A Capital Idea: How Indigenous Economics Can Power our Climate Agenda

By Jennifer Marron
Published June 27, 2022 | 2 min read

Many Indigenous communities in Canada face unique limitations that inhibit the use of traditional financing – and access to financing – that has long been a stumbling block to economic development. But it takes more than money to achieve economic reconciliation while on the path to Net Zero. “Indigenous capital” is a holistic concept that considers the full wealth of resources held by Indigenous nations, whose leadership and partnership is especially needed in light of Canada’s climate goals.

In this episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, host Trinh Theresa Do discusses the vital importance of Canada’s Indigenous communities as we work to find an economically and environmentally sustainable path to Net-Zero. Her main guest is Sharleen Gale, chief councilor of the Fort Nelson First Nations and chair of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition. Chief Gale is working to bring disparate voices together, from across the country, to build a new model for economic development.

We also hear from RBC assistant chief economist Cynthia Leach, lead author of a new RBC report on Indigenous capital; Dawn Madahbee Leach, chair of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board and one of the leaders behind Canada’s new National Indigenous Economic Strategy, and Mark Podlasly, director of economic policy at the First Nations Major Project Coalition.


To learn more about the work of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, please follow this link.

Chief Sharleen Gale spoke in the episode about how the Fort Nelson First Nation was working to produce geothermal energy from the depleted Clarke Lake gas fields in B.C.; to read more about that initiative, please click here.

To read more about the National Indigenous Economic Strategy—a blueprint for inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian economy— please click here.

Finally, RBC Economics and Thought Leadership recently launched a new report called, “92 to Zero: How economic reconciliation can power Canada’s climate goals.” To read it, and other thought leadership pieces, visit rbc.com/thoughtleadership.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

Jennifer Marron

Jennifer Marron
Producer, Disruptors

CanadaClimate AgendaEconomicsFirst NationsIndigenousNet Zero