Fostering economic growth and development in Indigenous communities is crucial to reconciliation. Economic reconciliation starts with awareness, knowing what it means to a specific community, who is responsible for achieving it, and taking appropriate action.
A Brief Explanation
Complex and multifaceted, economic reconciliation aims to create meaningful partnerships and mutually beneficial opportunities based on shared values. It’s a continuous process that covers a lot of ground, including: honouring treaties, respecting and supporting Indigenous rights, title, wellbeing and culture, awareness and acknowledgment of the past, and more.
Every community is different. Economic reconciliation in a particular community will reflect the values of that community. The values and strengths of each community inform how a partnership and other economic opportunities will proceed.
The process is about creating and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous communities and partners. The overall goal is a values-driven approach to attaining community economic prosperity. This shared prosperity approach informs the structures, processes, and environments to move towards community resilience.
Who’s Responsible for Economic Reconciliation?
Simply put, every partner or company shares the responsibility of supporting objectives located in economic reconciliation. Each of us has a duty to be inclusive with opportunities for economic prosperity. Some groups may need assistance with ideas on where or how to start. Reconciliation Canada is piloting a program in which it serves as a facilitator, partnering with communities to coordinate various teams supporting economic growth for everyone.
Economic Reconciliation in Action
The process starts with inclusive engagement towards developing a shared understanding and a set of agreed-upon values. This creates the foundation for relationships grounded in principles of reconciliation. Each community has unique and specific goals, which should be actionable through this process.
These discussions and agreements form the blueprint of what needs to be done and how. Actions taken may include: creating businesses, modifying structures within the community, or strengthening infrastructure and institutional capacity.
What the Process Looks Like
It’s not an exact science, but the structure of economic reconciliation includes these steps:
- Dialogue with all parties to increase understanding of their shared histories. Involved parties explore what reconciliation means for that particular community, and lay the groundwork for a better future relationship.
- Develop plans aligned with the community’s values. This outlines how plans, progress, and local values work together to contribute to the community’s well-being.
- Strengthen local businesses and develop more entrepreneurial capacity. Investing in community institutions, businesses, and people help expand their capacity to identify opportunities, draft business plans, and grow the economy through local enterprise.
- Monitor plans and progress. Scheduled check-ins allow a community to ensure all members have the opportunity to participate and partners are delivering on their promises for economic reconciliation.
Doing Your Part
As a proponent, industry partner or partner to Indigenous communities, you’ve chosen to play an important role in Indigenous economic reconciliation. Recognizing and operationalizing your commitment to participate in the process helps everyone move in the right direction together.