The Canadian oil and natural gas industry offers opportunity for Indigenous communities. That can only occur when trust is established and positive relationships are formed between communities and industry through consultation, engagement, and understanding.
For more than 10 years I’ve worked with Indigenous communities to create a bridge between Indigenous peoples and industry to ensure both sides benefit equally when opportunities present themselves. Our guiding principles at Running Deer Resources include being innovative; remaining committed to improving Indigenous engagement; fostering trust and demonstrating commitment in all that we do; demonstrating pride while improving our company and ourselves; and, sharing success with the communities we operate in.
Having worked in Canada’s oil and mining industries, I understand the importance of having a skilled labour force and recognize the incredible resource Aboriginal people provide. Running Deer’s Working Warriors program has created a national skills inventory of Indigenous workers by occupation, business, education, or age and gender demographics. And it continues to grow as Running Deer grows.
The oil and natural gas sector has the potential to play a significant role in making positive changes to the lives of Indigenous peoples and in communities. With development comes opportunity for employment and business. There isn’t another sector today that can provide those same opportunities for so many.
If industry wants to have a successful working relationship with Indigenous peoples, it needs to engage face-to-face, not in a boardroom. Don’t wait for a project to build a relationship but seize the opportunity to establish trust before it happens. Know the history of the people, the challenges they have faced, and what they hope to achieve for the future.
Together we can clear a new path for the generations to come.