Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Canada

image of Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Canada

Canada’s Constitution Act (1982) recognises three Indigenous groups: Indians (now referred to as First Nations), Inuit, and Métis. Indigenous peoples make a vital contribution to the culture, heritage and economic development of Canada. Despite improvements in Indigenous well-being in recent decades, significant gaps remain with the non-Indigenous population. This study focuses on four priority issues to maximise the potential of Indigenous economies in Canada. First, improving the quality of the statistical framework and the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in the governance of data. Second, measures to improve the fairness and transparency for how Indigenous peoples can secure land tenure and the use of tools and such as land use planning to use it to promote community economic development. Third, promoting entrepreneurship so Indigenous peoples can use assets and resources in ways that align with their objectives for development. Fourth, implementing an approach to governance that adapts policies to places, and empowers Indigenous institutions and communities.


The importance of land for Indigenous economic development

The objective of this chapter is to assess and provide recommendations about how to improve the ways Indigenous peoples in Canada secure and use land. The chapter starts by offering an historical contextualisation of Indigenous lands and explores how they can promote community development. The second section sets out the Indigenous land rights framework in Canada, which differs between First Nations, Métis and Inuit. The chapter then explores how treaty rights have evolved in recent years and outlines mechanisms to expand the land base. Following this, the chapter examines how Indigenous groups can better manage land, participate in or undertake land use planning, establish objectives for community development and obtain revenues from land. The chapter ends with a discussion of Indigenous land rights in relation to natural resource development projects, including frameworks for participation and consultation.


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