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Many Indigenous communities appear to be locked in situations of economic dependency and marginalization, resulting in conditions of extraordinarily high unemployment, poverty and social distress that are unparalleled elsewhere in Canada.


The purpose of this 2-day workshop is to engage participants in an exploration of the means of restoring Indigenous community economies to a situation of self-reliance and full employment.


In order to change the present reality we need to understand how we got to this situation. The workshop begins with an overview of the different historical periods of colonization in the Hudson Bay watershed:

  • The Fur Trade era (1670 to 1870);

  • Treaties and initial European settlement (1870 to 1910);

  • The undermining of local Indigenous (First Nations) economies (1910 to 1960);

  • Economic marginalization and dependency (1960 to the present).

… and  then proceeds to an analysis of contemporary First Nations community economies.

The task of restoring Indigenous community economies begins with identifying alternative approaches that local communities and Canadian society at large can pursue to disrupt and reverse the economic marginalization and dependency of Indigenous communities. Some of these are:

  • Import substitution    

  • Expanded employment in the not-for-profit  sector  (arts & culture, sports & recreation, etc.)

  • Increased participation in regional economies   

  • Procurement and other wealth accumulation strategies  

  • Investing in people   

This workshop will interest Indigenous  communities, organizations working with Indigenous communities, and anyone seeking 'economic reconciliation' between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Mapping a Vision for the Community's Economic Future

Community Works can facilitate the development of a Community Economic Plan for your community.

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