Asset Building in Native Communities: An Asset Building Framework - First Nations Development Institute
First Nations Development Institute was founded in 1980 with the mission to assist Nativepeoples to control and develop their assets, and through that control, build the capacity to directtheir economic futures in ways that fit their cultures. Since inception, First Nations DevelopmentInstitute (First Nations) has been working in partnership with Native communities to implementa range of asset-building programs.
The approach takes a comprehensive view of assets. FirstNations’ asset topography includes financial holdings, natural resources, cultural property,human capital, and social, political, institutional, and legal assets. The initial strategy focused on control of assets but has evolved to address six distinct strategies of asset-based development:
control, utilize, leverage, retain, create, and increase. Each one requires different tactics,
technical assistance, and community capacity. All require a policy framework that upholds
sovereignty, tenure rights, usage rights, and rights of self-determination. First Nations chooses to
focus on assets because:
• Assets are the building blocks of wealth.
• From assets, people derive income, jobs and other benefits.
• A major difference between rich and poor people is their ownership and control of assets.
• Tribes and Native people own substantial assets (e.g., land, natural resources, trust funds)
but because they do not control them, they do not derive the most benefit.