Indigenous Concepts of Well-Being: Sustainable Economies, Sustainable Futures
The ICCE 2022 Conference on Cumulative Effects featured a keynote address by Mark Podlasly who spoke about Indigenous Concepts of Well-Being: Sustainable Economies, Sustainable Futures.
Mr. Podlasly is of the Nlaka’pamux Nation and is the Director of Economic Policy and Initiatives for First Nations Major Projects Coalition.
Podlasly referred to a study commissioned by the BCAFN called Centering First Nations Concepts of Wellbeing: Toward a GDP-Alternative Index in British Columbia. The report cites a number of examples about how Indigenous peoples are working towards a new index to centring well-being. He issued a challenge to the participants.
“If you are on a well-being path, figure out what’s important to you. What is it that you need to protect to ensure that you have a good life?” asked Podlasly. “Is it the environment? Is it your sense of belonging? Is it being Nisga’a, Huron, Algonquin? Figure it out and that will be your well-being start.”
During his keynote address he encouraged delegates to find means to communicate clearly to proponents and investors about what their values and interests are in regard to involvement in major projects in their territories. For example, Podlasly asserts that Indigenous communities are going to be major players in the goal of being net-zero by the 2050s.
“There is $100 trillion that is being prepared to invest in the infrastructure needed to fight climate change. We as First Nations are going to be involved on the front lines of these projects as there will be a massive shift away from petroleum-based energy to cleaner sources of energy.” said Podlasky.
“The mines, energy sources, transmission towers are not going to be based in downtown Toronto. They will be based in our territories across Canada. As Indigenous people, we are right at the main table. The question is how do we approach that? We can no longer be an afterthought in the development of these projects,” he said.
The First Nations Major Projects Coalition doesn’t promote any specific projects but responds to those First Nations seeking advice and assistance on working on major projects in their territory.