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What is an Economic Development Arm for a First Nation?

Updated: May 10, 2023

First Nations communities are developing unique partnerships around BC to grow their economies. Creativity and collaboration are key to their success.

Ship docked in misty bay

For thousands of years, First Nations practiced trade to create opportunity. Today, economic growth represents a form of reconciliation in action, providing business and employment opportunities for members and, in some cases, funds to help the community grow.

Achieving economic development goals is not a given. It requires a lot of work from many people to go from concept to reality.

Currently, First Nations communities and individuals are bringing their values, culture, and knowledge to the table to create strong communities and independence through economic development.

First Nations Economic Development

Beyond basic needs such as adequate food and shelter, healthcare, education, and community programming, economic development provides a way to generate wealth for future generations by making and saving money, growing businesses and providing employment opportunities.

First Nations' economic development often happens at the community level. This means that business opportunities are not pursued only for profit and should consider the realities of the community members where the development occurs. From this lens, business opportunities may be characterized by local or community ownership rather than private ownership.

Given that the business is community-owned, local people will get hired. As a result of a local workforce, profits will flow back into the community for its benefit rather than a private individual. Community control and benefit are two key features of economic development.

Economic Development on the Ground

Economic development is the work of many people. It cannot be done solely by one individual or part of an administration office. Successful outcomes require assistance and buy-in from those in leadership and administration, business professionals and entrepreneurs, and clients and customers. Everyone must be on the same page for economic development to bear fruit.

Evaluating opportunities is a key part of economic development. Any proposals must align with the traditional culture, values and resource management practices of First Nations such as GFN. GDC seeks opportunities which acknowledge the Nation's traditions and territory but leaves the door open for collaboration with other stakeholders in science, business and other fields.

GDC: The Economic Development Arm of GFN

When it comes to economic development, everyone has a role to play, and local traditions and culture must be taken into account when considering opportunities. GDC business practices follow the best interests of the community.

To learn more about Gitga'at Development Corporation, our partnerships, and our projects, please visit the GDC website.

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