Replace beads and trinkets with fair offers
and environmental guarantees. That’s the message to governments and multinational corporations from a conference called Value it: Connecting the dots, which will run May 2 and May 3 in Westbank First Nation. The conference is being organized by Indigenous Nations Economies and Trade (INET) in partnership with Grand Chief Ron Derrickson to help prepare Indigenous communities to deal with an estimated $650 billion of resource extraction investment on Aboriginal title lands. INET is headed by Arthur Manuel, who served eight years as chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band. “Grand Chief Derrickson is one of the country’s most successful Indigenous businessmen who served for 12 years as the Westbank chief and is credited with turning Westbank from one of the economically weakest to one of the strongest reserves in British Columbia,” reads a press release. Derrickson now administers his own international business interests from his offices in Westbank and in Kiev, Ukraine. The conference will feature American Indian activist Winona LaDuke and Strategic Bulletin editor Russell Diabo, as well as specialists in mining and Aboriginal title legal rights. “Some communities have been making bad deals because they don’t know what their title is worth and they don’t know how to negotiate a fair deal with multinational interests in a way that also includes long-term protection of Aboriginal title lands,” said Manuel.