.

Its goal is to provide examples of success – and the many different ways to get there – to help others build sustainable partnerships.

Read the roundtable report: Success in the Making


About the Success in the Making project

The Success in the Making project is a partnership between the Canada West Foundation; 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.

The project is intended to foster a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between Indigenous communities, resource companies and government decision-makers.

Success in the Making will tell stories like that of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) in Northern Saskatchewan, who own and operate Kitsaki Management LP, a for-profit economic development company. LLRIB also partnered with Cameco officially in 2017 by signing a collaboration agreement.

Today’s success stories hold valuable lessons for others who want to build relationships in which both parties’ values and economic aspirations are acknowledged and aligned.

The project includes:

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

• Interviews with industry: 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: Individual community reports as well as a final report upon completion of Success in the Making.

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

About the roundtable report

The roundtable report, released today, summarizes the findings of roundtables held in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, which engaged more than 70 Indigenous and industry leaders. Roundtable participants were asked to describe from their perspective what success looks like in Indigenous-resource partnerships.

Meaningful involvement, community buy-in, knowledge transfer and leadership are some of the critical elements needed to create successful partnerships between natural resources firms and Indigenous communities, according to roundtable participants.

It is particularly important to treat partnerships as long-term relationships that require commitment and shared vision and values, not simply as a transaction, participants noted.

“Today more than ever, Indigenous communities are more involved in natural resources development. Partnerships with natural resources companies are far different and more relational than in the past. When Indigenous communities create prosperity and wealth of their own, that enhances prosperity for all of Canada.”

Derek Rope, CEO, Medicine Rope Strategies

“Indigenous communities are sharing in their own voices what success means to them. At a time when Canada must take real steps toward reconciliation, taking the time to listen and learn about these successes can help forge a better way forward and create opportunities to build economic independence.”

– Sean Lessard, CEO, Name to Place Educational Consulting

“Our goal in this project is to tell the stories that aren’t being told about what real success in all its forms looks like. That has value for resource firms to develop new relationships, for governments to determine how to create a better policy environment, and for Indigenous communities themselves to grow self-sufficiency and economic sustainability in ways that align with their own values.”

– Colleen Collins, Vice President, Canada West Foundation

What we’ve seen in our case studies is that Indigenous communities are proud, protective and passionate. Numbers by way of dollars and percentages are important, but building meaningful relationships in Indigenous-industry partnerships ensures economic sustainability. These are powerful values for the future of self-sufficiency in Indigenous communities and for industry partnerships.”

– Lana Garcelon, policy analyst, Canada West Foundation