Indigenous Businesses in B.C.

Indigenous Businesses in B.C.

September 28, 2018 Posted by Vivian Lui

Today, there are approximately 200,000 Indigenous people in British Columbia representing 198 distinct First Nations as well as Métis and Inuit groups, each with their own unique traditions and history. Many Indigenous communities have developed a broad range of business interests including in tourism, mining, agrifoods and forestry, and contribute to the growth of these sectors and of the province’s economy. 

A great example of mining exploration companies working with First Nations is the BC Regional Mining Alliance (BC RMA).  This is a northwest regional partnership among the Tahltan Central Government, the Nisga’a Lisims Government, Dolly Varden Silver Corporation, Skeena Resources Ltd., GT Gold, Association for Mineral Exploration (AME) and provincial government representatives. The BC RMA is a unique collaboration formed to share mining project success stories, from grassroots exploration through to permitting and operations, from the perspective of all partners across the mining sector.  The purpose of this alliance is to bring stakeholders together to encourage responsible resource development and ensure positive outcomes for sustainable, lasting economic development that supports local communities. The BC RMA covers the Golden Triangle region, which is located in northwestern British Columbia along the border with Alaska, with its northeastern point near Saddle, a GT Gold project, and runs along to just south of the Port of Stewart.  This port is the most northern ice-free port in North America, offering low shipping costs, responsible port development and favourable ship turnaround times. Overall, this region has been a focus of mineral exploration and mining activities for over 150 years. 

Some Indigenous groups have created corporations to manage and grow a sustainable economy.  The Haida Enterprise Corporation (HaiCo) oversees businesses in the natural resources sector such as fishing and logging, as well as in the tourism sector with local and resort accommodations. Lax Kw’alaams Business Development LP also focuses on forestry and seafood processing with Coast Tsimshian Resources LP, Coast Tsimshian Fish Plant and Lax Kw’alaams Fishing Enterprises.
The fifth International Indigenous Trade Mission and Conference took place in Vancouver and Kamloops, British Columbia, from September 21-23, 2018.  This conference was hosted by the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO), whose goal is to support the implementation of the global flow and exchange of Indigenous goods, services and investments. The focus of this conference was on global inter-tribal trade, Indigenous foreign trade zones and international agreements, and West Coast Indigenous trade and investment opportunities.  The Honourable George Chow, Minister of State for Trade, was a keynote speaker at the event. Other sponsors include Global Affairs Canada and Thompson Rivers University.

Although there is great diversity among Indigenous peoples of British Columbia, their rich cultural history drives the goal of creating and thriving in a sustainable and green economy.  Follow this blog to learn more about trade and investment that is happening in British Columbia. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.


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