Indigenous Sovereign Wealth: Strengthening Indigenous Trust Knowledge

Vickie Whitehead
| 9/29/2021

In response to the growing number of Indigenous Trusts in Canada and corresponding issues raised by Chief and Councils, community leaders, and trustees, the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATOA) engaged Crowe MacKay to lead their Indigenous Sovereign Wealth Project. This is a three-part project with this report completing the first phase. 

Who is NATOA?

NATOA began as an idea amongst a group of individual First Nation Trustees that saw the need to be able to share information and strengthen the collective Trust knowledge amongst Indigenous communities. Since then, NATOA has continually evolved and grown to share knowledge and support their members through Trustee training, annual Trust conferences, the Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative in partnership with SHARE, and their womxns and youth conferences and initiatives.

Crowe MacKay’s Trust Expertise

Vickie Whitehead, Director of Indigenous Services at Crowe MacKay, and current Chair of NATOA brings eight years of experience specializing in Indigenous Trust administration and structuring, and over 20 years of Indigenous governance, programming, financial advisory, and policy development. She serves as the lead on this project.

Project Overview

The end goal of this project is to:

  1. Create a new law for Indigenous sovereign wealth that will allow for distinct needs, culture, language, and governance
  2. Use the knowledge gained through this project to build on existing wealth management structures and expand them into new, evolving “pathways to sovereign wealth.”
  3. Provide an outline for NATOA for training, guidance, and support for the creation and implementation of Indigenous sovereign wealth structures.

There are three phases of this project: Environmental scan, Engagement, and Implementation. Included here is the summary of the results of Phase 1, which includes Indigenous Trusts, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Trust Law, and a Jurisdictional Review, as well as key findings.

Want to be a part of Phase 2?

Contact Michele Young-Crook, President and CEO of NATOA at [email protected] or at (416) 766 1447


This article has been published for general information. You should always contact your trusted advisor for specific guidance pertaining to your situation. This publication is not a substitute for obtaining personalized advice.

If you are looking for Indigenous Services, Crowe MacKay can provide you with customized, value-added advice. Our Indigenous Services professionals will take your communities financial needs into account and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your financial operations.

Based on her 22 years of industry and Government of Canada experience, Vickie Whitehead works with her indigenous clients to help them achieve success in their sovereignty goals, specifically in the areas of indigenous Trust creation and management, board governance, and financial management.    
Vickie Whitehead
Vickie Whitehead
Director, Indigenous Services

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