Indigenous community partnerships
We have designated hundreds of millions of dollars for Indigenous employment and economic opportunities in the pipeline construction and continue to pursue equity ownership opportunities with Indigenous communities in the U.S. and Canada to provide for a meaningful long-term ownership stake and annual ﬁnancial beneﬁt from the project.
We recently signed a definitive agreement with Canada's Natural Law Energy, comprised of five First Nations.
“This partnership will facilitate important input and guidance from NLE on the project as we make this the most sustainable and safest pipeline ever developed. It will also enable the realization of long-term, meaningful economic benefits derived from an attractive return of and on NLE’s investment,” said Richard Prior, President, Keystone XL.
“This is a historical moment for First Nations and TC Energy. It’s going to benefit many generations to come. Thirty to forty years from now, Nekaneet First Nation members will see the opportunities through this definitive agreement by creating inter-generational wealth for many generations to come,” said Chief Alvin Francis, President of Natural Law Energy and Chief of Nekaneet First Nation.
We have engaged continuously with nine Indigenous communities in Canada and 25 in the U.S. and have productive relationships with many of them. Some have questions and we continue to work closely with those communities to provide honest and open answers to their questions. We have maintained on-the-ground relationships for years, and for those communities in the U.S. who aren’t familiar with us or with liquids pipelines operations, we’ve offered Pipeline 101, Elders’ workshops and pump station and work camp tours.
Through regular conversations and meetings, Indigenous groups share their concerns and interests with us, which in turn helps us to create proactive project plans including business opportunities, community legacy or investment and education and training opportunities. Some communities have said they were impressed by our continued outreach and found it to be unprecedented.
Regardless of what region we operate in, we strive to reach consent on our projects among Indigenous groups through early and ongoing engagement. We also work hard to avoid and mitigate project-related effects on the exercise of Indigenous rights through environmental assessment and project planning. For instance, we adjusted the route for Keystone XL to avoid Ponca lands seeded for sacred corn.