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NVision senior advisor Chris Grosset at Iqaluit Kuunga Nunalingnut (Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park) with the Iqaluit Community Joint Planning and Management Committee, in June, 2019.NPSP/NVision Insight Group Inc.

It’s been nearly 15 years since Victor Tootoo retired from the civil service and as a deputy minister in Nunavut. “[I] wanted the opportunity to choose more about where I can spend my time and energy and who I work with,” he said in his farewell remarks. “In a government system, you don’t have that choice.”

At first, Mr. Tootoo, originally from Rankin Inlet, worked as an independent consultant and took on mostly local projects. But in 2008, he joined NVision Insight Group Inc., an Indigenous-owned and led consulting firm with offices in Ottawa and Iqaluit.

Its services range from communications and content creation to strategic relationship management and support. Mr. Tootoo, who is Inuk, was seeing first-hand the impact that pan-Indigenous consulting companies can have in moving clients and the communities they serve from conversation to collaboration.

Mr. Tootoo and Jennifer Campbell, who is founder of Two Worlds Consulting, exemplify a transformative approach to empowerment. Their work not only facilitates dialogue and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, it underscores a commitment to reconciliation and autonomy.

They aim to navigate the intersection of cultural awareness, environmental stewardship, and economic development, paving the way for a future where Indigenous voices and perspectives are heard and actively shape policy and decision-making processes.

“There can be, at times, big differences between how things are done in a First Nations setting compared to an Inuit setting, and so we’re spending our time and energy on trying to understand where the common ground is and how it can be reflected in what we’re doing,” Mr. Tootoo says as an example.

Among NVision’s courses is “The Path – Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada,” designed as a cultural awareness program. The six-part series delves into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, offering skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism, with the aim of addressing these crucial issues.

For Mr. Tootoo, it’s a way of educating clients about the history and experiences of Indigenous People in Canada and on the many nuances and diversity among them.

“One of the big things that I’ve been an advocate for is returning to our cultural origins and into matriarchal society,” he says, explaining that they have many “strong Indigenous female leaders” working at NVision.

Two Worlds Consulting uses similar approaches when it comes to the environment, land and cultural services that are tailored specifically for Indigenous nations. Its services incorporate Indigenous knowledge and land-use studies, Indigenous-led impact assessments, as well as technical guidance and support for implementing mitigation and enhancement measures.

The team integrates its environmental efforts with reconciliation by emphasizing the development of frameworks that align with the interests and priorities of community members.

They offer guidance and recommendations to advance the process of healing and restoring relationships that have been damaged or broken, often due to historical injustices, conflicts or systemic oppression with Indigenous Peoples, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Ms. Campbell says this kind of support is important for Indigenous nations when making decisions about their lands and environments because a lot of Western data and information contains barriers.

“Even to have information presented in a way that works for the community – that’s a big challenge,” she says. “There’s so many scientific reports that I see that are really difficult for people who aren’t trained in Western science to fully understand, even people who work in the environmental fields.”

Ms. Campbell says providing services that are both rooted in reconciliation and focus on making information accessible is critical for nations who are seeking greater independence and autonomy. This is especially important when it comes to renewable energy and other responses to climate change.

“So many nations now are becoming equity owners of wind projects and I think those are the projects that we’re most excited about getting involved in,” she says.

“For us, making sure that our project delivery is good, our clients are happy and that nations are empowered to be able to make decisions based on the information that they’re presented – Indigenous businesses like Two Worlds are well positioned to do that.”

Ryan Shackleton, CEO of North America’s largest historical research firm, Know History, has worked with NVision for more than a decade on various projects. He says he’s witnessed first-hand NVision’s dedication to “building Indigenous capacity.”

Every time he walks into one of their offices, he says he admires the number of Indigenous Peoples, including youth, that the firm employs. “NVision [has] mentorship roles to build them up within the company and give them the skill sets. That’s when I knew that it was more than just an Indigenous-owned firm.”

Mr. Shackleton adds that Know History has continued collaborating with NVision over the years because both organizations are “relationship-based companies.”

“There’s other consultants out there [who] come in as experts and tell Indigenous communities how to do everything and I don’t think Nvision or Know History [approaches] our work that way,” he says, emphasizing the importance to build trust within these relationships.

For both Mr. Tootoo and Ms. Campbell, the growing list of Indigenous-owned and led consulting firms in Canada underscores the considerable value they offer to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous policy-makers and governments.

Mr. Tootoo credits NVision’s success with organizations such as Know History to a foundation of communication and reciprocity.

“The Indigenous approach to consulting and helping people – it’s more of a listening approach,” he says. “When you’ve finished your report, you bring it back [to the communities you’ve consulted] and you show them and you say, ‘Hey, this is what you said and here’s where it is in our report.’ You must be able to complete that circle and that’s a continual thing.”

Ms. Campbell says it’s all about providing communities with opportunities and the resources and support they need to make their own decisions.

“What I’m really passionate about is being able to work with other Indigenous firms and especially where a nation has a business, to be able to work with those businesses. In the future, I’m most excited about finding ways to empower other Indigenous businesses to do what they want to do.”

One in a regular series of stories. To read more, visit our Indigenous Enterprises section. If you have suggestions for future stories, reach out to

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