Indigenous Co-operatives

Essential Works
Essential Works

Lou Hammond Ketilson and Ian MacPherson A Report on Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Current Situation and Potential for Growth University of Saskatchewan. 2001.  http://usaskstudies.coop/documents/books,-booklets,-proceedings/Aboriginal%20Co-ops.pdf   Contents In 2001, the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan published a report by Lou Hammond-Ketilson and Ian MacPherson titled “Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Current Situation and Potential for Growth.”  The following is a summary of the main findings of each section

The Current State

  • Aboriginal Economic and Social Circumstances
    • Focusing on statistics indicative of an economic state, studies indicate a disparity between aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal people.
    • Statistics show: high poverty, lower high school graduation rates, lower rates of completion of higher education, higher rates of unemployment, lower labour force participation.
    • The situation around this disparity is complex. This text implies an important reason is a lack of opportunity.
  • Government Approaches to Aboriginal Economic Development
    • The Canadian government has attempted to improve the situation of aboriginal peoples through means similar to national strategies. These have included: business development, human resource development, sectoral development, community economic development, and co-operative development.
  • Aboriginal Perspectives on Economic Development
    • Manitoba Indina Brotherhood “Wahbung: Our Tommorrow” (1969) called for a comprehensive development plan for First Nations Reserve based on healing, land, and culture.
    • Movements put high importance on self-directed approaches
  • Report on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
    • The four premises to adhere to when thinking of aboriginal economic development: importance of history; importance of collectivity; importance of seeing economic development as a process; importance of recognizing the diversity of aboriginal economies.
    • Progress dependent on five critical factors: restoration of power and land; positive social climate for aboriginal economic development; instruments to address problems; skilled and positive labour force; acceptance and willingness to engage in economic activity.
  • Making the Link between Aboriginal Economic Development and the Aboriginal Co-op Movement Today
    • The co-operative movement forms well with the aims and preferred methods for community development articulated by Aboriginal peoples
    • The main factors of congruency include: a relationship to community and members, autonomy from public and private enterprise, and addressing community development and needs.
  • The Extent and Nature of the Aboriginal Co-operative Movement today
    • Provides a statistical backgrounder on the size and general structure of the aboriginal co-operative movement.

Emerging Themes – Aboriginal Co-operatives and Communities

  • Case Study Characteristics, Emerging Themes, The Role of External Agents, Governance, Community Support and Participation

“The Potential for Growth

  • Expanding Understanding of Aboriginal Co-operatives, Encouraging Co-operative Development, The Co-operative Model of Community Economic Development, Encouragement for Greater Government and Government/Sector Co- ordination, The Need for Further Research , A Concluding Statement

Additionally, it featured eleven appendices: Socio-Economic Profile of Aboriginal Co-ops in Canada, Analysis of the Policy Environment for Aboriginal Co-operative Development, Co-operatives in Québec Aboriginal Communities: Review of the Literature, Co-operatives and Communities: Some Theoretical Considerations, the ICA Statement on the Co-operative Identity, Methodology, Case Selection Criteria, Case Study Guidelines, Case Studies, Additional Case Studies, The Consultation Process.   This comprehensive study explores the use of the co-operative model as a tool for Aboriginal Development. It summarizes the knowledge prior to 2001 and shows goals for growth and future strategies. It is an essential piece of literature to in the understanding of the story of aboriginal co-operatives. In respect to this project, it acts as a jumping off point. This piece works around to expand perspectives, deepen understandings, and bring in newer pieces published after this piece. However, a more recent assessment of data and the political situation of Indigenous peoples in Canada is necessary.


 

Centre for the Study of Co-operatives “Development of Aboriginal Communities” Co-operative Research Inventory Project. http://ccrn.coop/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Research-Inventory-Development-of-Aboriginal-Communities.pdf (2003)

According to this assessment by the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, “very little current research into the state and viability of the co-operative model in Aboriginal communities has been undertaken in Canada”. A number of themes emerged from reviewing the research literature in this area. These included: case studies and current co-operative success stories, with an emphasis on service provision for Northern Canadian communities; discussions of community development and the role of co-operatives particularly in the urban context; general discussions of business development and entrepreneurship – often with little or no, mention of co-operative options; and collaborative and community co-management of natural resources such as fisheries and forests and sustainable alternatives and community development for areas with diminishing natural resources. Suggestions from this piece were the expansion of case study literature as well as collecting and producing the existing case studies into one piece, understanding the extend of exclusion of co-operatives from community development literature, and natural resource co-management with the co-operative model. It gives an extensive list of additional research priorities including: regulatory, legal and other frameworks that may impact co-operative development in Aboriginal communities; role of social auditing and social accounting and general evaluation of outcomes when understanding and defining community development and co-operative enterprise success; further exploration of diversity and identity in both Aboriginal communities and co-operatives (how these issues are understood and expressed and how communications and cultural influence member engagement in the participatory process of co-operatives); issues of gender and a better understanding of the role of women in co-operative development in Indigenous communities in the Canadian context and in comparison with Indigenous communities in both developed and developing countries; international comparisons with Aboriginal communities and co-operatives in the United States and Australia.

