University of Technology Sydney

26837 Indigenous Economic Development and Finance

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business
Credit points: 3 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


Indigenous peoples and nations have a long history of trade across the continent and with our international neighbours. From the time of colonisation, we rapidly adapted our economies of food, resources and commodities in courageous endeavours in the new economic structures. This was followed by policies and laws taking land and food sources, enforcing economic exclusion, forced, unpaid labour and other restrictions. More recently, First Nations peoples have engaged more fully in economic development and financial services. This subject builds on the core finance concepts and incorporates Indigenous values and experience in investment, credit, insurance and superannuation. It examines the issues surrounding economic development as a tool for Indigenous nations and communities to achieve their goals on their own terms. The subject covers a broad range of issues including Indigenous nation-owned enterprises, entrepreneurship, procurement, Indigenous nation public finance, sovereignty, cultural preservation, constitutional reform and the development of an Indigenous nation’s governance infrastructure, resource security, social welfare, and education, among others.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. critically analyse the global, national and local economic and financial landscape that shapes socio-economic and business opportunities for creating Indigenous Nation economies
2. analyse the ways that economic and business activities are valued by applying Indigenous nation building methodologies
3. apply understanding of the interplay between Indigenous Nation economies and Indigenous business development for individual and collective interests

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject enables students to understand financial markets and models of economic development so they can consider and evaluate business initiatives in an Indigenous nation building context. They will develop capabilities to critically analyse the tension between the requirements of nation rebuilding and the demands of markets and policy.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Social responsibility and cultural awareness
  • Professional and technical competence

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is offered in blended learning mode during the short teaching periods of six weeks duration. The teaching and learning approach is a mix of online learning and in-class seminars. Classes are based on blended and flipped learning approaches: students engage with learning materials (including papers, book extracts, videos, etc.) before attending seminars. Seminars include guided critical discussion of learning materials, group work on contemporary case studies, scenarios, workshops, peer discussions and learning from students own professional experiences. Discussions and application of theory, case studies and best practices are supported by online learning and communication tools and the UTS learning management system.

A formative assessment provides students with feedback to direct their self-study. Ongoing general and individual feedback will be provided throughout the subject via consultation seminars. A summative assessment provides feedback on students' comprehension and application of learning. Students also receive formal feedback on assessment tasks.

Content (topics)

  • Foundations of Indigenous Nation economies – markets and capital raising
  • Indigenous business and governance models
  • Financing Indigenous business operations
  • Value creation and capture in Indigenous businesses


Assessment task 1: Economic development analysis and reflection (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Weight: 60%
  • Demonstrates knowledge of Indigenous nation economic development
  • Demonstrates critical thinking on the interplay between Indigenous Nation economies and businesses
  • Offers clearly articulated point of view
  • Depth of reflexivity and critical thinking

Assessment task 2: Case and Scenario Analysis (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 3

Weight: 40%
  • Suitability of the analytical methodology
  • Accuracy of the numerical and graphical analysis
  • Critical interpretation of the results
  • Professional reporting and clarity

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks

Required texts

RECLAIMING INDIGENOUS GOVERNANCE Reflections and Insights from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, by William Nikolakis (Editor), Stephen Cornell (Editor), Harry W Nelson, Foreword by Sophie Pierre


Altman, J, Ansell, J & Yibarbuk, D 2020, 'No ordinary company: Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (Northern Territory) Limited', Postcolonial Studies, p. 24.

Altman, J & Markham, F 2019, 'Basic Income and Cultural Participation for Remote-Living Indigenous Australians', in Elise Klein, Jennifer Mays & Tim Dunlop (ed.), Implementing a Basic Income in Australia: Pathways Forward, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 87-109

Cornell, S., Jorgensen, M., The Nature and Components of Economic Development in Indian Country, prepared for the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center May 2007

Cornell, S,. Kalt, J P., Two Approaches to Economic Development on American Indian Reservations: One Works, the Other Doesn’t, 2006, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy on behalf of the Arizona Board of Regents

The Australian Business Guide to Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Nov 2020, Global Compact Development Australia, KPMG Australia and the University of Technology Sydney, Global Compact Network Australia.

Jordan, K., Markham, F. and Altman, J.C. (2020), Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development: Australia Overview, Commissioned Report No. 5, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. https://doi.org10.25911/5f7edceea419 0