Cameco seeks positive relationships with aboriginal people everywhere we operate. Through open communication and active engagement, we have gained the trust and support of many local communities.
Annual Northern Tour
Cameco has been conducting tours of northern Saskatchewan communities for many years, providing aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents an opportunity to learn more about Cameco's workforce development initiatives and business partnerships.
A cornerstone of the tour is an open forum where community members can ask questions or voice concerns about the impact industry is having on their communities. The tours are an important venue for hearing from community members and also for educating them – providing information that helps communities make more informed decisions about Cameco and its activities.
Face to face engagement in a group setting encourages transparency and dialogue, benefitting both Cameco and community members.
Chair in Aboriginal health
Aboriginal communities in Canada face disproportionate challenges in meeting their health-care needs, ranging from shortages of doctors and nurses to lack of funding and infrastructure. Models of healthcare delivery designed for urban and rural populations often fail to meet the needs of more remote communities.
To help address this issue in Saskatchewan, Cameco donated $1.5 million to Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital Foundation in 2003 to create the Cameco Chair in Aboriginal Health. The original donation has become the seed money for a $3 million endowment fund established at the University of Saskatchewan in support of the chair.
The chair was created to encourage and support research, scholarship and new approaches to patient care in aboriginal communities. It will help to advance the college's commitment to improving health services for aboriginal populations, while serving as a model to attract aboriginal physicians to academic positions in the province.
Memorandum of understanding with Mississauga First Nation
In 2010, Cameco's Blind River refinery in northern Ontario signed a memorandum of understanding with the local Mississauga First Nation to work together co-operatively to benefit the community and the company.
Under the agreement, the chief of Mississauga First Nation and the Blind River refinery's general manager will meet at least twice a year to discuss how best to work together on matters of mutual concern.
Both parties confirmed their commitment to focus on socio-economic development projects related to youth, education, health and wellness and community development – key priorities for Cameco and the Mississauga First Nation.
Youth and culture camp
One of Cameco's target demographics for financial support is youth, especially aboriginal youth in northern communities. In keeping with this commitment, we recently sponsored a one-week youth and elder culture camp for boys and girls aged 13 to 19 from various northern Saskatchewan communities.
The purpose of the camp was to teach youth traditional Denesuline ways by developing their language, culture and life skills, and proficiency in the traditional barren-ground caribou hunt. Participants lived on the land for a full week, setting up camp, hunting caribou, preparing the meat and learning important orientation skills. Cultural activities took place each evening, including drumming, games and traditional caribou stories told by the elders.
Afterward, students were asked to write about their experience at camp – in Dene.
Wind River library donation
A reception was held in Riverton, Wyoming last spring to recognize Cameco's substantial donation to benefit the Fremont County library system.
The $50,000 contribution was targeted to the Wind River Indian Reservation and will help children from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes who rely on library outreach centres for many services, programs and resources, including internet access.
The Kintyre project in Western Australia is situated on the traditional lands of the Martu people and their support is essential to developing this project.
Cameco's corporate social responsibility team recently hosted a group of Martu representatives at the Rabbit Lake operation, where they met Cameco employees working at our northern operations. Seeing a well-established operation and speaking directly with aboriginal community members gave the Martu confidence in our responsible approach to mining and community development.
Although a final development agreement has yet to be completed, we have signed a preliminary, non-binding memorandum of understanding that acknowledges the Martu's support in principle for the proposed development.
We also continue to actively engage community members in Australia, speak about aboriginal rights and community development at industry conferences, employ Martu contractors, and recruit and train local residents for work at the Kintyre site.