How Do You Build a Community? Developing Community Capacity and Social Capital in an Urban Aboriginal Setting




Previous literature has identified social capital as an important resource for successful community development activities, and there have been some attempts to adapt the concepts of social capital to the particular context of First Nations. However, little information is available about how social capital itself might be developed or improved in Aboriginal communities. Moreover, urban Aboriginal communities are different from rural First Nations, Inuit or Métis communities in structure, composition, activities, and diversity, and deserve specific attention and their own models of community development. This paper presents a framework to guide development initiatives in urban Aboriginal contexts that is drawn from Aboriginal cultural principles and connected to the academic literature on development and social capital. Intended to provide practical advice to community leaders and practitioners, the framework includes five “tenets”: strategic planning; Elders and children; prayers and medicines; responsibility and ownership; and mentoring and role modelling.

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