Chamber of Mines: Industry successfully working to meet Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92
29 March 2018
(Yellowknife, NT – March 29, 2018) The North’s mineral resources industry is making great strides with Indigenous reconciliation in northern Canada.
In 2015, the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued 94 Calls to Action for all Canadians to join in the goal of Indigenous reconciliation. Call to Action #92 asks the corporate sector to take steps that would see meaningful consultation and respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples and their land and resources, including equitable access to jobs and training with long-term sustainable benefits. The Call to Action would also have businesses provide education to staff on Indigenous history.
In response to a CBC-moderated town hall on reconciliation held this past week in Yellowknife, Chamber of Mines President Gary Vivian said, “Our member companies working in the North are demonstrating their commitment through many initiatives and are delivering results to meet Call to Action #92. We have a unique national success story here in the North where Indigenous and territorial governments, communities, Inuit regional organizations, and industry have significantly changed the role of Indigenous peoples in resource development. One major example of reconciliation is our unique northern legislation that is founded in Indigenous land claims, and sees co-management of resource development.”
Reconciliation between the mining industry and the North’s Indigenous peoples began over two decades ago with meaningful community consultations, the incorporation of traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge in environmental processes, and the signing of formal socio-economic and participation agreements. These include commitments to Indigenous training, employment, and business benefits, community support, communications, and transparency.
Today, across the NWT and Nunavut there are over 1100 Indigenous mine workers, billions of dollars invested in new Indigenous mining support businesses, and millions of dollars in new streams of mining royalties going to Indigenous governments. The mines host community visits for Elders and youth to their sites and regularly provide communities with project updates. Traditional knowledge is part of mine design and operations. Workers receive cross cultural training. Indigenous-owned businesses are achieving a level of success never experienced before. Indigenous governments and communities are becoming active partners and owners of the northern minerals industry.
As former Chief and current CEO of Denendeh Investments Inc. Darrell Beaulieu so aptly said on the occasion of the recent Belgian royal visit to Canada: “Indigenous people are starting to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and starting to lead that development, and maybe owning the mines. Our Elders always said, this is our land, these are our resources; it’s up to us to make that happen now.”
“We’ve seen immense change in the last two decades. Today our industry is working to generate even more benefits for future generations of northerners,” said Vivian. “Imagine what mineral resources can do with public and Indigenous government partnerships in infrastructure. The sky is the limit for Indigenous reconciliation and demonstrated progress under Call to Action #92.”
Beaulieu agrees. “The way forward is to settle and fully implement land claims and make Indigenous governments partners in resource and infrastructure development. That lack of transportation, energy and communication infrastructure presents an opportunity for Indigenous people to take a lead in designing, building and owning that infrastructure to be part of the development of the North."
For a comprehensive reporting of diamond mining benefits since 1996 see the Chamber’s 29-page report Measuring success 1996-2016: Diamond mines deliver big benefits to the Northwest Territories. For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, please visit the Chamber of Mines website at www.miningnorth.com or contact Tom Hoefer, Executive Director at Tel: 867-873-5281 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.