NATIVE TO NATIVE
Native-to-Native Business Model ©
IDG is committed to using our Native-to-Native (N2N) community collaborative model for all of our development ventures. Simply put, this means our projects are always culturally appropriate, socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and economically equitable.
IDG created N2N in response to our participation in New Zealands 2000 Maori Economic Summit and the United Nations Decleration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We’ve succesfully implemented N2N in a diverse range of endeavors, and it’s been instrumental in moving projects forward by building consensus among ALL stakeholders.
N2N means doing the right thing-for consumers, development partners, governing nations, host communities and future generations. It grows from our own deeply held beliefs and traditions. But it transcends cultural, economic and geographic differences, because it’s based on simple and profound value: justice.
We believe in indigenous stewardship of sustainable projects using native resources and peoples where appropriate. But to get a fair shake, indigenous entities must be exceptionally creative, analytically detailed and explicit about values and planning. IDG specializes in bringing parties together, managing complex relationships and creating appropriate fiscal architecture and deal flow. As you know, historically indigenous peoples have not enjoyed the best possible deals when leveraging their natural resources and assets against federal, state, industrial, agricultural or other commercial activities. This disparity has been acknowledged by the United Nations, specifically in theirUnited Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration). The Declaration, passed in 2007, was created by indigenous human rights experts—including Mililani Trask—to address the problems faced by indigenous peoples who want to develop their lands and resources but lack the background or capacity to more advantageously interface with the transnational forces of global economics. This is especially relevant in the critical realms of capital, plant and deal structures.
The Declaration says that indigenous peoples have a right to own, control and utilize the lands and resources they traditionally possessed. It acknowledges that indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own priorities for development, and to pursue development in culturally appropriate ways. In addition, the Declaration recognizes that indigenous peoples have the right to preserve their culture, cultural practices, sacred sites, and the traditional knowledge associated with their culture.
While these rights are considered fundamental human rights they are generally ignored by the corporate world, which defines business in macro and micro economic terms. In the business world the focus is always on “stake holders” (those who have rights in the land and resources). As a result, indigenous peoples often find that they are excluded from the business arena, or that others with financial and technical capacity, have leveraged themselves into a position to control and develop indigenous resources with little benefit to the indigenous community. In addition, indigenous peoples often find that development on their traditional lands takes precedence over the protection of cultural property, the environment and their own sacred places.
Even in our recent negotiations on geothermal sites in New Zealand we find that we must continually unpack and reposition traditional Western ways of reckoning value based on our native understanding and analysis of real-world value. Often times negotiators on the other side of the table aren’t even aware of the prejudices and assumptions that inform their proposals. It’s just the way they’ve always done business, and the way they’ve always calculated both value and participation.
The native-to-native business model that IDG incorporates requires that indigenous land and resource owners have the right to participate in the development process, with options such as:
- Equity ownership or equity like returns on investment
- Shared profits in project surpluses
- Voting seat(s) on the Board of Directors
- Scholarships, preferential training and employment options
- Payment of participation costs during the project
- Payment of administration and key personnel costs
It is our belief that indigenous land and resource owners cannot simply be shareholders; the people of the land must have the ability, mechanisms and authority to participate in day-to-day decision making to protect their assets as well as their cultural treasures, and in order to insure that future generations will directly benefit from the operation through jobs, training, scholarships and other tangible means.