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)

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)

Indigenous economic inclusion needs to be ‘new reality,’ former government advisor says

Carol Anne Hilton talks to Nanaimo business community about ‘indigenomics’

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo city councillors have recommended a $1.3-million cycle track for Albert Street between Pine Street and Milton Street. The city held a budget-focused finance and audit committee meeting Friday. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo budgets for new $1.3-million bike lane on Albert Street

Potential property tax increase now at 3.6 per cent after finance and audit meeting Friday

Police escorted residents of a homeless encampment on Wesley Street to and from the site to collect their belongings Thursday and Friday following a fire that destroyed several tents and ignited a number of propane tanks. The encampment has been permanently cleared and its residents dispersed. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Occupants of Nanaimo’s Wesley Street encampment offered support following fire and displacement

City of Nanaimo permanently clears homeless camp over ongoing safety concerns

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help identify a woman driving a Ford pickup who fled the scene following and collision on Wellington Road Tuesday. (File photo)
Nanaimo RCMP seek driver alleged to have fled from hit-and-run on Wellington Road

Driver allegedly flees scene after head-on crash between two Ford pickups

Creativity Commons manger Jonathon Bigelow is printing copies of ‘Alone but Not Alone: Poetry in Isolation’ using the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library’s Espresso Book Machine. (Photo courtesy Corinne Shortridge)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library releases COVID-19-themed poetry anthology

‘Alone but Not Alone: Poetry in Isolation’ features poets from across the Vancouver Island region

A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for Romey O’Neill. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP seek man wanted on immigration warrant

Romey O’Neill, 26, rented Kia sedan in Nanaimo, car was later reported stolen

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

The opening day on Mount Washington this year was Dec. 4. Screenshot
Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

“We’re super excited - it’s been six months in the planning.”

Steve Metcalfe, Quality Foods Harewood store manager, holds a poinsettia and a Coins for Kids donation jar, two symbols of Christmas spirit. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin
Coins for Kids collects for Christmas causes in Nanaimo

News Bulletin fundraising for Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, Boys and Girls Clubs

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Most Read