On the Road Again in Manitoba The Sawridge Hotel Empire Herb George's 7 Routes to Building Nations
$4.95 CAN vol 1, no. 3 DEC 2010
on his controversial idea of owning and selling reserve land
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE â€˘ DECEMBER 2010 1
Helping to keep the community strong. At BMO Bank of Montreal®, we are continually working to provide Aboriginal communities with a wide range of financial products and services designed to meet your unique needs. Talk to us today or visit bmo.com/aboriginalbanking
2 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE ®
Registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal.
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A state-of-the-art interpretive centre celebrating “the Lands, the Legends and the People” of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Experience hands-on cultural and nature displays, walking trails, daily cultural and rattlesnake programs, and a unique First Nations gift shop.
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Call 1.888.96NKMIP (65647) or visit www.nkmip.com to plan your experience.
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 3
VOLUME 1 NUMBER 3 • DECEMBER 2010
EDITORIAL Managing Editor
Noll C. Derriksan, Grand Chief WFN, UBCIC
Devon Brooks Contributors
Bobbi-Sue Manard Laurena Weninger Brandy Lynn Darcy Nybo Blair Shakell Vern Redekop Lesley Gabriel Karen Luniw David Allison
Manny Jules believes that only by owning their land, with the fullest rights possible, will First Nations progress toward real sovereignty. The Nisga’a Lisims agree.
The New Drivers of Manitoba The Manitoba government has committed a billion dollars to link 13 First Nations communities together by road for the first time. It will drive an economy and much more.
Business Development Manager
Business Dev. Manager, West Coast
14 2010 BC ABORIGINAL BUSINESS AWARDS
Cover & Manny Jules Photography: Lionel Trudel / trudelphoto.com
16 insurance: from the gound up
26 STEPS TO NATION BUILDING: OWNERSHIP IS NOT THE KEY
Native Business Development Magazine is a member of:
34 FIRST NATION LENDER TARGETS OIL & GAS 36 NEW AGREEMENT COULD MOVE DENE THA'
101B - 1979 Old Okanagan Highway, Westbank, BC V4T 3A4 T. 778-755-5727 F. 778-755-5728 www.prospermediagroup.ca
18 top 10: The Boss’
30 ART & CUSTURE:
President & CEO
Everybody wants to be the boss. You have the money, you have the power. Be careful what you wish for.
43 The Big QuestionS in Starting a Business
45 BUSINESS MARKETING Ink On Paper: Rethinking Brochures
32 BOOK REPORT: The
Economic Dependency Trap
Calvin Helin sets out to cure the world. It’s a big job; maybe too much for one book.
38 TOURISM: sawridge's 40 year legacy
41 EDUCATION: Lateral Violence Wounds
Noll C. Derriksan VP Sales & Marketing
Assistant to the Publisher
The Native Business Development Magazine is published in Westbank, BC by Prosper Media Group Inc. ©2010 All rights reserved.The views expressed in Native Business Development are those of the respective contributors and not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 41835528. RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: 101B - 1979 OLD OKANAGAN HWY., WESTBANK, BC V4T 3A4.
Printed in Canada. 4 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
First Nations Politicians ANDLeaders
t’s truly a disgrace that 82 of these band leaders made more than the Prime Minister in 2008/2009, while another 222 earned more than their premiers! Where is the scrutiny from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada? INAC has a long history of looking the other way in these matters, when their fiduciary duty to the Native Peoples is their prime responsibility, which they have woefully neglected for years and this has resulted in the raping of the resources of all Native Peoples. First Nations leaders giving themselves these obscene salaries are simply parasites at their people’s expense. These leaders are almost without exception lacking in the experience, education and skills to receive the salaries they give themselves. In the marketplace these leaders couldn’t get a comparable job, let alone one at these wages, nor anywhere close to those rates! Far too many bands hire their own people who are untrained and inexperienced for the positions. Far too many bands pay the same salaries that qualified, experienced nonIndians receive, thereby overpaying them. Since they pay no income tax on their salary this is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money! Travel expenses and other allowances further add to this farce. Band employees should receive salaries based on experience and have them rated as after-tax salaries. Interestingly a leader of my own band attempts to justify this practice by stating that to rate their member employees’ salaries as after-tax salaries would be discrimination, excuse me, …that they should be paid the same as a non-native, who has to pay tax on their earnings. This leader refused to see the difference and couldn’t or wouldn’t admit that one of our members would have an advantage of thirty to forty percent because of their no tax status! This leader also wouldn’t acknowledge that if a member’s job became obsolete and that member had to join the workforce outside the reservation and suddenly had to pay taxes on that earning they wouldn’t feel underpaid, as they wouldn’t have the experience or training that warrants a top wage for their position and have to pay taxes on a lower salary. There was no comment on our band’s practice of advertising positions, giving preference to Native People; don’t we have a Human Right Commission that says you can’t do that? It is impossible to advance our native people with this kind of flawed thinking; it is simply an excuse to take full advantage of funding and to milk it for all it is worth. Project these practices across our country and it becomes
an enormous amount of taxpayers’ money being totally squandered! This is the “Give me” principle at its worst and does not help our people. Far from it. In a recent newspaper article about these obscene salaries, Genevieve Guibert, spokeswoman for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, said they haven’t reviewed salaries, nor would they. She added that the department has no role or authority to determine salaries or remuneration for First Nations Chiefs or Councillors. This is a cop out: the Department can easily set the salaries as a condition of funding and stop this insane money grab by our so called leaders. Native organizations also need scrutiny, often they pay attendees to attend conferences and pay them a per-diem to attend. Far too many conferences are held at posh resorts like Wolf Creek in Alberta, where many will play golf, or even have a golf tournament! Major resorts are far too expensive a destination to use for a conference on native issues. How many attendees attend the entire proceedings and how many miss sessions because they are out playing golf, instead of attending the conference? It would be interesting to see how many of these so called leaders go back to their membership with a comprehensive report of the results of the conference. Millions of dollars a year could be saved by having these conferences live via their computers at their office, thereby eliminating travel, meals and all the other expenses involved, thus stopping what amounts to a free vacation at an expensive resort. INAC is to blame for this disgrace in spending, their lack of scrutiny and to their fiduciary duty to natives. Transparency is sorely needed, and is long overdue. The losers are the grassroots native peoples of Canada, and thus their futures are being squandered, and have been for decades. The native peoples of Canada have enough obstacles to success in this society, without their leaders taking advantage of them with outrageous wages that would not be tolerated anywhere else in this entire country. The time is overdue for INAC to clean up this mess! Noll Derriksan is Grand Chief of Westbank First Nation Lands, Grand Chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and owner of NC Derriksan and Son Enterprises, which, among other business pursuits, is a development company.
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 5
E DI T O R I A L
6 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
Blair Shakell. Winner of six Gold Quills from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Vancouver-based writer Blair Shakell comes to NBDM as a first time contributor with deep and broad business credentials. He has worked in virtually every industry sector during a long and illustrious career that has included, for example, the bid for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and EXPO86 in Vancouver. His articles on Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations culture have been most recently published in Whistler Traveller magazine. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.scribblersinc.ca. Brandy Lynn is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer inspired by human stories. She loves to play with language to engage the reader. Following her interviews with Joan-Barmby Halcro, on IMI Brokerage, Brandy Lynn admits to being charmed. She celebrated her first publication in this magazine with a welldeserved meal of pasta and wine. More about Brandy at www.brandylynn.ca.
Laurena Weninger is a freelance writer and photographer living in rural Oliver, in B.C.’s South
Okanagan. Though she doesn’t often crawl out from her home under the hot river-rock in order to travel the world, she has a great interest in learning about new people and places – and writing about those people and places is the perfect way to do so. “This story – about the East Side Road Project designed to connect remote Manitoba areas – really highlighted for me how something I take so much for granted (a road to a neighbouring city) can bring about a life-transforming change.” You can reach Laurena at email@example.com.
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 7
CO LU M N
Objective #2 – Examining transportation infrastructure improvements, through the East Side Large Area Transportation Network Study, that will provide year round access for the residents of the remainder of the east side of Lake Winnipeg region. THE EAST SIDE TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE STUDY AREA AND PR 304 BERENS RIVER ALL-SEASON ROAD STUDY AREA
For most of Canada winter is not the time to travel, but for remote eastern communities in Manitoba, winter is the only time roads are reliable.
8 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
Manitoba’s Billion Dollar
By Laurena Weninger
Photo Courtesy of the University of Regina
here are almost 2,000 people living on Manitoba’s Wasagamack First Nation Reserve, east of Lake Winnipeg. The reserve is more than 480 kilometers away, as the crow flies, from the nearest service centre, which is in Winnipeg. More than 3,000 people live on the St. Theresa Point Reserve, also on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, who are also more than 400 kilometers from Winnipeg. There are more than 1,000 First Nations people living on the Hollow Water reserve; 850 living on the Red Suckerlake Reserve; and almost 2,000 band members living on the Berens River reserve. In all, approximately 96,000 residents reside in an 82,000-hectare (203,000 acres) area east of Lake Winnipeg. And, if the residents in these communities want to connect to the rest of the province, they indeed have to do it “as the crow flies,” because there is no year-round road access for many of them. Ernie Gilroy, a career politician in Manitoba and chair of the Manitoba Floodway Authority, is also the chief executive officer of the East Side Road Authority – a group working to bring a permanent, year-round road system to link 13 First Nations bands and 10 Northern Affairs communities. Each winter, rivers and lakes surrounding the remote communities freeze and the Manitoba government installs a temporary network of ice roads, but climate warming is making the temporary nature of those roads ever more temporary. “With climate change it’s gotten to be about a month, now,” Gilroy says. He points out that roads aren’t built until temperatures drop low enough and close as soon as it warms. For the rest of the year, it’s access by airplane, helicopter, boat or not at all. Those living conditions are hard to bear says Chief Jerry Knott of the Wasagamack First Nation. “We are in dire straits for houses,” Knott says, NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 9
T R A N SP O RTAT I O N
MANITOBA ROAD PROJECT continued
arising from the limits of a one-month-a-year ice road. “We can’t get our building materials.” Lack of access also cramps a healthy lifestyle. Milk, a perishable product, is hard to come by, and runs $12 to $14 for a four-litre jug. Instead, children drink a cheaper alternative – pop. There is a doctor who flies into Wasagamack one day each week, Knott says, but that’s not often enough. Anyone needing more care must travel to Winnipeg. With a one-way flight to Winnipeg costing $266, on top of the $80 charge to take a boat to the airport, at St. Theresa Point, overnight accommodation and food in Winnipeg, it is almost $1,000 for a medical appointment. It’s a situation that is going to be remedied by development of the road network. Technically, it will be two separate roads, one in the south part of the East Side region, and another in the north. In March 2010, the Manitoba government announced a $72.5 million investment for the first stage of the road project, a 160-kilometer stretch from Public Road 304, near Manigotagan, to Berens River First Nation. Completion is planned for 2014. It’s the first of 15 such annual injections in the province’s business plan. The next section is a northern east-west portion to link Island Lake Communities (including Wasagamack) and Northern Cree Communities to Public Road 373. So far, the Manitoba government has committed
$1.125 billion to the project, but has been unable to get any federal funding at all says Gilroy, who is still hoping to secure some sort of federal commitment. Once the Roads are built snow is gone all the time, but most roads in the region there’s an element deteriorate to to this project that muddy, rutted tracks like makes it a bit difthis one. ferent from other road construction initiatives. “Our mandate is to not simply build a road, but to build an economy,” Gilroy says. “Unemployment is extremely high in this area.” Much of the program has involved establishing “community benefit agreements” with the communities in an attempt to ensure jobs, training and economic benefits are maximized for local residents. “This is sustainable development,” Gilroy says, explaining the expected benefits for the communities. First, millions of cubic meters of gravel will be needed in
These 16 men and women are graduates from the Introduction to Construction Course in Berens River First Nation, and will be among the first to find work on the road expansion projects.
