First Nations involved in energy sector determined to share wealth and see others thrive – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – October 6, 2020)

When First Nations benefit from big natural resource projects, entire regions across the country seem to thrive.

In the last 10 to 15 years, Indigenous communities in Western Canada have made great strides in participating in the oil and gas sector. Now they’re poised to take the next step, to take an equity stake in massive infrastructure projects, like pipeline developments.

But they need Ottawa to remove some historical barriers and free up access to capital that has constrained Indigenous prosperity and prevented them from participating in industry on an equal footing.

“The Indian Act has not allowed First Nations to prosper in Canada,” said Delbert Wapass, the former chief of Thunder Child First Nation in Saskatchewan, on a recent webinar – Where We Go From Here: Indigenous prosperity at a crossroads – hosted by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based public policy think tank.

Wapass steers Project Reconciliation, an Indigenous-led organization of 340 First Nation and Métis communities that’s out to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

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