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 don't find what you need, contact Mark, or Moninder Lalli,, the liaison librarians for Business.

We've designed this guide to help students better understand specific Indigenous communities in BC as part of an effort to learn how to conduct business in a respectful and mutually beneficial way. For example, it may help students collaborate on value cases for development proposals affecting specific Indigenous communities in BC.

  If your research is focused specifically on Indigenous Tourism, check our recent blog post on that topic: 

On Indigenous tourism: sources & search tricks

 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 subject terms 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 some of these terms, their sheer inconsistency is a barrier to effective 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." See also the Routledge handbook of Indigenous environmental knowledge and the Routledge handbook of indigenous development.

 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.

 Highlight:  Indigenous perspectives on business ethics and business law in British Columbia : a 2022 OER (Open Educational Resource — free textbook) with local content!

"This book explores business ethics and business law through the lens of Indigenous-settler relations in Canada (with a focus on British Columbia in particular). It aims to fill a gap in business curriculum and support instructors who want to bring Indigenous content into their classes. The book starts by exploring relevant history, focusing on treaties, legislation, and federal government policy. It then looks at business ethics and what it means for businesses to work ethically with Indigenous communities. And finally, the book discusses business law and the requirements and responsibilities for businesses doing work on Indigenous lands."

Cover image of the ebook:  Indigenous perspectives on business ethics and business law in British Columbia

Indigenous business & management

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Indigenous communities

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Indigenous economics

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Indigenous resource and economic development

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For more tips on 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 & reports

News articles

Cover image of the June 2023 issue of Mákook pi Sélim.

  Be sure to read Mákook pi Sélim, Business in Vancouver's Indigenous business magazine. Finding such local information is often difficult!  Thus far they've published five issues: June 2021December 2021June 2022, December 2022, and June 2023.

From the BiV site: "This issue explores stories of Indigenous entrepreneurship, the path to reconciliation through education, the case for UNDRIP in B.C. and more. It also features thought leadership from Indigenous political and business leaders."

News sources are great for identifying trends, experts, organizations, and recent developments. Refer to these resources to keep on top of your topic and of the rapidly changing field of Indigenous business in general.

Indigenous news publications and 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, amongst others.

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 our News resources guide for links to databases such as Canadian Newsstream (general newspapers from across Canada) and Factiva (global news coverage).
Also focus locally on general business news publications such as Business in Vancouver (sample search - scroll down to see the results) and BC Business, starting with their Indigenous page.

Journal & magazine articles

 Special note on two key publications

Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development (JAED)
This publication provides a very important Indigenous and Canadian perspective that is often difficult to find. The JAED issues from 2009 (v.6) to the present are now available online.

Journal of Aboriginal Management (JAM)
Canada’s only professional Indigenous management, finance and governance journal. Most JAM issues have special themes: e.g., Issue #33 (Oct. 2023) was focused on Infrastructure: Building a Better Tomorrow.

Bibliography of Indigenous Peoples in North America 
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.

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

First Nations Gazette
Provides access to public 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.

 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.

Reports from research institutes, think tanks, NGOs, etc.

An Overview of the Indigenous Economy in Canada
Discussion paper (Oct. 2023) by the Bank of Canada. 

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).

Mikwam Makwa Ikwe (Ice Bear Woman): a national needs analysis on Indigenous women’s entrepreneurship

An updated effective practices guide: Land use planning by First Nations in British Columbia
A report from New Relationship Trust, a not-for-profit set up to provide "... resources to assist First Nations to build their own capacity to participate in the processes and activities envisioned by, and that revolved from, the New Relationship between the Government of B.C. and First Nations in B.C. by enhancing First Nation governance, leadership and institutional and human resources capacity to address social, cultural, and economic needs and priorities." 

Use Policy Commons to search for the reports of NGOs, think tanks, and research institutes from around the world such as...

See this blog post for more details on Policy Commons. 

Local theses and dissertations

Graduate students in local research universities sometimes touch on Indigenous themes in their theses and dissertations, and their work is highly likely to have a local focus... which means it can be highly relevant if you are researching a BC-based topic. Each university has a searchable digital repository of such publications: 

A few samples: 

Entrepreneurship and indigenous identity: three studies on the connections between indigenous identity and entrepreneurial practices in Canada and Australia. 2015 PhD dissertation (SFU). See, also, the short YouTube video by the author, Bryan Gallagher.

Project delivery with Indigenous communities and methods to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing. 2022 MASc Thesis (UBC).

Respecting sovereignties: Indigenous/state agreements in British Columbia and their alignment with a dual sovereignty concept. 2020 MA Thesis (UVic).

 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.

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.

AFOA Canada (Aboriginal Financial Officers Association)
A "centre for excellence and innovation in Indigenous management, finance, and governance," AFOA Canada is "the only organization in Canada that focuses on the capacity development and day-to-day needs of those Indigenous professionals who are working in all areas of management, finance, band administration, leadership and program management." See also: AFOA BC.

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. Check out, in particular, the CCAB's 2019 Business Reconciliation in Canada Guidebook.

First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB)
The FMB provides "the tools and guidance that will instill confidence in First Nations’ financial management and reporting systems to support economic and community development." Start by scanning their Tools & Templates and reading their Stories, but also check the rest of their site for resources such as the RoadMap Project: "realistic and impactful options to empower First Nations governments in moving past the failed one-size-fits-all approach of the colonial system."