10 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
related to pre-construction work. It is anticipated the other two bands will sign in the near future. “We have done extensive outreach to these communities and they have all indicated they want to be linked up to the outside world, and each other,” Gilroy says. Initially there were concerns about what a road network connecting the area to the rest of the province might mean to this rare, boreal-forested area. He says the government has studied the movement of the caribou, to identify and avoid calving areas. He stresses that future commercial enterprises like mining and logging activity, will be carefully managed. There is also work underway by a nonprofit First-Nation-led group called the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation, to have a portion of the area designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Designation Site. Lily Pad Lake
Poplar River 16
! .! . ! .
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Ontario Study Area
Lake Manitoba . !
Many Bays Lake Big Stone Point
. Opekamank !
p Po lar
R iv Harrop Lake
er Leaf Riv
er Wrong Lake Mosey Point
R iv er
Project Terminus Station 156+211.731 5799349.082 N 642855.071 E
Berens River Berens River 13 Berens Island
Pigeon River 13A
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Pauingassi First Nation
! . Asinkaanumevatt
! . Wadhope
St. Michael Lake d
yo Le in
Bloodvein 12 The Narrows
! . ! .
Station 85+133.231 5738481.039 N 663125.555 E
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in gsk Do
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! . Jackhead Jackhead 43 ! . ! . Jackhead 43A
er Dogskin Lake Atik
! . Fisher Bay
Hollow Water (Wanipigow)
! . Morweena
V V U U Ledwyn
! . 329
! . ! .! . Magnusville .! ! . Jellicoe ! . Okno 8
Black River 9 Watercourse
Winter/Limited Use Road
(Geographical Names Of Canada Database)
Rice River Road Upgrade
. Bifrost Preferred ! Shoreline Route ! .
! . Finns ! .68 . ! Valhalla Paved Highway ! .
! . Manigotagan
Project Limit Station 00+100 5667939.475 N 697536.898 E
.! !! . .Aghaming
! .Hecla Sylvan
South Eagle Lake
Fisher River 44
r R Fisher River he ! . ! . Fis
Fisher River 44A
With no road access the beautiful waters and boreal forest of eastern Manitoba isolate 13 First Nation bands.
the construction phase. According to Gilroy that will all be purchased from local first nations groups; although, at a premium. They are buying the gravel at a cost 25% higher than market value, as a “capital building allowance.” That means groups can build the technology they need to provide the services and materials. As part of the process, the First Nations groups will each establish a company. “We will literally go in and mentor the management of that company,” Gilroy says. The pre-construction phases require gravel crushing, and clearing of the planned roadway. When the road construction starts, a minimum of 20 to 30% of labour must be local. One-third of construction costs must be spent in the communities, by way of workforce, materials, or through services like catering and security. The impact is expected to last beyond the days of road construction, Gilroy says. In its wake, the project will leave a number of trained individuals and established companies along with the new road. Knott says the road alone is going to lead to more opportunities. “We could build our houses year-round,” he says. That will lead to better water and sewer facilities. The community will also establish a construction company, Knott says, including carpenters, drillers and machine operators, and he expects to see work for 15 to 30% of the residents. In addition, when the road opens, motorists will be passing through on their way from one community to another. That means a gas bar or convenience store could be established to service people along the way. Tourism will also be facilitated, allowing easier access for those wanting to come for the fishing. Last spring, the Wasagamack band started up a small sawmill operation, Knott says, because of the road project. The road access will allow the community to look at logging in the area, and then milling wood. The road to the actual start of the project wasn’t without its speed bumps. The project has been in the works for the last two years, including a host of meetings with the community members. The first community benefits agreement was an $11.25-million contract with Berens River First Nation, signed in August 2009. The agreement with Wasagamack is worth $2.25 million, and so far, 11 of the 13 First Nations communities have signed such agreements that will provide jobs, training and economic opportunities
Note: This map is intended for illustrative purposes only. Do not rely on this map for legal administrative purposes, or as a precise indicator of routes, locations of features. Source: National Topographic Data Base (NTDB) 1:50,000. Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Centre for Topographic Information 2003/ Manitoba Land Information (MLI) 2009. Projection: North_American_Lambert_Conformal_Conic (GCS_North_American_1983)
! . 0 2.5 5
EAST SIDE TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE:
PROVINCIAL ROAD 304 TO BERENS RIVER ALL- SEASON ROAD 25 Km
Preferred Alignment Date: August, 2009 Figure Number:
File Number: 333144 Sub Code:MBR Rev. 0
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 11
Cross Lake (19x06)
. ! TheSipiwesk nomination process will take three to five years to complete and will produce imLake portant outcomes including community-based land-use plans, a network of linked protected areas and an innovative management system that combines western and indigenous knowledge. “[The road project coordinators are] committed to ensuring that construction of an allseason road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg is compatible with the proposed UNESCO Cross Lake World Heritage Designation,” states the project’s website. “As a result, construction of the road will be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with the needs of local residents, traditional land uses and sustainable development principles.” ive r
Option Jb Pipestone Lake
V U 374
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. Wetikoweskwattam !
. Lake !
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Cross Lake 19B
Cross Lake 19E
Photos courtesy of the East Side Road Authority Walker Lake
. ! Cross Lake 19C
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. ! Cross Cross Lake 19 Lake 19D
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. ! Lebrix Lake
! . Warren Landing
Legend Route Option J (Ja/Jb)
R isao Gun
la n Bé
12 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
Wasahowakow NAC Community
Northern Flood Areement Areas
Treaty Land Entitlement Lands Okeskimunisew First Nation
Community/Geographic Reference (Geographical Names Of Canada Database)
Distribut Note: Béon This map is intended for illustrative purposes only. Do not rely this map for legal administrative purposes, lang er Rive r or as a precise indicator of routes, locations of features. Source: National Topographic Data Base (NTDB) 1:50,000. Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Centre for Topographic Information 2003/ Manitoba Land Information (MLI) 2009. Projection: North_American_Lambert_Conformal_Conic (GCS_North_American_1983)
Whitemud Lake Knee Lake Semmens Lake
r ve Ri
. Manitoba ! Co
. ! H R
Oxford House 24
Gods River . ! God's River 86A
Vermilyea Lake (God's Lake 23) Vermilyea Lake
! . Knife Lake
Cataway Lake/ Knife Lake Webber Lake
! . ! .
Gods Lake Narrows Chataway
Esker Ridge A
Wesha Kijay Wasagamach
Stewart Anderson Lake
Amik Wachink Sakahikan
Beaver Hill Lake
East Mistuhe Lake
Red Sucker Lake 1976
Red Sucker Lake 1976C Red Sucker Lake 1976D&H
Red Sucker Lake Yo rk
so ven St e
Red Sucker Lake 1976F
Red Sucker Lake 1976A
Red Sucker Lake 1976B Fairy Rock Lake
Wasagamack Dobbs Lake
! . Begg Lake
! . . ! .! ! .
Many Rapids Lake
Watercourse Wetland Sucker Lake
Lake Forested Study Area
o it n
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! . Ankle Lake
R rne Bou
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Garden Hill First Nation
St. Theresa Point
East Side of Lake Winnipeg (ESLW) Large Area Transportation Network Study
Option J - Northern Sector of Study Area Date: October, 2010 File Number: Map:
020254-0000-4E03-0704 Rev: PB
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 13
Edmund Lake R
Oxford House 24B
Esker Ridge A
AWA R D S
BC Aboriginal Business Awards
n early December the second Annual British Columbia Aboriginal Business Awards were presented by Barry Penner, the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and the BC Achievement Foundation at a gala in Vancouver. B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell also extended his congratulations to the 18 award winners. Awards were give in eight categories with eleven others receiving special mention for outstanding achievements in their businesses. The three-person jury selected from the submissions
based on the companyâ€™s viability, sustainability and competitiveness. The jury consisted of Ruth Williams, CEO of the All Nations Trust Company, Tim Low, the director of citizen services for Service Canada and Chief Michael LeBourdais of the Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band. Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation, noted the difficulty for jury members in picking out award winners.
The 2010 Aboriginal Business Award winners gathered at the gala dinner held in Vancouver in November.
14 DECEMBER 2010 â€˘ NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
Outstanding Business Achievers
Amy Dopson for ‘Young Female Aboriginal Entrepreneur of the Year’ for her PAC10 Tutoring operation in Prince Rupert. The service emphasizes math, English and science programs for groups or individuals. Robert Ellis for ‘Young Male Entrepreneur of the Year’ for Ellis Excavating Ltd. in Nanaimo. Ellis’ fouryear-old company works primarily in residential subdivision development doing road building, pipe and foundation laying, trenching and site clearing. Jeff Ward in the ‘Business of Year - one to two person enterprise’ for Aminikki Inc. in Sooke. Ward’s one-man company has provided web application development, web hosting and website design since 2003. Little Kingdom Gas and Grocery for ‘Business of the Year - two to ten person enterprise’ in Vernon. This operation, open for 26 years, and currently under the management expertise of Robert Marchand, offers bakery, hardware and grocery products in addition to a gas bar. The Kekuli Café and Aboriginal Foods and Catering for ‘Business of the Year - ten or more persons’ in Kelowna. This aboriginal food and catering business is owned by Sharon Bond and, through its Interior First Nations menu items, offers a unique experience in a very competitive industry and market. Coast Tsimshian Resources LP for ‘Community-Owned Business of the Year’ is owned by the Lax Kw’alaams Band, whose traditional territory runs north and south of Prince Rupert on the west coast. Coast Tsimshian operates a forest license and converts wood waste into a “coal-like product.” The Stuwix Resources Joint Venture for ‘Joint Venture Business of the Year’ is owned by the Coldwater, Cook’s Ferry, Lower Nicola, Nooaitch, Shackan, Siska, Upper Nicola and Upper Similkameen bands. The joint venture is the only First Nations company in the B.C. interior to hold a replaceable forest license making them responsible for “planning, developing, marketing, timber-harvesting, road-building and silviculture.” Representatives from the eight bands operate the joint venture. Dolly (Watts) McRae for the ‘Individual Achievement Award’ for her operation of the Liliget Feast House on Davie Street in downtown Vancouver. McRae has been running the 52-seat restaurant for 12 years and has achieved a four star rating along with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2001 and a gold medal in the Iron Chef competition. McRae, who is now 69, published Where People Feast: An Indigenous People’s Cookbook in 2007.
