The Grand Cercle des Aboriginals and Quebec Summit organized by the AFNQL brings together community and business leaders
Indigenous communities in Quebec and surrounding Quebec and Labrador are ready, willing and able to open up for business and tourism will play an important role in this economic recovery, said the Grand Chief of Kahnawake following a two-day Indigenous economic summit held last week in downtown Montreal. .
“Tourism will be a major factor” in the economic recovery of Indigenous communities that have been economically ravaged by COVID-19 and the resulting business downturn, said Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK ). âFor example, we have 120,000 cars a day passing through our territory. There is a lot of potential for tourism businesses, âshe said, citing the annual powwow as a way to help businesses bounce back from months of foreclosure – as well as open our eyes to the rich and vibrant culture of indigenous communities.
Sky-Deer said she was optimistic about the potential for First Nations and Inuit communities to become larger players in the provincial economy.
âThere seems to be more drive than ever for partnerships and this is very promising for communities,â she said, adding that she would like to see more initiatives to help support Indigenous women entrepreneurs, who remain under-represented.
âIt’s something we would certainly be open to and I think it’s yet another way to increase the presence of Indigenous peoples in the Quebec economy,â Sky-Deer said, adding that she thinks that Kahnawake has the potential to be a leader in supporting women entrepreneurs.
The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard, said the networking potential of the event will create future opportunities for Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs.
âThe Grand Cercle Ãconomique is an opportunity for our business communities to create links that can lead to the realization of economic projects that will be significant for our communities,â he said.
Despite the strained relationship between the provincial government and many Indigenous communities, the provincial Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian LafreniÃ¨re, was on hand to meet with the participants. LafreniÃ¨re, a former Montreal police officer, said he hopes the event will stimulate more economic activity in Indigenous communities.
â(Le Grand Cercle is) the ideal opportunity to talk about economic recovery and promote the full participation of Aboriginal peoples at the heart of the Quebec economy,â he said. âI hope this event will help us come together and generate positive spinoffs for years to come. “