The stories

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.

Although 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.

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 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.

Read more about this project

The project

Case studies: We plan to undertake “deep-dive” case studies in communities across Western Canada

Interviews with industry: We will conduct interviews with representatives from natural resource companies who were involved with the case study projects

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.


Report | Forward Together: Key learnings from Forward Summit on empowering Indigenous economies

Read the report

Success in the Making | October 2018 Roundtable Report

This report summarizes the findings of several roundtables held in Western Canada

Read the report

Success in the Making | Narrowing economic gaps for Western Canada’s Indigenous Peoples

Compendium of programs and policies

Read the report

The project team

Sean Lessard
Name to Place Educational Consulting

Derek Rope
Medicine Rope Strategies

Martha Hall Findlay
President and CEO
Canada West Foundation

Colleen Collins
Canada West Foundation



Janet Lane

Director of the Human Capital Centre
Canada West Foundation

Marla Orenstein
Director of the Natural Resources Centre
Canada West Foundation

Lana Garcelon
Policy Analyst
Canada West Foundation



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