Michael Salto of Salto Waterworks - designs and installs underground sprinklers in Kamloops Jags Beanstalk - florist and restaurant business in Skidegate MUG Solutions - inventor of spring product to seal manhole covers based in Vancouver A.J. Towing - comprehensive towing services in Chilliwack Grizzley-Man Resource Management - a First Nations forestry consulting company in Merritt Theytus Books - a First Nations book publisher in Penticton DL Safety Consulting - provides consulting services, training for equipment, special events, traffic control from their office in Burnaby Selkin Logging Ltd. and Michell Enterprises - logging and construction services in Fraser Lake Quinsam Shell Station - gas bar, carwash, convenience store and propane filling station in Campbell River Tseshaht Market - gas bar, convenience store, First Nations giftware in Port Alberni Katzie Coast Marine - construction and dump truck services in Pitt Meadows. “THE GREAT THING IN THE WORLD IS NOT SO MUCH WHERE WE STAND BUT RATHER IN WHAT DIRECTION WE ARE MOVING” - Holmes
KNV has an extensive First Nations accounting, assurance and consulting practice. Our goal is to provide exceptional professional services at a reasonable cost to our clients. Our firm currently represents several Bands and other First Nation organizations throughout BC. Some of our comprehensive First Nation services include: Auditing, including special, statutory and/or compliance audits Business Development Cash flow and budgeting assistance
Ph: (250) 861-5300 (604) 536-7614 Toll free: 1-800-761-7772 www.knv.com
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 15
Ground Up By Brandy Lynn
After several years working for other insurance brokers Joan Barmby-Halcro decided the only way to effectively deal with First Nation’s insurance needs was to form a First Nation’s owned and operated brokerage which she did with IMI
16 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
hen she’s not at home on her 342-acre country ranch riding one of her gorgeous appaloosa horses, Joan Barmby-Halcro is at the helm of the 100% aboriginalowned IMI Brokerage Company in Saskatchewan. As the founder, president, and an equal shareholder, she built IMI Brokerage from the ground up. The company specializes in aboriginal employee benefits with programs that supplement the client’s treaty rights, but do not duplicate or create the potential for losing those same benefits. Anyone with an understanding of the labyrinth of complicated rules and laws governing benefits or the lack thereof for First Nations will have an idea of just how complicated a task that can be. Pinpointing a need in the aboriginal community for a better understanding of group insurance and pension plans, Barmby-Halcro set out to in 1993 to engage First Nations in a better path to family stability through solid benefits. She says while INAC is mandated to look after the best interests of the Indian people and, although they are effective in other areas, the educational support for insurance programs was lacking. “There were a lot of First Nations clients paying for programs they did not understand,” says BarmbyHalcro. “At IMI we are in the business of protecting families and it’s very rewarding to know you can help First Nations make that kind of difference.”
IMI Brokerage Company Ltd. is named for its target market - Indian, Metis, and Inuit people. “It is important to understand that First Nations are not just given everything like the public seems to think,” insists Barmby-Halcro. “These pension plans and group life and health insurance programs are equally as important for First Nations families as they are to anyone else.” The majority of First Nations do not pay CPP. That makes for bigger paycheques today, but leaves retirees in a tough position later in life. Barmby-Halcro says education is the key. IMI Brokerage works to educate the band, institution or employer on establishing suitable plans and coverage for both status and non-status employees with provisions so that non-status employees understand the differences as well. After having worked for others as a licensed insurance broker, BarmbyHalcro felt that ownership of an aboriginal-owned insurance brokerage was the foremost issue to address. She was highly motivated to gather band support and make a solid case for an all-aboriginal firm. “There were two men who really made a difference,” she says. Chief Rick Gamble of Beardy’s - Okemasis First Nation and Chief Cy Standing of Wahpeton Dakota Nation have been deeply involved since early on. They have grown to become chiefs in their own communities while still maintaining full support of the brokerage as standing board members. “Not only have they believed
in what we could accomplish to date,” she says, “but they feel that the Indians in a band will eventually go even further than a brokerage advisory firm and own an actual insurance company.” As far as her inspiration, Barmby-Halcro says, “The woman who encouraged me to follow my dreams when I started this company is Eileen Blythe. She hired me, inspired me and talked me into the industry.” Blythe’s commitment went beyond words – she now runs IMI Brokerage’s Alberta branch office. What started in an 8 x 10 room in a residential school at Beardy’s Okemasis First Nation in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan with a used desk, a filing cabinet and one secretary has grown to 11 equal shareholders and offices in three westernmost provinces. IMI Brokerage now has 32 group life and health insurance clients covering over 4,000 employees and 40 savings plans and registered pension plans covering over 3,500 employees. The company is now looking to establish a branch in Manitoba. “We are so proud that all of our
offices are on reserve and we continue to grow year after year,” says Barmby-Halcro. “To me, that is a real accomplishment.” The biggest challenge in the early years involved both being 100% aboriginal as well as a brand new company. “We needed to build trust, credibility, and clients,” says BarmbyHalcro, “and overcome the fact that there were very few Indian successes out there in business.” Starting from a modest financial base and maintaining company operations on a tight budget has allowed the firm to grow while carrying no debt or operating loans of any kind. Barmby-Halcro says all investors have equal shares, equal privileges and all but one have had all of their initial equity investment paid back through dividends.The structure of IMI Brokerage allows the company to meet the unique requirements of its clients, ranging from tribal councils and large Indian bands to small Indian businesses. Barmby-Halcro claims IMI provides open accountability unmatched in the insurance industry. “We are run by a board of
directors who represent our shareholders,” she says, “so any of our clients can come to a share holder or board of director for understanding about any product they are paying for. This is an aboriginal company that provides an element of comfort through full transparency.” Looking to the future BarmbyHalcro feels IMI has the potential of becoming the most successful Indian-owned insurance brokerage company in Canada. Their current ownership share structure, written for 10 shareholders who are 90% Indian bands and 10% Metis, gives the company a nontaxable structure. If ownership expansion dilutes the 90% First Nation ownership the company would lose that tax benefit, so they have to be careful. Despite this limitation, new clients are asking for vested interest in any other types of shares. “They want to be involved because they want to be more than just a client,” she says, beaming. “We know aboriginal people. We are aboriginal people.” Photos by Nathan Goddard, Picture Perfect Portraits
IMI Brokerage CEO Joan Barmby-Halcro stands next to Chief Cy Standing, a board member from Wahpeton Dakota Nation and one of the company’s early backers
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 17
CO LU M N
Pitfalls to Avoid when you are your own
boss By Karen Luniw
isn’t forever, but it will help you to get back on your track. Take your ‘to-do’ list and commit it to your calendar. Don’t waiver from this.
1 Bright Shiny Object Syndrome (BSOS).
Most entrepreneurs I encounter love new ideas, actually, anything new. This is the Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s an exhilarating affliction because it’s so energizing and exciting. The result: It can take one off track, waste much time and dwindle financial resources very quickly. The solution: Avoid BSOS by limiting your research to after business hours and by limiting these purchases to one a month or one every six months.
2 Entrepreneurial A.D.D.
This affliction arises when the entrepreneur is overwhelmed or unfocused. You’ll know the signs because you…oops, what was I writing about? Oh yeah, you get easily distracted. You sit down to write your morning tweet and two hours later you end up doing it. The result: What happened in between? You got distracted by Facebook, cleaning your desk, researching the latest gadget (BSOS) and checking your e-mail a gazillion times. The solution: Super-schedule your day down to the minute. This 18 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
3 WORKING ALL THE TIME
Most entrepreneurs get into their own business so they can set their schedules. The reality follows Parkinson’s Law that states work will automatically fill the time you allot it. The result: Every waking hour is filled with work related thoughts and activities because it often feels like if they only work a little harder – that’s when the breakthrough will come. Nothing could be farther from the truth – this is just a recipe for burnout, lack of creativity and potential failure. The solution: Set specific hours of work and stick to those hours. There will be special projects that will occasionally require work outside of these hours, but it should represent the exception, not the norm.
4 NEVER TAKING A VACATION
Ask most business owners when their last vacation was and they’ll likely laugh or list the work-related getaways they made. The result: If you wait for that free time to appear, it won’t. The solution: Decide how many
weeks of holidays you want and go and schedule it in your calendar right now. Commit to that time and start planning what you’ll do with that glorious time off!
5 I AM SUPERMAN/WOMAN
Sometimes the reason people get into their own business is because they think things could be done better. Great reason! However, often the underlying principle at play is the need for control. The result: The price that gets paid is that you end up doing everything because others can’t do a good enough job and it becomes more and more difficult to hire help. Can you say ‘burnout’? The solution: Delegate. Give up some control. Realize that your way is not the only way. Relax.
6 WHAT'S MY TIME WORTH
Many business owners do not value their time appropriately. Often their time is not factored into the price of their products or services. (How long did it take you to photocopy, wrap and mail that product?) I also see many entrepreneurs performing low-income or no-income tasks. The result: They won’t see their income goals any time soon and they’ll also end up hating their job because they are doing things
TOP 10 continued
that are not in the realm of their brilliance. The solution: Decide what your time is worth and then be very vigilant about how and if that time is being factored into your products and services. Also be very vigilant about all the tasks you do. If your time is worth $100/hour should you really be doing $15/ hour work? I thought not.
7 TUNNEL VISION
Entrepreneurs get used to doing everything themselves and making all the decisions. When things start to go sideways they will either continue to do more of what always used to work or research new ideas. The problem with doing more of what already doesn’t work – doesn’t work. Researching new ideas is noble, but face it, you can only see things through the lens of your thoughts and experience. The result: You can totally miss the real value in the new ideas. The solution: Get outside help. Hire a coach or consultant that can lay a set of new eyes on the old problem. Trust me, you’ll save zoodles of time, energy and money AND it could be the thing that saves your business.
8 YOUR BUSINESS RUNS YOU
Often business owners get swept up in the pace of their business and the work that it entails and the business ends up creating itself and dictating to the owner. The result: The business owner wakes up one day and wonders ‘What the…?’ That’s when they realize why they no longer jump out of bed thrilled to greet the day. The solution: Start deciding what you want your life to look like in one year, three years and five years. Start imagining what your business needs to look like to
support that life. Next, start looking for ways to make it happen.
