Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault wants Natives to become good capitalists. All they have to lose is their shirts.

“The time has come to remove the obstacles that keep Aboriginal people from seizing the opportunity to shape their own futures,” Nault said in an address Feb. 20 to the Aboriginal Business Summit in Toronto. “The time has come to provide Aboriginal people with the tools they need to manage their own affairs and run their own lives.”

The summit is dedicated to strengthening Aboriginal participation in Canada’s economy. It was attended by over 250 corporate business people. Aboriginal and government leaders. Presentations and speeches were made by Chief Ted Moses of the Grand Council of the Crees, Bernd Christmas, CEO of Membertou Development Corporation and Ray Wanoch of the Metis Nation of Alberta.

Bob Dixon of Niigon Technology, who has a joint venture with Husky Mold Injection at Moose Deer Point in Northern Ontario, said he would like to increase the opportunity for American Fortune 500 companies to do business with Aboriginal Businesses. In the US, the Minorities Suppliers Act, allows companies that buy from minority owned and run companies earn points, which are then converted into tax breaks with the government. Dixon would like to see some of the business come north with the American companies earning the same tax breaks by purchasing from Aboriginal businesses.