Conference Sessions & Speakers 

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Game on! Building a Sustainable and Resilient Indigenous Economy

Jesse James, First Nations Tax Commission and Norm Lavallee, Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics
So you think you can build an economy huh? Put on your best economist cap (or bowtie) and make a series of strategic decisions to build your economy from the ground up. But the question is, how will it hold up to an economic shock? Will it be as resilient as a rubber band? In this interactive workshop, we will learn about the Tulo Centre's Economic Growth Model and apply our knowledge to the Building a Sustainable and Resilient Indigenous Economy learning game. We will also learn about jurisdictional powers that contribute to a resilient economy. The First Nations Tax Commission strives to reduce the barriers to economic development on First Nation lands, increase investor certainty, and enable First Nations to be vital members of their regional economies. The Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics provides First Nations with the knowledge to support markets on their lands, all in the spirit of Indigenous renewal.
Jesse James, First Nations Tax Commission
Jesse James is a member of Peguis First Nation. Prior to joining FNTC, Jesse has worked for First Nation governments in British Columbia since 1996. Over the past 25 years, Jesse became familiar working with all levels of government and other organizations such as ISC, CIR, Province of BC, First Nation Health Authority, CMHC and other First Nations. Jesse has gained broad experience including negotiations within BC Treaty Process, community ratification of Land Code under the First Nation Land Management Act and assisted implementing and maintaining a property tax system under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. He also participated in the initial stages of a Nation-building plan to formalize the inter-tribal relationship of several individual First Nations. Jesse graduated from Thompson Rivers University and the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics with a certificate in First Nations Tax Administration and has also received a certificate in Ch’nook Aboriginal Management Program from the University of British Columbia.
Norm Lavallee, Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics
Norm Lavallee is an Economist with Fiscal Realities Economists and has also worked with the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics since its inception. Norm has over 14 years of experience in statistical analysis, systems analysis, strategy development, technical writing, research and curriculum development related to First Nations economics, jurisdiction, taxation and public policy. Norm has written and contributed to several publications on First Nations market history, fiscal relationships, and economic development. Norm has an MBA with an Economics and Finance focus from Thompson Rivers University.

Miyoskamin: Grounded in Indigenous Innovation

Ryan Jimmy and Samantha Ouellette, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies
The SIIT Miyoskamin: Innovation & Entrepreneurship Applied Certificate program launched in February 2022! Miyoskamin is a Plains Cree word meaning spring, and the ground is breaking. This exciting new program is five months in duration, and will provide you with the knowledge, skills, mentorship, and awareness of emerging technologies to succeed in running an innovative small business. You will learn Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews around governance, finance, marketing, labor, and sustainability, through conversation and connection with Elders and knowledge keepers, Indigenous entrepreneurs, local innovators, and through land-based practices. Completing this program will help you define your own entrepreneurship goals, as well as demonstrate how new technologies and traditional practices can come together in innovative ways to benefit communities, businesses, and culture.
Ryan Jimmy, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies
Ryan Jimmy is a member of the Onion Lake Cree Nation and is currently an Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives – with the Academics department at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT). In his journey at SIIT, he has had some interesting learning opportunities that start with him joining the team as an Instructor in the Mental Health & Wellness Diploma program with Health and Community studies. Following that, he has held various positions including coordinating Post-Secondary Programs at the Saskatoon Campus, and Acting Dean positions in Post-Secondary and Adult Basic Education Departments. Currently, he is the lead for the Sustainable Development and Technology Canada (SDTC) funded project, the creation of the very first Indigenous Innovation Accelerator of its kind in Saskatchewan – the Centre for Innovation.
Samantha Ouellette, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies
Samantha Ouellette is a Nehiyaw Iskwew from northern Saskatchewan whose family roots connect her to Canoe Lake First Nation. She spent most of her youth in Meadow Lake, until choosing to pursue her education in 2009 at the University of Saskatchewan. She has since completed her B.Ed., a certificate in Post-Secondary Leadership, and is in her final year of her M. Curriculum Studies. Since beginning her journey within adult education, much of her work has been with Indigenous learners at post-secondary institutes. Samantha has been at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) for three years. She originally started as an Instructor for the Mental Health and Wellness Diploma Program, and now works as the Coordinator for the Strategic Initiatives – Academics Department overseeing their new Centre for Innovation initiative. 

