Most Indigenous people in Canada want to work and provide for their families. And Canadian banks are getting on board with Indigenous businesses, especially in the natural resources sector.
So then, why do American celebrities still deliberately interfere with Indigenous business in Canada?
- The "Trickle-Down" Effect of Canadian Oil & Natural Gas
- A Day in the Life of an Oil Sands Heavy Equipment Operator
- Indigenous Leaders Call on G7 to Support LNG Development in Canada
Let Indigenous People Work
According to an Environics poll, 65 per cent of Indigenous people in Canada support natural resource development, with 53 per cent supporting the oil and gas business. These poll numbers are not a big surprise; many First Nations want to work in Canada’s oil and natural gas sector because of the long-term and well-paying career opportunities it provides.
There are also many opportunities for Indigenous people to get involved in business connected to the oil and gas sector. Many of these businesses are on reserve, and their revenues directly aid in generating economic activity and social development in First Nations communities.
Opportunities for long-term jobs, training, and certifications contribute to a sustainable future for the next generations of Indigenous Peoples when their communities are involved in the energy sector. This helps to break the cycle of unemployment and the many adverse effects that follow like crime, poverty, homelessness, mental health issues, addictions, and suicide.
Banking Made Easier
American celebrities like Mark Ruffalo want you to quit using Canadian banks that support the oil and gas business. But these are the very banks assisting First Nations in gaining new economic opportunities for their people and communities.
When First Nations look for funding, it is often difficult to obtain as reserve housing or land can not be used as an asset; therefore, the assistance of Canada’s top banks is more than welcome.
Canadian financial institutions would put Canada at a great disadvantage by not supporting businesses in our job-creating, wealth-generating energy sector. Oil and natural gas is one of the largest sectors in our country, accounting for hundreds of thousands of jobs, tens of billions in government revenues, and nearly a third of our annual exports.
The responsible development of energy resources on Indigenous lands helps promote local businesses and aids in providing self-determination and own-source revenues for these communities.
New long-term economic opportunities - such as those provided by natural resource projects like Cedar LNG and Coastal GasLink - are a form of reconciliation as they improve self-development within Indigenous communities and provide much-needed funding for social programs, infrastructure, and more!
Interfering With Indigenous Opportunity
Western celebrities often put demands on people directly benefitting from natural resource projects in Canada without considering the long-term consequences. Their self-pressure to stay current and in the public eye, or their self-proclaimed humanitarian effort usually does not look at the whole picture.
For years, First Nations have been using the natural resources on their land responsibly. Now, with the advancement in education and technology, Indigenous people are becoming more involved in natural resource development across the board.
Celebrities like Mark Ruffalo don’t realize that the many opportunities Indigenous people now have with oil and natural gas improve our social and economic outcomes. For example, it is a well-known fact that Indigenous women earn more in the oil and gas sector than in any other in Canada.
As a visible minority in Canada, Indigenous people struggle with the negative stereotypes that many non-Indigenous people have towards us. Having celebrities constantly going against Canada’s world-class oil and natural gas sector does not help fight these stereotypes — it actually encourages more negativity and becomes a barrier to self-determination and economic reconciliation for First Nations.
We Indigenous people can speak for ourselves, we don’t need outsiders coming to our territories and disrupting our business development and sustainable futures. Perhaps they should look in their own backyard first before stepping on our toes.
About the Author
Estella Petersen is a heavy machinery operator in the oil sands out of Fort McMurray. Estella is from the Cowessess Reserve and is passionate about Canada and supporting Canadian natural resources.
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