The flow pattern of value into, through, and out of communities is diverse, comprised of both tangible and intangible assets. Value is the lifeforce for well-being in communities and nations whether we look at it from an economic, social or environmental perspective.
Assets are a state of value. Assets are the foundation for building wealth. Those who control assets can develop wealth. Those that don’t control assets remain poor.
Unfortunately for the vast majority of indigenous nations, they possess many assets but do not control them. First Peoples Development Institute notes:
The role of assets and history of asset ownership in Indigenous communities are different from most other rural communities. By all standards of international law, Indigenous people technically own many assets, including land, natural resources, cultural and intellectual property, legal, political, and human capital, and in some cases financial assets. All too often, however, Indigenous people do not control these assets. Therefore, they do not receive the benefits, nor do they derive the revenues, as the wealth generated from indigenous assets is controlled and directed by outside interests, whether they are the government, multinational corporations or international conservation organizations. The single unifying issue facing Indigenous people everywhere in the world is how to contend with this “asset stripping.”
Rights based advocacy will not solve this underlying problem for indigenous nations. As long as entities can prevent indigenous nations from controlling their assets, they can control and marginalize them. That is why we focus on Asset Stewardship Development (ASD). ASD focuses on partnering with and empowering indigenous nations to steward their assets by preserving, creating, and leveraging value.
This framework is the cornerstone of our Indigenous Nation Development Partnership (INDP) program. It is also embedded into our other programs including the Country and Institutional Development Partnership (CIDP) program and Inclusive, Integrated, and Sustainable Prosperity Development (IISPD) platform. ASD can be appropriated by any marginalized community.
 Adamson, Rebecca, Richard Warner, and R. Aura Kanegis. (2005). Asset Building in Indigenous Communities. Fredericksburg, VA: First Peoples Development Institute.