Indigenous Leadership: Governance and Development Project

A key action in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan 2020-2030 is to grow Indigenous participation in the economy through economic development. The Indigenous Leadership: Governance and Development project provides made-in-Saskatchewan tools for Indigenous communities to undertake long-term economic development. An important part of the project involves capturing the experience of Saskatchewan Indigenous communities through case studies.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development – Government of Saskatchewan.

The case studies on this website were developed by a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and their affiliates at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan.

The case studies are designed to be used first and foremost by Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan. The premise of the work is that economic development stories need to be shared among those involved in economic development, both in the community where the economic development activities took place and in other communities looking to undertake economic development. It is important to focus on what did and did not work. The cases can be used as governance training components and/or strategic planning exercises. These case studies may also be used in teaching.

The case studies combine material from websites and other publicly available sources with material gathered through interviews with leaders and representatives involved in economic development activities.

When approaching community leaders and representatives, we begin with an informal discussion. If the leaders and representatives indicate an interest in participating, we proceed with sending them a formal letter of introduction which they can use to obtain official permission to proceed. We know communities receive many requests for information and they do not always see the results of the work that is undertaken. Our goal is to ensure that the case studies are shared with the communities in a way that is beneficial. To this end, a draft of the case study is shared with the community and the case studies are not finalized until the community gives its agreement. Once a set of case studies have been developed, leaders from the communities involved are given the opportunity to discuss the findings.

Murray Fulton, Principal Investigator
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
University of Saskatchewan campus

Researchers and affiliates on this project include:

  • Marilyn Black 
  • Jocelyne Wasacase Merasty
  • Kyle White
  • Jacqueline Woods

Case Studies

This case study profiles FHQ Developments’ approach to economic development, highlighting key strengths, successes and community outcomes. 

FHQ Developments is one of several for-profit entities owned by File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC). FHQTC also owns and governs a number of non-profit organizations that combine Indigenous ways of being and doing with Western mainstream approaches to deliver important services to Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens of the region.

This case study profiles the development of the Ile-a-la-Crosse Co-operative Association Limited (the Coop). It highlights the regional economic development organizations in and around the Northern Village of Ile-a-la-Crosse and how they used the co-operative model to address food security and community development. The Co-op was incorporated in 2020 with the goal of providing Ile-a-la-Crosse and the surrounding area with access to groceries and other goods.

Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) and its nine First Nations have been using an economic development corporation for over 40 years to manage and grow successful businesses and partnerships in northern Saskatchewan. Meadow Lake Tribal Council Industrial Investment (MLTCII) manages MLTC’s business operations.

MLTC’s development has coincided with an increase in employment and an increase in the Community Well-being Index among MLTC First Nations. These impacts can be linked to the economic activity created by MLTC and to the economic activity undertaken by member Nations and supported by MLTC

For over 25 years, the Northern Village of Pinehouse (NVP) has used a blended economic development approach to create successful partnerships and be an active participant in economic development in northern Saskatchewan. A key benefit of these initiatives has been increased year-round employment.

NVP’s approach to development is based on: (1) self-determination through community collaboration; (2) investment in the local and greater community; (3) partnerships; (4) active governance and seeking of new opportunities; and (5) continued traditional land use and stewardship.