Four Treaty 6 First Nations form alliance to build economic sovereignty

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Four Treaty 6 First Nations in Alberta have joined together to form an investment group to pursue ownership in major infrastructure projects.

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Alexander First Nation, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Enoch Cree Nation, and Paul First Nation have formed the First Nation Capital Investment Partnership (FNCIP) to invest and acquire assets collectively with commercial partners who share Indigenous values, they announced last week.

Treaty 6 Grand Chief and Alexander First Nation Chief George Arcand Jr. told Postmedia Saturday that there has been an increasing number of opportunities brought to individual First Nations that would be hard for them to manage alone.

“We started sharing some of the individual opportunities that came and some of them were fairly big and were tough for a single First Nation to undertake in terms of size of a project and size of a partnership,” he said.

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“So the idea was, why couldn’t we consider creating a business based on some fair principles around what kind of business we get into?”

Arcand said the partnership is looking for environmentally “greener” opportunities that are over $50 million, which could include potential options like carbon sequestration projects.

“If we’re going to get involved in oil and gas, we think, ‘Why can’t we get involved in trying to help on making things better?’ ” he said.

In a statement, Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation called the partnership the way of the future for First Nation communities.

“We are reclaiming community care and collective sovereignty, which will bring our communities back to the shared wealth we once had thousands of years ago,” he said.

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“Entrepreneurship and collaboration is part of who we are. With qualified professionals on our team, our industry partners, and our intergenerational knowledge, we are stronger together.”

In the same statement, Chief Arthur Rain of the Paul First Nation said ownership of infrastructure projects will generate significant economic and social benefits and Chief Billy Morin of the Enoch Cree Nation said the move supports the long-term vision of becoming a self-sufficient First Nation.

Arcand said the group has already signed some letters of intent for projects but said he can’t provide details until they are public within the next week or so.

The group has chosen Calgary-based Axxcelus Capital Advisory Partners as its exclusive financial advisor.

ajoannou@postmedia.com

twitter.com/ashleyjoannou

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