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Indigenous business resources

This guide provides selected print and online information sources on Indigenous business and economic development topics available to SFU researchers. If you do not find what you need, contact Mark Bodnar, , or Moninder Lalli, moninder_lalli@sfu.ca, the Liaison Librarians for Business.

This guide was designed to help students better understand specific Indigenous communities in BC to learn how to conduct business in a respectful and mutually beneficial way. For example, it may help students build value cases for development proposals affecting specific Indigenous communities in BC.

A note on search terms

Researching Indigenous business topics unfortunately involves using holdover terms from racist, colonial periods, alongside current vocabulary that aims to develop a respectful relationship with Indigenous communities.  

As a result, finding resources about Indigenous Peoples in Canada in the SFU Library Catalogue (and in most library catalogues and many databases) can be difficult and frustrating. Students may encounter subjects such as Aboriginal, Indigenous, Native, and even Indian, as well as terms for specific Indigenous communities and nations such as Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Aside from any discussion of the appropriateness or accuracy of these terms, their sheer inconsistency is a barrier to good searching. Librarians are working on cleaning this mess up, but since these are standard terms used across thousands of libraries, substantial changes will take some time.

Background information

Reference sources like dictionaries and encyclopedias provide background information that can help you gain general knowledge and find keywords, names, and subject terms to improve your searches. Try searching for information on your topic in the following key resources. And if you find relevant entries or chapters, be sure to check their reference lists for additional resources!

Canadian Encyclopedia: Indigenous Peoples.
This section of this free online encyclopedia provides access to entries on topics like general knowledge, law, and leaders, as well as timelines, educational resources, and links to Heritage Minutes videos. Useful entries may include "Economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada" and "Federal departments of Indigenous and Northern Affairs."

Native Peoples of the world: An encyclopedia of groups, cultures, and contemporary issues
Provides access to entries that examine the world's indigenous peoples, their cultures, the countries in which they reside, and the issues that impact these groups. Useful entries may include "Canada" with its section on Indigenous treaties and economic development, and "Land rights", with its section on Canadian land rights examples.

International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences
Provides access to authoritative, foundational, interdisciplinary knowledge across a wide range of behavioral and social sciences fields. Useful entries may include "Indigenous management styles" and "Indigenous knowledge and intellectual property rights."

Routledge handbook of Indigenous wellbeing
This handbook explores the physical, social and emotional, economic, cultural and spiritual, and subjective wellbeing of Indigenous people and communities around the world, and can be used to help develop and implement policies and partnerships. Start with the entry on the "Economic wellbeing of Canada's Indigenous people." 

Books & ebooks

Books often provide a deeper and broader treatment of a subject than you can get from either a journal article or a web site.

To help you find books relevant to Indigenous business topics, we've provided detailed search instructions (including links to pre-run searches) in our Library guide for Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership. Because that guide already provides such comprehensive tips, we'll focus on just listing some key books here.

Click on the book covers above to learn how to access each title at SFU, or refer to the lists below which include these titles and many others. Most of these titles are accessible online as ebooks. We've indicated the exceptions that are only available in print format.

Indigenous business & management

Indigenous communities

Indigenous economics

Indigenous resource and economic development


 
For more tips about finding books and ebooks check out the SFU Library's Finding books guide.
 
Also see this FAQ for instructions on how to get a print book transferred from one SFU Library branch to another: WAC Bennett (Burnaby), Belzberg (Vancouver), or Fraser (Surrey).

Articles

News articles

News sources are great at providing current awareness. Refer to these resources to keep on top of your topic and of the rapidly changing field of Indigenous business in general.

Indigenous publications and news outlets

APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) News
This news site from ATPN provides links to breaking news articles, in-depth reports, editorials, live-streams, and newscasts on issues of importance to Indigenous communities located in unceded territories and on lands claimed by Canada.

First Nations Drum
Billed as "Canada's largest First Nations newspaper" this news site aims to inform and entertain its readers while strengthening understanding between Native and non-Native residents. It provides access to breaking news and business articles, among others.

Windspeaker
This news site, from AMMSA (Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta) provides access to breaking news articles, editorials, a job bank, and other resources.

CBC Indigenous
This section of CBC's news site features articles from various news teams, and links to CBC radio programs and podcasts such as Unreserved.

Key news databases

American Indian Newspapers
Provides access to print journalism from Indigenous peoples of the US and Canada from a range of communities. Includes British Columbia (e.g., Kamloops Wawa, Secwepemc News) and US periodicals produced from 1828 to 2016. Due to its lack of current content, this resource may be more useful for historical research.

Alternative Press Index
Provides access to alternative news and radical media resources, including periodicals like Akwesasne Notes and the American Indian Quarterly.

To find news articles from other sources, check out our News resources guide.

Journal articles

Journal articles provide sharply focused information on specific discoveries, research and recent events. Try searching for articles on your topic in these key databases.

    Business/marketing

    Business Source Complete
    As our main business article database, Business Source covers business and industry news sources, as well as business journal articles.

    • Try keywords such as "Indigenous business", "Indigenous economic development", "Aboriginal business", "Aboriginal economic development".
        
    • Try subject terms such as Native American business enterprises
    • Start with this rough search in Business Source Complete

    Indigenous

    Bibliography of Native North Americans
    Provides access to more than 80,000 citations for books, essays, journal articles, and government documents on all aspects of Native North American culture, history, and life. Topics include business, multicultural relations, gaming, governance. Coverage is from the sixteenth century to the present. Start with this rough search for the broad concept of "economic development," then add further terms to refine your search.

    First Nations Gazette
    Provides access to p​​​​​​ublic notices and announcements by First Nation governments, federal & other level of governments, corporations and others. Focuses on First Nation legislation, including First Nation laws, by-laws, land codes, and more.

