Carol Anne Hilton, chief executive officer and founder of the Indigenomics Institute, presents to members of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 29 at the Coast Bastion Hotel. (Nicholas Pescod/News Bulletin)

A stronger Vancouver Island through Indigenomics

Former government advisor touts growth through indigenous inclusion

Everyone is better off economically when indigenous people are not just included, but actively participating in the economy.

That was the message Carol Anne Hilton, chief executive officer and founder of the Indigenomics Institute, delivered during her presentation to members of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning at the Coast Bastion Hotel.

Hilton, who is Nuu-chah-nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation and has served as an advisor to the provincial and federal government, discussed the concept of ‘indigenomics’ – essentially the economic inclusion of indigenous people in the overall economy – and why it’s important.

“Indigenomics is the collective economic response to the lasting legacy of the systemic exclusion of indigenous people in the development of this country…” Hilton said. “It’s essentially restoring the narrative that is too common in this country, away from seeing indigenous peoples as a fiscal burden towards indigenous people are economic powerhouses.”

Indigenous communities have dealt with systemic exclusion, the reservation system, 150 years of broken treaties and the Indian Act, said Hilton. She said those experiences have been barriers to economic success and independence for years.

“Indigenous peoples are the only ones in this country, from the start of this country, that have ever had to fight for a right to an economy,” Hilton said. “There is no other immigrant group, any kind of early settlers or founders that have had to fight for a right to an economy.”

According to Hilton, 96 per cent of the federal government money that is given to indigenous communities is spent on health, education, administration and reconciliation activities while only two per cent is spent on economic development.

“That is the classic case of the economic cart pulling the provisional horse,” she said.

However, that is changing as more and more First Nations are taking greater control of their economic futures said Hilton, pointing to the creation of the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce in Manitoba. She also said 20 per cent of Canada’s land base is directly controlled by First Nations and more municipalities are recognizing the importance of including indigenous communities in their own economic growth.

Hilton, who holds a masters degree in business management from the University of Hertfordshire, said the current indigenous economy is worth about $32 billion but could grow to over $100 billion within five years. She said 85 per cent of businesses are “in no way” engaged with indigenous communities and that it is important for local businesses to embrace the idea of indigenous inclusion in the economy.

One way that local businesses can become engaged is by incorporating indigenous procurement policies into their purchasing policies, according to Hilton.

Hilton said indigenous economic well-being means First Nations can become self-sustainable, using the profits generated from their own businesses to fund their own interests. She also said indigenous economic prosperity will only continue to grow as the years go on.

“This is the new reality that we are looking at,” she said.

READ ALSO: Developer holds groundbreaking ceremony for downtown Nanaimo hotel







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

First Nations

Just Posted

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by Qualicum Beach musician Phil Dwyer

Ferry breaks down at Departure Bay, several sailings cancelled

B.C. Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay held in dock in Nanaimo due to main engine issue

Donald Trump says Canadians on two stranded cruise ships will be heading home

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that there are 97 Canadian passengers on the Zaandam

Cowichan doc spurs octogenarian dad to develop low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Graham Brockley takes concept to his dad who is trying to develop it to save lives

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

VIDEO: Man breaks up Saanich road rage fight

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road

VicPD reunites four-year-old boy with family after he snuck out a window

The boy was spotted wandering alone on Wednesday morning

West Shore RCMP search for man wanted on 15 outstanding warrants

Steven Sandhu is believed to be living in View Royal

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Search for missing Island man comes to sad conclusion

Campbell River’s Bernard Eberlein was last seen March 27,

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Vancouver Island teachers show the love for their students

Virtual message meant to give families hope in uncertain times

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

Most Read