Co-operatives are a way for people to work together to better their community and reach their common economic, social, and cultural goals. Indigenous people have practiced this community approach to economic development from time immemorial. But colonialization has impacted every aspect of Indigenous society, including historic economic development practices. Although the value of working co-operatively has not been lost, supports to create co-operative businesses aren’t readily available.
To remedy this, a team came together in 2022 to start the Native Communities Cooperative Development training project (NCCD). The project supports the growth of co-operatives and their ability to add value, create markets, facilitate food security, and build prosperity in Indigenous communities.
Our Director of Indigenous Relations, Trista Pewapisconias, was a member of this team, and travelled to Minnesota earlier this year to meet with the project’s participants and organizers. In this episode, she has a roundtable discussion with project leaders Pamela Standing of the Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance, Bijiibah Begaye of The Cooperative Catalyst of New Mexico, and Karri-lynn Paul of the Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.