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This report was produced under contract with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) by a firm of independent conference content specialists whose responsibility was to capture and synthesize as accurately as possible the discussions from this engagement session. Opinions expressed are those of the individual participants cited and should not be considered as endorsed by INAC.
Released in June 2009, the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development provides a new and comprehensive approach to Aboriginal economic development that reflects the significant, real and growing opportunities for Aboriginal people in Canada. The Framework provides for a focused, government-wide approach that is responsive to new and changing economic conditions and leverages partnerships to address persistent barriers that impede the full participation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian economy.
While the Framework represents a modern and strategic approach to Aboriginal economic development, several of the economic development programs delivered by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada have been in place for many years and need to be updated in order to be more responsive to the unique needs and opportunities of First Nations, Metis and Inuit.
In keeping with the Government of Canada's commitment to develop meaningful partnerships with stakeholders, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada organized a series of national and regional stakeholder engagement sessions to obtain input on how Aboriginal economic development programs may be renovated to better meet the needs of Aboriginal people across Canada.
These sessions took place from May to December 2010 and focused on obtaining input from individuals and organizations with direct experience in Aboriginal economic development. The process also focused on building and strengthening existing partnerships with all stakeholders and determining the unique needs and goals of First Nations, Metis and Inuit as they relate to economic development. In total, nineteen sessions took place reaching approximately 860 stakeholders.
All of the input obtained during the regional engagement sessions was captured by a firm of independent conference content specialists. The content specialists have carefully synthesized the feedback received from the Youth Roundtable participants and prepared this final report. The report captures the discussions from the Youth Roundtable including details regarding the aspects of programming that stakeholders consider to be working well, areas requiring improvement and key recommendations regarding priorities for funding and changes to program design and delivery.
The input provided by stakeholders, as detailed in the report, is now being used to inform program renovation options for the lands, business and community economic development programs administered by INAC.
Elder Modesta Betterton
Osoyoos Indian Band
Chief Clarence Louie
Osoyoos Indian Band
Elder Modesta Betterton welcomed the youth participants. "It's so good to see the next generation of leaders here. It makes me feel good. I'll see you in a few years as leaders in bands and in the province."
She told the youth they must think about the future: "They tell you that you can be anything you want to be. Yes, you can, if you work for it. The ones that work and study harder, it seems to stick more. It is like planting a new garden; you grow if you sow. You are half grown, like tender plants."
Chief Clarence Louie said economic development is the key to the future for Aboriginal youth. Having a job is not the be-all and end-all, but too many First Nation people are not working. He said some single mothers and people living with disabilities need help, but some of them work harder than anyone else.
"Old-timers are the hardest-working people on this reserve," Chief Louie said. "They go to bed early and get up early. One woman got up two hours earlier than others today to go to work. She has only one arm and works in the vineyard, and she's nearly 60."
In business, one cannot waste time. "Time is money—that's true. You can't run a business or hold a job on so-called Indian time. You'll be the first one fired if you show up late." Chief Louie said First Nations have to raise the bar and start acting like the grandparents. He said, "Real Indian time was when you got there early; latecomers were left standing on the shore and the canoes left. You have to get up early to hunt. We have to get rid of this modern laziness."
People come from all over to work in Osoyoos, and the employees represent 38 First Nations. "We probably employ more First Nation people here than anywhere in the nation," Chief Louie said.
He cautioned participants not to listen to leaders only at election time, but to watch what they do, because actions speak louder than words. "Watch where they spend their evenings and weekends which is when they're not being paid. Are they at the gatherings, ceremonies, sports?"
Chief Louie spoke about having a sense of pride. "When I travel and see an awesome Aboriginal hotel or golf course it gives me a sense of pride. I keep hearing that Aboriginal people are lazy, dirty, welfare burdens, drunks. I'm looking for the Natives who have pride of ownership. Do they keep their yards clean? That's the first impression people have of your family. If I drive by and see garbage outside and broken windows, I don't have a good impression."
Chief Louie collects slides of good and bad examples of the way houses and administration buildings are maintained. He saw a gas station in Alberta that had swear words spray-painted on it and said he would phone the Chief to tell him how embarrassing that is to all First Nations and ask him to get it cleaned up. "Little things do matter. Appearance matters. You don't have to dress fancy, but you better be presentable."
Chief Louie advised the youth to learn to introduce themselves, starting with their own language. "Use your Native name, then English. Give your nation, then band. I want to see our languages used. I don't want to see our languages dying out."
The National Aboriginal Economic Development Board has Inuit, Métis, and First Nation members selected by the federal government to give the government advice on economic development. In the last three decades incredible changes have taken place, Chief Louie said.
In the last 30 years, he has cut ribbons on many First Nation hotels. "Even this project [the Spirit Ridge Resort on Osoyoos Indian Band land] would not have happened without money from the Department of Indian Affairs."
Chief Louie said he is proud of First Nation youth who participate in sports. "We need to invest in youth programs and education and give the tools to overcome challenges. Most First Nations have over 50% unemployment. People on reserves have the lowest income per family in this country." He urged youth to go to school, graduate, and get jobs. "Aboriginal youth are far more unemployed than any other group."
During a tour of Canadian prisons with the Correctional Service of Canada, Chief Louie discovered that in the Prairie provinces, 70% of the prison population is Aboriginal. Very few had jobs before incarceration. "If you don't have a job, chances are you will be involved in crime."
He urged youth to find jobs they can be passionate about. First Nations have to make sure federal programs help Aboriginal youth, Chief Louie said. He praised the INAC-supported youth camps for Aboriginal youth; one takes place in Arizona and one in Canada. He praised competitive opportunities for youth, such as the boxing club in Osoyoos. He encouraged youth to be involved in the culture, even as spectators if they are unable to participate. "You are going to be taking over the reins in your communities. Some of you will be chiefs or council members. Don't just be business people; be proud of your culture and heritage," he said.
Why We Are Here: Supporting Lands and Economic Development
Director General, Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Branch
Lands and Economic Development
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada – Headquarters
Nicole Ladouceur said the last policy framework for Aboriginal economic development, from 1989, is severely outdated and must evolve. This year marks the first anniversary of the New Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development. The new framework responds to new and changing conditions, aims to leverage partnerships, targets opportunities, and is focused on results. "It's about ensuring that Aboriginal businesses have their fair share," she said.
Aboriginal youth are the fastest-growing segment of the population in the country. Approximately 400,000 Aboriginal youths will enter the job market in about 10 years. First Nations own or control more than 15 million hectares and Inuit more than 45 million hectares, which is "crucial in economic development," Ms. Ladouceur said.
"The stars are aligning" for action, she said. "The table is set for economic development, but there are issues." Interest from the private sector is growing, as is entrepreneurial leadership within First Nations. "Imagine you are a business; you'll look around and see this growing segment and want to key in."
Quoting the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Ms. Ladouceur said: ". . . forward-thinking companies who recognize that First Nation, Métis and Inuit partnerships make good business sense are taking the first steps by expanding engagement with these communities and spearheading cooperation." She quoted TD Bank Financial Group: "There is a rising recognition among Canadian companies that employing Aboriginal people and partnering with Aboriginal communities is a smart business strategy."
Ms. Ladouceur noted an emerging consensus that the legal and regulatory environment must drop barriers and that skilled labour must be improved. "The private sector is often willing to hire, but literacy is a big factor," she said. Another issue is deficits in capacity, so building capacity is being given attention. That means increasing tools to identify and pursue economic opportunities and improving community development programs and Aboriginal institutional arrangements, including support for long-term planning and ready access to experts.
The processes for land claims and Additions to Reserve must be accelerated, and INAC must operate at the speed of business. There are still deficits in infrastructure and limited financing options. "That's not the easiest to solve, but there are creative approaches," she said. Access to commercial capital must be improved and other forms of financing found.
Ms. Ladouceur outlined the dimensions of economic development: base, climate, and activation.
She said the base is about building economic potential with lands, natural resources, infrastructure, and people. She cited wind energy and the Ring of Fire as an example.
Climate involves creating the right economic conditions, which involves the legal and regulatory climate, governance and institutions, and fiscal capacity and arrangements. "Climate is a key area that government gets to play in," said Ms. Ladouceur. "We can't create mines or wind patterns, but we can work on this."
Activation refers to taking advantage of opportunities, including business development, community investment strategies, labour market development, private sector partnerships, and major project participation. Key questions are "how do you access your base, and what can climate do to support you?"
Ms. Ladouceur said that the new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development has five strategic priorities:
Strengthening Aboriginal entrepreneurship
Developing Aboriginal human capital
Enhancing the value of Aboriginal assets
Forging new and effective partnerships
Focusing the role of the federal government
She said the last priority is the underlying one. "Getting the federal family into the sandbox is a key role. Sometimes the best thing government can do is get out of the way."
Ms. Ladouceur identified INAC activities that support lands and economic development:
Aboriginal business development programs
Community economic development programs
Lands and environmental management programs
Legislation and regulations
She also identified a number of guiding principles for moving forward with the new framework, including building on success, keeping what works and changing what does not, and recognizing and responding to unique needs and conditions.
"A one-size-fits all approach will no longer be the baseline approach," she said. She also mentioned strengthening capacity, pursuing partnerships, and promoting sustainability. For example, sometimes a person has a great idea but lacks the financial literacy tools to make it happen.
"When you think about creating or being part of a business, what are the challenges faced by youth?" Ms. Ladouceur asked. She asked participants where they see opportunities and what they need to enable them to participate. "The sky's the limit." She asked how INAC can help and where it should bring government departments to the table. "Help us make sure we've got it right," she said.
Stan Wesley said he is pleased that INAC is recognizing that lands and economic development programs can be improved, and that the department is meeting with people all across the country asking for input.
"What are your dreams? What are your visions? What can we do to fix these programs?" he asked the participants. "This is personal. This impacts you and your families. The biggest resources in this room are yourselves. You are a role model in your community now."
Participants were divided into small discussion groups and asked to address a number of questions. A representative from each group reported back on the key points raised.
Summary of Breakout Discussion 1
Question: What does economic development mean to you? As the next generation of leaders, what can you bring to your community?
Participants defined and described economic development in many ways:
Economic development means personal and community growth.
Economic development is a means of survival.
There is a need to develop more local small businesses.
Economic development has both negative and positive impacts.
It is about sustainability and capacity building.
Economic development creates jobs and keeps people busy.
Healthy communities have no idle hands and therefore less crime.
Economic development promotes education, and education is the beginning.
Economic development builds institutions and promotes a better quality of life.
It promotes good habits and increases the standard of living.
It enables competition with non-First Nation people.
"It is transforming the collective attitude of communities."
Economic development is creating hope for the future.
It means self-determination: First Nations can run their government with no dependency.
Instead of pulling people back, economic development pushes people forward toward having goals.
It is about community growth and people's development.
Economic development creates sustainability—it creates jobs and keeps them.
Economic development promotes a community's sense of togetherness.
It promotes self-reliance and independence.
Economic development generates our own sources of revenue on reserves; the flow of money is inward rather than outward.
It supports other Aboriginal businesses.
It provides more training.
Economic development forms partnerships for investment.
"It's about money, money, money, and it develops pride."
Economic development often interferes with or disrespects First Nations' traditional way of life and can have serious negative impacts such as more single-parent families, drug and alcohol influences, and a strain on local resources, including access to lands, fishing and hunting.
Economic development is about strategic planning, taking risks, setting goals, providing opportunities and taking advantage of opportunities.
Economic development is about networking, partnering with other First Nations and non-First Nation people and other organizations, building community within First Nations and also between First Nations and all levels of government.
It is about social responsibilities, a sense of belonging, sustainability, education, health programs, a sense of pride, leadership and a sense of family.
One group wanted definitions of both "economic" and "development." Participants suggested "economics" is a social science analysis of community and business systems that work within the environment. "Development" is advancing the systems that work within the environment in more sustainable ways.
Economic development is about personal and community growth. It is not just about gross domestic product or business but about the environment, community, culture and personal life.
Economic development has a positive community impact.
It is a means of survival and sustainability.
It is an ability to participate in many programs and services.
It allows youth to access programs specific to their dreams and aspirations and to build on their ideas.
It allows youth to focus on those dreams through proper channels, such as internships.
"To some people it doesn't have a meaning; it may be an intimidating concept. This is related to lack of information."
There is a need to reduce stigmas.
Economic development "usually results in negative social impacts on our people, especially when bringing in outside people." That results in a strain on resources that are available locally.
Economic development is about business development and putting dollars back in the community. First Nations need someone dedicated to building economic development within the community.
Economic development creates respect for youth and for Aboriginals.
Audience Response System
Do you live on reserve? (47%)
Do you live off reserve (20%)
Do you live in an urban centre (33%)
Q4. What is your primary area of interest?
Community economic development (29%)
Business entrepreneurship? (29%)
Lands management (13%)
Not sure yet (10%)
Q5. How active are you presently in economic development?
Not at all (6%)
Just becoming active (24%)
Somewhat active (27%)
Very active (43%)
Q6. Have you ever tried to access government programs to support your participation in economic development?
Not applicable (21%)
Asked what they bring to their communities, the youth participants made the following comments:
"We can bring passion to what we're doing and build respect."
Knowledge and communication must be transferred. Youth can transfer the knowledge and experience we have learned back to communities.
We will bring back skills and education to our communities, or we can push for access to education within the community and stay in our communities.
We are mentors and role models to our communities.
We are committed to sustainability—success breeds success.
We must create support systems for youth to succeed and remain connected to communities.
We must create innovative programs and solutions to address gaps.
We can teach others about our culture, strengthen culture, and bring Aboriginal values to all society and to various aspects of life, including business and health.
We can teach the community about computers, Facebook, the Internet, and other technology, which is important in today's society.
We remove stigmas about Aboriginal people where they exist and break down barriers; we are not just filling quotas when we get positions. We can show our potential and our cultural pride.
Our generation is starting early in education and taking part in things like this engagement session.
We are aware of outside opportunities.
We have technological know-how and innovative thinking.
We can inspire others, "give them an itch."
We can bring new ways of thinking and doing things.
We can present positive role models.
We can integrate cultural knowledge about animals, land areas, environment and traditions into development.
There is honour and accountability in how we present ourselves.
We can share knowledge of the bigger picture; we have not really left the community, but some of us have ventured out and learned to think globally. "For some, the world ends at the reserve boundary."
We can help remove tunnel vision about how to utilize resources.
We can show people how to access other programs, not just INAC's.
We are the fastest-growing demographic, and there is power in numbers.
We have the courage to challenge existing leadership for change, but we are not a threat, not taking over their jobs.
We must prove our dedication to the community.
We can help share cultural and traditional knowledge among Elders because we have travelled from community to community.
We bring confidence and technical experience; we are role models.
We are the best people to move forward.
First Nations have to get away from drug and alcohol dependencies.
First Nations have to start thriving versus simply surviving.
We have the ability to take risks, to "bring back the warrior."
The torch will be passed on to us, and we need to be ready to receive it.
Our generation has strong, confident Aboriginal women.
We can bridge gaps.
"We learn faster than in the past."
We bring national, international, cultural, and technological experience.
Some youth have been United Nations delegates and have attended meetings and can bring those connections to the bands and share connections to Aboriginal values and lands.
We embrace tribal customs and put them into practice at the community level.
We bring our education, degrees and certificates.
We bring our work experience in government and the wider community.
We are resourceful, and we know where to look for resources.
We must bring knowledge and education, honour, pride and courage.
We bring our cultural awareness into developing businesses.
We are gaining more use of our languages.
We are putting Aboriginal cultural values into modern White society.
Audience Response System
Q7. Have you ever tried to access bank financing to support your participation in economic development?
Not applicable (24%)
Q8. Have you ever taken part in mentoring, job shadowing or apprenticeship activities?
Q9. How familiar are you with INAC's current suite of economic development programs?
Question: Where do you see opportunities in your community and/or your region to become active in economic development?
Group participants identified several opportunities for youth in economic development:
Networking and sharing knowledge.
Clean energy projects, such as wind and water projects.
Opportunity in the shift away from forestry, mining and oil and gas.
Equity funds for young entrepreneurs.
New focus on small businesses.
Increases in land values due to local economic development.
Opportunities to change the way we do business.
Partnerships with the private sector.
Increased level of business ownership and ventures.
Additional support for foundational life skills.
Services delivered by INAC and affiliates at the grassroots level.
Youth projects that clean up communities.
Opportunities to change mindsets from the welfare trap.
The tourism industry
Participants made a number of additional comments:
There is a growing movement for social enterprises; people must understand cultural business and recognize it as legitimate.
Some communities with flood claims are considering putting money in trust and living on the interest.
Youth must find out about opportunities with the communities and regions and not be focused completely on outside opportunities.
Challenges include getting people to do business in remote communities, developing the social economy, transportation and the costs of shipping.
Established communities can help smaller communities.
Education is becoming more accessible. There are more opportunities in education—"Choose any college in Canada; the band will pay for it."
Infrastructure needs to be first in order to create opportunities.
Economic development associations allow economic development officers to network.
Economic development departments are separating from band offices and are incorporating themselves.
Youth entrepreneurship is important. A community with a total population of 1,200 may have 50% of the population under age 25.
A participant said: "One thing that is frustrating is what people expect from a community. The sense of entitlement has carried down. When I was working with a youth group, I asked what they expected; 90% said they expected money."
Equity funds could provide opportunities; $1 million allocated by council could help with $3,000 loans to get businesses started.
"It is up to us to administer our monies. When we don't speak up, INAC does it."
There are many opportunities in HST exemption. "We're starting to see a lot more non-Natives coming into reserve stores. It's an opportunity across Canada." First Nations should develop more businesses.
There are opportunities to develop hub-type businesses, such as a vineyard, a conference centre, horseback riding, as at Spirit Ridge. More collaboration between businesses is needed.
Participants made several recommendations:
Take youth outside the reserve for them to see there is more out there.
Have youth sit in on council, to get involved in discussions and problems and prepare for leadership.
Have more mentors and support within communities. This helps having the support to get further education.
Break dependency from the small things in the community.
Have longer terms for chiefs and councils; communities are more stable when there are three-year terms.
Provide general training for newly elected chiefs and councils, especially on economic development.
Look at sectors where Aboriginal people are traditionally under-represented, such as real estate.
Use economic development revenues for community development, such as social and health programs.
Enhance nation-to-nation projects. Small communities can come together on projects in a combined process.
Question: What do you need to enable you to participate and to increase your participation in those opportunities?
Group participants listed several items and recommendations that would facilitate their participation in economic development opportunities:
Address basic needs, such as physical and mental health, housing, and access to drug and alcohol prevention services, before moving forward with developing people's capacity to undertake economic development. If needs are not met, people cannot engage.
Bring people together to share ideas.
Help people find roots.
Build relationships—"Have INAC people come to our communities for a week."
Waste fewer resources.
Strive for unity: First Nation communities should be united in what they expect from INAC.
Increase incentives and assistance for businesses to access help.
Support youth to reconnect with traditional pursuits and engage in traditional activities. Traditional activities, such as hunting and fishing, are important. "They are economic development opportunities. Just because it is not a wage labour economy does not mean it is not valuable."
Provide opportunities for youth from all over through economic development camps.
"What is success? What is time?" Youth need to understand Aboriginal culture.
Make sure programs and services are available off-reserve and to status, non-status, Métis and Inuit people.
Start young with job shadowing, job fairs and conferences showcasing Aboriginal achievements.
Have role model programs.
Provide funding for further education.
Increase youth responsibility in communities; give youth more responsibility to make decisions.
Provide meaningful programs. For example, 100 summer students were in a youth program picking up garbage. "Why not take 10 and go mentor under CEOs and create real skills?"
Focus on institution building—"We have to have some mechanism and dollars to create Aboriginal institutions."
Increase opportunities for youth, women, and Elders.
Give youth more opportunities to be active, to be guided, and to be shown how to do things.
Support better planning for communities and lands and provide meaningful dollars to make those plans happen.
Have youth speakers at conferences. "Youth pay attention to someone they can relate to.
Encourage successful organizations, such as Westbank First Nation in British Columbia, to share knowledge about how they run businesses on-reserve; share success stories across the country.
Provide more face-to-face contact.
Help individuals that are hugely at risk.
Encourage education, both school and job shadowing.
Tell kids what economic development is and why it is important: "I did not know what economic development was until I was out of school."
Encourage and share information and knowledge with youth: "Don't throw kids in blind."
Eliminate the sense of entitlement.
Engage youth so that they have a reason to finish high school and to move on to post-secondary education.
Bridge gaps in communication: "Chiefs and councils need to be convinced that economic development is a priority."
Have one-stop shopping. Currently, "access to resources is all over the place." Have a centralized location to access programming.
Expose youth to employment opportunities. "Why can't we go learn as opposed to being told?"
Address dependency issues in communities that are still bogged down with social needs, thereby freeing up the chiefs and councils to better focus their resources on economic development.
Explain how youth can better support chiefs and councils.
"Where are the dollars for me to go back to my community and work?"
Include youth representatives on council. "It's about carrying on that knowledge."
Increase the number of mentors for youth. Chief Clarence Louie taking community youths to conferences is a good example. Many families have only been off the reserve for 50 years; it takes mentorship and resources for youth to be successful.
Make the whole-of-government approach a reality and find ways for all levels of government to work together.
Provide recognition for youth for their accomplishments.
Push mentorships to a younger level.
Provide more support for off-reserve people; these are often the most active and educated youth, and they should not take a back seat.
Develop INAC strategies to engage other people.
Get members involved in eco-tourism.
Provide more incentives for banks and lenders to back large projects; provide loan protection for First Nations similar to the Vancity bank.
Audience Response System
Q10. How familiar are you with INAC's network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs)?
Very familiar (10%)
Reasonably familiar (19%)
Familiar with some elements (26%)
Not familiar (45%)
Q11. How likely would you be to approach an Aboriginal Financial Institution to seek financial assistance?
Very likely (32%)
Not likely (10%)
Q12. How important is it to you to receive job preparation skills in order to make the transition to employment?
Very important (78%)
Somewhat important (16%)
Minimally important (6%)
Not important (0%)
Q13. How do you currently access job preparation resources?
Through your school (27%)
Through your community (34%)
Through friendship centres (12%)
Through provincial or other government programs (23%)
Does not apply (4%)
Q14. What is the best way for youth to access INAC's economic development programs?
Do not give money to just anybody; build capacity. "We have funds to kick-start but no seed money to follow-up when trying to create a development corporation. We have plans in place but no seed money."
Have more autonomy to make decisions, rather than having to ask Ottawa first.
Share information or knowledge.
Give us services; do not require us to beg.
Communicate better with the communities and be more visible; come to the communities. Use brochures and other information.
Make sure people can go through INAC for requests for proposals.
Have equality between status and non-status opportunities.
"Have more Indians in INAC. Sometimes you want to talk to someone who can understand.
Increase money for travel to engage community members.
Have more satellite offices; INAC offices should not all be in Ottawa.
Be timely; provide updates on the status of applications and send emails to Chiefs.
Honor our treaties.
Provide better communication to increase awareness of programs for First Nations.
Get all government agencies working together, including INAC, Transport Canada and the Department of Justice.
Advocate for youth to the federal government: "We need you to talk to ministers and tell them, 'You are not going to succeed in these programs unless there are more dollars.
Give us easier access to program information; provide clearer online directions.
Provide more money for social capital for prevention; it will make us pro-active, not reactive.
Have more events like this roundtable.
Read the proposals.
Update the website; rewrite the protocols.
Stop faxing; save the trees.
Develop and upgrade treaties.
Provide training opportunities within INAC.
Have services all in one place.
Use "First Nations" instead of the term "Indian Affairs."
Use plain language; say, "I want to come and talk to you over tea and bannock. Stop using 'consultation' and big words."
Communicate faster; be transparent.
Make program money user-friendly and accessible.
Provide equal opportunities for status and non-status people and people on and off reserves and on and off settlement lands.
Recognize that concepts of community outreach engagement are different everywhere. "Know who you are working with."
Help youth find training opportunities to get to where they need to go for an internship.
Ensure continuity with INAC staff members assigned to communities; stop starting from scratch—it slows things down on all sides.
Engender more solidarity from all parties and look for commitments from everyone for the long term.
Provide services such as loans and grants in one place through AFIs. Make approvals closer than Ottawa.
Create more AFIs across Canada.
Develop better relationships with INAC for urban and other First Nations; "Ninety percent of youth in urban centres can't access resources through INAC because they are non-status."
Choose language carefully in policy programs so that it is inclusive; be culturally sensitive and reflect literacy levels.
Tell people why they were not successful in getting money. "'No we can't,' should be 'How can we?'"
Develop better inter-agency cooperation.
Communicate better both horizontally and vertically.
Use more electronic communication and return information to the communities.
Change the Indian Act. "Change the language we use to frame these discussions." Especially change status versus non-status.
Organize more youth gatherings.
Work with people; do not discredit an application because it is missing one piece of paper.
Stop being so secretive; be transparent and increase accountability to communities.
When having youth gatherings, recognize that not all youth are in the same place emotionally, educationally, professionally; be sensitive to this and either have separate gatherings for youth who are in different places or have gatherings that recognize and respect youth at different levels by offering relevant sessions. Respect diversity.
Simplify the application process. Now it is so complicated that to apply for programs requires a lawyer, which is costly, and that money is lost if an application gets shot down.
Speed up the approval process and be upfront about how applications are being evaluated.
Simplify the reporting process.
Create better awareness about programs available for First Nations.
Have a more efficient online presence.
Provide training opportunities for key administrative people on reporting, proposals, and so on.
Share what is discussed today in different mediums, so we can take it back and study it. Give us a chance to provide feedback.
Share today's information with the general public.
Use today's comments seriously and actually implement them.
Organize information and bring it back to us after a new suite of programs is developed.
Stop wasting our money.
Play a more active role in the communities—INAC should be in the communities and eventually get out of the way.
Jeff Cook said he had heard the youth calling for several things, and he listed the key points:
More youth gatherings
Honoring of treaties
Education and awareness
Better communication both horizontally and vertically
Building of equality
Satellite INAC offices
More electronic communication
Advocacy for youth
Returning information to communities
Training for First Nations to get into INAC
More local decision making
Changes to the Indian Act
Changes to the language used to frame these discussions
Stan Wesley said, "I'm hoping and praying for good leadership, and I'm encouraged. You guys are going to change the world."
He asked the participants, "If you were Chief what would be the first thing that you would do?" Participants' responses included: be transparent, create jobs, change the world, increase vision, inspire, go into the community and listen, and plan and implement were some of the ideas participants gave.
Wesley also asked, "Who and what role models did you have on economic development?" Participants said, "My grandpa," "My family," "Chief Clarence Louie," "My teacher," "My mom," "My boss," "My chief," "Myself," "Leaders in community and government."
"What field do you want to get into?" Wesley asked. Participants' responses included fishing, land management, resource management, rap, education, business, helping youth, law, social development, science, tourism, environment, language, lending, politics, economic development, trades, arts and helping people.