Indigenous Strong
Manitoba Strong



The Southern Chiefs’ Organization Inc. (SCO) and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) have partnered with Brandon University’s Rural Development Institute (RDI) to research and document Indigenous economic contributions to the broader Manitoba economy.

This collaborative research includes Indigenous perspectives, and provides a unique study of the influences of Aboriginal people, their businesses and investments have – and will continue to have – on Manitoba’s economy and future.

Accessing Opportunities for Growth

This new approach also means engaging with the larger Manitoba community to promote meaningful consultation, make access to economic opportunities more equitable, and also share Indigenous history for intercultural competency.

Such an emphasis on Indigenous contributions also highlights the importance of increasing economic self-sufficiency as a means of greater self-determination.

This project occurs at a time of reconciliation. Replacing old development paradigms in favour of ones highlighting the economic, social, and cultural development of communities with an Indigenous approach. The research highlights the holistic development of Indigenous people and communities as they work to continually improve financial and organizational capacity and to educate all sectors.

What is Unique About This Applied Research Project?

• Estimates are focused on spending by Indigenous and First Nations people in Manitoba
• Reporting profiles feature urban reserves in Manitoba
• Collaborative knowledge sharing was achieved among the researchers


Today’s provincial economy is built on our original Indigenous economy. When Europeans arrived, our economy adapted and merged with theirs. Through our enterprises and efforts, our strong culture and our resilience, our economy is still growing and still adapting. Who we are as Indigenous people, where we live and our work, is where this modern story begins. We examined our spending and calculated our impact on the Manitoba economy. We present highlights for one year: 2016. Now think of what we have contributed over many such years. Think of what we are contributing today and will be in the future.

The following report summary and the link to the complete report on this website quantify Indigenous and First Nations’ people and communities’ contributions and impact on the Manitoba provincial economy. It also examines existing urban reserves in Manitoba, which are growing in importance as a revenue source for First Nations and creates projections of Indigenous population and labour force into the next decade.


Report At-a-Glance:


$9.3 Billion

Spending by Indigenous businesses, governments, and households and spending on infrastructure. Indigenous includes First Nations, Métis & Inuit.

Impacts on Manitoba Economy

Components of provincial GDP:

Major industries & Indigenous economy

Facts About Indigenous People in Manitoba 2016

Looking Forward (2016 to 2026)

Strong Indigenous Population Growth

Indigenous Labour Force

Industries Where First Nations People Work

Urban Reserves in Manitoba


The authors wish to extend their appreciation and thanks to the First Nations communities that supported this research project by participating in interviews for the urban reserve profiles.

We also wish to thank the steering committee for their support, guidance, and collaboration in the creation of all aspects of this project, including the included infographics.

Finally, we appreciate the comments from André LeDressay and Jason Reeves, Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics, regarding the macroeconomic analyses.

Steering Committee Members

Bill Ashton, Rural Development Institute
Caterina Ferlaino, Manitoba Priorities and Planning Secretariat
Nina Forbes, Indigenous Services Canada
Adara Kaita, Manitoba Indigenous and Northern Relations
Kelvin Lynxleg, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
Curtis Mallett, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
Leona McIntyre, Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Jolene Mercer, Southern Chiefs’ Organization Inc.
Megan Pearson, Indigenous Services Canada
Alison Rogan, Manitoba Indigenous and Northern Relations
Jana Schott, Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Onekanew Christian Sinclair, OCN and Look North
Shelley Sinclair, Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Project research and development by:

Special thanks for funding and invaluable guidance for this project to Indigenous Services Canada and the Government of Manitoba.