Growing Indigenous Business Leaders
In 2008, Stk’emlupsec te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) and New Gold signed the New Afton Participation Agreement aimed at establishing a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship. The agreement sought to establish a way to do business efficiently and in a way that respects Indigenous culture and the natural environment.
The agreement outlines revenue sharing between New Gold and SSN. The financial gains have already benefited the SSN communities; however, the true and lasting benefits have been in building capacity at the local level.
The partnership sparked opportunities for SSN community members to get the necessary training and experience to not only be employed but to also take on larger leadership roles. In this way, the partnership was a catalyst for positive change. SSN has since branched off with additional business ventures and has been able to hire their own community members to lead the way in doing so.
Throughout the partnership, there have been both positive impacts and challenges. SSN and New Gold are always trying to figure out how to better operate in a way that respects Indigenous principles of resource stewardship. While a clear model for how Indigenous philosophies can be integrated into business practices does not exist, SSN and New Gold are navigating a new path by working together. For example, SSN and New Gold are currently exploring future opportunities for mine site reclamation and ensuring that this is done in an ecologically sensitive way.