A national First Nations organization has released what they are calling a “framework” to advance Indigenous economic reconciliation across the country, and to empower First Nations communities to reach greater financial prosperity and independence.
On Monday, the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB), an organization that works to support First Nations across Canada to build good governance and financial practices, announced they have released a “practical framework” they are now calling the RoadMap project.
According to FMB, the RoadMap offers “realistic and meaningful options to support First Nations governments in moving past the one-size-fits-all approach of the failed colonial system.”
“RoadMap is about moving from a system where the First Nations’ governments manage poverty, to a framework for First Nations to generate wealth,” FMB executive chair Harold Calla said. “There is an urgent need to unlock the Indigenous economy, which has the potential to grow to $100 billion in the coming years.
“RoadMap proposes options for realizing this potential by sharing wealth and power, and fundamentally it’s about First Nations having control over their economic futures.
“Making that happen is in the interest of not only First Nations, but all Canadians.”
According to FMB, RoadMap will “empower First Nations to achieve economic prosperity, self-reliance and the capacity for effective self-government” and “support the implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), through Indigenous-led initiatives.”
RoadMap is presented in eight chapters totalling more than 400 pages of what FMB said are “concrete proposals for change” designed to “empower” First Nations communities.
“RoadMap reflects what we’ve been hearing from the First Nations we serve,” FMB CEO Geordie Hungerford said.
“It reflects the ideas and experiences of our First Nations partners, and other Indigenous organizations, related to economic reconciliation and self-governance.”
FMB said that in the coming months they will actively engage First Nations governments, organizations, and leaders to advance the RoadMap project.
They will also ask the federal government to support RoadMap, and propose legislative and policy changes and resource allocations required to implement the project.
During a media conference in Winnipeg last month, Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Derrick Henderson spoke about the importance of Indigenous communities reaching greater financial prosperity, and communities offering their members opportunities to succeed financially.
“I think it’s so important for our people to be able to thrive economically,” Henderson said. “I always say it’s important for our people to feel good about themselves, and if you have a job, a home and a family, than you can feel good about yourself, and that’s what we are striving for.
“We want a better life for our communities and our people, and that’s what we all strive for.”
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.