We are interested in stories of First Nations people and communities being successful and carrying their culture forward in the modern world.

Our Own Apartheid

I stood knee-deep in dilemma on the banks of the Fish River, trying to reconcile the death threats hurled my way. My students were from Soweto, where violence had reigned supreme for decades and death threats were a daily occurrence. Tongue pressed against clenched teeth, I thought about how fear tastes like a copper pipe, the remnants of an adrenalin lollipop. I was only trying to teach the township youth of South Africa’s “Lost Generation” to canoe, which would in theory transform their lives.

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The Eulachon Economy

“Salmon was our gold,” Sekw’el’was Chief Michelle Edwards recently reflected at the St’át’imc Emerging Economies Development Summit in Lillooet. Chief Edwards’ point was that the fish from the Fraser River was the most valued item for trade over the grease trails that linked the different indigenous nations prior to European contact. Ironically, this area was the epicentre of the Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858-1859, where the gold standard served as the foundation of currency for the modern economy.

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How to achieve true reconciliation

The racial tension in post-apartheid South Africa was palpable. Living in South Africa during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission more than 15 years ago, I saw value in a similar process for my native Canada. After the negotiated settlement of the struggle against apartheid, South Africa’s legislated racial segregation policy, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, was initiated to bear witness to human-rights violations under apartheid. South Africa was the first country to embark on this disclosure process under the inspired leadership of Nelson Mandela.

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How Indigenous outlooks can transform your organization

Over twenty years ago, I led a group of bankers from Bay Street and Wall Street into the rugged Coast Mountains north of Whistler to increase their personal and organizational proficiency. The land offers immediate feedback, and thus serves as a great teacher. Working with global market bankers, Outward Bound used the land to connect people with authenticity. Learning from the land is central to Indigenous cultures whose practices focus on personal development and authenticity and translate well into executive leadership.

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