Implementing Innovation: Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative (IHII) Saskatchewan Success Stories

Cynthia Desjarlais, Muskowekwan First Nation; Rachelle Holterman, Holterman Waller Strategy Inc.; Shaun Dyck, Central Urban Metis Federation, Inc.; and Will Goodon, Manitoba Metis Federation
The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative, led by an Indigenous Steering Committee, is being implemented by Cando in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). The Initiative is enabling First Nation, Inuit and Métis Nation innovators to implement innovative housing solutions in rural, urban and remote Indigenous communities. In January 2020, 24 projects were selected from 342 submissions, to participate in the 18-month Accelerator phase. The Accelerator phase, which ended in August 2021, enabled innovators to refine their project ideas to meet defined eligibility criteria. 18 projects moved to the implementation phase, some conditionally, and as conditions are met, they are eligible for additional funding to support implementation. In December 2021, the Central Urban Metis Federation completed its IHII project – the Round Prairie Elders Lodge, a 24-unit complex providing culturally appropriate accommodation for Metis Elders in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Additionally, the Muskowekwan First Nation is finalizing construction of a Family Healing and Wellness Centre comprised of four traditional log complexes - three will accommodate families as they heal, and the fourth will provide space for healing programs and supports. Hear firsthand how the innovators leading these projects transformed their ideas and dreams into reality, as they worked through the Accelerator Phase to Implementation.
Cynthia Desjarlais, Muskowekwan Family Healing & Wellness Centre Inc. / First Nation
Cynthia Desjarlais is a member of the Muskowekwan First Nation in Treaty 4 territory. She is serving her third consecutive term as a band councillor with the nation. She is married with three children and two grandchildren. The Family Healing & Wellness Centre is one of the most impactful portfolios held due to the issues facing our people and finding culturally responsive ways to combat this crisis within our First Nations due to historical impacts of residential school attendance. Cynthia has been the Lead Innovator on the project as its participated in the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative. She is very proud that the Muskowekwan Family Healing & Wellness Centre project was one of 24 successful applicants from across Canada selected to participate and one of the first two projects that were announced to successfully get the Implementation phase.
Rachelle Holterman, Muskowekwan Family Healing & Wellness Centre Inc. / Holterman Waller Strategy Inc.
Rachelle Holterman has been supporting Muskowekwan First Nation as a Project Coordinator in advancing the Muskowekwan Family Healing & Wellness Centre project for a number of years through collaboration with the community, the Board, the architect team, the contractor and funding stakeholders. This has involved vision and concept development, feasibility, model of care development, securing capital funding and acting as the owner’s representative through the construction phase. Rachelle has over 16 years of consulting experience and is a Partner with Holterman Waller Strategy Inc., located in Saskatchewan.  Rachelle is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Project Management Professional (PMP) and has had the privilege of supporting a number of Saskatchewan First Nation communities, organizations and post-secondary institutions in the province on strategic initiatives.
Will Goodon, Manitoba Metis Federation
Will Goodon has built a career with a combination of community service and entrepreneurship. Tutored by his parents to look for opportunities in business, Will also seized the calling of working for the Métis Nation in the Métis Government in various capacities. As well, partnering with his father, Will is an ownership partner in motel projects in southwestern Manitoba, with properties in Deloraine, Boissevain and Killarney.
Shaun Dyck, Central Urban Metis Federation, Inc.
For the past ten years, Shaun has worked on addressing the need for affordable housing and programs that address homeless in Saskatoon.  His experience in research, development, proposal writing, and government fund management gives him a broad perspective in navigating the complexity of housing development. Shaun joined Central Urban Métis Federation, Inc. (CUMFI) in 2020 to focus on preserving and improving CUMFI’s existing housing stock, and the development of the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge, an apartment building for Métis Elders in Saskatoon.

