A photo of the WIBF kick-off powwow at Wanuskewin.  Photo courtesy the World Indigenous Business Forum Facebook page.

Hotels are packed and organizers are nothing but excited as the first ever World Indigenous Business Forum in Canada has officially begun in Saskatoon.

Delegates from around the world will be in the city for the next couple days to discuss how to involve their local Indigenous communities in the economy.

Nearly a thousand delegates from around the globe are in the city for the international forum.

“We arrived on Sunday and on our flight were people from Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Guatemala,” said Rosa Walker, President of the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, who organized the event.

“They are coming from all over and couldn’t be more excited,” said Walker. “They can’t believe what a beautiful city Saskatoon is and I just found out all the hotels downtown are packed and to capacity, so we are so excited.”

The forum began with a kick-off powwow at Wanuskewin Heritage Park Tuesday morning where several of the Indigenous communities shared different cultural practices.

After all the delegates got registered and settled in they will attend a welcoming banquet at Dakota Dunes Tuesday evening.

Throughout the next couple days attendees will hear presentations from people around the world. Among them include presentations from local organizations like Cameco, PotashCorp and the Government of Saskatchewan.

According to organizers the WIBF is designed to provide delegates with learning and networking opportunities.

Walker says the legacy of this event is already being seen through the Saskatchewan World Indigenous Festival for the Arts as well as a newly introduced Aboriginal youth entrepreneurship grant.