History
History of Aboriginal Economy leading to Co-operative Development

The Development of Aboriginal Co-operatives

The first co-operative was established in 1945 in Saskatchewan. The sector continued to expand in the 1960’s, 70s and 80s. These were supported by government through economic development plans. These co-operatives were being used as tools for community development and improving standards of living. Formal co-operatives were also encouraged and implemented by government agents to develop resources, facilitate trade relations with the south, and to maintain businesses that would not otherwise be feasible in rural and northern regions. The Arctic, Quebec, and Saskatchewan were, and continue to be, the most concentrated regions for aboriginal co-operative development. Some of these initial businesses were in the fishing industry, the Inuit art trade, and some community-servicing retail stores.

Historical Co-operative Research

Leslie, John F. “The Policy Agenda of Native Peoples from World War II to the 1969 White Paper” Volume 1: Setting the Agenda for Change in the Aboriginal Policy Research Series. Thompson Educational Publishing (2013) http://apr.thompsonbooks.com/vols/APR_Vol_1Ch1.pdf This piece summarizes public sentiment and policy as it shifts in the last half of the 20th Century. Struggling between self-governance and intervention, “Citizens Plus” and liberal individualism, land claims and co-operation, it provides background on the essential building blocks leading up to the White Paper in 1969. From this, a greater understanding of the historic political institutions that influenced Canadian encouragement of Aboriginal co-operative development is gained.


 

Lou Hammond Ketilson and Ian MacPherson “Case Studies” A Report on Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Current Situation and Potential for Growth University of Saskatchewan. 2001.  http://usaskstudies.coop/documents/books,-booklets,-proceedings/Aboriginal%20Co-ops.pdf   These case studies provide a foundation of knowledge on the development of aboriginal co-ops. Most extensively it focuses on the arctic regions. The following is a summary of the reported history t of the artic co-operative movement from this piece:   The co-operative sector in the artic regions began growing through a government response to the 1950’s increased interested in developing the mineral wealth and the tensions of the Cold War. Public interest in responding to sub-standard health and housing condition created a responsibility to consider the well-being of the Inuit and northern First Nations. The expansion’s success is to be credited towards both extensive involvement of the northern Aboriginal peoples, government officials, and southern co-operative leaders. The role of individual government officials cannot be understated in the success of the co-operative, notably Paul Godt and Alexander Spriz  who “both travelled extensively in the North and lobbied assiduously within federal government to secure that made the development of northern co-operatives possible” One negative impact of the expansion of the model was the creation of “a cadre of leaders in the Artic community who were somewhat separated from the political and traditional leadership of those communities’ a cadre for which the co-op become the main focus of their economic and many of their social ambitions.” (7).   This piece provides extensive histories of the following aboriginal co-operatives: Arctic Co-operatives Limited, Ikaluktuctiak Co-operative Limited, Caisse Populaire Kahnawake,Puvirnituq Co-operative, Apaqtukewaq Fisheries Co-operative, Anishinabek Nation Credit Union, Native Inter-tribal Housing Co-operative and First Nations Housing Co-operative, Akochikan Co-operative, Neechi Foods Co-operative Limited, Amachewespimawin Co-operative, Wilp Sa Maa’y Harvesting Co-operative, New Beginnings Housing Co-operative, and Quint Development Corporation. Please find summaries of these Case Studies under Section 5 “Case Studies” of this document.


 

H.B. Hawthorn “Survey of the Contemporary Indians of Canada: A Report on Economic, Political, Educational Needs and Politics” Ottawa: Indian Affairs Branch 1966. http://caid.ca/HawRep1a1966.pdf   This report was the first study of Canadian Indigenous peoples through the lends of social science. It represented the start of a shifting position away from assimilation towards self-determined progression of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is important to note however, it continued to have overtones of colonial tools of materialism, urbanization, and intervention (paternalism).   It is the first to address in significant detail ideas that take into account community and social development The research aimed to address, “the inadequate fulfilment of the proper and just aspirations of the Indians of Canada to material we   The report defines economic development as an essential way for First Nations communities to address concerns of overpopulation, unemployment, depression, and poverty.   This report, in certain regional and economic circumstances, calls for the establishment of co-operatives for aboriginal development. The reasoning to this was skills creation and education as a long term value, versus the short-term profitability of the private sector with government aid (Hawthorn, 1966: 174). The report suggests, however that the capacity and organization required to set up and run an effective co-operative would not already be present.   “Processing and marketing cooperatives organized on behalf of Indian, Métis and a minority of other primary producers. While perhaps an ideal solution for their educative as well as economic benefits, such cooperatives would be exceedingly difficult to organize and run effectively, on truly democratic principles in the immediate future, mainly because of limitations in education, skill, experience and motivation among northern Indians and Métis, and various adverse factors in their social and cultural environment.” (Hawthorn, 1966: 188)   Specifically, the report recommends co-operatives in cases of northern development. First, it recommends assistance for the Northern Co-operative Handicraft Association to continue its development. Secondly, it advises to explore the co-operative method in establishing a peat moss industry in the north. Thirdly, it places a high priority in having the Northern Affairs Branch establish a cooperative housing project in the north.


