“A New Way Forward”: Reconciliation through Indigenous Social Innovation

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Barberstock, Shyra
Indigenous Peoples , Entrepreneurship , Social Innovation , Reconciliation
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released 94 Calls to Action including ‘Business and Reconciliation’ (Recommendation #92, TRC, 2015). The recommendation focuses mainly on the role of non-Indigenous Canadians. I argue that reconciliation is a two-way process and the role of Indigenous peoples in reconciliation has been largely overlooked. Thus, this research aims to take an Indigenous perspective on reconciliation, including the role that social innovation and Indigenous entrepreneurship can play in reconciliation processes in Canada. This research employs a qualitative approach to data collection, including storytelling, narrative analysis and comparative methods. Concepts of reconciliation from an Indigenous entrepreneurial perspective, including personal definitions of reconciliation and social innovation, and how Indigenous businesses contribute to reconciliation processes are analysed. The results indicate that Indigenous entrepreneurs are actively contributing to reconciliation processes including playing a role in cultural awareness building through their goods and services. The research also indicates that the term ‘reconciliation’ takes on various meanings and is tied to life experiences, cultural relations, and community histories and dynamics. The results contribute an ‘Indigenous voice’ to current scholarship on reconciliation and might aid in the development of policy on Indigenous entrepreneurship, social innovation and economic development.
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