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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Doing Business with the Devil: Land, Sovereignty, and Corporate Partnerships in Membertou Inc.

Report by Jacquelyn Thayer Scott

Membertou First Nation is a part of the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia, and one of the few urban Aboriginal reserves in Atlantic Canada. Jacquelyn Thayer Scott argues that Membertou defies stereotypes about poor, mismanaged reserves: she points to its updated infrastructure, high-quality education, corporate and community partnerships, community involvement, and strong social services as evidence..

Scott examines the factors that contribute to the success of this Mi’kmaq community. A large part of its success, she explains, is due to the revenues derived from gaming, particularly video lottery terminals. Scott suggests this approach to the community’s socio-economic development is based on using a business approach to government, management, and economic development to achieve social objectives. At the same time, the Band’s leaders have preserved traditional Aboriginal values such as conservation and sustainability.

Despite its success, Scott argues, Membertou faces serious challenges in the future: the search for successors to the current leaders; the need for attitudinal change; human capital development; and, the issues of firewalls and property rights. She explains how Membertou’s economy must be diversified away from the heavy reliance on gaming operations, which will require innovation and compromise on the property rights issue.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Jacquelyn Thayer Scott;
Publisher: Atlantic Institute for Market Studies [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Municipal;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Urban Development
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development / 2004
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Urban Development / 2004
Policy Articles / Aboriginal


Keywords / Tags:

Membertou First Nation; Mi'kmaq; urban aboriginal reserves; economic development on reserves; gaming revenues; property rights;