Is it Indigenous relations or Indigenous engagement? We think it’s the same thing.
More and more companies are looking to engage and work with Indigenous communities. Gaining support in the environment you operate in needs purposeful interaction with the communities by building mutual understanding, trust, and respect.
This requires searching for the common ground even if it takes longer than anticipated. Don’t be a temporary business partner.
Establishing relationships and partnerships can be confusing and intimidating and many companies don’t have the knowledge, know where to go, or even where to start.
All of this defines both Indigenous relations and engagement.
Many companies want to know how best to approach Indigenous strategy, policy and engagement.
We assist your company in creating your own Indigenous Relations Toolbox. Working together with your team to build internal strategies and policies, we help you lay the foundation in order to build solid, lasting, and productive relationships with the local Indigenous communities and businesses.
We provide insight & understanding about Indigenous landscapes from overviews of communities from across Canada to a sense of the economic and political climate. We offer you an understanding of communities and your place in relationship with them:
Understanding your company and its current Indigenous relations knowledge, engagement efforts, and corporate policies through senior leaderships interviews, human resource and supply chain process reviews, as well as assessments of diversity and inclusion practices
Measurement & tracking
Reporting for Indigenous supply chain spend, employment and community investment tracking, as well as the ability to track clients commitments and deliverables throughout the duration of the project while keeping each other accountable on promises made.
Providing updates on Indigenous business, political, social, and environmental landscape to keep your team up to date.
How do you find a business partner? Gain direct access to our comprehensive nationwide list of over 1200 Indigenous and Indigenous-endorsed businesses when you need to find a subcontractor or partner.
Both are an integral piece of Indigenous relations as they enable us to make decisions from a more informed place. Mutual respect is key to successful relationships whether in business or in our everyday lives.
Our Indigenous awareness training package gives employees at all levels a foundation of knowledge to build upon. It includes:
Indigenous Awareness Introduction: Explore and Understand
Sign up for our Indigenous Awareness training course
For community members starting work with a company or in a new work environment can be both overwhelming and frightening. Just as employers should learn about Indigenous culture, so should new employees learn about the employer’s corporate culture.
It is necessary to ensure a company continues to build trust and nurture relationships in order to earn the social license to operate within communities. This is an ongoing and continuing process that results in lasting partnerships, not transactional exchanges.
Creating opportunities to make connections with our Indigenous community partners, coast to coast to coast.
Guiding companies in how to develop early, often and ongoing engagement, capacity development planning, resulting in employment, business development and procurement with Indigenous businesses and communities.
Building practical policies and procedures covering employment and training, procurement, community investment.
Communication and action plans
Through collaboration with the communities in the vicinity of your projects.
We want to work ourselves out of a job. Our goal is to equip you with everything you need internally to develop and run your own Indigenous relations team. We help guide you through the process until you are comfortable and fully equipped to continue yourself. The benefits include less turnover on projects as the team members are already integrated into your company as well as reducing your on-boarding and recruitment cost.
CCAB PAR certification
Walk the path to certification guided by Danielle Hartley, CCAB’s first accredited PAR facilitator.
Undertake recruitment, training, and mentorship to develop the expertise to take on Indigenous relations roles within your organisation.
Helping company employees obtain the soft skills to be able to implement policies and proper engagement practices with all Indigenous relations initiatives.
We welcome you into our trusted relationships with communities so you can learn how to develop and form your own. It’s important for many people in the company, from leadership to front line workers, to continue to build these connections.
We work with a wide variety of clients in multiple industries including oil & gas, mining, aerospace & defence, commercial & industrial construction, renewable energy as well as building Indigenous Benefits Plans for Canadian federal government projects. Although most of our clients are contractors engaged by lead proponents of large scale construction and P3 projects, DHIR also guides professional services such as law firms in building their industry specific Indigenous strategies.
Danielle Hartley and the DHIR team is excellent to work with. As a client, Danielle understands the significance of having a strategy built around Indigenous relations and partnerships, ensuring clients understand the history of Indigenous Peoples and how corporate Canada can work effectively together with Indigenous communities and businesses. What impresses me most about the DHIR team is the attention to detail and focus on their customer needs.Bill Gourley | Director, Energy Transition & Strategic Partnerships, Superior Propane
I’ve had the privilege of working with Danielle as EllisDon works towards PAR certification. She is a wealth of information, has a strong network, and has guided us through the PAR process with patience and unwavering leadership. Her knowledge and experience have been instrumental as we build a strong foundation of Indigenous cultural awareness, and create meaningful and lasting relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities. I have really enjoyed working with Danielle and look forward to continuing our work together.Jennifer Khan | VP, Diversity Inclusion, EllisDon
For companies and organizations looking to build out frameworks to answer TRC Calls to Action, or those that are just looking to demonstrate good reconciliation, Danielle Hartley Indigenous Relations Inc is an excellent resource to guide companies in this process. For the last decade, Danielle has been instrumental in guiding and supporting organizations looking to achieve certification in the PAR program.Luanne Whitecrow | Director, Progressive Aboriginal Relations Program, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
To ensure that Cahill reached the Indigenous inclusion percentage mandated by the client, Cahill’s procurement department and the DHIR team worked together to bring about the best possible outcomes for all involved.
After connecting with local First Nation communities, businesses and organizations, Cahill’s procurement department utilized our Indigenous supplier database and actively sought out Indigenous businesses for inclusion in the bidding process. We assisted those businesses in the approval process and created the workforce reporting form for detailed reporting.
The Indigenous procurement spend far exceeded the set targets and there was 67% Indigenous procurement rate on the project. The client has demonstrated ongoing philanthropic actions and involvement in the local community.
