Canada’s oil and natural gas industry has an important opportunity to enhance its relationship with Indigenous peoples by working to support the broader reconciliation process and Indigenous self-determination. This is according to a new report by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP): Toward a Shared Future: Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and the Oil and Natural Gas Industry.
“Indigenous peoples are often seen as being widely opposed to oil and natural gas development – that’s simply not the case,” says CAPP president and CEO Tim McMillan, “There are many Indigenous communities who have built, and continue to build, a prosperous economic future by working with industry.”
Jamie Saulnier is president and CEO of Running Deer Resources, a Manitoba-based company that develops customized engagement strategies to address the concerns of Indigenous communities, industry and government as they seek to work together. Saulnier notes, “Many Indigenous communities want to build business relationships and participate in the oil and natural gas industry. There is a real opportunity to share the benefits of employment and economic stability.”
The report notes that Canada is home to tremendous natural resources but the oil and natural gas industry faces a number of challenges that not only affect its level of investment and competitiveness, but the economic future of many of Canada’s Indigenous communities. In its report, CAPP examines its evolving relationship with Indigenous peoples and the role it can play in economic reconciliation.
The report also highlights success stories that can serve as a model for future engagement. This includes the Blood Tribe of southern Alberta which has played a key role in the success of Canada’s oil and natural gas sector for the past 75 years. In 1997, the Blood Tribe created Kainaiwa Resources as a way to become self-determining and participated in Canada on its own terms.
“The Blood Tribe created Kainaiwa Resources because we needed to be more involved in how our land is used,” says Clayton Blood, general manager of Kainaiwa Resources. “We have been very successful working with industry and partnering with companies we trust.”
The oil and natural gas industry considers natural resource development linked to the broader Canadian reconciliation process. Responsible resource development supports reconciliation and Indigenous self-determination by supporting the growth of sustainable Indigenous economies.
In its report, CAPP recommends the federal government (and provincial governments where appropriate) take action by:
- Focusing on initiatives that will produce positive, tangible results for Indigenous communities by resolving long-standing reconciliation issues;
- Recognizing the advantages the oil and natural gas industry provides in support of Indigenous self-determination and reconciliation through economic opportunities; and,
- Greater collaboration with Indigenous peoples and industry on education and skills development training.
“We encourage the government to recognize that responsible resource development supports the growth of Indigenous economies, and provides real, tangible contributions to overall reconciliation and Indigenous self-determination,” says McMillan.
Toward a Shared Future: Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and the Oil and Natural Gas Industry is the latest in a series of economic reports released by CAPP that examine how a thriving Canadian oil and natural gas industry can meet the energy needs of the future, offering solutions for effective policies that meet both Canada’s environmental and competitiveness goals. View the entire economic report series at www.capp.ca/economicseries.