My dissertation examines how the institutional structures of Native Financial Institutions (NFIs) in the United States and Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) in Canada have contributed to their growth and success and how these institutions are helping Indigenous communities to participate in the global economy on their own terms. Historically, Native and Aboriginal communities have had a lack of access to traditional financial institutions, which has hindered the economic, political and social development of their communities. Within the last 25 years, there has been a shift in the development discourse regarding Native and Aboriginal peoples from dependency and the devolution of government programs to self-determination and institutional control. However, Native and Aboriginal communities are not simply replicating mainstream financial institutional models. Rather, many of these institutions are restructuring mainstream financial institution models according to Indigenous values, epistemologies and needs. Through their increasing presence and partnerships with Indigenous, private, public and non-profit sectors, NFIs and AFIs are redefining the institutional structures of financial institutions according to Indigenous cultural, political and social practices. This redefinition creates culturally relevant economic and community change and asserts their political and economic sovereignty as autonomous nations.