First Nations Major Projects Coalition
A coalition of First Nations formed to examine "i) how ownership of major resource projects on their lands could be facilitated, and ii) how environmental practices can be improved to meet their needs. " Browse the FNMPC site to find economic and environmental documents and tools such as "Indigenous Sustainable Investment: Discussing Opportunities in ESG."

First Peoples Cultural Council
A "First Nations-led Province of British Columbia Crown corporation with a mandate to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage in British Columbia."

  • Start with the FPCC's First Peoples' Map of BC, an interactive online map featuring over 360 individual Indigenous artists and cultural groups, and 34 Indigenous languages across British Columbia. It also offers pronunciations of place names, information on local Indigenous artists and other cultural information through a mix of videos, images, and more.
  • Check out their other Resources for information on arts, language, and heritage such as a guide to working with elders and a report on costing models for language maintenance, revitalization, and reclamation

Indigenous Works (formerly: Aboriginal Human Resource Council)
Indigenous Works is "committed to increasing Indigenous engagement in the Canadian economy by helping workplaces achieve stellar workplace inclusion performance, employment strategies and partnerships." 

"Work with First Nations" - Resources
This collection of reports, guides, tool kits, and other resources was once available via the IBIC (Indigenous Business and Investment Council). The IBIC site is no longer online, so we've linked to an archived version of the page via the Internet Archive instead.  

Indigenous Tourism BC - Corporate Site
A "a non-profit, Stakeholder-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry." Features research resources and insights to help you understand the market, as well as the ITBC Tourism Roadmap: "a resource for Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs, cultural keepers and Indigenous community leaders to navigate the path to launch your tourism idea or strengthen your existing business."

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, it does offer some tools and reports that may prove to fit your needs.

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. 


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. 

  • 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.
  • Be sure to check out their list of Priority Areas, including their Economic Development page to find reports such as the Blackbooks series as well as policy papers such as: "Centering First Nations Concepts of Wellbeing: Toward a GDP-Alternative Index in British Columbia" and "Free Prior and Informed Consent in Business."

British Columbia

CivicInfo BC: Joint Indigenous and Local Government Initiatives and Relations
A collection of resources related to initiatives, agreements, arrangements, partnerships, and the provision of services between Indigenous governments and organizations, and local governments in British Columbia.

Indigenous People
A good starting point for a wealth of BC government resources, ranging from an A-Z listing of 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.

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
The MIRR "leads the B.C. Government in pursuing reconciliation with the First Nations and Indigenous peoples of British Columbia."  Learn about a wide range of provincial and community-based resources and services. 

Trade & Invest British Columbia
Start with their Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia page.

Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM): Pathways to Collaboration
[A] joint initiative of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), the Province of British Columbia, and the First Nations Summit with funding from the Indigenous Business & Investment Council (IBIC). The project aims to showcase the growing number of successful economic development collaborations and partnerships between First Nations and local governments, while highlighting lessons learned and key steps to success. 


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

Key Legislation & Declarations

BC passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act or DRIPA) in 2019. The Declaration Act forms the framework for reconciliation here in BC. It's the provincial implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration or UNDRIP). Canada's federal government passed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act in 2021.

Understanding and implementing these Acts is core to building new relationships. Many of the resources throughout this guide will touch on the Declaration Act and/or UNDRIP, but here are a few highlights: 

Mákook pi Sélim (Business in Vancouver publication)
June 2022 issue: Includes an article on the government's Action Plan to implement the Declaration Act (pp 14-15): DRIPA Action Plan: Action was needed, but is the plan bold, bureaucratic, or both?
June 2023 issue: Includes an article on... DRIPA and Mining in BC (pp 13-15)

Declaration Act homepage
Contains the 89-point Action Plan, annual reports, and more. Also see the BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Factsheet to understand BC's path forward for investment, assessment, permitting, decision-making, and agreements with Indigenous Peoples.

Braiding legal orders : implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
John Borrows (Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation), Larry Chartrand (Métis), Oonagh E. Fitzgerald, Risa Schwartz, (2019)
"Implementation in Canada of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is a pivotal opportunity to explore the relationship between international law, Indigenous peoples' own laws, and Canada's constitutional narratives. ... In response, these essays engage with the legal, historical, political, and practical aspects of UNDRIP implementation."

Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
Government of Canada site. Includes some background on the Act as well as examples of current and next steps toward implementation here in Canada.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
From UBC's Indigenous Foundations program, useful context on UNDRIP and initial reactions to it by the government of Canada. 

Unfinished Business: Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Essay (2020) by Sheryl Lightfoot at the site of the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP)

Also see these books, ebooks, and reports via the SFU Library catalogue.

 Miscellaneous resources

BC CIIC (BC Community Impact Investment Coalition)
  It appears that the BC CIIC's website is not currently available. We've temporarily replaced the link above with one to a snapshot of the page as it appeared in early 2022 (courtesy of the Internet Archive). We'll review this again in the near future. For now, one of their core resources, the British Columbia Community Investment Co-operative Startup and Operations Guide, is still available online via the Canadian CED Network.
Old description: 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.

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 being expanded into a bestselling book by Bob Joseph, a member of the Gwawaenuk Tribe. The short book (available in print and ebook formats at SFU) is foundational reading in this time of reconciliation.
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, as well as for students who want to understand the broader context of the changes happening in SFU's assignments, courses, and programs. In addition to pedagogy resources, the ICRC offers assignment examples and resources for classroom use.

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 University Library)
A great guide from our colleagues across the inlet!  Check it for any links to reference, community, government, and news resources that we may have missed.