 

Gibson, Ryan; Kobluk, Devron; and Gould, Lori. “The Co-operative Movement: A Historical Overview and Relevance to Northern and Aboriginal Communities” Rural Development Institute (2005) https://www.brandonu.ca/rdi/files/2011/07/A_HistoricalOverview-WorkingPaper2005-1.pdf

 This piece summarizes the shifting understanding of the Co-operative Movement over its History in Canada. In one section it considers its relevance to northern and aboriginal communities. It does so through the assessment of three case studies which are referred to in Section 5 of this piece: “Case Studies.” It finds that the first aboriginal co-operative was located in Saskatchewan, it was established in 1945 and focused on the commercial fishing sector (6). In conclusion, it finds that early co-operatives in the 1950’s through the 1970’s had a positive impact on the communities in which they were established by investing into social programs and development. The older co-operatives stressed the importance of support of experience management and other community actors in establishing success.

Development Initiatives
Development Initiatives

 

“First Nations, Métis and Inuit Co-operative Development Program”
Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada

http://canada.coop/en/programs/co-op-development/first-nations-metis-and-inuit-co-operative-development-program

 The First Nations, Métis and Inuit Co-operative Development Program helps Aboriginal communities explore the potential of establishing co-operatives to meet their community needs.The program was developed in collaboration with national Aboriginal organizations. It is sponsored by Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. Successful grants are funded by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.This program helps explore the potential of co-operatives aimed at creating jobs and economic activity to help reduce the high rate of aboriginal poverty. It is designed to stimulate start-up or expansion of cooperative projects in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

Sample Guide (2015): http://canada.coop/sites/canada.coop/files/files/documents/en/fnim_program_application_guide_2015_en.pdf


 

Federated Co-operatives Limited and Centre for the Study of Co-operatives
http://usaskstudies.coop/documents/pdfs/FCL%20funding%20announcement.pdf

FCL will contribute $1 million over two years to support the initial planning and business development. Following an assessment of the program in late 2015, FCL will consider long-term funding to support identified projects.


 

Arctic Co-operative Development Fund
http://www.arcticco-op.com/co-op-acdf-services.htm

Development Financing: ACDF provides both short term and long term financing to Member Co-operatives for the improvement, expansion and/or replacement of facilities and equipment. This financing is also available to Co-operatives to enter new business ventures and to assist emerging Co-operatives to become established.

Long-Term Financing: Provides financing to Co-operatives to stabilize and strengthen their operations while providing the Co-operative with an opportunity to reduce their existing long-term debt in an orderly manner.

Working Capital Financing: Much of Canada’s north is connected to southern Canada only by high cost air transport. As a result, businesses in the north must be supplied with products and materials on an annual resupply program. Depending on the location of the community, this resupply will be by winter road, ship or barge. ACDF provides working capital financing to Co-operatives to purchase up to one year’s supply of merchandise inventory or other material to operate their business.

Facility Development: Provides the Co-operative System in the NWT, Nunavut and Northern Manitoba with an alternative for fixed asset development. In consultation with Member Co-operatives, ACDF will develop a facility to the specifications of a Co-operative and lease that facility to the Co-operative with an option to purchase the facility sometime in the future.

Co-operative Development: The Co-operative System in the NWT, Nunavut and Northern Manitoba (through ACL and ACDF) works with community groups to identify business opportunities, complete feasibility analysis, develop business plans, and where appropriate, work with these groups to develop a community based Co-operative.

Government Policy
Relevant Government Policy

 

Federal policies create an operating framework for Aboriginal Development. They are funding strategies that focus on challenges that face economic development in communities. Each of the following federal strategies, created by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, shape the type of projects that can be pursued with support from federal funding. Some common themes are the access to management support, capital, and advancing partnerships with private sector and resource development operations.

These strategies reveal the development priorities from a federal level, and they should be looked at critically to assess the requirements and eligibility to receive funding, the viability of these strategies in a specific communities, and the effects of development of resources in a region, and any other concerns that individual or groups of communities may have with the specifics of the policies.


Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada “Federal Framework for Aboriginal Development” 2009. https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033498/1100100033499

The AANDC “Federal Framework for Aboriginal Development” includes priorities of: strengthening entrepreneurship and establishing a better business environment on reserve; developing human capital; enhancing the value of aboriginal capital; and forging new partnerships.

The role of the federal government is to push away from ‘levers, responsibility, and resources’ and refocus towards ‘setting the right conditions’. This is an attempt to take a less paternalistic position and a more supportive, effective, and efficient one.

AANDC’s Specific Goals (2009)

  • Targeted Investments (monitored and assessed)
  • Increased links with the private sector
  • Assuring that regulation is not hinging the creation of a ‘stable, efficient and predictable investment climate’
  • Redefinition of the role of the federal government and assuring that there is room for other actors to come into play,
  • Requires ‘whole-of-government’ approach (not just departmental)
  • Human capital development strategies need to be reorganized

The AANDC supports a reform of the Indian Act because it acts as a barrier to on-reserve development. The AANDC admits that it is essential to assure that government processes regarding land, capital attainment, and other Indian Act regulations are brought up to “the pace that is necessary to maintain business.” Currently, the systems slow down and prevent Aboriginal business from accessing the funding, support, and investment that other businesses typically get, because long and difficult bureaucratic structures deter partnership from outside the community and use up a lot of the capital that could go towards developing a project. The AANDC’s mandate in this case is to promote expediting the processes that are causing major issue for development.

Another key point of the AANDC’s Aboriginal development framework is to develop skills and increase human capital. The AANDC believes that developing skills and human capital will prepare more Aboriginal peoples for employment and self-development. Infrastructure in communities is essential to this goal as it is the foundation upon which development can move forward and human skills can be built. Diversifying and improving opportunities for capital and financing for Aboriginal peoples is an essential step in assuring any further growth.


 

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA). 2005 http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/F-11.64/

 At the request of individual First Nations the Federal Government has agreed to create regulations for large projects occurring on reserve or under First Nations jurisdiction. The regulations will typically fall under the traditional federal and provincial regulations, or be modified as per the project’s requirements.

Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Program. AANDC. https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1375201178602/1375202816581

Provides assistance with planning stages, capital costs, acquisitions, expansions, marketing initiatives, new product/process development, new technology, mentoring, and financial services. Requires cash equity and full-time involvement in the business.

Community Opportunity Readiness. AAANDC. https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033414/1100100033415

 Support to attract private sector funding (feasibility studies, marketing, advertising, etc.), support for community-owned business where there is an equity gap, community economic infrastructure related to business development (not related to a specific business). Funding is available for First Nations and Inuit communities and their governments, aboriginally-owned organizations, non-aboriginal organizations that aim to provide support.

Land and Economic Development Services Program. https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033408/1100100033412

 Provides community economic development planning, capacity development, funding allocations to assume greater control over reserve lands (land use planning, environmental management), management of land use tools, targeted funding for development support services. Allocations are provided on an annual basis under the Indian Act or First Nations Land Management Act.

Legal Considerations

A Summary and History

 The legal landscape of the relationship between First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and Canada is of importance to any potential development.This section aims to give an overview of some large Canadian legal considerations that apply federally to First Nations people concerning two areas of focus: ownership and taxation.These two areas, while not giving a full understanding of the complex legal structure, give a background on the structures that effect any economic development occurring in First Nations areas of jurisdiction.This document does not provide complete information on Métis and Inuit legal landscape, or legal issues that concern urban aboriginals. It is also one that only takes into account the perspective of the Canadian legal framework, and not a First Nation’s legal framework.Its intent and focus is to provide a basic understanding to the issues most pertinent to the establishment of co-operatives.

Land and Ownership

According to the Canadian legal system, First Nation’s reserve lands are owned by the Crown. Aboriginal title to land in this system, is broken down into the following categories according to the AANDC: pre-confederation, numbered treaty (post-confederation until 1921), and modern treaties (comprehensive claims), specific claims, and non-treaty nations.

Pre-confederation treaties established military alliances, and the Royal Proclamation of 1763 defined First Nations ownership over certain lands and forbid their sale to anyone other than the Crown. After confederation 11 numbered treaties were established and reach across the majority of Canada’s territory. These treaties are typically seen by the Canadian government as those that seceded the land to the Crown in exchange for goods, and other benefits.

First Nations rarely see these treaties as such, generally they are seen more as impermanent agreements to share spaces and resources and interpreted through a lens of imbalances of power in the creation of legal agreements (language barriers, deceit, cases of false signatures). Modern Treaties (comprehensive) are those being negotiated for significant areas that were settled without treaty, notable in British Columbia and the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (1975).  Specific claims are procedures for unfulfilled treaties or legal obligations of the crown. They are the addressing of historic injustices in the creation of other treaties and operate through a negation without going through the court system. 

  1. 20 Indian Act. 1876 (1) No Indian is lawfully in possession of land in a reserve unless, with the approval of the Minister, possession of the land has been allotted to him by the council of the band

Currently, there is a movement for the ownership of land to be transferred from the Crown to First Nations through the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative (FNPO). The following resources were made available through this initiative.

 

 Taxation

s.87 Indian Act. 1876

(1) Notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament or any Act of the legislature of a province, but subject to section 83 and section 5 of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the following property is exempt from taxation:
(a) the interest of an Indian or a band in reserve lands or surrendered lands; and
(b) the personal property of an Indian or a band situated on a reserve.

