Review of Christy Smith & Michael McPhie’s Weaving Two Worlds: Economic Reconciliation Between Indigenous Peoples and the Resource Sector

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples — shaped in large measure in the context of resource development projects by the duty to consult — is frequently the predominant dynamic in advancing such projects (particularly energy projects) in Canada. Weaving Two Worlds (subtitled “Economic Reconciliation Between Indigenous Peoples and the Resource Sector”)[1] is a timely, practical guide to navigating the challenges — and identifying the opportunities.

Weaving Two Worlds is neither an academic treatise nor a crusading polemic. Rather, it offers insights and advice based on the authors’ years of hands-on experience, one in the mining industry and the other as a member of a First Nation. McPhie has more than 25 years’ experience in the Canadian and international resource industry. He is a former president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia. Smith is a member of K’omoks First Nation living in her traditional territory on Vancouver Island who has worked in the resource sector for more than 25 years. Currently, McPhie and Smith are both executives with Falkirk Environmental Consultants Ltd. in Vancouver.

On initial reading, some of the advice offered by the authors may seem somewhat clichéd: “…in considering building resilient relationships with others, the first step is to ‘know thyself’”.[2] The value of Weaving Two Worlds, however, lies in its application of this, and other adages, to the specific context of Indigenous relations:

…recognize what biases you might carry with you into a new relationship…ask yourself whether you are aware of the history of colonialism and subjugation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and globally.[3]

The authors proceed to offer a valuable step-by-step guide to “How to Engage”.[4]

The work also includes discussion of several case studies of Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses and communities working together on resource projects.[5]

Weaving Two Worlds has been received to widely positive reviews, perhaps the most pertinent of which for readers of ERQ is that by Susannah Pierce, Shell Canada Limited President and Country Chair:

This is a timely, provocative, and necessary book. Much of corporate Canada continues to struggle to deeply understand, let alone design and walk the path, to true economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. This book will help build awareness and understanding and challenge long-held myths and biases.

This is a valuable book for anyone looking for tools, understanding and insights into how to engage and build meaningful, respectful relationships with Indigenous people and communities.


* Energy Regulation Consultant, Co-Managing Editor Energy Regulation Quarterly.

  1. Christy Smith & Michael McPhie, Weaving Two Worlds: Economic Reconciliation Between Indigenous Peoples and the Resource Sector (Vancouver: Page Two, 2022).
  2. Ibid at 23.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid, Chapter 5.
  5. Ibid, Chapter 7.


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