With the growing world of trade and agreements fostered between different governments around the world, Indigenous nations and governments are also seeking the expansion of trade opportunities.
The Manitoba Métis Federation is seeking to expand its economic opportunities and has initiated trade talks with Indigenous communities in South America, a land of bountiful produce and products for which they are seeking international markets. This is something which Indigenous peoples in Latin America have been seeking for decades.
This trade initiate was fostered through a conferencing process which has witnessed International Indigenous Trade Conferences throughout the world. At last year’s Conference the government of Canada led an Indigenous trade mission to New Zealand, helping to foster trade amongst and between Indigenous communities.
Taking up this challenge the MMF has begun a process of establishing trade opportunities in Colombia, and has also initiated discussions with Indigenous communities in Peru. Not only has the MMF delegation, led by President Chartrand been dealing with Indigenous community leaders, meetings also took place on this trip with the Colombian Ambassador for the Americas as well as a Senator from the Indigenous community where MMF is beginning its process of trade relationship.
In addition to these meetings, President Chartrand, accompanied by President Chartier had a meeting with Colombian President, Ivan Duque Marquez in the city of Valledupar. President Duque thanked President Chartrand for this initiative and looked forward to seeing this new Indigenous trade relationship flourish.
In addition to developing the trade relationship, President Chartrand also addressed the social and cultural aspects of Indigenous life and in this case, worked with Mamo Guillermo of Pueblo Bello to enhance their tourism initiative around a natural park dedicated to environmental sustainability. There is now signage at the park prominently displaying the MMF logo and the Métis Nation flag. Additionally, a new washroom facility was sponsored by the MMF for the convenience of visitors.
With this particular initiative, there are great prospects for the importation of sugar and coffee which are organically certified, and which will find a ready market in Canada. This is a win-win situation for both Indigenous trade partners.