To build a kitchen skills training program where members of the local Indigenous communities could learn the skills necessary to work in the kitchen of the BC Hydro Site C Two Rivers Lodge.
Understanding the barriers of working away from home in a work force accommodation setting, a training program was developed to not only introduce the local Indigenous communities to kitchen career opportunities but to also introduce them to the way of life in a lodge setting. All of the participants moved into the lodge for 5 full days where they learned life skills during the morning sessions and kitchen skills in the afternoon.
In the first session, eight community members from five local Indigenous communities participated in the program and all were hired to join the ATCO team. With the opportunity to experience working away from home, Indigenous community members built future careers and shared the positive experience with their friends and families back home.
At DHIR, our attitude is ”roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work”. Working closely with many Indigenous communities and organizations across the country, we have honed the skills needed to help build, lead and manage Indigenous engagement strategies for clients committed to reconciliation. Our ability to make genuine connections with all stakeholders will benefit our client’s engagement goals.
The hard, tactical skills can be found in many but the soft skills of encouraging trust and building agreement are often harder to find. They are ingrained in who we are at DHIR. We help companies to create and maintain relationships with Indigenous communities. We introduce our clients to those communities we already have formed relationships with and identify communities of interest to our clients in the areas in which they operate.
We differentiate by maintaining the interests of all involved – both our clients and the communities they partner with. In doing so, we have established a solid reputation among both businesses and communities, building an awareness of the standards, protocols, processes, events and current issues that impact both parties.
Above all, we operate with empathy, humility, a willingness to learn and help you understand the cultural sensitivity required to operate in the right relation with Indigenous communities.
With a solid foundation in management and overall business strategies, Danielle returned to school at 38 and completed a Bachelor of Public Relations degree at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.
Since receiving her degree, she analogizes her learning curve as drinking from a fire hose. From creating and building a communications department in one of Canada’s most progressive First Nations to playing in the old boys club of corporate Canada, Danielle has gained invaluable experience from many varying viewpoints.
Borrowed from the Meyers-Briggs Personality test and ENFJ overview, those who know Danielle, know that this describes her exactly:
According to Meyers-Briggs, ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.”
Natasha has been in the field of Indigenous Relations since 2019 when she began an internship with the Cahill Group and has since worked for DHIR Inc., leading the relations plans for its clients. Natasha helps with the creation and implementation of Indigenous strategies, procurement plans, employment and skills training plans as well as training for executive teams and their employees.
Natasha has completed programs at Dalhousie University, Aboriginal People’s Training Commission (APTEC) and the Canadian College of Natural Medicine. She is continuing her education, by pursuing PR and Communications through Mount Saint Vincent University and studying the Mi’kmaw language.
Natasha belongs to Pictou Landing First Nation and resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia (also known as Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki. She finds her work rewarding as it helps bring increased business, education and training opportunities to Indigenous communities across ‘Turtle Island’ while also educating and spreading awareness.
With the belief that learning is a life-long journey, she seeks out knowledge and teachings at every opportunity. In her off time, she enjoys being with her family and community. Natasha’s recent lessons have been in basket making and powwow dancing and she looks forward to pursuing these artforms further.
Deanna oversees the day-to-day operations of DHIR. She brings a vibrant energy to the office and is excited to continue learning about Indigenous culture and the positive impact DHIR has on Indigenous communities. She loves that our company has a “people first” environment.
Deanna possesses an educational background in Early Childhood Education which enabled her to own and operate her own childcare facility for years before making the switch to Home Health Care. In October of 2021 she switched hats once again and joined the amazing team as DHIR Inc.’s office manager.
She has lived most of her life in the Halifax area, and because of that, has many close ties to her community. When Deanna’s not at work, you can find her exploring the outdoors, travelling, and spending time with family and friends, especially spending time with her grandchildren.
With a “team first” mentality and drive to help others, Billy combines his education with developed skills gained from 8+ years of professional experience to guide companies through the necessary path to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
From studying Business Administration at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, and Cape Breton University, in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Billy has since been able to develop the skills to maneuver through different industries including Tourism, Digital Sales and Marketing. While accumulating knowledge from one industry to the next, Billy has been able to effectively connect and guide the relationships needed to create inclusive, prosperous relationships between companies and the communities where they wish to do business.
As an avid sports fan and former high-performance athlete, when Billy is not at work you can find him at a local hockey rink, baseball field or golf course as sports have always been a passion of his. When not supporting local teams or participating in sports activities you can find him at the park or on a hike with his partner Emily and German Shepherd, Phoebe.
Brook grew up and spent much of his adult life in Yellowknife, NWT where he gained his appreciation for the wilderness. As a young boy, he travelled across the Arctic with his father who was working with Inuit community members dedicated to preserving the near extinct Canadian Inuit Dog. These experiences shaped his pursuit of education in Sustainable Business Development in Resources and the Environment.
Brook’s expertise in relationship management and partnership execution has been invaluable in bringing together diverse groups to achieve economic success. He has dedicated his career to driving business opportunities through strategic and collaborative relationships. His focus on aligning common goals between stakeholders, Indigenous communities, and industry partners has resulted in the execution and management of over 60 joint ventures which have won more than $1 billion in contract awards.
He also worked for the territorial government and sat on the steering committee for the NWT Protected Areas Strategy. In this capacity, he was instrumental in helping to identify culturally and environmentally significant areas and formulating a strategy to protect them.
In addition to helping to develop a family-owned wilderness lodge business on Great Slave Lake, NWT, Brook developed dog sledding tourism packages for Japanese tourists who flocked to the North to witness the Northern Lights.