Today is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and it is important that on this day we recognize the hardships that Indigenous people have had to endure over Canada’s history. It is also important to remember that Indigenous communities are looking for reconcili-action, not cynical gestures that have not been followed through with.
Giving Indigenous people the opportunity for prosperity and independence should be a high priority for any government in this country. A major contributor to this prosperity and independence over the last few years has been the integration of the Indigenous people and communities into the natural resources sector.
At one point it may have seemed that industry and Indigenous were at logger-heads with each other on natural resource development. However, now we know that when given the ability to be respectfully included in natural resource projects, Indigenous communities are more than happy to partner with industry.
Groups like the National Coalition of Chiefs and the Indian Resource Council see the meaningful inclusion of Indigenous peoples in natural resources projects to truly take action and promote reconciliation. This also gives First Nation’s control over protecting their land and helps end on-reserve poverty by bringing in economic benefits to these communities, which can often be in remote areas of the country.
As the country takes the day to reflect, here are some facts and sources about Indigenous people and the oil and gas industry:
- The oil and gas industry employs more Indigenous people than any other sector. According to PetroLMI, 13,900 self-identified Indigenous Peoples were directly employed in the oil and gas industry, a rise of 26% from 2014.
- The natural resource industry brings high employment income for Indigenous people. Those who work in oil and gas extraction and pipeline transportation can expect a median income of $144,034 and $142,883 respectively
- Over 194 companies have active oil and gas agreements with 57 First Nations (108 reserves).
- In 2019, oil sands producers invested $2.4 billion in procurement from Indigenous-owned businesses.