Repository logo

"We want doors opened, not slammed shut": Aboriginal economic development corporations, case studies from Saskatchewan



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



Aboriginal Economic Development Corporations (AEDCs) have changed the approach to First Nations economic development. These agencies are set up and owned by Aboriginal governments to create economic opportunity for their communities. AEDCs enhance the economic and political capital in First Nation communities, acting as representatives for the people they serve, as Wilson and Alcantara (2012) have argued. The governance of these organizations has been a source for much debate with the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development calling for a separation of business and political institutions. This thesis will engage these ideas and explore the questions of how political and economic institutions interact in the context of First Nation economic development. Research for this thesis has demonstrated that Aboriginal economic development in Canada is an inherently political process that requires political and business leaders in AEDCs to ensure the interests of their communities are represented in the public and private sectors. This argument will be demonstrated in the context of three components of the thesis: an exploratory analysis of AEDCs, outlining their general governance structures, impact on local economies, and opportunities for public policy; discussion of the policy environment surrounding AEDCs; and discussion of the governance of AEDCs and other relevant themes in the Aboriginal economic development literature. The concluding recommendations in the final chapter of the thesis suggest that national and sub-national governments create a greater enabling atmosphere for AEDCs, local governments implement mechanisms that produce good decisions, and governments across Canada work together to create stronger relations and opportunities.



Aboriginal, Economic Development, Indigenous, Policy, Governance, Institutions



Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)


Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy


Public Policy


Part Of