As many as 39 First Nations produced oil and gas on their own reserves in 2019, earning millions in royalties
One of the more pervasive narratives in Canada is the idea Indigenous peoples are opposed to resource development.
The Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chiefs’ challenge of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline is the most salient example, but there are others, from the TMX pipeline to the Mary River iron ore mine in Baffin Island. In the popular telling, Canada faces a stark choice: Indigenous rights or economic development.
The reality, of course, is much more nuanced. In a new Macdonald-Laurier Institute report, I examine Indigenous participation in the natural resource sector. As it reveals, Indigenous participation in that sector exceeds almost every other in terms of procurement contracts, workforce participation, employment income, royalties, and own-source revenues.
In fact, Indigenous businesses are more than 40 times more likely to be engaged in the extractive resource sector than the average Canadian business.
Indigenous peoples have used the land and resources in North America for thousands of years and had sophisticated trading systems long before European settlement.