A need for a broad based association, relating primarily to Indigenous employment issues, was formally identified when a group of concerned individuals attended a Northern Employment Committee meeting in 1975.
As the problems affecting Indigenous employment were similar in adjoining provinces, efforts were made to establish communication and information sharing networks. In May 1976, Ivan Ahenakew, the Saskatchewan Chairperson, opened the "Native Employment Symposium".
At this meeting the participants approved a resolution for the establishment of what is known today as the Interprovincial Association on Native Employment Inc. (IANE). It was officially formed as a non-profit society under the Canadian Corporation Act on August 29, 1977.