Indigenous trade is experiencing an exciting and dynamic period of growth and re-discovery It is taking its rightful place in both the domestic and international context as an important element in the process of Indigenous economic development and the ongoing work of Reconciliation.

Indigenous and Inter-tribal trade has been practiced in North America since “time immemorial.”  Prior to European contact, extensive continental trade networks facilitated the movement of people, goods, services, and knowledge.  In recognition of its history and importance, Woods, LaFortune LLP has dedicated much time and effort into supporting the promotion of Indigenous trade and investment.  For example, Michael Woods was quoted in Inside U.S. Trade  on the role of Indigenous Peoples in the in the negotiation of modern trade agreements in relation to the Nation-to-Nation aspect of the Government of Canada’s relationship with First Nations.

Woods, LaFortune LLP has been an active participant in Global Affairs Cana’s (GAC) Indigenous Working Group (IWG) since its inception.  Our firm was an early proponent of fulsome engagement with Indigenous Peoples and their representatives during the NAFTA renewal negotiations that lead to the Canada-U.S.-Mexica Agreement (CUSMA). As a founding member of the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO), Michael Woods played a key role in drafting a submission that helped lead to the creation of the IWG.  He was invited to join other representatives of the various the stakeholders groups during the negotiating rounds. His active push for an Indigenous Chapter in the agreement was noted in the media.

Post-CUSMA, Woods, LaFortune LLP has continued to IWG has continued to engage on Canada’s wider trade policy objectives and negotiations including discussions of on-going Canada-Mercosur FTA Negotiations, the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement, WTO Negotiations on Investment Facilitation and E-Commerce, the Canada-European Union CETA Civil Society Forum, and an update on CUSMA implementation with a focus on the SME and Competitiveness Committees.

As an active member of the executive if IITIO, Michael Woods has participated in numerous seminars and conferences and lectured on Indigenous trade in both Canada and the United States.

Woods, LaFortune LLP is dedicated to the promotion of Indigenous trade and investment and is able to advise on he range is of related matters including:

  • Business development and strategic
  • Market entry and business expansion
  • Participation in trade policy and trade negotiations
  • Issues related to the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights (UNDRIP)
  • Promotion and protection of Traditional Knowledge
  • Promotion of capacity building programs and funding

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any aspect of international business and/or investment, please contact Michael Woods at (613) 355-0382 or by email at for a no fee, no obligation consultation.