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Indigenous Relations Specialist Spotlight
Indigenous Relations Specialists are the tie that binds oil and gas companies to Indigenous communities and leaders. In Canada, these communities often have a special, traditional and unique legal relationship to the land that oil and gas companies work on or would like access to. These professionals work with both sides to try to build relationships between and find win-win solutions for everyone involved.
What a typical day looks like:
Indigenous Relations Specialists act as the bridge between their company and the Indigenous communities they work with. In the office, they study consultation policies and regulatory requirements to make sure that the company is fulfilling the rules laid out by local, provincial and federal laws. These specialists want to go above and beyond the legal requirements though. They also work hard to build constructive relationships between Indigenous communities and their company.
Building relationships is better in person, so Indigenous Relations Specialists will often travel to remote locations to talk to people face-to-face. They meet with community members and leaders to discuss their points of view and concerns regarding their company’s oil and gas projects near their community. After listening carefully to their concerns, they will explain the company’s plans and how the project could impact the community or traditional lands. These specialists will also participate in community events, and learn important information such as where sacred and traditional lands are located.
Indigenous Relations Specialists take the community concerns back to management in the company. They will then work with necessary internal groups to develop solutions to the concerns as well as ongoing engagement plans. They also discuss items such as Indigenous business development initiatives, inclusive recruitment and development of strategies that promote Indigenous inclusion on projects with the appropriate managers.
The kinds of problems Indigenous Relations Specialists solve at work:
Indigenous Relations Specialists are the first people in the company to know the worries of an Indigenous community regarding existing or new projects. They need to record all these concerns and bring them back to the company for discussion. They need to find the best way to maintain strong relationships with the community members and leaders while still representing their company. They often work to find solutions and alternatives to project plans that will allow everyone to be happy at the end of the day.
Skills used most on the job:
Indigenous Relations specialists have a deep knowledge about First Nations, Metis and Inuit history, cultures and issues. They combine this with their people-skills, organization and analytical thinking to find beneficial paths forward for their company and the community.
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