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A current awareness resource for students & faculty members in Business & Economics

Business and Indigenous communities in BC

Published by Mark Bodnar

One of our MBA classes has an assignment in which they need to build value cases for hypothetical development proposals affecting specific Indigenous communities in BC.

We thought I'd gather key resources into a few blog posts to help the students, as well as anyone else who is researching this important topic. We'll string the posts together with the tag "business and Indigenous communities" (long, but descriptive!).

This first post will be focused on broad websites that provide information about the economies and cultures of multiple communities here in BC.

Indigenous organizations

Indigenous Business and Investment Council
"The Indigenous Business and Investment Council is focused on increasing Indigenous participation in the economy, promoting Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs, and industry partnerships." That is, the IBIC will help you understand the economic development and business activities that have already been initiated by BC's Indigenous Peoples, with additional resources on how you might partner with them to achieve their goals.

BC Assembly of First Nations
The BC AFN represents 203 First Nations in British Columbia, so its Community Profiles will certainly cover the community you are focused on. These profiles provide summaries of current economic development programs and partners.

  • Be sure to check out their Resource Centre, as well as the guides on their Economic Development page, esp. their Black Books. Watch for mentions of other relevant organizations that may prove relevant -- the AFN is one among many groups devoted to this topic, many of which work together and link to each other.

First Nations in BC Knowledge Network
"A space to exchange information between First Nations communities."

  • Features Directories of First Nations communities, organizations, and partners, a Resource Library, and more to help you understand and connect with BC's Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
Although ITAC isn't focused on BC specifically and is unlikely to have much information about specific First Nations communities in our province, its Marketing section does offer some interesting reports that may prove useful.

"Cando is a national Indigenous organization involved in community economic development. We build capacity which strengthens Indigenous economies by providing programs and services to Economic Development Officers."

  • Start with Cando's list of resources (financial, profiles of past CEDI initiatives, a CEED toolkit, and more). Then check their list of links to other relevant indigenous, government, and nonprofit organizations, all of which doing work relevant to CED in indigenous communities.

BC government

Indigenous People
A good starting point for a wealth of BC government resources, ranging from an A-Z listing of all BC First Nations (with links to deeper resources on each of them), economic development resources, and community support resources. 

BC Economic Atlas - First Nation Communities
Browse or search the map to find a specific community, then explore the links to relevant government and other resources. Also click on the "I want to..." link above the map to add additional map layers of economic-related information.

Trade & Invest British Columbia
Start with their Community Search page and be sure to choose the Search by First Nation option to focus on investment profiles of communities such as Ahousaht, HaislaHeiltsukHuu-ay-ahtLytton, Sliammon/Tla’amin, and Tsleil-Waututh.

Canadian government

Indigenous Services Canada
Covering First Nations, Inuit, and Metis groups throughout Canada, the new ISC site offers information on economic development, community infrastructure, governance, and more. 

  • Also check out the ISC's First Nation Profiles: "The profiles include general information on a First Nation along with more detailed information about its reserve(s), governance, federal funding, geography, registered population statistics and various Census statistics."


BC Community Impact Investment Coalition
BC CIIC brings together co-ops and other groups from across BC to build a movement for local ethical investing that benefits rural and urban local communities. Although this organization isn't specifically focused on First Nations communities, it has been involved in many projects throughout BC that may be inspirational for your assignments.

  • Some of the CIIC's case studies are also featured in this Tool Box of resources curated by the Canadian CED Network - lots of great ideas to learn from!

And the following sites may provide some useful background/context. (Thanks to our colleague, Ashley Edwards, for these suggestions!)

21 Things You May Not Have Known About the Indian Act
A blog post that ended up expanding into a book. The blog is for an Indigenous company, Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., founded and run by Bob Joseph from Gwawa’enuxw – a tribe of Kwakwaka’wakw (in Northern BC). His blog has a lot of great information about many Indigenous topics.
Indigenous Foundations
This site was created by the First Nations Studies Program at UBC. It provides summaries for many events, cases, and government policies -- useful background information as you seek to understand the current situation in some communities.
apihtawikosisan: Indigenous Issues 101
Chelsea Vowel is a Metis lawyer from Alberta who has returned to school for creative writing. Her blog, and subsequent book, break down a lot of the myths and stereotypes surrounding Indigenous peoples in funny, plain language. She humanizes the issues, and provides a wealth of citations/further readings. This specific post is a great place to start as it links out to many of her earlier posts that serve as "primers" (introductions) to dozens of important topics.

Additional SFU Library guides

First Nations Research Resources
Designed for our First Nations Studies researchers, this guide will lead you to data, books, and more. Not a "business" focus, but some of the resources may still be useful. Be sure to explore the full table of contents, from dictionaries to additional guides on the web.

Library guide for Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership
This guide was created to assist students in our EMBA program. It features detailed tips for finding books, sites, and articles both here at SFU and beyond.

If you have further sites to suggest, please do share! Our email addresses are below.

Again, we plan to create additional posts on this topic over the next few weeks, all of which will be linked via the tag "business and Indigenous communities."

-- Mark & Moninder
Mark Bodnar
Business & Economics Librarian

Moninder Lalli
Graduate Business Librarian