The Economic Unity Conference 2020 held on Feb. 20 & 21 in the Coast Hotel, celebrated its 30th-anniversary supporting Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in business training and developmental lending programs.
At the conference, there were many speakers from First Nation communities, Indigenous people, as well as speakers from various industries and government. The main goal of the conference was to encourage representatives of different industries and participants to work in partnership for the betterment of First Nation communities, Indigenous people, and all the people of British Columbia.
During the two-day conference, there were nine panels with guest speakers from different industries, some elected leaders, and many Indigenous leads, provincial ministries, CEOs, and senior managers. On the first panel, all participants were able to listen to such speakers as Daphne Nelson, Trista Pewapisconias, Tracy Ronmark, and Sunny Lebourdais. The second panel was about contemporary agriculture with Bonnie Klohn in Kamloops Food Policy Council, and Fred Fortier 4TR Ventures Lts who talked about their accomplishments in the agriculture sphere and suggested new ideas regarding improvements.
All other panel speakers talked about their success and noticed the need to unite and work together. In the closing panel, Indigenous Investment & Return, guest speakers talked about the importance of standing for common ideas and how much success the unity brings and can bring in the future.
George Casimir, general manager of CFDC of CIFN shared some thoughts about the two-day event.
“I think it was absolutely successful. The banquet to celebrate our original directors was absolutely packed, and we had 15 hand-drums and the ceremony was fantastic,” Casimir said, “I think the whole vibe of the Economic Unity Conference was just so positive, people took away so many things. And it wasn’t only from one industry, it was widespread, it was diverse!”
“I believe from the feedback that I’ve heard, we need to keep talking about unity, economic development, how Indigenous participation is going to be the key in the success of our province, and how tourism, forestry, and mining and all aspects of the provincial industry. I think our partnership will be found. There is new legislation, there are all sorts of things that shouldn’t have taken so long to have Indigenous involvement, but it has. But we’re here now, that’s why we need those conferences going,” explained Casimir.
“I tell students that to me they are in a group, which we call youth, who we support. We’re partners with Junior Dragon and have a strong belief in the future of our province and the success of our young people. So, just be involved, don’t be scared, have your voice heard, and just be a part of things.”