Indigenous Economic Development Day acts as a way to acknowledge and celebrate the role of Indigenous businesses and peoples in the economy as well as the importance of economic diversity while highlighting Indigenous and non-Indigenous partnerships, job creation, and the use of Indigenous knowledge to work towards economic development.
“Our province is fortunate to be home to many vibrant nations and Indigenous communities who make significant contributions to the province’s economy. Indigenous businesses operate in all of the province’s economic sectors, and supporting their success is important to the health, diversity, and strength of our economy, as well as our goal of advancing economic reconciliation,” Trade and Export Development Minister for Saskatchewan Jeremy Harrison said.
The province’s recent proclamation was supported by the Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance as well as the Saskatchewan Indigenous Economic Development Network.
SIEDN Founder and Chair Milton Tootoosis said that Indigenous peoples have historically been shut out of past economic revolutions. “Indigenous economic development is key to closing the economic gap. As we transition and adapt to the information age, we need more engagement, education, investment, and access to capital in creative and innovative ways. We as Indigenous peoples have been historically shut out of the past economic revolutions, and we must participate using Indigenous environmental, social, and governance principles for a sustainable, fair, and equitable future,” said Tootoosis.
Some of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous-owned businesses are being recognized on a national level, with Meadow Lake Tribal Council Industrial Investments receiving the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business’ 2023 Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation of the Year Award for their work in the forestry, renewable energy, oil and gas, agriculture, and hospitality sectors. To support economic reconciliation, the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation is offering up to $75 million in loan guarantees to support Indigenous equity ownership of major projects in mining, energy, oil and gas, forestry, and value-added agriculture.