Members of the boards of directors of the Indian Resource Council (IRC) and the First Nations Major Projects Coalition (FNMPC) sign the memorandum of understanding in Vancouver on May 23. Cheslatta Carrier Nation chief Corinna Leween stands, fourth from right. (IRC and FNMPC photo)

Cheslatta to work with First Nations resource alliance

The Indian Resource Council (IRC) and the First Nations Major Projects Coalition (FNMPC) signed on May 23 a memorandum of understanding to advance their members interests, according to a joint press release.

The Cheslatta Carrier Nation is one of the 54 First Nations of the non-political, Canada-wide FNMPC that offers business capacity support and free technical services to its members.

The coalition aims to boost members’ economic strength by seeking ownership opportunities for projects on traditional territories, while safeguarding environmental health amid resource development.

Cheslatta chief Corinna Leween is a member of the FNMPC board of directors and was present at the signing ceremony in Vancouver on May 23.

“The purpose of the MOU is to better position their member First Nations to make informed business decisions in major capital projects such as infrastructure, transportation and energy initiatives,” the release stated.

”IRC and FNMPC intend to work together to ensure that their member First Nations have access to technical skills, capital and other resources to evaluate, participate, and have ownership in selected projects that are equitable and mutually beneficial to the economies of First Nations and Canada.”

“This MOU signing represents a historic development in our ability as Indigenous people to come together from different regions and exercise our interests and build capacity around the business decisions we need to make regarding development in our territories,” said FNMPC Chair Councillor Sharleen Gale.

”The narrative in Canada has to change and today we have committed to take our tools and best practices and share them with one another across provincial boundaries.”

The two organizations plan to form an Indigenous Advisory Group to provide guidance in the relationship. They will also build an administrative team to identify First Nations in British Columbia and Alberta that want to participate in selected trans-provincial projects, provide connections to essential skills, technical resources and capital sources, and to assist First Nations to form corporate structures that can join in the ownership and operation of major projects.

The IRC is a national advocacy organization representing the oil and gas and energy interests of its members both on reserve and on traditional lands. The council advocates for greater involvement of its members in the aspects of energy development including upstream, downstream, midstream and renewables.

The IRC works with industry and government regulators to ensure that energy projects are developed in environmentally sustainable ways and that the industry’s economic benefits flow to its members.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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