Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Jessie Bakens
Chapter 5: Economic integration challenges: the Aboriginal population in Saskatchewan, Canada
The term ‘cultural diversity’ has come to be associated with a range of positive characteristics of modern, innovative and tolerant societies (Agar and Brückner 2011; Beckstead et al. 2008; Florida 2002; Jacobs 1969; Kemeny 2012; Olney 2013; Ottaviano and Peri 2006; Peri 2012). This developing literature attests to the fact that significant research efforts are being devoted to understanding the relationships between cultural diversity and economic growth and innovation. At the same time, however, cultural diversity likely involves minority populations that participate in the general economic well-being to varying degrees, in some cases exhibiting considerable marginalization. Successful socio-economic integration of the various components of the diversity is key to sustainable and inclusive economic development. Barriers to integration and means of overcoming them are thus important policy issues. First Nations in Canada exemplify the long-standing, complex and tragic consequences of the lack of economic integration of a subpopulation in an advanced and growing economy. In 2004 Canada was ranked 4th in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index, but ‘Aboriginal Canada’ would slip to 78th if Aboriginal Canadians were viewed as forming a separate country – a rank held by Kazakhstan at that time (Government of Canada, Senate 2007).
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