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2023 Strategic Program Speakers
The Indian Resource Council (IRC) has a new President/CEO, Mr. Stephen Buffalo. Mr. Buffalo is a proud member of the Samson Cree Nation, located approximately 100 kilometres south of Edmonton, Alberta. He graduated secondary school from Athol Murray College at Notre Dame, Saskatchewan. Mr. Buffalo then went on to complete a Business Administration program at Medicine Hat College, continuing on to the University of Lethbridge, where he completed a Management Degree in 1998. He began working at Peace Hills Trust two days after his convocation. Mr. Buffalo worked for Peace Hills Trust for 15 years. He reflects on his time with the organization stating, “Near the end of my tenure at the Trust, I felt I had reached a certain limit of job growth, I looked at the both the pros and the cons of my position and decided that it was time for a major career move.” Peace Hills Trust’s loss has been IRC’s gain. Mr. Buffalo is great asset exemplified in his eagerness to begin work in his new position. He notes, “the oil and gas industry is very exciting, and especially for First Nations. Oil and gas are natural resources that can help them build First Nations communities.” He continues, “having spent 10 years as a Regional Manager for Peace Hills Trust, I am confident in my abilities as a business leader. We need to be accountable and, at the same time, do our best to reach our mandates.” The IRC supports First Nations through working with government and industry. With this mandate in mind Mr. Buffalo notes, “With all the non-renewable resources, protecting the First Nations’ interests and ensuring that they maximize on their resources should be a common goal to sustainability.” When asked about the central importance of the energy and resource development for the future prosperity of First Nations people, Mr. Buffalo asserts, “Development is very important. As more and more First Nations deal with their own resource futures, this reality will lead to becoming more self-sufficient as Nations. As the development of these resources continues, more and more capacity is gained, which will allow the First Nation to maximize their investment of their own resources moving forward.” It is with this spirit in mind that Mr. Buffalo believes that, “IRC must also ensure that the Federal Government is supporting, and working with, First Nations to maximize the potential benefits of their natural resources. The big picture shows First Nations becoming more of an active player in all areas of resource sector, from providing certain services all the way to equity ownership. For this to happen we need heightened communication, more capacity building and more support systems in place.” As IRC’s new leader, Mr. Buffalo concludes the conversation by speaking to the firm vision he already in place for the organization, “My vision is to continue to work with the members of the IRC, to maintain a strong relationship with Indian Oil and Gas Canada (IOGC) and to work together on our mandates to ensure that First Nations are protected and maximize their benefit on their natural resources. Looking ahead the sky is the limit."
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