Deborah Green Q&A

What do you find most interesting, exciting, or surprising about the future of economic partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses or organizations?

Partnerships are based on relationships that lay the foundation of trust and integrity, vital to economic partnerships. I am excited about Indigenous-owned businesses and organizations standing strong on their own with direct partnerships with non-Indigenous businesses. In the past, there was always a ‘go-to’ for renting a feather, and that is becoming more and more unacceptable for non-Indigenous businesses to do with integrity. Partnering organizations are keener to partner directly with the Indigenous-owned business creating stronger relationships and mutually beneficial outcomes.

What role do organizations like yours play in empowering Indigenous economies? What other support or changes (outside of your organization)?

Suncor plays a predominant role in empowering Indigenous economies by partnerships that increase revenues to Indigenous businesses and communities through unique, mutually beneficial business opportunities and the procurement of materials and services. Many of the Indigenous-owned Petro-Canada retail locations are within Indigenous communities providing main sources of food and fuel for on-reserve people. Outside of Suncor, we need to continue supporting and increasing Indigenous ways of knowing and being into the Canadian economy and being flexible in engaging for business.

What would it be if there was any advice you could provide Canadian businesses interested in (or in the beginning stages of) partnering with Indigenous communities?

Ensure you are invited to begin a relationship. Relationships are foundational to anything a business seeks to do with a community. Engage with and not for, ensuring the partnership is an equally beneficial opportunity with the community’s needs first and foremost. Be open to changes and listening, and have patience. Throw out your projected timelines and ensure the partnership is developed in a good way.

Fast forward to the future, what would a successful Indigenous Economy look like?

A successful Indigenous economy looks like a country where Indigenous business is valued equal to non-Indigenous business and is viewed as a key partner in the economy that is vital to Canadian revenue. The uniqueness of Turtle Island was built on Indigenous ways of existing before colonization including the wide variety of knowledge in governance, trade and procurement.

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Deborah Green

Indigenous Workforce Development Advisor, Suncor Energy

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