An analysis of the causes and determinants of Indian employment patterns and trends : identifying strategies for achieving community based economic development

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Larsen, Joan Nymand,
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This thesis analyses the employment circumstances of the Canadian Status Indian population, focusing on current and estimated future employment trends on-reserve. It also identifies a strategy for achieving on-reserve community economic and employment development. The point of departure is the changing demographic composition of the status Indian population over the period 1986-2011, and the related impacts on employment circumstances as the Indian population ages into its working aged years. On the basis of empirical evidence and a literature review covering possible individual, reserve based and external determinants of low Indian labour force participation and low employment rates, the contemporary patterns of Indian employment is examined. It is found that lack of employment and economic opportunities within on-reserve Indian communities is partly to blame on a lack of federal commitment to the financial support of economic development initiatives. In light of the growing Indian working aged population, the Indian unemployment problem will worsen considerably without an immediate federal commitment to long-term support for Indian community economic development. The solution lies in a comprehensive community economic development strategy that entails long-term financial support with community control over the development process.