IWCL Case Study: Membertou First Nation

Coady International Institute

This is a documentary produced by the Coady International Institute and is part of their "Indigenous Women in Community Leadership" series. The video is described on their website as follows:

"The community of Membertou has come a long way to be crowned the "jewel of Cape Breton". Once a small and thriving reserve in the heart of Sydney -- a city perched on the northeast shore of Cape Breton Island -- it was forcibly relocated from its premium lands on the harbour in the 1920s. Remnants of this event have shaped the community for most of the 20th century and even fifteen years ago the average resident of Sydney would not have had a reason to set foot in Membertou.

Today however, it is a key economic driver of the region, providing 700 jobs in peak season -- close to half of them non-Aboriginal people -- and grossing annual revenues of $75 million from Band-owned and operated businesses." 

This case study explores the process of Membertou's transformation from a welfare reserve completely dependent on federal funding, to one of Cape Breton's economic bright spots.

Native Nations
Resource Type

 "IWCL Case Study: Membertou First Nation." Coady International Institute. 2011. Documentary. (, accessed July 26, 2023)

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