ARCHIVED - Promoting Business Ventures and Partnerships

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See how from the desert vineyards of Southern British Columbia, to the frozen tundra high above the Arctic Circle, to the urban centre of Winnipeg and the rocky shores of Newfoundland, First Nations, Inuit and Métis are establishing and promoting business ventures and partnerships that will provide long term employment and benefits for years to come.

Transcript: Promoting Business Ventures and Partnerships

Narrator voiceover:

From the desert vineyards of Southern British Columbia, to the frozen tundra high above the Arctic Circle, to the urban centre of Winnipeg and the rocky shores of Newfoundland, First Nations, Inuit and Métis are establishing and promoting business ventures and partnerships that will provide long term employment and benefits for years to come.

Revenues are re-invested into infrastructure and new economic opportunities that will generate employment and support social programs into the future.

At the core of these economic development initiatives, great consideration is given to maintaining a balance between progress and preservation of cultural heritage and the environment.

Clarence Louie- Chief of Osoyoos Indian Band:

The businesses we have here in Osoyoos, half of our businesses are in the tourism sector, golf courses, wineries, vineyards, cultural centre…we're also in the construction industry, we're doing a residential development, we've got commercial development, industrial developments.

But at the same time, the vast majority of our land we're going to leave in its natural state…because that's also part of our responsibility, we're not looking to maximize every square inch of our reserve in terms of economic development…because half of our responsibility has to be to the environment, to our cultural activities.

Narrator voiceover:

The leaders of Wendake First Nation in Quebec realized the potential for economic benefits through tourism.

Their newly-built First Nations Hotel-Museum gets its inspiration from Huron-Wendat culture. This is one of many integrated sustainable economic development projects of a social and cultural nature that Wendake has created.

Not far from this 4 star hotel-museum, the Huron traditional site also provides visitors an opportunity to discover the history, culture and lifestyle of the Huron-Wendat people.

Narrator voiceover:

In Winnipeg, two Métis siblings formed a 100% Aboriginal-owned company with a passion for keeping their heritage and culture alive. Manitobah Mukluks produces original footwear balancing traditional and contemporary elements.

Sean McCormick, President – Manitobah Mukluks:

Here at Manitobah Mukluks we produce over 200 pairs of mukluks per day…we have over 50 staff now…we are sold in 22 different countries and counting.

Heather McCormick – Co-Founder Manitobah Mukluks:

It's important for us to be made in ties closely into to our heritage and our tradition and our culture and so that's always been important to everything we've done at Manitobah Mukluks.

Narrator voiceover:

When the Inuvialuit of the Northwest Territories successfully negotiated their Final Agreement Land Claim in 1984, they set up the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to enable their people to be equal and meaningful participants in the northern and national economy and society.

They have legal control and ownership of 91,000 square kilometres of land including 13,000 square kilometres with subsurface rights to oil, gas and minerals.

The IDC is the economic development branch of this parent corporation, set up to advance the many economic development opportunities in the Western Arctic while protecting the environment.

Wayne Gordon – Chairperson of the Inuvialuit Development Corporation

IDC is 100% Aboriginally owned. Our sole shareholder is the IRC and Inuvialuit beneficiaries.

IDC owns or has shares or ah partnerships in 20 different companies either within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region or in Western Canada.

Dan Christmas – Councillor & Senior Advisor – Membertou First Nation

Membertou is a rags-to-riches story… Membertou was struggling as many First Nations are with living off the funding from the Federal Government, and we had very few full-time jobs….basically we had no economic development.

We began the process of generating our own revenue…to look after our own programs and invest in new businesses, in new opportunities.

There's been a dramatic change to go from a have-not First Nation into a First Nation that makes an economic impact here in Cape Breton.

Narrator voiceover:

Whitecap Dakota First Nation in Saskatchewan capitalized on its unique landscape and proximity to Saskatoon to attract over a million visitors annually to Dakota Dunes Golf Links, its championship 18 hole golf course and the Dakota Dunes Casino.

McLaren Taylor – General Manager – Dakota Dunes Golf Links

The golf course was here first…and it started with a piece of land that really didn't have any other use, and became a world class golf course, led to a casino, led to further economic development, so it's been a great starting block for the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.

Narrator voiceover:

Miawpukek First Nation in Newfoundland also appreciates the potential of its land for economic development.

Tammy Drew – General Manager – Miawpukek First Nation Band

We look after the land, we look after our spirit and we look after the people, and therefore the businesses we developed through economic development to make this community a success must look after those 3 elements.

Justin Hall – Assistant Winemaker – Nk'Mip Cellars

I feel that our biggest success for the company, the Osoyoos Indian Band is that all the young people have jobs…job security in the future…if you want to work you can definitely get out and get a job…there's many businesses within our company…that you can excel in.

Sean McCormick, President – Manitobah Mukluks

The policy of Manitobah Mukluks is to recruit and retain Aboriginal employees and we give precedence to Aboriginal applicants and that's reflected in the sales office and the administrative office.

Wayne Gordon – Chairperson of the Inuvialuit Development Corporation

You know, we're there to ensure that…when we invest that our bottom line is to make money and to have employment and training for our beneficiaries and also to be there for the long run.

Darcy Bear – Chief of Whitecap Dakota First Nation

When I first came into leadership with our community here, we had an unemployment rate of about 70% and today we have an unemployment rate of about 6% and we actually have more jobs than people today.

Chief Terrance Paul – Membertou First Nation

If someone really wants to work and they're from Membertou, there is a job for them.

Narrator voiceover:

Fifty percent of Wendake's Huron-Wendat Hotel and museum staff is made up of First Nation members, many of whom were trained locally at the Development and Workforce Training Centre of the Huron-Wendat Nation.

The Centre offers Adult Education, college degrees and professional training programs.

Dan Christmas – Councillor & Senior Advisor – Membertou First Nation Membertou

One of the important strategies here in Membertou is always to develop the people first, and we've been very fortunate over the years that Membertou has a strong relationship with local university and training institutions.

And the key to Membertou's success has been that we have a skilled, highly educated work force who provide leadership, who provide management and who are…make up a great part of our work force here in Membertou.

Misel Joe – Chief Miawpukek First Nation

We've taken over control of the school and we're, you know, bringing out of our school on  a regular basis 10-15 graduates every year that's going off to higher learning…and we've also had an incredible program for adults that went back and got higher learning and come back to be part of our system…so it's an incredible place for young people to advance in anything they want to do.

Lindsey Anderson – Intern – Guest Services Manager – Nk'Mip Cellars

We are hoping that through summer student programs that we can interest some of the youth to consider the winery as a career choice and to come back and work here in the future.

Nellie Cornoyea – Chair Person and Chief Executive Officer of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

We work very hard to deal not only at a higher level but at a community level with the Inuvialuit so I think that the more we can bring people into a self-sustaining level…of lifestyles and creating more wealth…for us that would be the success.

Misel Joe – Chief Miawpukek First Nation

Well it's always been a part of our mandate, from day one, is to look at self-sufficiency through economic development and tourism.

Chief Terrance Paul – Membertou First Nation

My dreams for the community, that it…it's well off, it doesn't depend on government contributions to survive.

Sean McCormick, President – Manitobah Mukluks

I'm very proud that I'm the owner of a Métis company and I think it's a fantastic example for our community.

Chief Clarence Louie – Chief of Osoyoos Indian Band

We've got to start standing on our own two feet and creating our own jobs and making our own money…that's First Nations self-sufficiency…that's how you bring back First Nations pride…is when our people are working for a living.

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