(2) No Indian or band is subject to taxation in respect of the ownership, occupation, possession or use of any property mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) or (b) or is otherwise subject to taxation in respect of any such property.

(3) No succession duty, inheritance tax or estate duty is payable on the death of any Indian in respect of any property mentioned in paragraphs (1)(a) or (b) or the succession thereto if the property passes to an Indian, nor shall any such property be taken into account in determining the duty payable under the Dominion Succession Duty Act, chapter 89 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1952, or the tax payable under the Estate Tax Act, chapter E-9 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1970, on or in respect of other property passing to an Indian.”

Status Indian reserve lands are not subject to taxes as are the activities “in respect of the ownership, occupation, possession or use” of the land.

Currently s.87 of the Indian Act enforces a right for First Nations to be exempt from income taxes if their employment falls under these guidelines

-the employee performs at lease 90% of the employment duties on a reserve (guideline 1)

-the employee and the employer reside on reserve (guideline 2)

-the employee’s employment duties are connected to the employer’s non-commercial activities carried on exclusively for the benefit of Indians who, for the most part, reside on reserve and the employer resides on a reserve; and the employer is:

  1. a) An Indian band that has a reserve or a tribal council representing one or more Indian bands that have reserves; or
  2. b) An Indian organization controlled by one or more such bands or tribal councils and is dedicated exclusively to the social, cultural, educational, or economic development of Indians who, for the most part, reside on reserves.

In the 2010 Supreme Court case Bastien v. The Queen, the law was tested to see if it applied to money made off the investments Bastien had made into the local Caisse populaire .Because Bastien was investing with Caisse as a local business, which was located on reserve and primarily served its residents, it was determined that the income was not taxable despite being generated in the economic mainstream.

Section 87 of the Indian Act only applies to individuals in regard to tax exemption. Corporations and trusts, regardless of whom they are owned by are considered a legally separate tax payer.

 

 

Other Resources

Morellato, Maria A. Aboriginal Law since Delagamuukw. Aurora: Canada Law Book. Print. 2009

“The Role of Land Title in Developing First Nation Economies and Governments” 2007. Indian Taxation Advisory Board. http://fnpo.ca/cmsuploads/x_land_title_FN_economies_2007.pdf

“Making Markets Work on First Nation Lands: The Role of Land Title in Reducing Transaction Costs, 2009.” First Nations Tax Commission. http://fnpo.ca/cmsuploads/x_making_markets_work_final_2009-04-28.pdf

“Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Market Reforms and Land Titling for First Nations.” Indian Tax Advisory Board. http://fnpo.ca/cmsuploads/x_ec_fiscal_impacts_land_titling_final_2007.pdf

Approaches
Approaches to development projects in Aboriginal Communities)
This section will outline relevant and recent literature on Aboriginal co-op development.
Indigenous Co-operatives in Canada: The Complex Relationship Between Co-operatives, Community Economic Development, Colonization, and Culture
Sengupta, Ushnish “Indigenous Co-operatives in Canada: The Complex Relationship Between Co-operatives, Community Economic Development, Colonization, and Culture” Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity. (2015)

 

 

Segupta presents an informative piece with a developed understanding of the larger historical and social context in which Indigenous Co-operatives exist. He approaches the traditional narrative of co-operative history with a critical eye by examining the ways government used co-operatives as a tool for displacement, exploitation and assimilation. Segupta questions tendency to prescribe co-operatives as a tool for Indigenous community development as a derivative from narrative that labels Indigenous communities as ‘socio-economically disadvantaged’ and thus in need to become on par with the rest of Canadian society. Rather than focusing on the reasons why communities ended up disadvantaged, the literature focuses on attempts to use co-operativs as a fix-all solution for issues found in Indigenous communities. The work provides a critical lense to the mainstream narrative of co-operatives that gives a refreshing update to the literature on the use of co-operatives in indigenous communities.

 

 

Best Practices in Aboriginal Community Development: A Literature Review and Wise Practices Approach

Wesley-Esquimaux, Cynthia and Caillou, Brian “Best Practices in Aboriginal Community Development: A Literature Review and Wise Practices Approach” The Banff Centre. http://c4f.qmts.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Aboriginal-Community-Development.pdf

 The guide calls for a development of practices that encourage individualization according to the specific needs of each community through a set of different criteria that focus along the categories of leadership capacity; external relations; access to resources; education; and any other political factors that benefit or hinder development. It also focuses on an importance for holistic approaches because each of the mentioned factors are interconnected.

Additionally, it provides a literature review of case studies on Aboriginal community development in which it finds seven key factors of success: identity and culture; leadership; strategic vision and planning; good governance and management; accountability and stewardship; performance evaluation; and collaborations, partnerships, and external relationships.” It further suggests that approaches that focus on the community and are well-fitted to Aboriginal frameworks of knowledge are more successful. In all cases, success development requires an acknowledgment and attention to the positive “asset-based and capacity focused” approach rather than the “needs-based and barrier-focused” approached.

This resource is an essential tool for many groups looking to work on community development projects in Aboriginal communities. It used in training and planning to attempt to refocus the project to what is truly beneficial for aboriginal communities rather than what is identified as needs from an outsider perspective.

To See Our Communities Come Alive Again with Pride: (Re)Inventing Co-operatives for First Nations’ Needs

Hammond Ketilson, Lou “To See Our Communities Come Alive Again with Pride: (Re)Inventing Co-operatives for First Nations’ Needs” Cooperative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Business Editors: Brett Fairbairn, Nora Russel. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press (2014)

In this piece, Hammond Ketilson argues that First Nations must have a strong voice when it comes to development. Currently, the conditions for development are unsatisfactory, and in many of the cases communities develop their own organizations respond to this. Co-operatives have, so far, been successful in addressing ‘issues and challenges’ in aboriginal communities. The largest impediments that exist include the broad government policies, the impacts of colonialism, and band structures.

Hammond Ketilson encourages co-operatives as a tool for development and provides strong arguments to show how they have helped improve capacity. She makes an important argument about the inequity of funds distribution because of complicated Indian Act regulations, different status in land claims agreements, jurisdictional and bureaucratic differences. The inadequacies that arise from the bureaucratic structure pose real harm to aboriginal peoples and communities, and there needs to be other structures to help support communities when these fail to do as they should.

This piece gives the reader a stronger understanding of how co-operatives benefit indigenous communities and how they can appropriately be used for social development in First Nations communities.

Why the Northern Co-operative Experience Needs to be Considered More Seriously

MacPherson, Ian. “What Has Been Learned Should be Studies and Passed on: Why the Northern Co-operative Experience Needs to be Considered More Seriously”  Yukon College Northern Review.

In the piece Ian MacPherson argues that the Co-operative experience in the North is considerable different from what is understood elsewhere. These businesses have histories of being part of the fur trade and are often old and very important institutions in the community. Co-operatives in the north were established primarily in the 60s and 70s when government interest in northern sovereignty was growing. The co-operative model transitioned easily for many northern communities as its values were culturally similar. The piece provides an overview of the growth of the co-operative scene. MacPherson indicates that there is a lack of understanding of the role that indigenous peoples play in these northern co-operatives to fit them to their individual and diverse needs. MacPherson argues co-operatives can and will continue to play a prominent role in the Northern economy and development to fit the model to contemporary needs of the region will be essential.

Other Resources

Caillou, Brian “Aboriginal Economic Development and the Struggle for Self-Government” Racism Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada: a reader. Edited by: Martin John Cannon and Lina Sunseri. Don Mills: OUP Press. 2011. http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780195432312.html

 Klyne, Darlene. “Sharing, Community, and Decolonization: Urban Aboriginal Community Development” Racism Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada: a reader. Edited by: Martin John Cannon and Lina Sunseri. Don Mills: OUP Press. 2011 by: Martin John Cannon and Lina Sunseri. Don Mills: OUP Press. 2011. http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780195432312.html

 Swanson, Lee A. and Zhang, David D.  “The base requirements, community and regional levels of northern development” Northern Review 38 p.199 (24) 2014

Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network & Saskatchewan Co-operative Association. “Local People, Local Solutions: A Guide to First Nations Co-operative Development in Saskatchewan” 2015 http://sfnedn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/co-op2015-FINAL.pdf

Case Studies
Case Studies

Co-operatives in Aboriginal Communities in Canada
Canadian Co-operative Association
http://www.coopscanada.coop/assets/firefly/files/files/CoopsInAboriginalCommunities2012_FINAL_lowrez.pdf

This report provides tables on the Co-op Type, Services Provided, Community, and Co-ordinates of the known aboriginal co-operatives, credit unions and federations of aboriginal co-operatives as of 2012. This document is used as the primary source of the preliminary information on each co-operative, unless otherwise noted.

Ian Macpherson “Artic Co-operatives Limited” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001

Ryan Gibson, Devron Kobluk, and Lori Gould. The Co-operative Movement: A historical overview and relevance to northern and aboriginal communities. Rural Development Institute. Brandon University: Brandon. 2005

Aslop, Jen “Project 11: The Creation of a Galleria of Arctic Cooperatives” Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada. 2010 http://yukonresearch.yukoncollege.yk.ca/sern/projects/independent/project11

Craig, Tyler & Hamilton, Blair. “In Search of Mino Bimaadiziwin: A Study of Urban Aboriginal Housing Co-operatives in Canada” Partnering for Change: Community Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-city Poverty. 2014. http://seedwinnipeg.ca/files/In_Search_of_Mino_Bimaadiziwin.pdf

Includes study of housing co-operatives in Winnipeg MB, London ON, and Simcoe County.


Yukon

Hardy, Kim. “Yukon Co-ops” (2009) http://yukonresearch.yukoncollege.yk.ca/frontier/files/sernnoca/YukonCoopsMREFinal.pdf


Nunavut

Name: Grise Fiord Inuit Co-operative Ltd
Year Founded: 1960
Location: Grise Fiord, NU
Type: Consumer
Membership: 50
Services Provided: General retail, cable TV, property rentals; member of Arctic Co-operative Ltd.
Community: Inuit
Duncombe, David. “Co-operatives and Cultural Change in the Canadian Arctic: A Case Study” Master’s Thesis Submission to the University of Manitoba. 1978. http://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1993/14498/Duncombe_Co-operatives_and.pdf?sequence=1

Name: Ikaluktutiak Co-operative Ltd
Year Founded: 1961
Location: Cambridge Bay. NU
Type: Consumer
Membership: 1,000
Services Provided: General retail, 2 hotels, property rental, gas bar, cable TV, fuel delivery, taxi; member of Arctic Co-operative Ltd.
Community: Inuit
Wuttunee, Wanda “Ikaluktutiak Co-opeartive Limited – 1992 Original Study” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
-From Wuttunee, Wanda. In Business for Ourselves: Northern Entrepreneurs: Fifteen Case Studies of Successful Small Northern Busines” McGill-Queen’s University Press. 1992.
Tupone, Juliano “Ikaluktutiak Co-operative Limited – Update 2000” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
Ryan Gibson, Devron Kobluk, and Lori Gould. “Ikaluktutiak Co-operative: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut” The Co-operative Movement: A historical overview and relevance to northern and aboriginal communities. Rural Development Institute. Brandon University: Brandon. 2005

Name: Sanavik Co-operative Association Ltd.
Year Founded: 1971
Location: Baker Lake, NU
Type: Consumer
Membership: 1,400
Services Provided: General retail, hotel, freight, property rental, cable TV, video rental; member of Arctic Co-operative Ltd.
Community: Inuit
Aslop, Jennifer. “History of Baker Lake (Sanavik) Co-operative: Working  Paper (Draft)” Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada. 2010. http://yukonresearch.yukoncollege.yk.ca/sern/bakerlake

Name: West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative Ltd
Year Founded: 1959
Location: Cape Dorset, NU
Type: Consumer
Membership: 1,100
Services Provided: General retail, fuel delivery, property rental, marketing arts & crafts (retailing at Dorset Fine Arts, Toronto); member of Arctic Co-operative Ltd.
Community: Inuit
Aslop, Jennifer. “History of Cape Dorset and the West Baffin  Co-operative: Working  Paper (Draft)” Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada. 2010. http://www.learningcentre.coop/resource/history-cape-dorset-and-west-baffin-co-operative


Nova Scotia

Name: Apaqtukewaq Fisheries Co-op Ltd
Year Founded:1995
Location: Chapel Island First Nation, NS
Type: Worker
Membership: 7
Services Provided: Commercial fishing specializing in oyster cultivation and harvesting; processing plant operations
Community: Chapel Island First Nation
Frampton, Gene. “Apatukeqak Fisheries Co-operative” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
Potlotek First Nation “Fisheries” http://potlotek.ca/commercial-ventures/fisheries


Quebec

Name: Assocication cooperative de Povungnituk
Year Founded: 1960
Location: Puvirnituq
Type: Consumer
Membership: 1,400
Services Provided: General retail, gotel, cable TV, internet, petroleum; member of La Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau Québec
Community: Inuit
Girard, Jean-Pierre; Faubert-Mailloux, Isabel & Baulne, Sarah. “Purvinituq Co-operative” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
Graburn, Nelson. “Canadian Inuit Art and Coops : Father Steinmann of Povungnituk” Museum of Anthropology 21(1): 14-35 (2000). http://vm136.lib.berkeley.edu/ANTH/pdfs/deptpubs/graburn_nelson_canadian_inuit_art_museum_anthropology_v24n1.pdf

Name: Caisse Populaire Kahnawake
Year Founded: 1987
Location: Kahnawake, QC
Type: Financial
Membership: 5,300
Services Provided: Financial services; on-reserve branch of Caisse Populaire Desjardins.
Community: Kahnawake Mohawk Territory
Girard, Jean-Pierre & Faubert-Mailloux, Isabel. “Caisse Populaire Kahnawake” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001


Ontario

Name: Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-op
Year Founded: 1983
Location: London, ON
Type: Consumer
Membership: 57
Services Provided: Co-op housing (57 family units)
Community: First Nations; mainly Oneida
Fitzmaurice, Kevin & Newhouse, David. “Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-operative and First Nations Housing Co-operative” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001

Name: Anishinabek Nation Credit Union*
Year Founded: 2000
Location: Garden River First Nation
Type: Financial
Membership:
Services Provided: “The objects of the credit union are to proote co-operative enterprise, to faciliatete the accumulation of savings, to create a source of credit for its members and to provide ofr its members full financial services that otherwise are not available through conventional means”
Community:
* Found in (Hare, 2001)
Hare, Joseph. “Anishinabek Nation Credit Union” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
Allan Moffat. “Strength in Diversity: Anishnabek Nation Credit Union” 2006 Directors Forum. Presentation: Printed Slides.


Manitoba

Name: Akochikan Co-operative*
Year Founded:
Location: Pukatawagan, MB
Type:
Membership:
Services Provided: Retail store, restaurant, automated teller; member of Arctic Co-operatives Limited.
Community: Mathias Colomb Band
* Found in (Tupone, 2001)
Tupone, Juliano. “Akochikan Co-operative” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
Ryan Gibson, Devron Kobluk, and Lori Gould. “Akochican Co-operative: Pukatawagan, Manitoba” The Co-operative Movement: A historical overview and relevance to northern and aboriginal communities. Rural Development Institute. Brandon University: Brandon. 2005

Name: Neechi Foods Co-op Ltd
Year Founded: 1962
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Type: Worker
Membership: 60
Services Provided: Grocery, bakery, restaurant, bookstore & arts centre; expanded facility opening fall 2012
Community: North Winnipeg Diverse Aboriginal
Tupone, Juliano. “Neechi Foods Co-operative Limited – Update 2000” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
Rothney, Russ. “Neechi Foods Co-operative Limited – 1991 Original Study” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001
Ryan Gibson, Devron Kobluk, and Lori Gould. “Neechi Food Co-operative Limited: Winnipeg, Manitoba” The Co-operative Movement: A historical overview and relevance to northern and aboriginal communities. Rural Development Institute. Brandon University: Brandon. 2005


Saskatchewan

Name: Amachewespimawin Co-op Association Ltd
Year Founded: 1978
Location: Stanley Mission, SK
Type: Consumer
Membership: 1,500
Services Provided: General retail, groceries, clothing, hardware, gas bar, restaurant
Community: Stanley Mission First Nation, Métis
Tupone, Juliano. “Amachewespimawin Co-operative” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001

Name: New Beginnings Housing Co-op Ltd
Year Founded:
Location: Prince Albert, SK
Type: Consumer
Membership:
Services Provided: Home equity co-op
Community: Diverse Aboriginal
Tupone, Juliano. “New Beginnings Housing Co-operative” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001

Name: Quint Development Corporation*
Year Founded: 1995
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Type:
Membership:
Services Provided: To “enable minority or low-income groups to pool their resources and talents to create ownership, opportunity, jobs, traning, and income, for themselves and fellow community members.”
Community:  Diverse Aboriginal
*Found in (Hipkin, Nikki & Fernandes, Neville, 2001)
Hipkin, Nikki & Fernandes, Neville, 2001 “Quit Development Corporation” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001


 

British Columbia

Name: Wilp Sa Maa’y Harvesting Co-operative*
Year Founded:1995
Location: Northwestern British Columbia (Hazelton)
Type:
Membership:
Services Provided: Berry picking
Community:
Found in (Burton & Burton, 2001)
Burton, Carla & Burton, Phil “Wilp Sa Maa’y Harvesting Co-operative” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001


 

Federations of Aboriginal Co-operatives

Name: Arctic Co-operative Ltd (ACL)
Year Founded: 1972
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Type: Federation
Membership: 31 co-ops with collective membership of 22,000 people
Services Provided: Provides a wide range of operational and technical support services to member co-ops such as, accounting, construction, procurement, human resources and co-op development
Community: Remote, mostly Inuit & Dene communities in Nunavut, N.W.T
Ian Macpherson “Artic Co-operatives Limited” Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Case Studies from: Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada, Current Situations and Potential for Growth. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: Research and Analysis Directorate. 2001

Name: La Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau Québec (FCNQ)
Year Founded: 1967
Location: Baie D’Urfé, QC
Type: Federation
Membership:14 co-ops with collective membership of 9,000 people
Services Provided: Provides many operational and technical support services to member co-ops, such as accounting, construction, procurement, human resources and co-op development
Community: Remote, mostly Inuit communities in Northern Québec
Girard, Benoit & Ninacs, William A. “Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec : Case Study” Industry Canada. 2006. http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/693.nsf/eng/00047.html

 

 

Statistics

 

Robert J. Oppenheimer “An Analysis of Aboriginal Employment: 2009-2013”
The Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development 9.1: 57-73 (2014)

The data is based upon Aboriginals living off-reserve, 15 years and older. Deals with data from Statistic’s Canada’s Labour Force Survey. Oppenheimer fins that the employment rates have improved, but that these rates are significantly higher for non-Aboriginals.


 

Bachir Belhadji “Socio-Economic Profile of Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada”
Co-operatives Secretariat. 2001

This report was part of A Report on Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada: Current Situation and Potential for Growth. It provides statistical breakdowns of a variety of economic factors regarding Aboriginal Co-operatives until 2009.


 

National Aboriginal Economic Development Board. “The Aboriginal Economic Progress Report” 2015. http://www.naedb-cndea.com/reports/NAEDB-progress-report-june-2015.pdf