9 HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?
Many business owners end up spending much of their time focused on the problems in the business. We often get into business to solve other people’s problems with our products or services. A shift comes when all they feel about their business is that a ‘problem needs to be solved’. The result: Our focus is in the wrong lane and the business can start to feel like a burden. The solution: Return your focus as often as possible on how you and your business can serve it’s customers rather than focusing on the problems in the business (i.e. – not enough cash flow, space, employees, etc.)
10 FUN? WHAT'S THAT?
Hey business owner, do you remember what this is? This usually flies out the door first when it comes to having your business. The result: Your business becomes a job and one that is not inspiring. The solution: Start to look for ways you can have fun again, not only in your business but in your life. This will add a spark back into your life AND your business. Karen Luniw is a Personal and Business Attraction expert, Author and Speaker who works with highly motivated individuals to up-level their life. Karen’s Law of Attraction Tips podcasts have been downloaded over 10 million times by people all over the world and has been on the top of the U.S. and Canadian iTunes charts. Find out more at KarenLuniw. com or read more of her material at www. thehuffingtonpost.com/karen-luniw.
BDC’S FIRST-HAND ABORIGINAL EXPERTISE HELPS YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS. Making an Aboriginal business work requires innovative thinking and perseverance. So you need a partner with a particularly thorough understanding of growth and an open mind. At BDC, we offer ﬁnancing and consulting solutions specially tailored to ﬁt your needs, along with the tools and know-how to help you reach your objectives. For more information, contact Patrick Lamarre Monica James 514 697-5659 204 983-8924 (Quebec & Atlantic) (Prairies & West)
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NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 19
"If we don’t beat down this notion that we can’t be free on our own lands, then we will not be free to make our own choices.”
- Manny Jules
20 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
MANNY JULES of
By Bobbi-Sue Menard
Poverty, under investment and mal-investment have been an unholy economic trinity on so many First Nations reserves for so long, it is now, for many, a wretched expectation.
anny Jules, the former Chief of the Kamloops Indian Band in B.C. and the current Commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission proposal, has proposed the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative (FNPOI). It rejects the current economic situation husbanded by the INAC status quo and proposes that the heart of First Nations freedom be based on economic self expression, land ownership and market-based achievement. His proposal has been met with controversy among First Nations people. This free market approach has some concerned about cultural preservation and land slipping away from First Nations’ control. As the property ownership proposal heats up B.C.’s Nisga’a First Nation is embracing its own take on this idea, confident in their ability to keep their culture intact and relevant in the marketplace of the twenty-first century. The current economic situation of most reserves is defined by depressing statistics. The percentage of First Nations people on reserve and in the labour force self-identifying as self-employed dropped from 6.7% in 1996 to 5.8% in 2006, compared to a 2006 rate of nonnative self-employment of 12%. While the unemployment rate on reserves dropped from 25.9% in 1996 to 18% in 2006, it still compares poorly NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 21
MANNY JULES continued
President Mitchell Stevens, to a Canada wide 2006 unemploywho rules over the Nisga’a ment rate of 6.3%. Lisims Nation, the first aboriginal group in Canada Jules contends FNPOI will only to obtain clear title over accelerate financial gains on reserve their lands, feels positively about his Nation’s future and become the ‘cornerstone’ for fiand its ability to chart its nancial success. That means more, own course. and better employment for natives. In an economic impact study published on Jules’ website (www. fnpo.ca), the estimated benefits of FNPOI for the 68 First Nations in British Columbia over the next 15 years total $5.7 billion, along with ‘more investor friendly governance systems.’ The published study predicts a 3.8 billion dollar increase in property values, the creation of 27,000 full time equivalent jobs and the construction of 2,750 residential units. There would be concurrent increases in property taxes, infrastructure development and reductions in poverty related costs. In person, Jules also heartily endorses the implicit social contract changes within the FNPOI. Not only will the FNPOI create institutionalized pathways, providing more economic choice for First Nation individuals, it will also fundamentally "People said alter how First Nations interact with INAC. “We have the [Nisga’a] to be free. If we don’t beat government was down this notion that we can’t be free on our own babysitting. The lands, then we will not be people told us very free to make our own choicbluntly that the es,” says Jules. “Some say they can’t imagine life out babysitting had to from Indian Affairs; I can’t stop.” imagine staying.” - Mitchell Stevens FNPOI owes part of its conception to Jules belief: “The most foundational thing is land ownership.” Jules believes many reserve residents would qualify for mortgages, but instead of thriving personal and communal finances, “dead capital” litters the landscape of reserves in Canada. Dead capital refers to the lack of opportunities, despite having the necessary assets, for First Nation members to build their own economies. There are very few First Nations institutions with any ability to create the stability and paths of opportunity that banks, lenders and investors crave.Mortgages are the most obvious example. First Nations’ individuals are unable to borrow funds to either build or improve their own properties and to access funds to launch small businesses. At its heart the FNPOI calls for private property to 22 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
be held fee-simple, allowing for full individual economic benefit. It is a launching pad for First Nationscontrolled legal and economic institutions built around private property ownership. Jules dismisses the contention that private property is anathema to First Nations’ culture. “Indian reserves are the last bastion of socialism and we are not socialists. Individual ownership is a part of our history. The horse culture of the Comanche is one example of this.” The positive case for individual property rights on reserves is straightforward says Jules. “The West succeeded because private property and investment were used to create wealth.” The FNPOI calls for reserve land to be transferred to individual band control. Jules says the transfer is a strengthening of title, not a weakening. Reversionary rights to the land would rest with First Nations if individual reserve land holders die intestate (without a will) or without heirs. First Nations governments would also obtain clearly defined powers of expropriation for public purposes. In written comments on the FNPOI website Jules states, “First Nations would also need to have the option of establishing special protections of their own design, such as setting aside certain lands to remain inalienable, or limiting the sale of certain lands to First Nations members, etc.” Once individual bands have control over their lands the task becomes creating institutions and rules to lower investment transaction costs and spur economic growth. “Boundaries need to be put in place; we need institutional development of our own,” insists Jules. The FNPOI calls for the adoption of a Torrens, or
fee-simple based land title system, to be the repository of legal title. Such a system would provide a recognized system lower transaction costs and deliver a foundation of certainty for investors on reserves. Creating fee-simple lands registered in the Torrens system of land registry is only the technical start of FNPOI. Development of regulations, laws and bureaucracy designed to lower investment transaction costs and provide stability must follow. The institutional development must come from the First Nations themselves to be relevant and effective. “This is an issue of self-governance,” says Jules. “I am proposing a strong legislative base with a regulatory regime.” To fully realize the full economic benefit of the land, Jules most contentious proposal is that First Nations allow non-aboriginal land ownership on reserves. “If it is within regulatory development, individual nations will be able to further develop the appropriate land use codes to ensure investment is managed with proper respect to local cultural imperatives.” “There is the issue of land use planning versus nonaboriginal interest. There is always some tension between governance and capital seeking the highest rate of return,” admits Jules. “But there are zoning structures available to help achieve the highest and best use of land.” The FNPOI inherently rejects certificates of possession, the current norm on many reserves, as an economic development tool. Jules says both the First Nation itself and the holder of the CP are denied full value of the land. The community has lost full use of CP designated land, and the benefits of private possession are severely limited to the holder of the CP. Jules also rejects long term leasing of land. “If you have a 99-year lease, you had better be thinking of what happens at year 60 or you will see value drop.” Part of the shift in attitudes the FNPOI demands is a move for the source of entrepreneurship on reserves from the band council to the individual. This would enable individuals to end their own poverty and greatly broaden the base of economic activity. Transformational as FNPOI is, it is not a proposal for self-governing taxation legislation, which is a totally separate issue according to Jules. Ownership and the institutions of economic development are a first step. Also quite separate is the issue of ongoing land claims. Jules says the initiative in no way limits land claims or the ability of First Nations to add to their land base in the future. Jules admits there is no consensus on a national basis on how to rid First Nations of the Indian Act or pursue
on reserve economic develop"Indian reserves ment, which leaves the FNPOI are the last as one option. “No one has bastion of had 100% buy in for reform. We need to create menus for socialism First Nations [to] opt for. First and we are Nations need to be able to choose to adopt or not adopt not socialists. proposals as they see fit.” Individual To see the development of ownership is individual property rights in action, look to the Nisga’a. The a part of our Nisga’a people demanded the history.” advent of private property says Mitchell Stevens, president of - Manny Jules the Nisga’a Nation. “Our legislation started under the consultation process in 2006. People said the [Nisga’a] government was babysitting. The people told us very bluntly that the babysitting had to stop,” recalls Stevens. “That’s what makes us move, direction from our people.” On October 28, Wilp Si’ayuukhl Nisga’a (WSN), the legislative body of Nisga’a Lisims Government,
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 23
MANNY JULES continued
“[We no] longer take a social approach. The idea and concept of throwing money at a problem is not solving an economic issue.”
unanimously passed the new Nisga’a Land Title Act, Nisga’a Property Law Act, Nisga’a Law and Equity Act and Nisga’a Partition of Property Act. The legislation has been passed, but will not be in force until certain other changes, including regulations, are in place. It is expected the Land Title Act will come into force in 2011. The full text of the - Mitchell Stevens acts themselves will be released for publication once the regulations are in place.There will be two types of land registries developed under the legislation, a ‘fee-simple’ register allowing specified properties to be mortgaged, sold or transferred. A second registry is being developed for ‘restricted’ properties, much in alignment with what Jules proposes under FNPOI.The initiative and development of the laws is about choice, explains Stevens. “Nisga’a people want to be in charge of their own lives and property; for our citizens that is very important. A lot of people who have never lived on a reserve take things for granted, like mortgages. Not only will [this] deliver freedom of choice to individuals, but it will increase economic value.” Fears about losing control of the land have been allayed by the fact the Nisga’a will retain the underlying title says Stevens. As for unforeseen impacts Stevens says the Nisga’a are comfortable with charting new waters. “Everything Nisga’a Lisims has done has been criticized for being new…that’s fine because we are the first to do what we have done.” To develop and write the legislation, Nisga’a Lisims looked to the relevant portions of the British Columbia provincial system to give financial institutions familiarity and stability. “The intent is to create certainty for individuals, citizens, entrepreneurs and financial institutions.” Stevens says the development of the acts was a deliberate choice too. “[We no] longer take a social approach. The idea and 24 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
concept of throwing money at a problem is not solving an economic issue. Our first step was to lay this foundational framework.” Each of the four main Nisga’a communities are preparing their own zoning bylaws according to community wishes and political goals. The Nisga’a culture is not viewed as being under threat from the new acts, says Stevens, who believes the relative isolation of the Nisga’a nation, and prevalence of the Nisga’a language will help to preserve the culture. The official opening of the Nisga’a museum will take place in May 2011. Manny Jules says for true freedom First Nations need complete control over their lands without government or artificial rules stopping them from realizing their future.