    FPIC (Free Prior and Informed Consent)
    Provides information and resources on FPIC as a tool of self-determination to assist communities in decision making, including external links to various reports. FPIC is the inherent right Indigenous communities have to decide “yes” or “no” to resource development that would affect their lands and is recognized in UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

    For more help, see How to find journal articles.
     
    Also, check our lists of business databases for additional suggestions.
     
    And note that many online journals and magazines have "alert" features that allow you to get emails when new issues are published or your chosen topics are reported on.

    Company directories

    IBD (Indigenous Business Directory)
    The Government of Canada's IBD is designed to assist and support Indigenous businesses in the pursuit of business opportunities and is available to all levels of government, as well as the private sector to identify Indigenous businesses. The IBD company directory can be searched by keyword, company name, province, NAICS code, business activity, number of employees, sales, market interest, etc.

    CCAB (Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business) Member Directory
    CCAB builds bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, businesses, and communities through diverse programming, tools, training, network-building, major business awards, and national events. This directory enables browsing by alphabetical list and searching by company name, province/territory, industry, and membership type.

    BC Indigenous Business Listings
    This dataset offers a brief summary of Indigenous businesses operating in BC. The information provided is intended to facilitate connections and support an understanding of ownership trends among Indigenous businesses. For each business, the following information is provided: Indigenous owner(s), location, website links, primary emails, and primary phone numbers.

    IBIC (Indigenous Business and Investment Council) BC Business Directory
    IBIC is focused on "increasing Indigenous participation in the economy, promoting Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs, and industry partnerships." This directory enables searching by company name, product/service, region, number of employees, years in business, and business type. Use this resource to identify possible partners and link out to key sections of the BC Economic Atlas.

    BC Indigenous Business Award
    This page from the  BC Achievement Foundation's website includes a list of past award recipients and outstanding business achievers from 2009 to the present.

    Also explore the following SFU Library guides for more company information:

      Associations and industry organizations

      Associations and industry organizations often have reports, news, and links to further resources. The following are a few of the many associations and organizations associated with Indigenous business and economic development.

      CCAB (Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business)
      CCAB builds bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, businesses, and communities through diverse programming, tools, training, network building, major business awards, and national events.

      IBIC (Indigenous Business and Investment Council)
      IBIC is focused on "increasing Indigenous participation in the economy, promoting Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs, and industry partnerships." As such, 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.

      First Nations in BC Knowledge Network
      This website is a hub for First Nations in British Columbia to share ideas, tools, and best practices on aspects of governance and community development. The site provides access to directories, resources, blog posts, a job bank, etc.

      • The Directory lists First Nations communities, organizations, and partners and may be used to explore, find contacts, or learn more about groups from across BC.
      • The Resource Library provides access to documents and templates that can be learnt from, customized and adapted to meet individual community needs.

      ITAC (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 BC, its Marketing section does offer some interesting reports that may prove useful.

      Cando
      Founded by Economic Development Officers (EDOs) from Canada in 1990, Cando is a national Indigenous organization involved in community economic development (CED). The organization provides  training, education and networking opportunities, and programs and services to EDOs to help them build capacity and strengthen Indigenous economies.

      • The site's list of Additional Resources provides financial resources, profiles of past CED initiatives, various toolkits and reports, and more.
      • The site's list of Resource Links provides access to other relevant indigenous, government, and nonprofit organizations, all of which are doing work relevant to CED in indigenous communities.

      Government information

      Governments at all levels can be deep sources of valuable data and analysis. 

      Indigenous

        BC Assembly of First Nations
        The BC AFN represents 203 First Nations in British Columbia for which it provides profiles with summaries of current economic development programs and partners. 

        • Be sure to check out their list of Priority Areas, including their Economic Development page and its Blackbooks. 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.

        British Columbia

        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. 

        BCEA (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.

        BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Factsheet
        This BC government legislation (2019) confirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) as the framework for reconciliation in BC. Review this factsheet about the Act to understand BC's path forward for investment, assessment, permitting, decision-making, and agreements with Indigenous Peoples.

        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 AhousahtHaislaHeiltsukHuu-ay-ahtLyttonSliammon/Tla’amin, and Tsleil-Waututh.

        Canada

        Indigenous Services Canada
        Covering First Nations, Inuit, and Metis groups throughout Canada, the ISC site offers information on lands and economic developmentcommunity infrastructuregovernance, and more. 

        • Also check out the ISC's Community Well-Being index, as well as the  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."

        Miscellaneous resources

        BC CIIC (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.

        21 Things You May Not Have Known About the Indian Act
        A blog post that ended up expanding into a book. The blog is published by an Indigenous company, Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., founded and run by Bob Joseph from Gwawa’enuxw – a tribe of Kwakwaka’wakw (in Northern BC), and is definitely worth reading beyond the single post highlighted here.
         
        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 research guides

        Indigenous Studies research resources (SFU Library)
        Designed for SFU's Indigenous Studies researchers, this guide contains data, books, and more. It doesn't have 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.

        Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre (SFU)
        Resources about Indigenizing curriculum and Indigenous pedagogy to support the work of Indigenizing and Decolonizing curriculum at SFU. Useful for instructors, and for students who want to understand the broader context of the changes happening in assignments, courses, and programs at SFU.

        Library guide for Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership (SFU Library)
        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.

        Xwi7xwa Research Guides (UBC Library)
        These UBC research guides include search strategies for finding resources that are relevant to the multidisciplinary study of Indigenous topics and materials written from Indigenous perspectives. Xwi7xwa librarians regularly evaluate resources to find reliable, authoritative information.

        Indigenous Resources (Capilano U Library)
        This guide introduces Capilano U Library resources and provides external links to various reference, community, government, and news resources.