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Conference held at Casino Rama aims to bridge the gap between corporate Canada and Indigenous economies

A conference to bring corporate Canada and Indigenous communities together to work towards economic reconciliation was held at Casino Rama over the past two days.

The event brought Indigenous community members together with various business owners to look for opportunities to create economic reconciliation.

"We're at an important point in time where Indigenous economies are emerging, growing, and so there's a shift in the type of business relationships and partnerships and opportunities that are happening," said Forward Summit Leadership Council Member Doug Dokis.

The conference's focus was on how corporate Canada can work with Indigenous groups in any industry, such as oil, gas, tourism, and more. The event featured several keynote speakers, including Indigenous leaders from across Canada and Indigenous Youth.

"Without these conversations with youth, we cannot create a sustainable future. We cannot create true economic reconciliation. And that's what we're trying to find out. We're trying to articulate what that term actually is," said Forward Summit Youth Speaker Justin Langan.

Several indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses were in attendance to allow attendees the opportunity to network.

"We are linking Indigenous youth, students, and communities directly face to face with businesses that are looking for Indigenous people," said Dokis.

The Forward Summit conference was founded in 2019 and is held in Alberta every year. This was the first time an additional conference was brought to Ontario, with roughly 400 people in attendance.

"I think the most important piece that we've learned, and it's been shared over and over again, is about relationships. Engaging with Indigenous people is all about building relationships," said attendee Angelique Carle.

"This is a great way to connect with fellow colleagues that are doing Indigenous relations and really connect with people who are doing things for the right reasons and moving in the right direction," said attendee Desiree Norwegian.

The next Forward Summit conference for Western Canada will take place in Calgary in May, and for Eastern Canada, it is scheduled for Ontario again next fall. Top Stories

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