“Our communities are very strong and we govern all of the Nisga’a lands. A lot of our citizens speak our language and we can maintain our culture.” Once the Land Title Act and attendant laws are in force, the next challenge will be development of the tax code. After 10 years of self governance and 182 enactments, Stevens believes the Nisga’a have the political framework in place to take another large step in Nisga’a economic self determinism. “One of the things I like to remind people of is that we pass laws, not bylaws. To date we have also passed 35 amendments – that means we listen and learn. We go back and make necessary changes. We can’t say, ‘Oh we need to correct this about INAC,’ we have to correct what we ourselves have created.” Stevens believes introspective, progressive governance coupled with sound institutional structure will attract scarce capital to Nisga’a. Building linkages with the provincial and federal governments will also help create a prosperous future. “We are Canadian citizens. We also understand that as a people if we are to survive we have to adapt and move forward.” Photos of Manny Jules by Lionel Trudel / trudelphoto.com nexen aboriginal ad s13618 November 9, 2010 11:26:06 AM
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www.saymag.com NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 25
G OV E R N A N CE
Nation-Building By Blair Shakell
George Herb, better known as Satsan, shares information on the rights and needs of First Nations people in one of the National Centre for First Nations Governance’ many sessions on building sovereignty
n November and December, First Nations audiences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Rama, Ontario gathered for the first of a series of one-day forums on nation-building. The ‘Seven Steps to Nation Building’ was organized by the National Centre for First Nations Governance (NCFNG) and the keynote speaker, who happens to be its founder and president, Satsan (Herb George). If those in attendance had expected this seminar on self-governance to be deadly dry, they were certainly surprised when Satsan began his address with this statement: “Aboriginal rights and title have not been extinguished; they are a fact in the law, recognized, sustained and progressively refined by the Supreme Court, time and again, in landmark decisions from Delgamuukw, to Marshall to Michisew. We’re not talking about rights we used to have in the past. Or rights we may hope to have in the future. We’re talking about rights we have now. It is from this point that we move forward to take practical ownership of our rights by taking up the tools of self-governance and systematically defining and building our nations.”
26 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
A Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief of the Frog Clan, previously speaker for both the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations, as well as an adjunct associate professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, Satsan served as an elected BC Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations and on the AFN National Executive, where he cut his teeth heading up the community-based Delgamuukw/ Gisday’ wa National Process. In the most fundamental of senses of the term, the NCFNG is scrupulously nonpolitical, neither advocating for one expression of political will nor another. It seeks, instead, to serve as a resource to aboriginal peoples, helping them to define and develop the structures and processes of self-governance most appropriate to the history, culture and circumstances of their particular First Nation. Since its formation in 2004, the NCFNG, with offices in British Columbia, the prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic regions, has been providing professional and technical support, research and education services to First Nations seeking to implement their inherent right to self-government by defining their strategic vision and evolving appropriate governance practices. In British Columbia alone, the NCFNG consulted with 61 First Nations communities during 2010. To those who would suggest business enterprises that support economic self-sufficiency should take precedence over indigenous self-government, Satsan replies: “All First Nations wrestle with significant constraints such as a lack of funding, the restrictions of the Indian Act, and poverty; yet effective governance is the
foundation upon which our development aspirations must be built.” This strategic vision is echoed in the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, whose research indicates that “sustainable economic development on indigenous lands depends on, among other things, three factors: Practical Sovereignty (genuine decision-making powers over internal affairs, governance, resources, institutions, development strategies, etc.); Capable Governing Institutions (government institutions capable of exercising power effectively, responsibly and reliably); and Cultural Match (a fit between the formal institutions of government and indigenous conceptions of how authority should be organized and exercised.” The NCFNG believes First Nations people of all ages across Canada are beginning to recognize that, though the issues of practical self-governance may not be “sexy”, they are, nevertheless, crucially important in enabling First Nations to deal effectively with federal and provincial authorities on a “government to government” basis. The “Seven Steps to Nation Building” forums seek to explain what the NCFNG calls its “Five Pillars.” Those are the principles with which each First Nation can achieve independent and effective self-government. Those five pillars are: The People – whose shared dream of what they are determined to achieve collectively charts the course that allows every individual to participate in the decisionmaking processes of self-government; The Land – upon whose deep historical and spiritual connections nationhood is founded, and upon the resources of which a First Nation must exercise effective control for economic self-sufficiency to be fully realized; Laws and Jurisdiction – whose codification provides the authority and political framework that articulates the strategic vision of the people, uniting their
values, defining their relationship to the land and setting out the solid structures and processes of effective self-government; Institutions – whose organizations must deliver the programs and services which must conform to the people’s spiritual values through the principles of accountability, transparency and fairness; and, Resources – whose diverse sources of sustainable revenue provide the critical support upon which effective self-government depends and through which the aspirations of the people and the future of their nation will be realized. First Nations continually find themselves compelled by economic conflicts over boundaries, control of natural resources and issues of jurisdiction to assert themselves as nations and to exercise their inherent rights recognized by law. The NCFNG believes that inevitably, such conflicts bring individual First Nations, through one or another of the Five Pillars’ principles, to the realization that the time to implement effective self-government is now. The process of nation-building is a long, hard road that begins, as every journey must, with a single, resolute step. When such steps are taken, successes, like the election of the first Legislative Assembly of the Tsawwassen First Nation, are the result. “At every forum, in every community, I see some people concerned and uncertain about what the evolution to accountable, transparent, participatory self-government will mean,” says Satsan, “but then I look into the eyes of our young people and see how passionately inspired and practically engaged they are by the idea, I am reenergized about what we are doing. For more information on the NCFNG, visit www.fngovernance.org. Photos contributed
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 27
AFOA National Conferen
For Aboriginal financial professionals, management and elected leade Nation Building – Keys to Success for the Next Decade February 15-17, 2011 Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia In the next ten years, Aboriginal communities across Canada will be focusing their efforts more and more on strategies to support Nation Building. If we are going to succeed, these efforts must focus on achieving two critical goals. One – creating a professional, effective Aboriginal public service to support governments and provide necessary services to community members. And two, – building a cadre of competent business leaders to take the reins of economic development and participate in the economic engine of the country. The most significant challenge that we now face is the lack of competent, trained Aboriginal financial and management professionals – people that can form the nucleus of our government’s public service – people that can take advantage of the increasing opportunities for wealth creation and private sector partnerships – people that can lead the corporations and industries that will fuel our economy. It is these people that will be the foundation of Nation Building. What strategies can we employ to fill this need? How can we recruit, educate and retain a professional workforce to support our government and our economy? What skills and competencies are required? How can we attract our youth into the management and finance professions? What changes need to be made? The answers to these questions and more will be the focus of AFOA’s 11th National Conference.
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• • • • • •
Opening reception with entertain A mixture of over 25 workshops Aboriginals and professional dev workshops which will focus on si Leadership, Band Administration and Business Development. Over 60 trade show exhibits feat and services Product/Service Information Ses Technology Café with internet ac Two luncheons with guest speak Banquet featuring the Aboriginal Aboriginal entertainment One free night to enjoy your stay
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Platinum Sponsorship Packag We are taking corporate branding to Welcoming banners outside hotel en cards, a dedicated TV channel featu are only some of the benefits associ
Visit www.afoa.ca/conference/2011 for more information and to re AFOA Canada Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: (613) 722-5543
Web Site: www.afoa.ca
AFOA Canada Conference Secretariat Email email@example.com or call us toll free in Canada at 1.866.775.1816 or 819.827.5168 28 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
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NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 29
A RT & CU LT U RE
out the Grey
hen Aaron Paquette was three he saw his first painting, and remembers being amazed at how all the separate little marks grew together to become an image. As the years went by he found himself with an aching need to create art and share it with others. At 36 years of age Paquette, now a well established artist, has been making a decent living from his creations for the past eight years. It wasn’t always so. When he was about 18 years old he set off across western Canada with his portfolio in hand. Everywhere he went he got the same answers; “No thank you, but it shows promise.” He was duly discouraged and headed home. He continued to paint and took apprenticeships in Tiffany-style stained glass and another in goldsmithing. After completing those Paquette knew he had to decide
30 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
By Darcy Nybo
which way to go. He chose his first love - painting. He went home and sat himself down and asked himself the hard question. “If I could only paint one painting in my life – what would it look like?” He got out his canvas, paints and brushes and got busy. He created not one; but a series of paintings that he took to the Bearclaw Gallery in Edmonton. By the time he returned home there was a message to bring more of his art to the studio. Since then Paquette’s paintings have been displayed and sold at the Eagle Feather Gallery in Victoria, Willock & Sax in Banff, the Birchwood Gallery in Yellowknife and the Wahsa Gallery in Winnipeg, as well as the Bearclaw Gallery. At the moment he has a traveling exhibit with the Art Gallery of Alberta. Some might say that Paquette got lucky; others would say he was an overnight success. Paquette would not agree with either as he knows exactly how he got to where he is today. “If I treated this like a hobby, I would have had the same results as if it were a hobby. I made a commitment to myself to create something every single day,” he says from his Edmonton home. “Beyond that I wanted to make something that was lasting, at least every week.” He was true to his resolution and did a painting a week, 52 weeks of the year. “Having that as a focus has really made all the difference in the world,” he says. Ten years ago, as the world heralded the twenty-first century; Paquette was quite literally a starving artist. For him, the choice between buying food and buying supplies was an easy one. He chose art supplies. Hunger wasn’t all that he faced during this time. “Being an artist was difficult on my marriage,” he
says. “In fact it failed; basically for economic reasons. Anyone who wants to pursue a creative project has to be prepared for the financial stress. You can go forward and risk losing things along way or give it up to make sure the bills are paid. I decided to keep going. When I ignored my passion I was unhappy, life was grey. When I paint I am happy.” Paquette has since remarried and is thrilled with his new life. “Now that time of my life has passed and I am more stable. Not only can I be creative, I can go to schools and communities and share with people the reality that if they believe in themselves and they take the time to learn whatever they need to learn; anything is possible.” Paquette also credits the Internet for some of his success. He started blogging in 2004 and before that he had a website where he would post items about his paintings and what he was working on. It was an informal online resume of what he did as an artist. Today he has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. “It is one thing to go out and speak to people face to face, which I do, but you can only reach a limited amount of people,” he says. “Because of online interests I have
