Sustainable Economic Development & Fiscal Relations Strategy: BCAFN’s “Black Books”

Sponsor Organization: British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN)

The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) representing the 203 First Nations in British Columbia. BCAFN representation is inclusive and extends to First Nations currently engaged in the treaty process, those who have signed modern treaties, and those who fall under historic treaty agreements which include the Douglas Treaties and Treaty 8. Learn more on the BCAFN Website.


The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations is in the process of creating a comprehensive economic development toolkit, titled the “Black Books,” wherein the following four volumes will provide resources to different key audiences: Volume One - First Nations Economic Development Guide; Volume Two - Chief and Council; Volume Three - Economic Development Corporations; and Volume Four - Community Entrepreneurs.

The “Black Books,” along with BCAFN’s regional and community profiles and the online resource center will be converted into digital assets for BC First Nations, accessibly on BCAFN’s website, and through a smartphone application. The Black Books will detail the foundations of Indigenous economics, and among other items, will provide tools to assess the business investment potential of Indigenous economies and to offer best practices and “how-to” guides.

Participants will Learn

  • Participants will be provided with a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing work and advocacy being undertaken at BCAFN, on behalf of First Nations, through the Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy. This will include updates on progress, and will highlight the work being undertaken on the “New Fiscal Relationship” with Canada as it relates to community economic development.
  • Participants will be provided with a high-level introduction into the “Black Books” in terms of the development process, the ongoing research, and the need, intent, and expectations of the project.
  • Participants will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the BCAFN on further input on the content and structure of the Black Books project.

Curtis Bedwell
Policy Analyst, BCAFN
Courtney Daws, BA, LLB

Senior Governance and Negotiations Analyst
Castlemain Group

Presenter Biographies

Curtis Bedwell holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, where he studied Indigenous policy making in Canada and British Columbia. He earned his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science from Simon Fraser University. He has worked on several federal and provincial election campaigns, and currently sits on the Executive Committee of his riding association in Kamloops, BC. Curtis has experience working at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, as a research assistant in the negotiations wing of Specific Claims Branch in Vancouver, BC, and as a Junior Evaluation Officer in the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch in Gatineau, QC.

Courtney Daws is a lawyer and strategic advisor with extensive knowledge in the areas of Indigenous law, strategic policy and governance. As the Senior Governance and Negotiation Analyst at Castlemain, the focus of Courtney’s work includes strategic policy and advocacy, advising clients and developing documents to move important policy initiatives forward.

Prior to joining Castlemain, Courtney has held senior positions in the legal, political and social sectors, working for Indigenous peoples. Courtney was the Director of Operations for five years at the BC Assembly of First Nations under former Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. During this time, Courtney had the opportunity to work with a number of Indigenous communities on policy, governance and advocacy work – advancing First Nations’ positions in a number of areas, including economic development, education, governance, Aboriginal rights and title, treaty rights and resource development. Courtney was also the project manager for, and significant contributor to, the three-part BCAFN Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building.

Courtney has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Laws, with a focus on Indigenous law, both from the University of British Columbia, and is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia.