| FMB Deputy Chief Executive Officer Scott Munro and FNFA Strategy and Partnerships Advisor Jody Anderson spoke about proposed initiatives from their institutions.
Scott noted that gaps in access to capital are holding First Nations back in economic development. Among other solutions, the FMB proposes an Indigenous Development Bank, which could provide high-value loans for First Nation governments, general business loans, capital injection loans to the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) and its network of Indigenous Financial Institutions, as well as economic development infrastructure loans.
Jody said the FNFA is looking at an Indigenous-led and owned insurance model where we have control to create our own path, with the help of partners and subject-matter experts. “We will be putting that money back into our communities and our communities and members can decide how to spend that money.”
| Representatives of several First Nations spoke about their journey working with the FMA institutions and LAB, outlining their successes and lessons learned along the way.
Those from Squamish Nation talked about their success using fiscal tools through the First Nations Tax Commission. Khelsilem, chair of Squamish Nation, delivered powerful remarks about their path and learnings, including: “I leave you with this message, that all the work we are doing is how we can be good ancestors for future generations and how they can carry on the things we are doing today, and to recognize our consent is so valuable and our work to assert our jurisdiction means so much to the rest of the country and world.”
| Jason Calla, Technical Advisor at the First Nations Infrastructure Institute (FNII), moderated a session on taking control of First Nations infrastructure.
Panelist Rose Paul, CEO of Bayside Development Corporation at Paq’tnkek Mi’kmak Nation in Nova Scotia highlighted her Nation’s recent development projects – including Bayside Travel Centre, made possible by a new Trans-Canada Highway off-ramp – as well as upcoming initiatives. A business centre will be built next to the Travel Centre. “When we got FNII to help us with planning we were able to negotiate multi-million-dollar financing,” she said. “Sometimes you don’t realize how organized your communities are until you start working with the available tools. We couldn’t have done this on our own. Being able to utilize all the FMA tools made the difference. Next week we will be utilizing our tax law for the first time. Use the tools to take control back for your Nation.”