people from all over the world buying my paintings. I now have clients in Europe, Australia, Asia, North America, South America. I’ve even had a few hits from Antarctica, but no sales yet.” Asked about the biggest change in his life Paquette says, “Being an established artist now gives me the ability to have a roof over my head, a nice car to drive, and a vacation once a year. Most importantly I can now afford the supplies I need to create my work. Every artist wants to try new mediums and techniques. Now that I am established it is just a dream to do this without worrying and rationing out paint like I used to.” You can view Aaron Paquette’s artwork at www.aaronpaquette.deviantart.com or on Facebook. Photos contributed NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 31
CO LU M N
The BREAKING FREE TO SELF-RELIANCE
CALVIN HELI N
The Economic Dependency Trap By Calvin Helin Ravencrest Publishing $27.95 352 pp
32 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
lthough it is only 352 pages in length Calvin Helin’s newest book, The Economic Dependency Trap, Breaking Free to Independence, may be one of the most ambitious books ever written. It attempts to deal with virtually every major failing in modern western and native American societies on a personal and institutional level including drug addiction, poverty and fiscal crises. Yet, the precarious state of the modern world, as the title suggests, is caused first and foremost by the trap of dependency. Helin breaks that dependency trap into four distinct, but huge and overlapping parts: economic dependency of the people on government, government to government (international aid), intergenerational (parent to child) and intra-government (from senior government to lesser government or even between government agencies). Another huge internal, and deliberate, division within the book lies between Helin’s views on the big picture, like government actions and his treatment of individuals. Helin begins and ends the book with attacks on the government’s creation of dependency while the bulk of the book’s middle section offers
short treatises on how individuals can move ahead in their own lives. It is on creating greater personal fulfillment that the book is most effective. Helin draws on a wealth of inspiration, examples and other teachings to illustrate how a person, regardless of circumstances, can attempt to take control of their life and what the rewards are for doing so. While the book is sprinkled with references about the First Nation experiences of dependency and personal anecdotes from Helin’s life, this book is not really about First Nations people. Instead, Helin, who is a member of the Tsimshian Nation in northern British Columbia, develops themes applicable to all of modern society regardless of ethnicity. Where his philosophical prescription gets into trouble is through a too simple read of the complexities of modern day life. The book details how people used to be self reliant, but have become accustomed to government handouts. Most of this has come about since the 1930s and the Great Depression. While government payments to Indians in Canada and the U.S.A. fall into this category so do most other government payouts. Helin characterizes Canada’s system of equalization payments from ‘have’ to
BOOK REPORT continued
‘have-not’ provinces as counter productive and part of this trend. Ultimately Helin believes the majority of social assistance payouts are fiscally unsustainable, and make the recipients very unhappy and unproductive. Instead, he says, “Selfinterest, personal responsibility, and meaningful social relations are required for people to retain a sense of self-worth.” While government gets the bulk of the blame, NGOs and povertygroups, whether individuals like Bono or large charity groups, are also denigrated as being “self-serving.” Since truly breaking the poverty cycle would put all of these people out of work Helin argues they aren’t really interested in ending poverty. This argument could be applied to doctors, police, fire prevention services or energy sustainability issues. Does that mean the majority of police want crime, and are actively creating it? In the world of the 1930s and earlier, before the evils of socialism sprang up in North America, Helin paints an image of a golden age of self-reliance and people who earned what they received, and only believed in receiving something they had worked for. Helin repeatedly argues that this need to earn their daily bread, so to speak, is inimical to human beings, but he doesn’t explain why those happy, hard working people abandoned those ideals to create the society wide dysfunctional dependency traps that now exist. This appears to be a fundamental flaw in Helin’s thinking. Without a satisfactory explanation of why people abandoned the old system to embrace this one, it is hard to believe his solutions can be very effective. Helin documents convincingly the problems created by dependency, but his arguments for why they
sprang up are much less convincing. His attempts to explain the complexities of world politics or conflict, all within this single rationale of dependency seem to be somewhat shallow. When discussing “affluence,” which he defines as the sense of entitlement in the younger generation, it comes across like the rant of a middle-aged man. While Helin dabbles with parental guidance here, he never answers the tough questions like ‘How much is too much?’ Does he advocate that, upon the death of both parents, all of their material goods and wealth be given away? What will Helin, who is the CEO of the Eagle Group of Companies, do with his money when he passes away? If Helin does give away his money at death, to whom and for what purpose? Certainly Helin believes in helping people when a natural disaster strikes, but he makes no effort to delineate where the dividing line between reasonable charity and dependence-causation ends and begins. What Helin misses is the inherent contradiction in capitalism. Capitalism and human nature, as Helin acknowledges, are based on self-interest, but self-interest rarely sets reasonable limits. Consider Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, both of whom Helin cites frequently. Despite their huge charitable donations, the careers of both men exemplify the idea that if you can get it, take it. Indeed, that is the basis for how all the lands and possessions of First Nations in North America were treated by the invading Europeans. That in itself is another aspect of entitlement, known more bluntly as might makes right, but one that Helin doesn’t consider. The Economic Dependency Trap provides quick, intuitive arguments so anyone can read it and quickly
grasp the author’s points. The 352 pages includes 40 plus pages for an extensive index, bibliography and references. In addition the main body of the book is doublespaced with generous allowances for poems by the author, illustrations and quotes from many notable luminaries on the topics discussed. In addition each chapter concludes in a text book fashion of questions and answers that summarize main points. Photo courtesy of Calvin Helin
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NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 33
O I L & G AS
Oil&Gas By Bobbi-Sue Menard
irst Nations access to lending institutions has been a concern for decades. While the main stream financial sector is cautiously expanding services to First Nations consumers there are other lending institutions with the experience and ability to help First Nations entrepreneurs advance their businesses. In 1988 the Indian Business Corporation (IBC) was launched with seed money from the federal government as a small agricultural lender for Alberta First Nations. IBC works with small to medium sized First Nations enterprises in Alberta and loans some $3 million per year to entrepreneurs. Owned by bands who are signatories to Treaties 6, 7 and 8, IBC does about 95% of its business within the province. “We are certainly an arm’s length organization,” explains Rob Rollingson, IBC General Manager. “We have a board of trustees and base our lending decisions and corporate decisions on financial reasons. We are a for-profit business.” Since then, the company has expanded its mandate. About half their loans are still done for agriculturebased businesses and the other half are for small businesses in a variety of sectors. The IBC Energy division works to establish opportunities in the oil and gas sector. All loan holders are required to hold a status card. In the oil and gas sector one of IBC’s success stories has been working with fluid haulers on the Frog Lake reserve, one of the Treaty 6 First Nations. It lies about two hours east of Edmonton. IBC has financed trucks for hauling heavy oil off reserve and has been a part of the creation of multiple on-reserve jobs. News about investors willing to provide loans and create businesses in a community travels fast, says 34 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
Rollingson. “Word of mouth travels quickly. If you finance one individual’s truck on a nation, you find there are other people looking for opportunity.” Frog Lake reserve haulers are employed by Gibson Energy, which contracts six operators to haul fluid trailers to off-reserve destinations. Gibson Energy is a midstream oil and gas company out of Calgary, meaning that it processes, stores and transports crude oil and gas products. Gibson Energy specializes in delivering petroleum products through diverse infrastructure including a fleet of 1,900 trucks. Gibson’s other pursuits include the Moose Jaw Refinery, MP Energy and Canwest Propane. Gibson Energy launched a joint venture with Frog Lake Energy in May of this year to facilitate the creation of on-reserve job opportunities and businesses. “This is pretty much the purest form of a joint venture. In this project there was a joint contribution of assets,” explains Rod Bantle, Senior VP for Truck Transportation at Gibson. Gibson provides training and supervision for contractors and employees on reserve, while individual members are able to take advantage of the job and business opportunities created by the agreement. Joe Dion, President of Frog Lake Energy Resources, which is wholly owned by the Frog Lake First Nation, says the arrangement has allowed for individuals to make a good living as hauling contractors. “This has been a very successful partnership,” says Dion. About 2,000 barrels per day are hauled from Frog Lake for Gibson. “Most of the guys from Frog Lake are operators, but we encourage our people to get trained up, because we do a lot of hiring in the corporate sector too,” says Dion. It is situations like the joint venture between Gibson and Frog Lake that has Rollingson confident about the security of loans made to First Nations looking to do business. “There is still so much opportunity for First Nations in the oil and gas sector in Alberta.” It is worth noting IBC managed to maintain their
West Moberly to findTreasure withBlack Diamond West Moberly Chief Roland Willson acknowledges this, saying, â€œRecently, there has been a lot of outside interest in our area.â€? The Black Diamond corporation runs three divisions that support companies producing or developing natural resources. The first division, BOXX Modula provides modular offices, storage and construction trailers. The second division, Black Diamond Energy Services supplies oilfield equipment while Black Diamond Camps provide workforce accommodation in remote areas. Haynes says the agreement provides for an equal partnership between his company and West Moberly. There is potential for training and work with all three divisions, but he says the first opportunities for West Moberly will probably materialize with the Energy Services division.
FN LENDER TARGETS OIL & GAS continued
balance sheet and level of loans during the recession. Rollingson attributes that success to IBCâ€™s loan portfolio diversity, â€œWe do oil and gas, but also convenience stores, agricultures, equipment loans. It is a combination of so many things that had us coming through the recession. A number of the businesses we loan to are quite complicated.â€? IBC has offices in Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton to serve the entire province and its 180 current clients. Under the direction of its Trustees, IBC is looking to increase annual lending to $5 million per year in the next few years. â€œAs a lender we are self sustaining. It can be tough, but you manage your cash flow and at the same time meet the demand for loans. Growth many not happen overnight, but we have managed to get this far.â€? Photo contributed
Haynes stresses, â€œThe agreement says that preference will be given to First Nations support or ancillary services.â€? The deal is a 50/50 partnership, which should provide employment or contract work for West Moberly band members and revenue income for the band. At this point the details of what work will be created is still being decided. Says Haynes, â€œItâ€™s a little bit early yet. We just formalized the agreement a few weeks ago.â€? Willson is optimistic however, saying, â€œWe are confident Black Diamond shares our vision of solidifying the regionâ€™s economic wellbeing while creating meaningful opportunities for the local families. I am certain this partnership will be beneficial for years to come.â€?
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Another band, the West Moberly First Nations of northeastern B.C., has committed to a partnership with a services provider for resource extraction companies. The small band, with a population of only 200, is working with the Black Diamond Group. Black Diamondâ€™s CEO, Trevor Haynes, says, â€œOur goal is to contribute to the skills development and training for those living in the area, connect their youth to greater opportunities, and develop the local infrastructure and capacity.â€? This part of British Columbia has a plentitude of natural resources, from copper and gold to hydro electricity and shale natural gas, all of which are attracting miners and investors. Haynes notes, â€œIn terms of the territory we cover itâ€™s about 10%, but in terms of potential business itâ€™s quite high.â€?
