Mackenzie Brown 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? And What role do organizations like yours play in empowering Indigenous economies? What other support or changes (outside of your organization)?
Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) is a non-profit organization devoted to helping grow and promoting authentic, sustainable, and culturally rich Indigenous tourism experiences we want to share with the world. ITA was created to enhance economic viability and further support Indigenous peoples and communities. ITA’s role is to nurture partnerships throughout the province by sharing stories, cultures and experiences with domestic and global markets. We help empower Indigenous peoples and communities to tell their stories through their voices. We help provide the tools necessary to set them up for success and navigate the barriers they may face. We always need more support in terms of funding, advocacy, partnerships and business sustainability. We are stronger together and when can form reciprocal relationships between organizations to move the industry forward.
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?
Relationships, relationships, relationships! If you want to work with INidge nous communities, you must create relationships. Create a relationship before you need anything, and truly think about your intentions behind wanting to work with Indigenous communities so you can build reciprocal and trusting relationships. Business in the Indigenous world is not just about capital, it’s about building relationships.
Fast forward to the future, what would a successful Indigenous Economy look like?
I think a successful Indigenous economy is sustainable, both economically and culturally. This means involving youth, succession planning, cultural revitalization and Elder involvement. I think it means having INdigenous peoples at the front, telling our own stories and conducting business not through the eyes of western culture but through Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and being, incorporating culture, environment and people.