B.C. First Nations consortium launches Iskum Investments

A groundbreaking partnership known as Iskum Investments has been unveiled, comprising over 20 First Nations from Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast. The consortium aims to drive economic reconciliation, rejuvenate the forest industry, and explore diverse business investment opportunities.

Emchayilk Robert Dennis Sr., Chair of Iskum Investments, emphasized the consortium’s mission, stating, “Iskum Investments is First Nations coming together to make economic reconciliation work for everyone.” He highlighted the historical context, stressing the need for indigenous communities to take control of their economic destinies.

Iskum’s primary objective is to pursue significant business ventures that promote shared prosperity and support sustainable development. The leadership of Iskum, composed of First Nations Chiefs and seasoned economic development experts, is committed to fostering a sustainable economy and revitalizing investment in coastal value-added industries, including forest product manufacturing.

Hegus John Hackett, Chief of Tla’amin Nation, underscored the importance of collaboration, noting, “There are opportunities that can only be realized by working together through a unified voice with shared values.”

Aligned with governmental declarations, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DIRPA), Iskum seeks to uphold First Nations’ decision-making authority and advance economic independence.

Brandy Lauder, Chief Councillor of Hupacasath First Nation, emphasized the responsibility to balance environmental stewardship with economic development, while waamiiš Ken Watts, Chief Councillor of Tseshaht First Nation, highlighted the consortium’s commitment to proactive solutions and collaboration.

Iskum is actively seeking partnerships with entities willing to embrace innovative approaches for a sustainable future. Dallas Smith, President of Na̲nwak̲olas Council, urged the business community to support First Nations-led initiatives that benefit both the environment and the economy.

“On behalf of its member Nations, Iskum is calling on the business world to support First Nations-led opportunities that both heal our lands and benefit the economy,” said Dallas Smith, President, Na̲nwak̲olas Council. “Through a Nation-to-Nation Protocol Agreement, Iskum’s member Nations have committed to working together to find solutions to support industry revitalization, recognizing the need to attract investment. It is our goal to continue to build on our successes as individual First Nations in managing and acquiring B.C. forest tenures, to also become meaningful and substantial participants in all aspects of the value-added sector.”

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