Our host, Alan Coutts, President and CEO of Noront Resources chats with JP Gladu about his connection to the land, how COVID-19 led him in an unexpected direction and his thoughts on what successful economic partnership looks like between Indigenous and non-Indigenous business communities.
JP Gladu is as comfortable in the halls of Parliament and Queen’s Park as he is on the land and reserve. He has deep and varied experience partnering with Indigenous communities and organizations, government and environmental groups and industry corporations of all shapes and sizes. He served as Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business President and CEO from 2012 to2020 and recently started a new kind of consultancy called Mokwateh to help clients build bridges toward sustainable partnership and shared economic prosperity.
In this episode, we discuss…
JP’s roots in Sand Point First Nation, his connection to the land and the responsibility he feels to ensure it continues to provide clean air, clean water and an opportunity to develop business. (2:24)
- Having the right people at the table, working with Indigenous and environmental groups, makes a difference and requires a balance—not always an easy one
The pivot that JP made when COVID-19 impacted his appointment as CEO of Canada’s leading Indigenous site services business. (5:10)
What Economic Reconciliation means (a widely referenced term JP coined) and some misconceptions people may have about it. (8:51)
- How do we empower an Indigenous economy that leverages the people, lands and innovation to generate wealth and bring back the entrepreneurship our people always had so we can create bright futures for our children?
The different approach to consulting that his new firm Mokwateh is taking by helping to write new rules to success and what that means for resource projects and First Nation participation. (11:54)
- Building healthy, respectful relationships that lead to handshakes not handouts and long-term mutually beneficial relationships.
The importance of good leadership and inclusive thinking because the Indigenous sphere is a significant circle of influence on any Canadian resource project. (15:54)
- The opportunity is finding a way to extract resources while respecting the Indigenous voice throughout the project.
What we can learn from Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan which has made great progress by mandating procurement from Indigenous businesses. (20:22)
The controversy slowing down adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. (21:28)
How to find the level of consensus required to advance a resource project. (24:07)
- A principle for meaningful engagement is giving the communities the time and space to make decisions that may be difficult for them, while at the same time coming up with a framework with as many communities as possible, recognizing that business has to happen at the speed of business and holding the line once decisions are made.
True collaboration is only possible if communities are empowered to become meaningful participants and what that requires i.e., fortitude to keep coming back to the table, and trust that is earned over time. (27:49)
“For a long time, our people weren’t even permitted to leave the community, leave the reserve without the Indian agent saying we could…And then we transition[ed] into this place where we were getting some of the jobs…And now it’s getting to a place where our communities and business are becoming equity stakeholders in projects.”
“There is an opportunity to build relationships when people sit down with open minds and hearts to go over activities, or any kind of project development. That’s really the magic sauce, being respectful of each other’s knowledge systems and knowing that each of us has a part of play in project development and being respectful of that, that’s the good stuff.”
Listen to this episode below: