Kanaka Bar Indian Band: Towards Self-Sufficiency, Vibrancy, and Sustainability
(7 pages of text)
The Kanaka Bar Indian Band, a First Nations community in British Columbia, Canada, had realized impressive economic development in the decades since the 1970s. This progress included development of a profitable hydroelectric system backed by strong community governance and the introduction of a five-year community economic development plan. In 2017, the community was executing the plan with some successes and some challenges. As the band council and community members looked to the coming years of the plan and beyond, they wished to continue making progress towards their community vision of self-sufficiency, vibrancy, and sustainability. As they reflected on their successes, took stock of the community’s resources, and assessed its challenges, they asked themselves whether the plan needed to evolve. Which of the community’s resources could it use to achieve its vision in a way that addressed the challenges at the time and remained consistent with the traditional community values?
This case is appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate level courses on sustainability; development; and community and organizational change and policy. It offers students the chance to deepen their understanding of the historical and contemporary issues that Canadian Indigenous communities are facing and to evaluate the many roads that can be taken towards realizing community goals such as achieving self-sufficiency and sustainability. The case is also appropriate for stakeholders in other organizations who are looking to deepen their understanding of sustainable development and community engagement. Completing this case will give students the opportunity to do the following:
- Understand the complex history of the Kanaka Bar Indian Band and the main issues facing the community.
- Discuss, analyze, and reflect on development projects through identifying community resources and challenges in a particular cultural context.
- Evaluate a path forward that fits with the overarching vision and culture of a community, while overcoming challenges and leveraging resources.
Canada, Small, 2017
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