International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organization

Terms of Reference


An end state where there exists a global flow and exchange of Indigenous goods, services and investments.



To support and enhance the implementation of the global flow and exchange of Indigenous goods, services and investments.



On a yearly and geographic basis, develop over time the tools, mechanisms and analysis necessary to assist in the global flow and exchange of Indigenous goods, services and investments.



Apply the organization’s combined international expertise, passion and experience in addressing tangible issues that can assist in the global flow and exchange of Indigenous goods, services and investments.



  1. Respect for the Indigenous teachings and, where possible, apply these teachings to the issue of international inter-tribal trade and investment.
  2. Respect and preference for environmentally sustainable international inter-tribal trade and investment practices.
  3. Sharing of Indigenous trading practices following the organization’s mandate to inform, educate and encourage all parties to Indigenous trade and investment to adopt these best practices where practicable.
  4. Fostering, through international inter-tribal trade and investment, healthy Indigenous communities and more robust and stable Indigenous economies.



This organization recognizes that ancient inter-tribal trading practices once flourished in all Indigenous traditional territories around with world, with Indigenous peoples using lands, resources, cultural knowledge, skill and artistry in the healthy and prosperous exchange of goods, teachings, traditions and stories.  Colonisation has had a negative impact on most Indigenous peoples over the last 500 years with loss of lands and banning of language, customs and traditions, including the disruption of once strong inter-tribal trading relationships.

Today each Indigenous community within each country has its own unique social, environmental and economic challenges.  Each Indigenous economic development organization and Indigenous business also has its own challenges of generating investment capital; training and recruitment; market development; and over-all economic health and sustainability.  Various laws and policies of host countries have placed restrictions on Indigenous peoples that have limited their ability to reach their respective potential for economic success. At the same time these host laws and policies have prevented Indigenous peoples from securing their lands, language and culture.

The resurgence of Indigenous self-determination as expressed through the peaceful re‑development of Indigenous language, culture, art, custom, industry, trade and investment are the cornerstone of tribal stability and prosperity.  Having a platform for international inter-tribal trade and investment will provide a multiplier effect in achieving Indigenous economic stability and prosperity.


Strategic Scope

Foster the gathering of trade data (jurisprudence, legislation, regulation, policy, policy interpretation, indigenous products/ services, and so on) from host jurisdictions, in order to start the process of mapping the current state of each host country with respect to trade among First Nations with respect to inter-state, inter-provincial as well as international inter-tribal trade and investment.

Develop a science based, standardized and coordinated mechanism to evaluate and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges with respect to international inter-tribal trade and investment.

Provide liaison among government (Tribal, Regional, State/Provincial, National) and industry leaders to improve understanding and educate with respect to mutually advantageous opportunities for furthering international inter-tribal trade and investment.


Operational Scope

Facilitate productive discussion, objective research, and effective education with respect to international inter-tribal trade and investment, through seminars, conferences and scholarly papers.

Recommend measures, activities and policy/regulatory/legislative proposals (“initiatives”) that can further the vision of the organization while respecting its principles.

Monitor the implementation, evaluation and success of the various initiatives of the organization.


Geographic Scope

While each region has its own expertise and knowledge with respect to its local, tribal, state/provincial and at times national level, it is expected that each of the regional expertise hubs will share their knowledge and expertise with the organization as a whole, in keeping with the expected deliverable product, and in accordance with the annual plan. Each region will share its expertise and knowledge in a coordinated and business-like manner, in keeping with the organization’s agreement regarding timelines, goals, objectives and measures.


Roles and Responsibilities

Each member is responsible for developing and submitting its portion of the assigned work as specified in the annual plan.

The Executive will be comprised of a Chair, who will chair the meeting and act as lead spokesperson for the organization. The Chair will maintain a secretariat to prepare the monthly minutes, agendas and ensure timely distribution of all supporting documentation prior to each meeting. There will also be three Vice-Chairs, who will be available to assume the duties of the Chair, Financial Officer, Planning Officer or Conference lead, should these officers be unable to proceed with their duties. The Financial officer responsible for maintaining the finances, accounts, expenses will, on a monthly basis, report on the financial status of the organization. There will be a Planning representative, responsible for leading with the executive and keeping current the annual plan up to date, and who will also be responsible for producing “the Year in Review” on an annual basis. There will also be a Conference lead, who will be responsible for coordinating the annual and regional conferences. All other executives will be available to lead on various projects as specified in the Annual Plan.



General membership is open to all Indigenous governments, development corporations and Indigenous businesses, as well as businesses and organizations that demonstrate a willingness to apply the principles of the organization to delivery of their product. General Membership will be reviewed and determined by the Executive according to the principles of the organization.

Student Membership is open to application and will be approved by the respective institutional executive representative.

Executive Membership for the first five years is reserved to the original signatories, and additional Executive placement is subject to a decision of the Executive as a whole. After the first five years subsequent to the Group’s inauguration, starting in year six, the Group’s Executive will be elected by the General Membership.

The core positions of the Executive are as follows:

Chair (& Secretariat)

Vice-Chair (3 positions)



Conference Lead (U.S.A.)

Conference Lead (Canada)


Decision Making Process

The Executive has the decision making power for the organization and may pass routine by-laws, policies, membership and expenditure decisions as well as interpretation notes and all other reasonable activities in keeping with the mandate of the organization.

Where possible and practicable the Executive should strive for consensus; however if after debate and deliberation there should be no consensus, a routine vote and majority determination will carry the decision.

For changes or amendments to the Terms of Reference, barring consensus, a 2/3rds majority is required to amend or alter the Terms of Reference.



The Executive has the authority to determine the tasks to be completed within the year as well as set mid-range (2-5 years) and long term (over 5 years) projects if required.  All of these tasks will be confirmed or rejected by the Executive and those accepted will be placed in the Annual Plan.

The following criteria will be used for the development of both an initiative and task going into the Annual Plan:

Task-oriented Working Groups

From time to time the Executive will exercise its authority for the creation of a Task-oriented Working Group.  Any Task-oriented Working Group will be chaired by a member of the executive, who in turn will be authorized put together a task oriented working group with a pre‑approved mandate, budget and deadline for deliverable(s).  The chair of a Task-oriented Working Group will report back monthly to the Executive committee, providing a status report in keeping with the Annual Plan.


Deliverables/Type of Products

All deliverables and products of the Group will be the property of the organization, and it is within the discretion of the Executive via Executive decision to share or give away ownership (intellectual or otherwise) to any outside third party.

Types of Products created by the organization can be, but are not limited to, concepts, systems, ideas, legal arguments, and processes, whether in written form or delivered orally or through multi-media.


Advisory Group

The Executive group members may nominate people to the post of Advisory Group member.  The Executive as a whole will vote on nomination of such people for entrance into the Advisory Group.  Membership in the Advisory Group is open and strives for representatives of Indigenous Nations, Governments of all kinds, Industry, NGO’s and Elders and alike.


Executive Meetings

Executive Meetings will take place once a month for a maximum of one hour (unless agreed upon otherwise) via telephone conference call or other equally convenient means, including the use of social media.

Request for items placed on the agenda will be delivered to the Chair no later than one week prior to the meeting; otherwise it will be placed on the following month’s agenda.

All supporting documentation by all reporting executive members will be also be submitted to the Chair at least one week (seven days) prior to the scheduled conference.

Minutes of the last meeting will also be submitted to the Chair for distribution to the executive members no later than one week (seven days) prior to the scheduled monthly meeting.

The Chair will furnish one package of information six days before the regular monthly meeting. The information package will include:

Final Agenda;

Minutes of last meeting; and

Reports and Documentation to be presented at the up-coming meeting.

It is within the powers of the Chair to allow, or disallow and table for next month, any documentation or issues submitted less than seven days prior to the meeting.



It is the mandate of this organization to host at least one major international conference on International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment once a year.  It is the responsibility of the Executive member responsible for Conferences to strike a Task Oriented Working Group so as to lead and report back to the Executive concerning the planning and development of the annual Conference.

It is also within the mandate of the Executive to officially accept invitations to other conferences as well as to solicit for panel representation on other conferences.

It is also within the mandate of the Executive to sanction smaller regional International Inter‑Tribal Trade and Investment seminars, panels, discussion groups and mini-conferences.

Where possible, the material submitted to the conference and the presentations will be captured on social media and available for members and others to access.


Resources and Budget

It is the duty of the organizations’ Executive head of Finance to maintain the appropriate accounts, cheque books, balance sheets and financial reporting.

A double signature system will be required with, at minimum, the Executive Head of Finance being the routine secondary signature for all expenditures.

The Executive head of Finance is expected to report monthly with an up to date financial status report of the organization.

The Executive head of Finance will also keep a decision book of all financial authorizations made by the Executive.

Both the Financial Reports and the financial decisions will be electronically available to all Executive members.


Management/ Administration/ Coordination

The management, administration and coordination function will for the first year be handled through the Secretariat (as coordinated through the Chair) and the Executive head of Finance. Should the requirement for engaging the services of a professional bookkeeper, accountant, office support, legal services, etc. arise due to demand, it will be within the jurisdiction of the Executive Head of Finance, who will recommend the expenditure and recommend that the remaining members of the Executive authorize the expenditure.

It is open to all members of the Executive to petition for the expenditure of funds for the execution of activities within the mandate of the organization, however it is within the discretion of the Executive Head of Finance to recommend or not recommend expenditure due to limited or previously committed funds.



It is within the jurisdiction of the organization to develop a social media presence, however all official communications requesting opinion or comment from any media source or government must be approved by the Chair prior to release.  If time permits the matter should be brought back to the Executive committee with a recommended reply/comment.

Normal communications concerning policy or information request do not require Executive approval.



This organization is focused on International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment law and policy as applied through the organization’s principles.

Accordingly this organization has no jurisdiction for involving itself in foreign or domestic politics or policy that strays outside its mandate.  This organization thus has no political or policy position in relation to any matter outside its jurisdiction.

It is understood by the Executive that where possible the organization speaks and acts with one voice in keeping with the present Terms of Reference.  However, due to the international aspect of the organization, strict application of the Terms of Reference may not be easy, convenient or reasonable.  The relative expertise of the local executive members will be relied upon to guide the organization with respect to the local trade and investment issues.


Relationships to Other Groups

It is at the discretion of the Executive, in keeping with the principles of the organization, to authorize or decline an official association/ relationship/ sponsorship with any and all organizations not previously admitted via the Executive or advisory group membership.


Related Policies/ By-laws

It is within the mandate of the Executive to develop and pass policies and by-laws.


Reporting/ Evaluation

It is within the mandate of the Executive, as lead by the Executive member responsible for planning, to develop an annual report and evaluation.


Unresolved Issues

Any unresolved issues that have not been approved by the executive will be deemed to be at an impasse and subject to a simple majority vote for regular business, or a 2/3rds majority for changes to the Terms of Reference. Should there be a failure of the Executive to put such a matter to vote, that issue is considered declined after one year.