Indigenous Policy Conference Summary Report: Beyond Reconciliation


  • Sophie Lorefice University of Calgary
  • Brendan Boyd University of Calgary
  • Gaétan Caron University of Calgary



The School of Public Policy (SPP) at the University of Calgary organized a conference to announce the establishment of its Indigenous Policy program and to share knowledge and stories about policy issues critical to Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The conference, titled “Beyond Reconciliation,” was held at the University of Calgary Downtown Campus on Nov. 21, 2016 and was attended by 73 participants. This included Indigenous elders, chiefs and leaders, and members of Indigenous organizations, including a women’s group. Also included were members of universities and academic institutions, including students; industry representatives from the oil and gas, pipeline, forestry, electricity, legal and financial sectors; as well as representatives from government and regulatory agencies. The purpose of the conference was established with the following abstract, which was circulated to speakers and participants: The School of Public Policy is establishing a new Indigenous Policy program in order to produce widely disseminated research and engage in outreach that covers an array of policy areas, such as health, education, self-government, and natural resource development. The program will directly engage Indigenous communities in the search for original, long-term, and evidence-based solutions, as part of an effort to improve our national capacity in problem-solving and policy development. The conference will provide a platform to launch the program, showcasing preliminary research and providing a venue for discussion of policy solutions. The conference included three moderated panel sessions and a keynote speaker.1 The first panel considered business and entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities; the second panel showcased case studies that are examining the experiences of Indigenous communities with natural resource development projects, and particularly their experiences with consultation and engagement. The final panel focused on ways of improving the consultation and engagement process with Indigenous communities. This report summarizes both the presentations and the major themes explored at the conference. The purpose is to capture the ideas and debates emerging from the conference, and provide an overview of the day for interested policy-makers and the public. The report begins with an outline of the agenda, before summarizing each of the panel sessions and the keynote speaker’s presentation. The concluding section provides a discussion of the key themes emerging from the conference and next steps for policy-makers and researchers. Three students enrolled in the SPP’s Master of Public Policy program took detailed notes throughout the day. The authors thank them for their thoroughness. The student notes and the authors’ notes were used to inform this report.






Briefing Papers