Indigenous leadership gathered on an urban reserve in Winnipeg to release a report that challenges the notion that First Nations people in the province are a burden on taxpayers.
According to the report Indigenous Contributions to the Manitoba Economy, First Nation peoples added $9.3 billion into the province’s economy in 2016.
The report is a collaboration between the Southern Chiefs Organization, Manitoba Keewatinowi and the Rural Development Institute at Brandon University.
Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels says it was important to implement this analysis.
“We want to bring clarity – you know there’s a lot of misconceptions and people don’t really have a good understanding of the reality that’s really happening,” said Daniels.
“This is an opportunity for us to state for the record that Indigenous peoples are creating huge impacts on the economy and they’re going to continue to do so with the growing trend of workforce and business going forward.”
The report says – the Indigenous economy added $2.3 billion to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP).
That represents 3.9 per cent of Manitoba’s GDP – more than manufacturing, accommodations and food services, mining or oil and gas extraction.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee says this is a historical day and this is only the beginning.
“Now it is incumbent upon us to invest in training and education so the youth – the demographic of the youth is exploding and in the future that is what we have to work with,” said Settee.
“We must invest in education and training to allow the youth to continue to be stronger participants.”