Report Summary: Indigenizing the Co-operative Model

October 14, 2020

Indigenizing the Co-operative Model by James Thunder and Mark Intertas begins with a delineation of the diversity and complexity of Indigenous peoples and their distinct cultures and history. The authors summarize four broad stages of Indigenous history and contemporary reality to foreground the exploration of Indigenizing co-operatives. Thunder and Intertas present key elements of Indigenous governance, spirituality, and contemporary context which are compared to the Rochdale Co-operative principles and the Neechi Community Economic Development (CED) principles. A literature review, key person interviews and an Indigenous design workshop further explore what Indigenizing the co-operative model can mean. 


The authors note the term Indigenous is a broad collective term that includes First Nation, Inuit and Metis peoples.  Indigenous cultures “must be appreciated for their complexities contributing to their diversity. Each Indigenous nation adapted to the environmental and social demands of their land and evolved unique ways of life and traditions.” (p.7) This foundational understanding is necessary to appreciate the diversity of the origins of Indigenous peoples in Manitoba and Winnipeg, which in turn affects the exploration of Indigenous co-operatives. The authors provide a brief summary of the territory, history and significant cultural elements of the Metis, the Inuit, First Nations and their main groupings: the Nehetho (Cree), the Anishinabe (Ojibwe), the Anishinawak (Oji-Cree), the Oyate (Dakota), and the Denesuline (Dene).


The authors present critical dimensions of current Indigenous governance structures and organizations, recognizing the tension between culturally-based governing models and governance systems imposed by Canadian state...for the full summary please download PDF below.

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