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Opinion: First Nations mean business – Financial Post

Apr 13, 2023

North American Indigenous communities were entrepreneurial for millennia before the Indian Act stunted that spirit

Chief Ronnie Chickite of the We Wai Kai Nation on Vancouver Island says he is excited for a future with more Indigenous-led businesses. On March 23rd ground was broken near Campbell River at the site of a future Starbucks coffee store operated entirely by his First Nation community, a first-of-its-kind collaboration in Canada. The new shop will incorporate Indigenous artwork in collaboration with local artists.

“(Businesses) are opening their doors to be in partnerships with First Nation communities, which is something that we haven’t seen a lot of in the past,” Chief Chickite said. “It is through partnerships, like this one with Starbucks Canada, that (we) will support our goal of self-reliance.”

This is just one small example of a trend that’s happening across the country. There is a constantly growing number of Indigenous-led businesses nowadays in every field of economic activity. More and more First Nations people are fed up waiting for Ottawa to give them permission to develop their communities. They understand that sustainable prosperity and self-reliance will not happen thanks to more money transferred to them by politicians and bureaucrats, but rather by taking control of their own development and producing goods and services to sell.

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