Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada - Centre for the Study of Co ...

usaskstudies.coop

Aboriginal Co-operatives in Canada - Centre for the Study of Co ...

Executive SummaryThere are about 133 co-operatives in Canada in which the membership is predominantlyAboriginal. The largest number of Aboriginal co-operatives can be found in the northernregions of the Arctic, mostly among Inuit and Inuvialuit. The Aboriginal co-operatives servea wide variety of needs, the most common being the provision of food and supplies in remotecommunities. They are also important as marketers of arts and crafts, wild rice, fish, and shellfish.A small number have demonstrated the possibilities of housing in urban communities, acrucial need with considerable potential for future development.The Aboriginal co-operatives are part of a larger Canadian movement, and their history anddevelopment has, to a significant extent, emanated from the larger movement. All told thereare more than 15 million memberships of co-operatives in Canada, with over 12 million ofthem being in credit unions and caisses populaires. The membership of some other co-operativesis also significant: the consumer movement has nearly 3.7 million members; housing cooperativeshouse some 250,000 in more than twenty-one hundred co-operatives with nearlyninety thousand units. The insurance companies owned by the co-operatives, notably the Cooperators,CUMIS, and the Mouvement Desjardins, are important companies in their industry.In total the Canadian movement has more than $169 billion in assets, making it an importantforce in the Canadian economy, particularly when considered from a regional perspective.Aboriginal co-operatives are members of other co-operative organizations that form themembership of the national co-operative organizations, Conseil Canadien de la Coopérationand the Canadian Co-operative Association. In the case of the latter, Arctic Co-operatives, thewholesale and marketing agencies owned by northern (and mostly Aboriginal) co-operatives,is one of twenty-seven regional members of that organization. Through the two nationalorganizations, Aboriginal co-operatives are members of the International Co-operativeAlliance, whose basic statement of co-operative identity they affirm.This report reviews the contexts within which Aboriginal co-operatives exist, considersthe suitability of the co-operative model for what Aboriginal leaders say about the kind ofeconomy they wish to encourage, and draws upon the findings of eleven case studies to makea series of conclusions and recommendations about the potential of growth for co-operativesowned by Aboriginal peoples for their own purposes.~ 3

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines