Regional projects

Northern Native Fishing Corporation

Chanze Gamble, NCIED Research Lead, completed a business sustainability analysis with Northern Native Fishing Corporation (NNFC) that included a review of the organization's ability to operate through the downturn of the Pacific commercial salmon industry and the impact of federal commercial fishery policies.  The report assesses the viability of NNFC’s business practice of owning and leasing fishing licences to First Nations fishers within the current market environment. The research included a literature review, a stakeholder survey with First Nations fishers who lease NNFC fishing licences, and interviews with NNFC staff and support team.

Indigenous Governance Advisory Team

New Relationship Trust (NRT) invited NCIED to collaborate with First Nations Summit and First Nations Public Service Secretariat, in a proposal for Governance Capacity Development, submitted to Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

In February 2020, the federal government approved funding, and NCIED, as a partner, initiated the following Phase 1 activities: development of an evaluation framework to assess capacity in Indigenous Nations in BC to transition to self-governance, together with a self-assessment tool for Nation/Community to identify current governance, future governance goals, and the capacity building required to fill the gaps.

All parties committed to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as guiding principles.

The approach to developing an evaluation tool (framework) was built on the foundational understanding that there is a significant emphasis placed on Indigenous autonomy that distinguishes each community’s unique legal/governance structures to effectively perform and serve as the governance and administrative backbone to the community.

All applied Indigenous community economic development research / facilitation must address the degree of specialized legal/governance structures and the extent to which the Nation/Community uses traditions and cultural ways of knowing.

The self-assessment tool was designed to categorize Nation / community current governance structures against key indicators of governance capacity; determine self-governance goals, including, vision and priority areas of focus; outline the gaps; and ascertain capacity-building required to meet the desired goals.

Phase 1 is the first step to enhance Indigenous governance policies and systems in order to affirm Nations’ rights and transition to their version of Nationhood.

B.C. First Nation Community Economic Development Survey

BC Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness (MJEDC) recently released the BC First Nation Community Economic Development Survey. The analysis reveals the interconnectedness of Indigenous economic, cultural and social values. Historically, once vibrant and sustainable economies were destroyed by colonial practices. Empowered by traditions, guided by laws and values, Nations are returning to well-being and economic diversity.

Designed in partnership with the NCIED, BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), New Relationship Trust (NRT), and Indigenous Business and Investment Council (IBIC), the survey was distributed to Chiefs and Councils, economic development corporations, and economic development managers.

NCIED’s combination of deep, direct Indigenous economic development experience with academic methods and rigour truly enhanced the quality of both the survey process and product. - Chris Bechard, Senior Advisor, Indigenous Economic Opportunity, MJEDC

Responses from 75 communities, located in the eight economic development regions of BC, and aggregated into three geographical areas, offered insight into the complexities of their Nations.

The survey’s findings reflected similarity as well as the diversity of Nations. Most significantly, consensus indicated economic development was guided by community wellness, as well as cultural and social values. The top economic development priorities selected by Chiefs and Councils were financial self-sufficiency for their communities and building a future for their youth. As well, consensus signified that projects must have a payback to their communities’ values as well as meet social and cultural guidelines. On the other hand, geography differentiated regional economic activity. And, although 80-90% of respondents reported a structured approach to economic development in the form of governance, policies and laws, challenges to economic development prevailed.

Despite the geographic and industry-type diversity across regions, respondents universally identified the most important business needs and supports to deliver economic development as: business entrepreneurial training; mentoring and coaching; and capacity development.

Many partnerships and organizations have been working on supporting these areas of growth. Since 2013, NCIED, in partnership with Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP) and UVic’s Gustavson School of Business, has collaborated with Indigenous communities to build capacity for leaders, entrepreneurs and economies. Specifically, upon invitation, a range of programs, founded on Indigenous culture and customized for each community, have been delivered by Indigenous facilitators, Gustavson professors and industry experts.

UVic News - The Ring

BC’s 8 economic development regions combined into three regions: North, Interior, Southwest