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NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE â€˘ DECEMBER 2010 35
O I L & G AS
NewAgreement could move Dene Tha’
n October the PTI Group, a company that specializes in modular workforce accommodations and catering services, signed an “exclusive business relationship and alliance” with the Dene Tha’ First Nation of northwest Alberta. The Dene Tha’ number some 1,800 people on reserve and another 600 off. Three communities on reserve lands already boast member-owned retail businesses, a coffee shop, construction services, natural gas distribution, taxi service, small engine repair and a laundromat, but this move takes the people into support services for the oil and gas industry. The Nation’s reserve lands fall within the Horn River Basin where there is a great deal of interest in developing the resources, especially the shale gas. The Dene Tha’ are possibly better known for their successful efforts in stopping oil and gas developments where they felt it was inappropriate, such as the removal of oil and gas wells from the Hay-Zama Lakes Wildland Park, which Chief James Ahnassay negotiated in 2008. Then in the summer of 2010, the Dene Tha’ forced Ottawa to pony up $25,000,000 for the portion of the Mackenzie gas pipeline that would run across Dene Tha’ lands. This deal with PTI Group is different. According to Pat Cabezas, President of Ndeh Limited Partnership, “The relationship between PTI and the Dene Tha' First Nation, through its Ndeh Limited Partnership, is a positive evolution in the methodology of economic engagement with First Nations. It is based on sound business practices, and seeking mutually beneficial outcomes through active participation of the partners.” Sandy Sanderson, Director of Aboriginal Relations for PTI, describes the new agreement as a “key alliance.” 36 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
The PTI Group’s Sandy Sanderson says a new, less rigid agreement between his company and the Dene Tha’ First Nation should provide jobs, training and help to form viable Dene-owned businesses.
Sanderson says, “As one of the largest gas plays in North America, PTI’s ability to participate provides collaborative benefits for the Dene Tha and PTI.” Calling the deal an exclusive alliance, but not a joint venture, Sanderson says it was created in a new, less formal way. “Under the working alliance model, PTI and the community contractually agree to work together
exclusively to pursue project opportunities and to collaborate on programs that improve the social and economic fabric of the community. The agreement operates without having to create a new business entity, which in turn, introduces a simplified compensation structure that is more advantageous to the community.” He says it is a true partnership. “By nature of the alliance agreement, both parties must be actively involved in pursuing common interests.” Citing confidentiality agreements between his company and Ndeh, PTI won’t reveal any specific details on how much money will trade hands or any other commitments on personnel, labour or training. He does say, “Over time, training initiatives will be deployed where we can collectively focus on having Dene Tha members in apprenticeship opportunities.” The company lauds its past success in a Camp Cook Training program where First Nation students trained at one of PTI’s facilities and were offered employment after graduation. Eventually he hopes that the collaboration between his company and the Dene Tha’ will provide more than
just jobs. He says there is every reason to expect the Dene Tha’ can make their own employment opportunities with the creation of their own companies. Concludes Sanderson, “PTI has successfully piloted a number of initiatives in the past year focusing on recruitment, training, procurement opportunities for local businesses, and business development through our relationships with various aboriginal nations. The employee retention numbers are phenomenal as we created an entirely new process for how the company recruits and integrates aboriginal people in to our operations.” PTI already has partnership agreements in place with Asaki Catering, Buffalo Métis Catering, Kusawa Catering and Spectrum Catering, the last owned by the Etzenlee Tahltan Family Clan Association. Photo contributed
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NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 37
40 Year legacy
ive inns, one mall, and a traveler centre built over forty years are part of the legacy of Sawridge Indian Band and its late Chief Walter Twinn. Today the arms-length company delivers dividends to the band while earning corporate accolades for business management practices and corporate culture. The Sawridge Group of Companies pioneered off reserve investment by Indian bands in Canada and stands today as a shining example of First Nations leadership. Forty years ago Chief Twinn saw the oil boom of the 1970s sweeping across Alberta and wanted in on the action. At the time, recalls Twinn’s widow, Catherine Twinn, Indian Affairs had a policy of not allowing off reserve investment and Chief Twinn had to go all the way to the Minister at the time, Jean Chretien, to get the green light. Catherine was an integral part of overseeing the transition of The Sawridge Group of Companies to an arms-length business after Chief Walter’s death in the late 1990s. Today Catherine is a member of the board of trustees and a practicing lawyer specializing in alternative dispute resolution and economic development. “Walter had to stickhandle his way through the
38 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
By Bobbi-Sue Menard
bureaucracy. It was Jean Chretien who overrode the bureaucrats. Then Walter had to sign personal guarantees, but could not sign the cheques, Deloitte Touche had to sign all the cheques,” explains Twinn. “The accountants would call up Walter and ask if a person or company should be paid, Walter would say ‘yes’ and the cheque would be written.” While the process had elements of black humor in retrospect, Twinn says the entirety of the Indian Affairs relationship was not easy to bear. “It was very oppressive.” The first Sawridge Inn was built in the Township of Slave Lake in 1972 with 75 rooms. Slave Lake lies some two hours northwest of Edmonton. It has undergone two expansions and now boasts 175 rooms, a pub and a banquet facility. “It is a full service facility,” says John Macnutt, CEO of The Sawridge Group of Companies. “Walter had a vision and didn’t want to be economically dependent; he was highly regarded and had great support from the band.” In 1982 the Jasper property lease was negotiated and established and MacNutt says the property remains a vital piece of the Sawridge Group today. “It is a real jewel of Jasper Park.”
Following the Jasper Hotel, Sawridge branched out. A travel centre in Slave Lake was built with a gas station, restaurant, and tire centre. Today Sawridge operates much of the facility as a landlord, and tenants operate a convenience store, Greyhound Bus station and more from the premises. An indoor mall was built in Slave Lake in the early 1990s. At the time it was the largest indoor mall north of Prince Albert. Today, in response to the advent of big box stores on the edge of town, the mall has been partially converted into government offices and a library. Prior to Walter’s death he continued to advance projects in unlikely circumstances. The purchase of a Sheraton in receivership in Fort MacMurray proved to be "an exceptional purchase," says MacNutt. The Fort MacMurray property has created great wealth for the company. With 188 rooms and the largest conference centre in the Wood Buffalo region of Alberta it is a consistently busy venture. Walter’s death in 1997 was ‘devastating’ for the company. The development of an independent board of directors, a new leadership structure, and corporate
independence took about six years. When MacNutt joined the company there was plenty of work to do with a new branding strategy and growth opportunities that needed to be pursued. “Today we are run like a public company. We do have joint meetings where information is shared with trustees, and we have a 100% independent, highly skilled board of directors,” explains MacNutt. The branding process celebrated the Sawridge culture in ways both large and small. It was not just a case of hanging appropriate artwork. Each conference room has a talking stick, staff are on hand to explain how the tradition of the talking stick can be used to help run a meeting. “We had a lot of a guidance from the trustees, they played and active role in creating the vision for the hotels,” explains MacNutt. “We want to be the heart and gathering place in our communities where we are located.” The company also has an ‘extreme commitment to the earth,’ which was inspired directly by the trustees says MacNutt. “Those eco practices and corporate responsibility are very important to us.”
Sawridge continues to expand as this modern, beautiful building in Fort McMurray shows
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 39
Catherine. “The companies were incorporated at the time of Walter’s death, but we had to take care of what we had. In 2006 the company was moved out of the band office. We had to build competency and move forward.” Sawridge Group is a visible representation of values including merit, competency and accountability. “There is no room for entitlement,” says Twinn. “Many companies are built on values and I think that is the correct way for the company to proceed.” Having so much success and such a long history can almost obscure the difficulties in starting the Sawridge Group, and the philosophical understandings of its founder. “Walter would say that when he was a young Chief he thought the problem was economic. But as he grew older he saw that the problem was spiritual. He spent the latter part of his life dealing with the wounds from colonialism,” says Catherine. “It remains today, how do you reconcile social challenges and not get in the way of economic development?”
The Slave Lake Sawridge Inn, although it has been renovated, represents the start of the Sawridge Band’s hotel chain
In 2003 Sawridge purchased the Traveller's Inn in Peace River, and since then has undertaken an extensive renovation to bring it up to today’s standards. There was also the purchase of the Holiday Inn at the southern gateway of Edmonton, a move that “spring boarded” the company into the city's business community says MacNutt. It also has the company up for a regional Pinnacle Award this year. Sawridge is also a finalist for the 2010 'Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies'. Sawridge Group has 600 employees. Band members are encouraged to apply for positions and a management training program is available to members who obtain education relevant to the hospitality industry. “We do have a merit based fast track management training program for band members,” says MacNutt. Benefits and profits flow back to the band in various forms from medical and dental benefits, education and healing programs. There are no per capita distributions, yet the success has drawn interest and a third party tribunal is being established to adjudicate benefits applications says Catherine. “Today we have built a structure that makes sense. Profits come up and go out to beneficiaries equally. It is neutral, independent and based on consultation.” The transition period after Walter’s death held multiple challenges says Catherine and there were key provisions put in place to develop the corporate strength Sawridge Group enjoys today. “As trustees we wanted collaboration on strategic vision, but we stay on our side of the fence,” explains 40 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
Development to ECOMOMIC
By Vern Redekop
Part one of a discussion of Lateral Violence and other factors holding back development
osnia is like a reserve across the ocean!” exclaimed Algonquin Verna McGregor at a consultation on Economic Development Based on Reconciliation in Bosnia. She noted the economic development challenges there after civil war mirrored those in First Nations communities. Echoing those sentiments, lawyer Catherine Twinn of the Sawridge Reserve in Alberta invited Vern Neufeld Redekop to adapt his research proposal on Bosnia to the needs of indigenous peoples in Canada. Redekop is an associate professor in the conflict studies program at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. At the heart of his approach is the realization that it is virtually impossible for economic development to succeed without good, trusting relationships and healthy structures of governance, conflict resolution and leadership accountability. These concepts were developed by Manley A. Begay, Jr., of the Harvard project on indigenous economic development. Begay is also a director of the Native Nations Institute for Studies in Public Policy and a senior lecturer in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona. In many cases, the values and structural conditions needed for economic development are sabotaged by what is known as lateral violence. Lateral violence can be seen in the crab effect – community members pulling down anyone who seems to be getting ahead. The idea is expressed by the phrase, “If you have something that I desire and I can’t have it, I will make damn well certain that you can’t have it either.” Results are destroyed businesses, character assassination through gossip, cheating on employers, or failure to pay money owed. Begay emphasizes the need for capable and effective
Professor Vern Neufeld Redekop was invited by Indians to adopt his approach for economic development in postwar Bosnia to Canadian indigenous’ economies.
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 41
E D U CAT I O N
IMPEDEMENTS TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT continued
governance institutions. These include a mechanism, evident in traditional governance structures, whereby the community through clan mothers or some other group can hold leaders responsible if they get onto a wrong path. A related concept is political piracy whereby a leader is corrupt, plays favorites, or uses community resources for his or her personal benefit. Political piracy is often related to lateral violence. Both of these ideas are based on a web of conflict in which various groups within a community justify what they are doing because of resentment and hatred born of past victimization. To address these impediments to economic development, Verna McGregor of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation in Quebec, Twinn and Redekop have developed a three-day community consultation process. The idea is that no-one but community representatives can turn around a conflict situation; however many communities are at an impasse and no-one quite knows how to begin a process of change. The community dialogue does not come in with solutions; rather it provides a framework and a set of
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questions. Examples include: 1) What is the relationship between lateral violence and problems with economic development? 2) Since economic life works as a system with each part working in relation to others, how can economic development be done strategically so that one initiative will encourage others to get started? 3) What values are important for a flourishing economic life and how can they be cultivated? 4) What difference would it make to economic development if there was reconciliation? 5) What are the dreams, visions and desires of the community for economic development? During the community dialogue, participants work with a trained facilitator in groups of six to eight on the questions. At the end of the process the group will have determined priority items to work on. A key to the success of the dialogue will be the gathering process, which needs participation from both elders and youth. The group will also require the expertise of people in business and those working on economic development. Since governance structures are key, political leaders as well as representatives from different sub groups within a community need to be there. Questions of value, goodwill, sharing and generosity call for a return to traditional teachings. As such, clearly they are questions of spirituality. One way of putting it is, how can a good spirit be established in the community so that people work together toward the greater good of all? This means that the community consultation is not just about coming up with good ideas, even though they might be important, rather it is about a representative group within a community starting to work together on a common initiative. Adapted from an article by Dr. Vern Redekop Next issue Michelle White, as part of a CANDO (Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers) team, will detail a report providing practical details on how to overcome lateral violence. Photo by Peter Farris-Manning, courtesy CANDO
www.nbdm.ca 42 DECEMBER 2010 â€˘ NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
CO LU M N
veryone who starts their own business is taking a risk at the best of times, but trying to start a self-employed business on reserve is intimidating and sometimes impossible. I have seen people lose family, friends, and their life savings trying to start their own businesses because of a lack of knowledge and/or no experience. Unfortunately, there is a sizeable percentage of small businesses started in Canada each year that fail within two years for those two reasons. If you think being an entrepreneur is the right option for you then you are passionate about your business and you’re willing to take risks others won’t. Entrepreneurs are willing to give their business idea a full-time commitment and all their resources to ensure success. Being self-employed means you set your own hours and work for yourself. You are solely responsible for sales, obtaining new clients and keeping them. You will need to decide and prioritize your daily tasks, maintain good customer relations and ensure a good financial outlook for your business. If you are thinking about starting your own business, consider asking yourself a few questions first: Is your idea a viable business idea? This is the starting fundamental. You must know that people will pay
and buy enough of what you are selling to make a profit. You need to research and ensure there is a need or desire for your product or service. You must also be able to tell a potential customer what makes your product/service unique from the rest of the market. When faced with a serious obstacle can you stick it out and solve the problem or do you walk away? Self-confidence and determination are key elements to succeeding in business. If you experience a set back, would you rather walk away or deal with it? If you choose to walk away, then maybe self-employment is not your best option. Do you have related business or industry experience, marketing and customer relation skills? Some people forget that starting or running a business requires a certain set of skills. You need to have knowledge or expertise in money/financial management, managing people, sales and marketing operations. If you don’t have the knowledge and experience, brush up or enroll in a Business Management Basics course to help you gain these aspects of starting a business. There are many ways you can get assistance and information on all the managerial and administrative aspects of your business. Do you have the emotional and financial support of your family? Both the emotional and financial
by Leslie Gabriel
support of your friends and family are important and will help in building a successful business. Since it may be difficult to secure startup financing and/or a bank loan, many new entrepreneurs depend on family and friends for financial help. Can you evaluate and criticize yourself honestly? You have to be able to look at what is really going on as opposed to seeing or hearing what you want. Being aware is critical, because if you cannot recognize your weaknesses and failures you maybe be putting your business at risk. Investing the time to learn the skills your need before you start your own business is a wise investment. Be prepared to set realistic and attainable goals for yourself and see them through until they are achieved. Write down your goals and put them somewhere you see them everyday. This will help you stay motivated and lets you see how close you are to achieving them. If you experience a setback, learn from it and move forward. Think positively and strive for success! Lesley Gabriel, B.B.O is the business officer for the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation in British Columbia. For more information on how to become an entrepreneur, or if you have questions you would like to see answered in a future column, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250-492-3154.
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 43
Little Salmon member as
Farmerof the Year
No one in southern Canada ever thinks that there is any agriculture north of 60º, but whether most of us think about it or no, the Yukon government not only encourages it, but has an agriculture branch. To encourage those few workers willing to put in the hard work to grow that far north, each year northern communities nominate and vote on one person to be recognized as the ‘Farmer of the Year’.
The award has no cash component, but consists of a plaque and public recognition of the person's efforts. This year, for the first time a First Nation person, was so chosen. Alice Boland resides within the traditional territory of the Little Salmon/ Carmacks band. Yukon boasts it has 13,500 acres suitable for agriculture; although only 60% is currently being used or developed.
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Agriculture clusters around the territory’s main towns. Whitehorse has the lion’s share, but there is also land around smaller communities like Carmacks, which lies some 170 km northwest of Whitehorse. Tony Hill is the director of the government’s agriculture branch. He says hay used to come from Alberta, but at a very high price. Most of Yukon’s agricultural land is being used to grow crops like hay, which goes to feed the territory’s large number of horses. Hill says there were four nominees in 2010, but Boland received more nominations than anyone else. “Practically every body in Carmacks nominated her,” he reports. He says she deserves it though. “It’s really recognition that she’s taken ownership of the program and put her heart and soul into it.” Boland overseas some outdoor vegetable fields and one large greenhouse, measuring 145x30 square feet. The outside garden produces potatoes while the sheltered environment provides for sweet corn, tomatoes and celery. Even in the green house celery has been a particular challenge and this is the first year Boland reported any real success. While the 49-year-old Boland has been gardening in the area since 1996 the greenhouse only started up 10 years ago. Boland says most of the produce goes to elders, the community school and diabetics and what’s left over is sold. Agriculture will never be large enough to feed Yukon’s 35,000 inhabitants year round, but it can be expanded enough to provide for summer needs and to give a nutritional boost to the poor and elders that Boland grows her crops for.
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www.nbdm.ca 44 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE
Rethinking Brochures By David Allison
Used to be no business, regardless of size, could survive without one. Is that still true today?
oday, all the information inside a brochure can also be found on your company website. Information-heavy websites now have the role in the communications campaign that we used to assign to the brochure. It is the central pivot point around which all other efforts revolve, and it is the place consumers turn to for information about us, the facts, the features and all the other information they need to make an informed decision about a product or service. Which brings us back to the brochure. If websites are now providing us with all the information we need and want, what is the role of the brochure? Personally, I think the brochure still has a vital role, but like many of the traditional marketing tools we were so familiar with, its role has to be different. It’s a decision about polar extremes, really. You need to decide which end of the spectrum you want to land on. On the one hand, a brochure can provide MORE information than your website. It can be a source of long stories and deep information that no one wants to read
online; more like a magazine than a brochure. On the other hand it could be a tool that’s more about the “poetry” of your company. The vision, the hopes, the dreams, the fun that (I hope!) is in what you do. A magazine or newspaper approach can help consumers understand, and feel part of, a project, product or business. They become privy to more than just the basic features and services. They have the opportunity to savour the information because, regardless of how convenient the web is, it’s much easier to read a long story on a printed page than on a computer screen. As for the poetic approach, the brochure becomes something that sells emotional engagement. A flower shop prints a guide to the secret language of flowers. A bike store publishes a map of biking trials in the area. A resort collects vacation shots from guests and prints a coffee table book. You get the picture. Regardless of which brochure approach you subscribe to, remember the intangible communication of brand personality that a brochure can also provide. The combination
of paper and font and binding and colour and printing techniques can tell a prospect a lot about your business. If you are planning to use a brochure as a tool in your marketing campaign, make sure it is doing the job it is best suited for. Across the country, there are numerous budding business opportunities for First Nations. This truly is an exciting time for aboriginal entrepreneurs, but as we move forward, let’s make sure we think about the rules we all assumed to be true. Brochures are one traditional tool that needs to be rethought. My point is that every aspect of how we build brands and communicate with customers is due for a rethink. David Allison is a member of the Metis Nation, a Director of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, and a partner at Braun/Allison Inc., the only aboriginal owned real estate and resort marketing campaign company in the world. You can read more of his articles about marketing in BC Business Magazine online at www. bcbusinessonline.ca/onebrand. You can read about his company, and get his free book Sell The Truth, about real estate development marketing at www.braunallison.com. Follow him on Twitter @BAdavid, or email him directly at email@example.com.
NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2010 45
CO LU M N
APTN one of MANITOBA'S
Top Employers Again
For the third year in a row APTN has reached the top 25 in a ranking of Manitoba’s best employers. The rankings are done by the editors who publish Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
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46 DECEMBER 2010 • NATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE Date:
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& family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance of management; training and skills development, and; community involvement. To be considered in the ranking companies must fill out an application package. Criteria for making the grade are set out by an advisory board of professors who specialize in human resources. APTN stands out for helping employees to save for retirement, employee training and tuition assistance, flexible work schedules and telecommuting, and vacation time. Employee training at the broadcaster not only includes an annual $1,200 training allowance for each staff member, which they can share with another employee if they are unable to use it all, but involves a mentorship program. Approximately 10% of staff are making use of the program in any given year. APTN, which had its eleventh anniversary in September, is the world’s first aboriginal television network broadcasting 56% of content in English, 28% in aboriginal languages and 16% in French. Its 130 employees work out of 11 regional offices across the country, but the headquarters are in Winnipeg. Of that number about 70% are aboriginal. For those who are not native APTN provides cultural sensitivity training. In a press release APTN CEO Jean LaRose said, “APTN has always placed a high emphasis on the welfare and professional development of our employees and have in turn experienced the benefits of a loyal, dedicated workforce who so passionately share the network’s vision with our dedicated viewers from all across Canada.”
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Annual Vacation Allowance, after first year 3.6 weeks Paid Personal Days-off, in addition to vacation 2 days Employer-paid Health Plan, portion of premium paid 100% Tuition Subsidies, for courses related to job yes Matching RSP Contributions, paid by employer yes Life and Disability Insurance, for all employees yes
Thanks to all our advertisers, readers and supporters...
Left to right: Owners of Prosper Media Group - Suki Derriksan, Noll Derriksan, Craig Brown, Chytra Brown.
Rising stars always start out from flat horizons. Our horizon at Prosper Media Group started less than two years ago with the Okanagan Business Examiner, during a time of downturn and recession. We started with newsprint copy, uncertain distribution and the belief that Okanagan readers would support local news about what’s happening here, not in Vancouver or Washington, DC. You proved us right. From that horizon we’ve expanded into 10 publications and a custom publishing division that offers excellent service right across Canada. We were, and are honoured, that the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce recognized our hard work with the Rising Star Award. One thought is always foremost in our minds – making products that are content rich, beautifully photographed and portrayed, on the best paper money can buy. This allows us to provide what other media is no longer able to with their continual cutbacks in budget and coverage – a damn good read and the best ROI for our advertisers. Thank you, our readers and customers, who made this award, and our success, possible. D E S I G N
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Native Business Development magazine aims to reflect that light back at those First Nations peoples already operating businesses across the...