Indigenous Leaders: First Nation chiefs look to shape their communities’ future by forging ties with industry – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 11, 2022)

‘We’re not here for handouts anymore. We want to earn our keep,’ says Fort William First Nation’s Peter Collins

Mining projects in Canada are doomed to fail unless companies can forge partnership ties with Indigenous communities that are impacted by industrial development.

First Nations are more assertive in exercising their inherent treaty rights to ownership of the land and its resources. These communities now demand to be included as partners and even equity owners in projects as part of a company’s social licence to operate and to help shape First Nations’ aspirational economic and social goals.

“We’re not here for handouts anymore. We want to earn our keep,” said Peter Collins, chief of Fort William First Nation. “We’re willing to do our work; give us the opportunity.”

Collins was one of the speakers in an online panel discussion this week hosted by Jason Rasevych, Deloitte Canada’s national leader of Indigenous client services on Indigenous relations in mining. He was joined on the call by Reg Bellerose, chief of Muskowekwan (Sask.) First Nation, and Tony Marquis, president-COO of Canada Chrome Corp.

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