June 24th, 2024

Roadmap project offers practical pathway to economic reconciliation

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 11, 2023.

A new project through the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB) will help build a practical framework to advance Indigenous economic reconciliation across Canada.

The Roadmap project offers realistic and meaningful options supporting First Nation governments in moving past the colonial system. Supporting the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous-led initiatives will help lead the way to achieving economic prosperity and self-determination.

“The Financial Management Board provides certification services and capacity development services to a significant number of First Nations across the country, over 250. What we have heard from those First Nations, is what is reflected in the Roadmap. There has been a lot of conversations about the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but there has been very little substance about some of the things that are required to implement it,” said Harold Calla, executive chair of the FMB and a member of the Squamish Nation in B.C. “While Roadmap is not an all-inclusive, and all-encompassing piece of work regarding fully implementing it, it does take the accounting, financial, and economic provisions of what we believe should be included in the declaration. It reflects pieces of work that we feel are going to be essential to getting to the point where First Nations would be in a position to be able to offer free prior and informed consent.”

Looking to move First Nations to a framework of generating wealth and out of poverty, Roadmap will help unlock the Indigenous economy with potential to grow in the coming years.

“This is optional legislation, it empowers them to optionally choose to do things to be able to have access to the institutional infrastructure that the rest of Canada has,” said Calla. “The Indigenous economy supports the Canadian economy, and a strong Indigenous economy means there will be stronger non-Indigenous regional economies that will support the Canadian economy. It’s a trickle up effect that all Canadians benefit from. By having healthier communities that are less reliant on social programs, it reduces the cost of governance.”

The Roadmap project can be found online at fnfmb.com/en/leadership/roadmap.

Over the coming months the FMB will look to engage with First Nations and federal governments to build and expand the goals they hope to see grow.

“The future of the Roadmap program is going to be in part dependent by the willingness of Canada to support First Nations and their entities’ access to capital,” said Calla.

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