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Houston Barnaby knew from a young age that he always wanted to be a lawyer. He was surrounded by family members with a strong entrepreneurial work ethic and knew that he would follow in their footsteps. Barnaby, born and raised in Listuguj, but now resides in Halifax, Novia Scotia was an Indigenous Lawyer representing the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’gmaq Chiefs. As of March 2021, he co-created his company, Indigenous Treaty Partners (ITP) with fellow Mi’gmaq associates, Rebeccah Slaunwhite and Corey Mattie.

The purpose of ITP is to help educate on the importance of reconciliation and provide cultural awareness to various businesses and individuals. As of right now, these training services are offered in person or can be done remotely online. Barnaby said, “The reason why we started ITP was simply as a cultural awareness training company, but now we’re slowly expanding into other consulting work.  Now we are kind of becoming an Indigenous consulting firm – owned and operated Indigenous and also serving Indigenous markets.” Barnaby also stated that no one else was offering this kind of cultural awareness training, so after working together with his business partners, they came up with the idea and put Indigenous Treaty Partners into motion.

The company offers several important training services such as the Indigenous Cultural Training Program, and a product called a Reconciliation Action Plan – which is to increase Indigenous exposure in the workplace. Barnaby said we have all been part of colonial and formal educational institutions and workplaces, and society has a lot of unlearning to do. One of the goals is to get people excited, engaged, and wanting to do more and bring them to a place of action to support Indigenous people. ITP delivers Indigenous history passionately to its participants in these training programs, in hopes this will assist society in understanding the truth and hardships that Indigenous people still face to this day. “We have to know the truth before reconciliation can happen,” said Barnaby.

To date, ITP has done over 50 training sessions. The company was created during the pandemic, and it continues to grow more successful each day. It has gained recognition and support from CIBC and other corporations. Barnaby said that in the future he hopes Indigenous Treaty Partners will become a full-term key consulting firm and will continue to offer this unique service to increase Indigenous allies throughout Canada.

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