Friendship Agreement Leads to Training and Business Opportunities
In 2017, Musqueam Indian Band and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) entered into the 30-year Musqueam Indian Band – YVR Airport Sustainability & Friendship Agreement. The agreement is based on friendship and respect and YVR’s commitment to work with Musqueam to achieve a sustainable and mutually beneficial future.
YVR and Musqueam have had a relationship since the airport’s establishment in the 1930s. The current agreement is a landmark change in the relationship and the result of meaningful discussions that began in 2015. Through dialogue, the two parties identified shared values – sustainability, employment, and dedication to the community – which lay the foundation for and guide the agreement.
YVR and Musqueam are committed to working together to improve business at the airport and the delivery of important services. The airport welcomes Musqueam business. Currently, there are 20 Musqueam vendors and trusted contractors that partner with YVR. The airport has hosted events to showcase Musqueam caterers and has invited Musqueam artists to demonstrate their craft in the terminal, create design features for the airport, and to sell their products in the giftshops. Not only has working together increased business opportunities for Musqueam, but the Nation is also assisting YVR to honour its environmental commitments. For example, the Musqueam Fisheries Department is helping the airport with invasive species management and habitat rehabilitation. The airport hopes to continue working with Musqueam and currently offers scholarship programs so that as the airport grows, trained Musqueam people will be ready to take on job opportunities.
Working together means learning together – and the partners insist that trust and transparency are key. The airport’s human resources department works with Musqueam to implement culturally relevant guidelines. For example, the partners worked together to find a solution that would allow Indigenous fishers to participate in a culturally important practice while meeting the airport’s seasonal staffing needs. The Musqueam and YVR leadership have open channels of communication. In fact, the CEO’s door is always open to the Musqueam Chief.