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THUNDER BAY, ON: Matawa First Nations and First Peoples Worldwide (FPW) announced today the completion of the 1st Annual Shareholder Advocacy Leadership Training (SALT) for Matawa First Nations held in Thunder Bay, Ontario on November 5 and 6.

The first-of-its kind training for this part of Canada, it kicked off a partnership between Matawa First Nations and FPW which will see Matawa First Nations serve as a SALT Centre in Canada East. The Treaty 8 Tribal Association in British Columbia will act as a SALT Centre in Canada West. The International Mayan League has entered into a partnership with FPW to host a SALT Centre in Mexico.

Participants of the inaugural SALT training included members of the Matawa Mineral Technical Committee, Community Communication Liaison Officers and Business Information Officers involved in the Matawa First Nations Community Driven Regional Strategy developed by the Matawa Chiefs further to the March 2014 regional framework agreement signed with the Province of Ontario to work together to move forward with a negotiations process on a community-based regional approach to development in the Ring of Fire. Other participants included representatives from the Matawa Economic Development Committee. A total of 40 attendees received the training. The training was part an effort to prepare for the future of the Matawa Nations to ensure they have proper certification and capacity to meet any development being proposed in their territories.

“Shareholder advocacy is a strong element in planning for your future and is an excellent tool for Indigenous Peoples to exercise their market power,” said Nibinamik First Nation Chief Johnny Yellowhead, a member of the Matawa Chiefs Council who worked to bring the training to the region. “In order to fully provide free, prior and informed consent on projects in the extractive industries and others—we must fully understand how publicly traded or held companies operate and how collaborative linkages can be built,” he added.

“We are pleased to be delivering on our goal to establish the 2nd SALT Centre in Canada and that we can assist Matawa First Nations in developing the tools found in shareholder advocacy to promote socially responsible and sustainable investment,” said Nick Pelosi, Corporate Engagement Program Manager for First Peoples Worldwide.

The 2nd Annual SALT, not yet scheduled, will be opened up to Indigenous participants outside the Matawa region.

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