“The opportunity is before us. Don’t flounder it,” Chief Adam to Indigenous business leaders

Chief Allan Adam was clear in is keynote address to the Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference in Yellowknife,

“I have been at the table with AFN and always hear stories about 1800s … when treaties were signed. Why can’t we tell stories about when we signed the great deals from 2018 and made prosperity happen for First Nations?”

The Athabasca Chipweyan leader had been known for being against development in Alberta’s oilpatch, but this week in Yellowknife he told Indigenous business leaders they should support energy projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline if they want to be succeed.

Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus was in attendance for Chief Adam’s speech.

Erasmus agrees with Adam that industry needs to do better job at negotiating with First Nations, but he also has concerns about the environmental impacts of oilsands development.

“The danger of expanding the tar sands — and this is why we are opposed to it, one of the big reasons — is that they develop the tailings ponds, which have toxic chemicals in them, and those leach in to the environment, expanding into the water system, which comes north to us,” said Erasmus on Thursday after Adam’s keynote.

Erasmus points out, that Dene of the Northwest Territories have not been included in any resource revenue discussions when it comes to oilsands development. However, some First Nations have had joint ventures in Fort McMurray, such as trucking contracts.

The conference wraps up today at the Chateau Nova Hotel.

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