First Nations Turn to Corporations for Funding
As Canada slashes federal funding for Aboriginal programs and services, First Nations are increasingly turning to corporations as a funding source for governance, education and other initiatives. Examples include Vale Canada Limited's support for the Centre for Indigenous Governance, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization's support for the Metis Nation of Ontario, and Enbridge and Syncrude's support for the Truth Reconciliation Commission.
Some Indigenous groups, such as the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, view this as an opportunity to build positive relationships between First Nations and the extractive industries, while others, such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, assert that "companies are able to exploit organizations and native people generally because they know we don't have any resources…Indigenous Peoples need to ask themselves why companies are approaching them int he first place and how the company might be benefitting."
Companies should deliberately align their financial or technical support to Indigenous Peoples with the principles of UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially "the right to self-determination" and "the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising the right to development." Doing so diminishes perceptions that their support is fueled by ulterior motives, and ensures that communities retain full control of their development destinies.
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