First Nations Diversify Economies for Resilience and Sustainability – Coast Funds

by ahnationtalk on September 14, 2018170 Views

September 14, 2018

First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii are leading the revitalization of their economies and ensuring resilience through diversification. With support from Coast Funds, First Nations have invested over $266 million into the diversification of their economies.

When Coast Funds was created in 2007, the need for communities to diversify from single-resource economies had long been recognized by First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

For millennia Nations have carefully stewarded their abundant natural resources to the benefit of their members. The Haida follow the principle of Yah’guudang, which describes respect for all living things and the interdependence that binds us; the Gwa’sala and ’Nakwaxda’xw Peoples are guided by the principle of Oweetna-kula, meaning “We are one with the land and sea we own.”

But colonization brought the introduction of new economies that rapidly and unsustainably extracted resources. Little benefit was returned to the Nations in whose territories the many mills and mines operated. When sectors like logging or fishing saw a downturn, First Nations communities would often bear the brunt. Community members frequently had to leave to find work in bigger centres.

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