[Voices of New Economies] Indigenomics – The Case of the Missing Economy

October 13, 2014

This blog is the first of the ‘Voices of New Economies’ series within Cities for People – an experiment in advancing the movement toward urban resilience and livability through connecting innovation networks. This Voices series is collectively curated by One Earth and The Canadian CED Network. We are launching Voices of New Economies as part of New Economy Week 2014, hosted by the New Economy Coalition. Throughout this week, a series of 5 questions guide our exploration of what it would take to build the economy we need – one that works for people, place, and planet.

Today’s Voices story celebrates Indigenous People’s Day, with author Carol Anne Hilton responding to the first question in the New Economy Week series: How can we honour and learn from the rich histories of communities building New Economy institutions on the frontlines of fights for racial, economic, environmental justice?

The invisible thread that ties the development of Canada and our current economy plays out daily in the story of the First Nation relationship in the Canadian media. These pivotal moments can support the opportunity for our continued definition of modernity, to right our past relationship, and to define our current relationship.

My work in Indigenomics acts as a vehicle for understanding, creating meaning and expressing our indigenous relationship to economies. First Nations are defining our modern presence and our need to delineate our future through participation in the Canadian economy. With the recent win of the Tsilhqot’in Decision, and numerous other court rulings such as the Nuu chah Nulth case, the re-definition of wealth within the economic system of this country through the First Nation relationship is emerging.  What is directly in front of us is the question “What new thinking is now required of us?”

First Nations consent and insight into the decision-making process of regional and global economies is an essential part of this process.  The legal and economic context is directly related, while never mistaking the role of justice as a pillar of humanity.

This time calls on us to be asking the difficult questions while exploring the discomfort zone of a colonial legacy. In the context of Indigenomics, three essential elements of new economies are:

  • Strengthened relationships;
  • Deeper purpose and relevance to the future;
  • Collaborative shift in measurement of new economies.

Never in the history of humanity has there been this opportunity to redefine economies. What a beautiful opportunity to re-define wealth!  We cannot have a meaningful conversation if all participants do not understand the language and dimension of this economic relationship. The time is now to build a collective toolbox to fill with our deepest questions – to find out why, how, and what is possible in the search for deeper meaning and relevance to new economies.

Toolbox Content

These topics are a key starting point of bridging understanding and context.  Whatever you name the new economies – Purpose, Circular, Collaborative, Sharing –  we need to be aware of who is at the table, and who must be included. What is being named here is a value set – an outline of purpose of how we experience economies. This is the shift to connectivity, to local relationships. I recently met a mayor of a small town who told me that since the establishment as a municipality, not one single mayor had ever set foot on the local reserve. He crossed the line equipped with the question- “What can we do together?”

It’s time to cross the fabricated lines and start a new relationship of working together – the heart of our work in New Economies.

The story the Canadian media tells about this economic relationship leaves far too much room for uninformed opinion – the smallest unit of measurement.  The real measurement is the shift towards impact. What is emerging today, people are simply expecting more of our economies.  It is time to move beyond fear.  Lets have the courage to do this together – all my relations.

Carol Anne Hilton, MBA and CEO of Transformation – is a recognized leading First Nation’s business entrepreneur from the Nuu chah nulth Nation. Carol Anne has a solid understanding and application of First Nation’s economic development best practices and brings extensive knowledge and experience in community development, business management, corporate relations, engagement strategies and project management. Carol Anne works to incorporate an Aboriginal worldview while bringing First Nations, industry and government together to design new approaches for sustainable, inclusive development. Carol Anne was a founding Director of the BC First Nations Health Society/ Interim BC First Nations Health Authority.

Carol Anne currently serves on the Community Social Planning Council, Chairs the Community Micro Lending Society and serves as a Director of the World Fisheries Trust.