The Munsee Delaware Nation is a progressive community focused on building a healthy and thriving economy. The Nation is strategically positioning itself to capitalize on the global effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide skilled technicians and products for the renewable resources and green energy sectors. Two such business opportunities already underway include the Munsee Tree Corporation and the First Nations Forestry Training Program. Munsee Delaware is also creating jobs and opportunities through its commercial gaming operation and on-going support of private entrepreneurship.
Munsee Tree Corporation
The Munsee Tree Corporation is a renewable biomass energy, high-yield, fast-growing tree farm the Nation launched in 2010. The venture will harvest and sell tree cuttings and biomass, as well as generate carbon credits that will be sold to large corporations to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.
Munsee Tree is the result of strategic partnerships with Tree Canada and TD Bank Financial Group. Munsee Tree is in line with the Nation’s overall green energy focus to do its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while creating economic sustainability for the community.
"The business of Munsee Tree is good for the environment and the economics of our Nation,” says Munsee Delaware Nation Chief Patrick Waddilove. “Munsee Tree is the result of hard work and perseverance of many people. It is a great example of how our Nation must continue to build partnerships that are sustainable and healthy not only for our Nation but the world we all share.”
The Munsee Tree initiative echos the direction of the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of Ontario Indians to facilitate green energy policy development that will tap into the green power located on tribal lands. The Nation is moving forward with the implementation and utilization of local renewable energy opportunities in a manner that supports their traditional ways and respects the planet.
First Nations Forestry Training Program
Early in 2011, the Munsee Delaware Nation announced the establishment of an accredited First Nations Forestry Training Program. The two-year program will help 25 First Nations students from across Ontario become accredited forester technicians, enabling them to secure highly skilled jobs in the bio-mass, carbon credit and sustainable forestry industries. Classes are expected to begin this fall.
The Forestry Program is the result of strategic alliances with the Anishinabek Educational Institute and the Seven Generations Education Institute. The project has also received financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) Future Fund, which has contributed $531,000 in start-up funding. Munsee Delaware Nation Chief Patrick Waddilove says such support is vital if the vision of creating green jobs for First Nations is to be realized.
The program will be delivered from two locations: the Anishinabek Educational Institute at Munsee Delaware and the Seven Generations Education Institute at Couchiching First Nation, near Fort Frances.
The Munsee Delaware Nation is exploring economic opportunities in the solar energy sector. It is studying the feasibility of creating a 5 megawatt community-owned Solar Farm that would generate revenue for the Nation through the generation of green energy for Ontario. The proposed Solar Farm would use Photovoltaic (PV) Technology and meet all federal and provincial regulations. The Nation is currently in the process of identifying the first of two 50 acre sites within its territory, which would be suitable for the development of a solar farm. The land being considered must meet specific conditions, such as geography, topography, soil conditions and proximity to the provincial electrical grid.
Small Business Centre
The Munsee Delaware Nation is fostering community economic development through its Small Business Centre. opened in June, 2011 (see photo) The centre is able to offer the commercial space and resources to enable Munsee Delaware Nation members to create their own home-based businesses. Entrepreneurship in Munsee Delaware not only generates revenue for business owners, but also increases wealth for the Nation by reinvesting money back into the community.
The Munsee Delaware Nation is exploring the possibilities of creating a tax-base as it continues to move toward self-sufficiency and self-governance. The Nation has been added to the Schedule of the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (FSMA) which provides real property taxation powers to First Nations. Munsee Delaware now has access to fiscal tools designed to help improve infrastructure, attract investment and access new revenues. The Nation hopes to one day be in a position to tax corporations and large-scale commercial ventures operating within its territory.