Being the Bridge Between Miners and First Nations
It’s been over 20 years since I started working in the mining sector, during that time, I’ve seen periods of calm and flare-ups between mining companies and First Nations in Canada. This topic is close to my heart because I’m a rare commodity being a mining entrepreneur who is also First Nations.
Things are getting better, I’m seeing more mining executives that understand they have a constitutional responsibility to consult with First Nations in Canada and are doing things the right way. As an industry, we still have a long way to go, but things are going in the right direction.
Unfortunately, as we have seen recently with Doubleview Capital Corp. (DBV.V) who has filed a lawsuit against Chad Norman Day, he is the president of the Tahltan Central Government, things can flare-up. In this instance, Chad Norman Day and a group of elders came to the project that Doubleview is exploring in the Sheslay Valley, BC, to protest.
Taking this issue to court is a very poor strategic move because it sends a message that Doubleview feels Chad Norman Day, his group, and the elders that support him should be prevented from protesting the project.
This article is a first in a series on what steps I think that companies can take to make things a win-win for First Nations and their projects.
But, I can assure you, trying to prevent elders from speaking up about issues they have with development on their traditional land is not a move I would advise. Companies will spend too much time and money in court, it creates long-term animosity and the courts are clear on the rights of First Nations to be consulted and to protest.
To make matters worse in these situations, it brings out a whole group of trolls on the internet that hide behind anonymous profiles and take potshots at First Nations with ignorant racist comments.
It is my goal to move the conversation in a much more useful direction for miners and First Nations. There are much-needed opportunities for both groups and I mean to be a bridge.