Spotlight on First Nation employee Sue Prince
Sue Prince has a foot in two worlds.
The Indigenous Relations Advisor with OPG, who is of Ojibway and German descent, lives a traditional life with her four kids, husband, and mother-in-law in the Mattagami First Nation. On weekends, she and her family venture into the woods in her backyard to hunt moose, fish, and forage for blueberries.
When the weekday rolls around, Prince gets in her van to drive 100 kilometres to OPG’s Timmins Service Centre, where she has been acting as a liaison between Indigenous communities and OPG since 2012.
It’s the perfect life for her.
Prince, who started at OPG in 2008, was one of the first Indigenous Relations Advisors to be stationed outside of Toronto and close to numerous Indigenous host communities where OPG operates in northeast Ontario.
Informed by case law and her own experiences as a woman, First Nations member, and former community councillor, Prince advises OPG on the best approach to establishing a positive and respectful relationship with Indigenous people.
She now spends much of her time travelling all along the Mattagami River to meet with OPG’s partner communities, including the Moose Cree First Nation and the Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN). She also serves as a co-spokesperson for OPG’s Native Circle, which organizes the company’s Aboriginal Day celebrations and the John Wesley Beaver Memorial student awards.
“I really enjoy the grassroots part of my job,” said Prince. “I’m in the communities helping to come up with creative solutions and living up to our long-term commitments.”
Recently, Prince worked to engage First Nations partner communities involved with key northeast hydroelectric projects, including the Moose Cree on the Lower Mattagami River redevelopment and the TTN on the new Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station. In each of these projects, she worked to ensure the First Nations communities’ expectations on employment and contracting targets were met.
She is now working to implement final settlement agreements with three First Nations in the northeast.
“There are plenty of challenges in this job,” Prince said. These include raising awareness within OPG of Indigenous culture and ensuring Indigenous and treaty rights, as well as traditions, are respected near OPG facilities so that community members can continue to live a traditional lifestyle safely.
“The greatest satisfaction comes from overcoming these obstacles and understanding each other a little better. There’s strength in an agreement that can satisfy both parties.”
Employee spotlight: Sue Prince
Position: Indigenous Relations Advisor
Work location: Timmins Service Centre
Years of service: Nine
Favourite place to visit in Ontario: Anywhere north
Favourite book: A Life in the Bush by Roy MacGregor
Favourite weekend activity: Being in the woods. “I like kayaking and canoeing a lot. I live on the water. We also hunt and fish. It’s all part of the traditional lifestyle.”