Economic Development Oportunities in Indigenous International Trade Panel

Inter-tribal and international trade for indigenous businesses looks promising as various efforts including a possible Aboriginal Trade Chapter as part of Canada’s Progressive Trade Agenda as well as the development of officially authorized Nation-State sponsored International Indigenous Trade Missions show promise of possible protection of traditional knowledge and security of a possible protected Indigenous nation-to-nation trading relationship.  As indigenous land claims continue to be settled and as tribes are seeking investment advantages such as establishing Foreign Trade Zones, there is tremendous opportunity for economic development for native peoples and for the communities and businesses with whom they come in contact.  This session will explore the efforts being made to build global Indigenous trade. What you will learn: trends in inter-tribal and international trade for indigenous businesses; how your community and aboriginal-owned businesses can benefit from these new trading initiatives; and sharing of best practices on how to develop better Indigenous trade relationships.

  • Wayne D. Garnons-Williams, International Inter-tribal Trade & Investment Organization
  • James C. Collard, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Michael Woods, Woods LaFortune LLP
  • Robert Brookfield, Trade Law Bureau, Government of Canada


WayneWayne D. Garnons-Williams
International Inter-tribal Trade & Investment Organization
Wayne is Plains Cree from Treaty 6, Moosomin First Nation, the founding President of International Inter-tribal Trade Organization, Senior Lawyer and Principal Director of the law firm Garwill Law Professional Corporation specializing in Tribal Trade and Economic Development, as well as past Chair of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Appeal Tribunal. He is on the board of directors of the International Council of the Great Lakes Region a board member of Capacity Canada and a board member of Three Feather Corporation. He is also a Research Fellow specializing in International Comparative Indigenous law at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law. He is appointed by Order in Council as a member to the NAFTA Chapter 19 Trade Remedies roster. He is the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business 2019 Award winner for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations.
Dr. CollardDr. James C. Collard
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Dr. Collard is the Director of Planning and Economic Development for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN).  In this capacity he evaluates and facilitates business development proposals and tribal franchise opportunities. He also developed and manages the CPN Economic Development Strategy. He is currently developing a rail-anchored industrial park that will serve as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment and Import/Export Center for U.S. domestic companies. Dr. Collard has initiated and packaged numerous economic development projects and agreements between multiple governmental entities.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council.  He is also on the Executive Committee of the International Inter-tribal Trade & Investment Organization (IITO).  Dr. Collard is the Past Chair of the OK Governor’s International Team and is a member of the Oklahoma District Export Council. Dr. Collard has traveled extensively internationally on business and as a participant on trade missions and diplomatic delegations. He is also the co-founder and chair of the Tribal-Municipal Dialogue, a group dedicated to increasing cooperation between tribal & local governments.  He is currently working with the University of Oklahoma - College of Law on Indigenous Human Rights issues.
Michael WoodsMichael Woods
Woods LaFortune LLP
Michael Woods is a founding partner of Woods, LaFortune LLP and has broad experience in international business with special expertise in all aspects of international trade litigation. His practice includes international trade and cross-border litigation, import and export controls, regulatory law, information technology and knowledge management, government procurement and contracting, and government relations. Mr. Woods has been recognized as a leading practitioner in the area of International Trade/WTO since 2008 by Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business. In June 2013, he was awarded the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in International Law. Mr. Woods began his career in trial and appellate litigation. In 1981, he joined Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), serving as a trade lawyer, a trade negotiator at HQ as with the Canadian Embassies in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Korea. After 21 years in government, he joined a Gottlieb & Pearson – an international trade law boutique in Montreal where he specialized in trade remedies and regulatory matters. He joined Heenan Blaikie, a large national and international firm, as a partner in 2007. He managed the Ottawa office’s international trade work and was lead counsel in several international investment disputes. In 2014 he co-founded Woods, LaFortune LLP, an international trade law boutique based in Ottawa. 
RobertRobert Brookfield
Trade Law Bureau, Government of Canada
Robert Brookfield is Director General of the Trade Law Bureau (JLT) of the Government of Canada.  He presently leads the CUSMA (formerly NAFTA) legal team and has acted as primary legal counsel or negotiator of elements of many free trade negotiations, including the Canada-EU Comprehensive Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and free trade agreements with Korea, Honduras, and Panama.  He has served as counsel for Canada on several WTO disputes, including US-Country of Origin Labelling and China-Auto Parts. He has a L.L.B from the University of British Columbia (1995) and a BArtsSc from McMaster University (1992). Robert is the 2019 recipient of the International Indigenous Trade Law and Policy Award.