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First Nations Opportunities in Trade – BCAFN

We know that First Nations in BC and across Turtle Island had sophisticated trade routes, including the famous Grease Trails in BC, prior to contact. This economic activity allowed Nations to thrive in harsh conditions and diversify their assets, as it were, to ensure the wellbeing of their communities.

But since contact, Western trade activity largely excludes First Nations as partners despite some First Nations goods being in high demand. Various companies have stolen the intellectual property of nations by co-opting their traditional designs and products, without any revenue sharing or acknowledgement for First Nations. Intellectual property legislation does not address Indigenous traditional knowledge, much less protocols and data sovereignty for Nations looking to protect their cultural expressions from exploitation.

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