Numerology: Aboriginal wealth and prosperity

Taking stock of the Okanagan's Westbank First Nation and its expanding economic portfolio


That’s the square footage of commercial real estate managed by the Okanagan’s Westbank First Nation (WFN), the largest such on-reserve development in the country. AFOA Canada (formerly the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada) will feature WFN as a case study of leadership success at its inaugural conference in Vancouver from October 2 to 5. Some 1,300 business owners, chiefs, elders and financial managers from indigenous communities around the world will discuss long-term planning, economic prosperity and international cooperation. Terry Goodtrack, CEO of AFOA Canada, says WFN and other participants bring lessons about establishing financial and social sustainability after achieving self-governance. “Why these highly skilled financial managers exist [in these communities] is because now there is a role,” Goodtrack explains. “You’re no longer managing poverty; you’re managing wealth and prosperity.”