In the last few decades, McLeod Lake leadership has prioritized economic development and education. Colonial policies have prevented the community from benefitting from its own resources for generations. Until the 1980s, resource development happened in McLeod Lake territory without their consultation or consent. Now, McLeod Lake leads industrial activity in the region, running its own companies and employing its members.
McLeod Lake’s visionary approach to politics and economics has been extremely successful in negotiations with governments and industry.
“We talked about our land a lot and how it was getting logged off and mined off and all this good stuff. One day my dad said, ’We need a piece of the pie. Not that big [of] one, we just need a piece of a pie.’ So, he wanted to share in the resources that were being extracted from our area, traditional territories. I heard him talk about it lots towards mid-1985. I could notice his tone changing. It was getting tougher, meaner. My old dad was usually a soft-spoken guy. And I think he got tired of seeing 300 logging trucks going by his door every day. And we didn’t have one cent from that.”
— Harley Chingee