Collaboration & Reconciliation
Zibi represents real partnership and ownership for the Algonquin Nation(s).
Windmill and Dream are non-Indigenous companies working to create landmark partnerships with Indigenous communities, companies, entrepreneurs, workers and peoples. Zibi takes counsel from the Algonquin Anishinabe people and communities in support of the project. The Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and the Algonquins of Ontario, for example, have worked with Zibi from the beginning in a spirit of friendship and respect. Together, the parties signed Letters of Intent that outline benefits ranging from equity partnership, investment, jobs and job training, youth apprenticeships and mentorships, and onsite residential and retail opportunities.
Momentum is building as two additional Algonquin Anishinabe communities recently announced that they have joined the partnership with Windmill and Dream Unlimited: Long Point and Timiskaming First Nations also both signed Letters of Intent (LOI) in April of 2017 outlining how Zibi will create opportunities in the region for their members, raise awareness about their people and culture in Canada’s capital region, and build stronger connections back to their communities in Quebec.
Making the Algonquin Nation partners in Zibi – in the project as a whole or in elements of it – is significant for several reasons. First, it makes real (and symbolizes) the spirit of peace, collaboration, and reconciliation that we want to bring to the project. Second, it creates a source of long-term economic development so that the benefits are not restricted to short-term jobs and opportunities. Finally, it ensures that the relationship and benefits will persist over the long-term by embedding Algonquin Anishinabe in the permanent control of the development, long after construction finishes.
“Reconciliation will require a new and positive way for both cultures to relate harmoniously and collaboratively, creating a sense of togetherness of which few examples exist today to be inspired by. Yet one such example is emerging right in the core of the National Capital: Zibi… With the deep connections and inroads that are being built between Windmill Developments and the Algonquin-Anishinabe communities, Zibi is a precedent-setting and landmark opportunity for a new model of collaboration.”
– Chief Kirby Whiteduck, Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, August 14, 2015
Zibi is offering substantial benefits & collaboration.
From the start of this project, Windmill and Dream have been clear that we intend to use this community as a catalyst to highlight and celebrate Algonquin Anishinabe history, culture and people in the National Capital Region.
In engaging the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation(s), our principal message has been: “Everything possible is on the table.” The resulting collaborative benefits program – which continues to evolve as conversations continue – includes investment and ownership that will create economic benefits for generations, entrepreneurial opportunities, jobs, and cultural celebration. In this regard, we are driven by two goals:
Beyond creating the world’s most sustainable community — a vibrant, liveable and healthy zero-carbon community — our vision is that our project reflects a tangible Algonquin presence:
“We feel privileged to be involved in a project of this scale that will also create meaningful and inclusive employment opportunities for First Nations and honour Algonquin Anishinabe history and culture.”
– Daniel Marinovic, SVP, Dream
We are working to make Zibi an example of reconciliation.
We want to play a small role in ensuring the next 150 years look very different than the last 150.
It is not for us, non-Indigenous companies, to know what successful reconciliation would look like here or elsewhere. But we hope that Zibi will become an example of reconciliation between the non-Indigenous private real estate sector and First Nations in Canada. We understand the actions that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission specified for the private sector, and we are working on realizing them. We have strong partnerships within the Algonquin Anishinabe community, and we are building momentum for a tangible and beneficial Algonquin presence in the National Capital Region. We continue to extend an open invitation to all Algonquin communities to join us.
Joined by other non-Indigenous companies and sectors in the region, we hope that together, we are successful in creating a new model of collaboration between the private sector and First Nations – one that others can look to and adopt so that more and more opportunities present themselves.
“…Windmill was the first private developer to ever reach out to the Algonquin communities and we believe their intent and commitment to be true and honest. We now have concrete proof that the partnership is delivering tangible and sustainable benefits for our People, with more to come.”
– Chief Kirby Whiteduck, Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, April 27, 2017
The Memengweshii Council offers insights into Algonquin Anishinabe culture and heritage.
This non-political Council is inspired by ancestral Algonquin Anishinabe practices. It was initiated by Algonquin Anishinabe women to act as a recommendation body to the Zibi project on matters of Algonquin Anishinabe interests. Notably, the Council works to ensure the integrity and appropriateness of cultural, heritage and socio-economic aspects of the Zibi project.
“We commend the members of the Memengweshii Council for their courage to take responsibility for their situation and to making the changes needed for their communities to become self-sufficient. The friendships that has evolved between Windmill and Memengweshii is an exemplary step towards reconciliation. Such friendships will be the key to progress.”
– Ernie Daniels, Vice President, National Indigenous Council of Elders, September 29, 2015
“Windmill has extended a hand in friendship to the Algonquin Anishinabe people. Never before has a private developer been as inclusive and collaborative in this part of Canada, and as consistent with the Algonquin values attached to the environment and to the community.”
– Brenda Odjick, Member of the Memengweshii Council, May 21, 2015 (Source)
Construction is creating significant and immediate opportunities.
“Just the fact that Windmill has extended its hand to our Nation and to our tradesmen, that is something that is unique. We are setting the stage for something really historic here, and I am proud to be a part of it because this is about moving forward beyond the reserve.”
– Andrew Decontie, President, Decontie Construction
In addition to the more permanent benefits of partnership and ownership Zibi opens up for the Algonquin Nation, the construction of the project (which will last up to 15 years) offers more immediate and personal opportunities.
Land clean up, demolition and construction work at Zibi commenced in Spring 2017 with Algonquin workers leading the way in the site’s soil remediation. The construction start is an important project milestone and proof that the partnership – unprecedented in this part of Canada – between private developers and First Nations companies, communities and people is delivering benefits. It marks the culmination of a two-year initiative by Decontie Construction – an Algonquin-owned construction company from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg – and developers Windmill Development and Dream Unlimited to overcome systemic labour barriers, build capacity, and hire First Nation workers.
Eighteen months ago, Decontie Construction and the development team began the process to build capacity by helping Indigenous workers obtain the necessary training, permits and licensing to work at Zibi. A call-out for Indigenous workers interested in being added to a list of available workers yielded over 250 names.
First Nation workers are onsite because of Windmill, Dream and Decontie’s unwavering determination to surmount multiple barriers, and the willingness of the Commission de Construction du Québec (CCQ), and the municipal, provincial and federal governments to change the status quo and to support First Nations’ right to self-determination. Discussions are ongoing with all levels of government – in Quebec and Ontario – to help train and hire more First Nation workers, and to ensure that the Algonquin Anishinabe culture is represented throughout the future phases of work and within the future community.
“My vision when I launched Decontie was to create opportunities for my community and my people. In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, my family and members of my community were forced to leave Canada to find work in the United States. But today, I’m seeing our partnership with Zibi result in jobs and benefits for Algonquin Anishinabe right in the heart of our ancestral territory. This is our people, exercising our right to self determination, and taking steps to close the economic gap.”
– Andy Decontie, President, Decontie Construction, April 27, 2017
“This opportunity stood out to us as Windmill was the first private developer to ever reach out to the Algonquin communities and we believe their intent and commitment to be true and honest. We now have concrete proof that the partnership is delivering tangible and sustainable benefits for our People, with more to come.”
– Chief Kirby Whiteduck, Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, April 27, 2017
“The Zibi project is a pillar upon which the Algonquin Nation is uniting across provincial boundaries, and an assertion that Timiskaming, Long Point and Pikwàkanagàn First Nations are open for business. Seeing Algonquin Anishinabe workers on this site, cleaning up the contaminated soil, naturalizing the River banks and improving the River is proof to me that this partnership is real and that Zibi will deliver the economic, cultural and environmental benefits set out in our Letter of Intent.”
– Chief Wayne McKenzie, Timiskaming First Nation, April 27, 2017