An organizer of the Indigenous agriculture summit in Regina says Saskatchewan First Nations should seize the opportunity to make their communities more self- sufficient by taking a closer look at what agriculture can bring to the table.

This is the fifth year for the Indigenous Agriculture Summit, which is held in conjunction with Agribition. It is a chance to network and to learn. Speakers come from all across Canada and the United States, sharing their knowledge and experience.

The Navajo in Arizona are carving out a beef market – not only raising the cattle, but supplying their quality product to aboriginal-run casinos in the state. Ranch manager Bill Inman says they plan to expand to New Mexico and beyond. He would love to see a similar program set up in Canada.

“I would love to see a copy-cat program developed in Canada,” he says, “and wouldn’t that be delightful to say now we can share strengths and overcome weaknesses, that would be just fantastic.”

Ag Summit committee member, Candice Pete, has been helping organize the show since it began. She says there is no shortage of opportunity, but what is needed is motivation and guidance.

“I think our individuals are going to take back this information and think about those ideas,” she says, “and definitely I do see an increase in economic opportunity within our communities.”

Pete says interest in the summit has grown steadily over the years. She sees agriculture as another means to an end of self-sufficiency and value-added production for Saskatchewan’s First Nations.