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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Economic Development in First Nations: An Overview of Current Issues

Report by Gordon Shanks

Gordon Shanks raises a serious public policy question: To what extent are First Nations communities and individuals who are actively participating in the Canadian economy living to the best of their potential? He refers to a recent work comparing a Human Development Index (HDI) for Canadians as a whole vis-à-vis the Registered Indian population. Shanks points out that there is a significant gap between these two populations and that Registered Indians continue to have shorter life expectancy, lower educational attainment, and lower average annual incomes.

Shanks contends that the HDI gap may be closing, but it is closing much too slowly. He suggests that while both the federal and provincial governments have invested heavily in First Nations, there has not been a dramatic improvement in socio-economic conditions. Throughout this report, Shanks explores the question of whether government initiatives are focused on the right issues in regard to First Nations, and examines whether better and timelier outcomes can be achieved.

According to Shanks, his most important conclusion is that the economic development issues facing First Nations are extremely diverse and very complex. Therefore, he argues, any public policy or program response will have to be tailored to fit a variety of circumstances; the one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Shanks concludes that it is imperative to put in place the legal underpinnings for modern governance structures within First Nations in order for economic development to take hold and succeed.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Gordon Shanks;
Publisher: Public Policy Forum [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2005; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Governance
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development / 2005
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Governance / 2005
Policy Articles / Aboriginal


Keywords / Tags:

First Nations; economic development; Human Development Index; socio-economic conditions of aboriginals; governance structures;