Land settlements pose challenges for First Nations
Thursday, November 6, 2003

First Nations people in northern Canada are finding that negotiating large settlements for land claims is only half the battle. Learning how to handle the money wisely poses new challenges.

The Inuits in northern Quebec received $90 million Canadian dollars for its land settlement. Through the Makivik Corporation, they invested the money in a number of businesses, and now has assets twice the amount.

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, representing another Inuit group, invested 80 percent of its settlement in equities, bonds and other securities while the rest went to venture capital for local economic development. Financial managers now handle af fund worth 142 million Canadian dollars.

The Nunavuts set up a fund when their Inuit territory was established. It has grown to 580 million Canadian dollars.

Along the way, Native groups have lost money on risky business ventures and on the changing stock market. Dealing with banks can be difficult, because their on-reserve assets are held in trust and cannot be used as security for loans.

Get the Story:
Canada's Indians Pondering How to Invest Land Payouts (The New York Times 11/6)
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