Northern Development Initiative Trust developing Indigenous Engagement Plan in collaboration with Indigenous Advisory Committee

October 11, 2023

Northern Development Initiative Trust is pleased to announce it is developing an Indigenous Engagement Plan designed to strengthen the Trust’s commitment to the 89 Indigenous governments across its service region.

The Indigenous Engagement Plan will focus on five key themes:

Communication: NDIT recognizes the importance of clear and transparent communication with Indigenous communities. The plan will outline strategies to improve communication channels, ensuring that information is shared effectively and accessibly.

Governance: To promote effective governance, NDIT aims to work collaboratively with Indigenous nations and organizations. The plan seeks to create opportunities for Indigenous representation and input in decision-making processes per action 4.39 in the Province of B.C.’s Declaration Act Action Plan which states: Work with the Province’s Economic Trusts and First Nation partners to develop a mechanism that ensures inclusion of First Nations at a regional decision-making level.

Education: NDIT is dedicated to fostering mutual understanding and cultural awareness. The plan will include initiatives to enhance educational resources and opportunities for board and staff and to learn about Indigenous cultures, traditions, and histories.

Programming: NDIT will continue to create programs and initiatives that benefit Indigenous communities. The plan will outline strategies for reviewing existing programs and developing new initiatives that align with Indigenous priorities.

Relationships: Building and maintaining positive relationships is at the core of NDIT’s commitment. The plan will emphasize the importance of fostering respectful, long-term relationships with Indigenous partners.

To further the development of the Indigenous Engagement Plan, NDIT has established an Indigenous Advisory Committee, comprised of eight Indigenous leaders from across its service region. This committee plays a pivotal role in shaping the plan, ensuring it reflects the unique perspectives, needs, and aspirations of Indigenous communities.

Members of the Indigenous Advisory Committee bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, representing a diverse range of Indigenous nations, cultures, and communities. Their insights and guidance will be instrumental in the successful implementation of the plan and in fostering meaningful collaborations between NDIT and Indigenous partners.

Indigenous Advisory Committee Members:

  • Dr. Jessie King, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Indigenous Studies, UNBC
  • Mindy Henyu, Sustainability and Strategic Partnerships Director, Surepoint Group
  • Glen Williams, Leads Hereditary Chiefs office, Gitanyow
  • Laurie Mercer, CAO, Haisla Nation
  • Garry Oker, Councillor and Elder, Doig River First Nation
  • Willie Sellars, Chief, Williams Lake First Nation
  • Gil Malfair, Principal, Malfair Law
  • Helen Knott, Member of Prophet River First Nation
  • Doug Donaldson, Northern Development Board Director (ex-officio)
  • Fred Sam, Northern Development Board Director (ex-officio)
  • Margo Wagner, Northern Development Board Chair (ex-officio)
  • Craig Windrim, A/Executive Director of Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
  • Davin Greenwell, Director, Regional Economic Initiatives Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development, and Innovation


The Honourable Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
“Through the Declaration Act Action Plan, we are working in partnership to create a future where Indigenous Peoples are full participants in the social, cultural and economic landscape of the province. We are proud to partner with NDIT and are pleased to support the work of the Indigenous Advisory Committee in moving towards a more inclusive economy that works for everyone.”

Laurie Mercer, CAO, Haisla Nation
“I’m honored to be a member of the Indigenous Advisory Committee for NDIT.  We’ve been working diligently to find ways to include Indigenous voices and values at NDIT.  In time, the Indigenous communities will be formally recognized, that’s when we know we’ve done the right thing.”

Chief Willie Sellars, Williams Lake First Nation
“As a proud member of the Indigenous Advisory Committee, I am looking forward to contributing to the development of the Indigenous Engagement Plan in partnership with NDIT. This endeavor reflects our collective commitment to building a future grounded in mutual respect, shared governance, and cultural appreciation – we will honor Indigenous voices, traditions, and aspirations.”

Margo Wagner, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust Board of Directors
“The Indigenous Engagement Plan reflects our commitment to meaningful reconciliation and partnership with Indigenous communities. We are honored to work alongside the Indigenous Advisory Committee and are eager to see the positive impact this plan will have on our relationships, projects, and the communities we serve.”

For more information, visit the Indigenous Engagement Page on our website.

Media Contact:

Holly Plato, Director Communications