The FNTC undertook a video project profiling First Nations to celebrate their successes in using property taxation to build their economies and generate revenues. The intent was to revisit the past 25 years of First Nation property taxation in Canada and allow First Nations themselves to share how property taxation has impacted their community and what it means to them.
Background on community property taxation.
[Stewart] Little Shuswap Indian Band is made up of five separate reserves spread over the interior of British Columbia. We have a membership of 320 band members of which approximately 90 to 200 yet live on reserve.
What does property tax mean to you?
[Nicolette] Property tax means to me: development. It gives us options, it gives us the opportunity to expand on what we have to provide better quality to the service we have to ensure we have infrastructure that’s maintained and grows as we grow as a community.
Why did you First Nation get involved in collecting property tax?
[Stewart] It was a logical second step, we’ve been leasing land since 1960, and as we move through the course of time, property tax was the next logical step in terms of enhancing our jurisdiction, allowing us to move forward into a more municipal-based style of governance.
How has property tax supported economic development in your community?
[Brian] With the advent of property taxes we’re able to create infrastructure programs that allowed us to enhance further leasing on our properties. So hand in hand leasing the land, we actually generate revenues and from that we get exceeded in tax revenues as well.