Moving from Lessors to Leaders in Agriculture

Shaun Soonias, Farm Credit Canada
Up to 95% of First Nations-owned farmland is farmed by non-Indigenous people. As First Nations continue to add land and funds to their governments via settlements and modern-day Treaties, navigating the ongoing opportunities for Indigenous agriculture across Canada is an important topic. And what role does value-added food and beverage, niche products and marketing of non-timber forest products play in all of this? With FCC focusing on accelerating the success of Indigenous agriculture projects, you’re invited to join FCC Director of Indigenous Relations Shaun Soonias to hear how you can mobilize your community and monetize your agriculture resources and knowledge.
Shaun Soonias, Farm Credit Canada
Shaun Soonias is the Director, Indigenous Relations with FCC and member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, in Treaty Six Territory west of the Battlefords.  Shaun has 25 years of experience in social and economic development, holding senior positions with the Saskatchewan Indigenous Economic Development Network, Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, Saskatchewan Advocate for Children & Youth, University of Saskatchewan and Department of Justice. Shaun is passionate about agriculture and what this sector means to Indigenous economic development and what Indigenous involvement means to this sector and the resiliency and wellbeing of Canada’s economy.

Natural Resources Canada

The successful management of natural resources can lead to local economic diversity and thriving Indigenous communities. In this information session, the Lands and Minerals Sector (LMS) and the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) at Natural Resources Canada will provide an update on the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan, share news about the Critical Minerals Strategy, new funding for Clean Energy and provide an update on the Indigenous Forestry Initiative. There are many resources and strategies available to assist Indigenous people in growing their understanding of and participation in the natural resources industries. Some interesting expert perspectives will be shared in the fireside chat.

Catherine Peltier Mavin, NRCan Lands & Minerals Sector
For the last 30 years, Catherine has applied an Indigenous perspective to communications, publishing, program management, public relations, facilities, cultural program development and mentoring. Since joining NRCan’s Lands and Minerals Sector in 2003, she spearheaded initiatives that aim to increase Indigenous participation in the minerals and metals sector, including the development of information products and initiatives that enhance relationships between the mining industry and Indigenous communities. Catherine is Deer Clan from the Odawa and Potawatomi Nations, and a member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Band on Manitoulin Island in central Ontario.
Michelle Vello, NRCan, Lands and Minerals Sector
Michelle joined NRCan in 2018, having previously worked in energy efficiency and clean tech policy. Michelle studied at the University of Waterloo and the University of British Columbia and is originally from Surrey, BC.
Darrel Gumieny, Project Officer, NRCan - Canadian Forest Service
Darrel Gumieny is Metis from Manitoba and has been with the Government of Canada for 21 years, spending 18 years in policy programmes at Agriculture Agri-Food Canada and 3 years at Indigenous Services Canada. Darrell is a graduate from the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.
Nicolas Saydeh, NRCan - Canadian Forest Service
Nicolas is a program officer within the Trade, Economics and Industry Branch of the Indigenous Forestry Program at the Canadian Forest Service. The goal of the program is to increase Indigenous participation in forestry-related opportunities, business, careers and governance in clean tech, forest bio-economy, environmental stewardship and the use and management of forest resources.
Stephen Crocker, Crocker Advisory Services
Stephen has spent his entire career working for Indigenous peoples in Canada and internationally - teaching school, working on employment and training initiatives, and consulting on business and economic development.  His career has taken him to all parts of Canada, Australia, and many parts of the US.  Stephen is focusing his energies helping natural resources companies enhance their policies on Indigenous inclusion and establishing reconciliation activities in their workplaces.
Paul Macedo, Cando
In his role as Communications Director, Paul oversees the relationships between Cando and its many partners in the public and private sectors, and the development and distribution of all Cando communications. More recently, Paul has assumed the lead role for Cando's marketing and sponsorships/fundraising for various events, special projects and overall programming. Paul is a graduate of the University of Alberta where he received a Bachelors of Education and a Masters of Business Administration. After graduating, Paul spent the next 25 years working in communications for Indigenous communities. 

Building a Proposal for Your Food Sovereignty Project

Branavan Tharmarajah, The Growcer
Branavan Tharmarajah helps communities take control of their food system as The Growcer's Head of Sales. He is an alumnus of McGill and Acadia University, with a background in business and nutrition. He is also presently finishing his MBA in Community Economic Development at Cape Breton University. Branavan has worked in the private and non-profit sectors and brings a unique perspective on using community-based approaches to promote health and economic development while working with communities across Canada. Topics Addressed:
  • Successful Projects in Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Renewable Energy & Land Designations
  • Environmental Stewardship & Indigenous Community Economic Development
  • Sustainable Development Success Stories
Branavan will lead an interactive session to help attendees develop a proposal for their year-round food growing project to promote food sovereignty. He will share successes, barriers, and learnings from the over dozen Indigenous communities he has supported. The goal will be to highlight the steps behind planning a community food project. The session will cover: finding the project champion, assessing the mandates of the project (social, ec dev, and education), getting support from community leadership/members, working with other departments, building out a business case based on community mandates, exploring funding/financing options, and hiring/training staff.  
Branavan Tharmarajah, The Growcer
Branavan Tharmarajah helps communities take control of their food system as The Growcer's Head of Sales. He is an alumnus of McGill and Acadia University, with a background in business and nutrition. He is also presently finishing his MBA in Community Economic Development at Cape Breton University. Branavan has worked in the private and non-profit sectors and brings a unique perspective on using community-based approaches to promote health and economic development while working with communities across Canada.

Cooperatives, a Model for Doing Business Your Way, Together

Trista Pewapisconias, Co-Operatives First
While financial benefits are often the focus of discussions on economic reconciliation, sharing culture and preserving resources remain significant concerns. Cooperatives have a successful track record of capturing all three benefits, and cooperation and working together are familiar concepts within Indigenous communities. Plus, while natural resources may vary between communities, every community has people rich in knowledge, gifts, and abundance, eager to create opportunities to help their communities grow and thrive. So, why not use a model designed to do business your way, together. In this workshop, Trista Pewapisconias will share how Indigenous communities have used the cooperative model to plant the seeds of economic reconciliation and harvest financial, cultural, and environmental benefits.
Trista Pewapisconias, Co-Operatives First
Trista Pewapisconias is a member of the Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan and Indigenous Relations Lead for Co-operatives First. In her role with Co-operatives First, Trista works alongside community members to form new businesses based on the cooperative model. Her support with business development and planning helps guide groups through the process of starting a successful business. Trista’s professional experience includes various marketing roles and writing business plans for Indigenous start-up companies. A tireless advocate for Indigenous business, Trista is also a founding board member of the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce of Saskatchewan and holds an MBA from Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan.

Indigenous Entrepreneur Ecosystem

Rocky Sinclair & Terry Coyes, First Nations Social Enterprise Foundation
Many of the Indigenous businesses in Alberta, whether community-owned or owned by individual entrepreneurs operate within an unpredictable and challenging environment in which they aspire to succeed, whether due to limited access to capital, equity, role models, mentoring, selling to governments or other factors. The development of Indigenous entrepreneurship in Alberta can be considered in the context of an entrepreneur ecosystem (modelled after “Domains of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem” Daniel Isenberg, 2011). Considering the domains or pods that comprise the ecosystem allows stakeholders to identify their place and role in the development of Indigenous entrepreneurs, while at the same time illustrating how the ecosystem can be improved and enhanced, and how the model can be customized and applied to their own space.
Rocky Sinclair, First Nations Social Enterprise Foundation
Rocky Sinclair is Cree, originally from the northern Alberta community of Lesser Slave Lake. Rocky is the CEO of the Alberta Indian Investment Corporation, a First Nation-owned investment company providing commercial developmental lending services for First Nation people in the province of Alberta. AIIC operates within a social enterprise model which includes investments in the hospitality industry as well as a management consulting firm. He holds an ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors.  He currently serves as President of Aksis – Edmonton’s Indigenous Business and Professional Association – and on the board of directors with an affiliate of Homeward Trust.
Terry Coyes, First Nations Social Enterprise Foundation
Terry Coyes is Métis, from St. Albert, Alberta. Proudly serving the Indigenous business community since 1997, Terry leads Winfire Business Services Ltd. as the Principal Consultant. Terry is an evaluative & creative thinker, whose strong deportment and presentation skills allow him to effectively respond to and work with his clients to serve their business development needs. Drawing on a solid foundation of business knowledge, strategic planning and economic development concepts & practices and an invaluable network of contacts that has been created over 30+ years of experience, Terry works with clients to assist them to achieve their business development objectives.

Access to Capital: Finding the Right Financial Partner

David Boisvert, Peace Hills Trust; Chief Darcy Bear, Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Dawn Madahbee Leach, National Indigenous Economic Development Board
Accessing capital can be a challenge at any time. This workshop will focus on exploring financial solutions available to help you take your business to the next stage of its lifecycle. We will cover solutions from start-up to growth and everything in between.
Chief Darcy Bear, Whitecap Dakota First Nation
Chief Bear is serving his ninth consecutive term as Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. He holds a Business Administration Certificate and Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Chief Bear has been awarded with prestigious awards over his career to honour his achievements. Most notably, he received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2011, and the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.  Recently, he was the recipient of the Order of Canada in 2020. Chief Bear was key in developing a self-governing Land Code, which created a business-friendly environment on Whitecap lands, with a land tenure system, commercial infrastructure and a real-property tax law. To date there has been approximately $160 million in economic development. 
David Boisvert, Peace Hills Trust Company
David has over 37 years of experience in the Financial Industry.  He brings a deep knowledge base and innovative approach in working with Indigenous Communities, including First Nations, Inuit and Metis Customers throughout Canada. David is committed to finding the right creative solutions for the many different types of projects and operations that may require Financing, and is proud to have contributed to the growth and success of the many Communities in which we serve. David has presented at many conferences and webinars throughout his career.  A proud member of CANDO, RMA (Risk Management Association), ICD (Institute of Corporate Directors) and Volunteers for the Heritage Valley Community League.
Dawn Madahbee Leach, National Indigenous Economic Development Board
Dawn Madahbee Leach is the Chair of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board. She is also a proud member of the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Central Canada where she has served as a member of her community’s Council. Since 1988, she has been General Manager of the Waubetek Business Development Corporation, an Aboriginal Financial Institution that provides financing and economic services to Aboriginal entrepreneurs and First Nation communities throughout North-East Ontario. Under her leadership, Waubetek has proudly invested more than $100 million in 3,500 Aboriginal businesses who experience a business success rate of 94%. Dawn was instrumental in the development of the OECD’s first-ever international Indigenous 2020 report on “Linking Indigenous Peoples to Regional Development”. She also led the development of the National Aboriginal Economic Benchmark Report (2012) and the follow-up National Aboriginal Economic Progress Reports 2015 and 2019. Dawn is a graduate of the University of Waterloo Economic Developers Program. She also studied at York University and Laurentian University where she earned a degree in Political Science with a minor in Law. Besides serving on the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, she is also on the boards of Peace Hills Trust and NioBay Minerals Inc. She has been recognized with numerous national awards and has been a speaker at international forums in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Paris, Germany, the US and the UN on Indigenous economic development.

CEDI Panel: With the Beat of the Drum, Three Communities, One Heart: First Nation - Municipal CEDI Partnership

Lena Black, Yellowknives Dene First Nation and Kerry Thistle, City of Yellowknife
Now in Phase III (2022 – 2025) of the First Nation-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI), join the CEDI team and representatives from the graduated-CEDI partnership of Yellowknives Dene First Nation (Dettah and Ndilo) – City of Yellowknife as they share their experience of creating a Joint Economic Development Strategy and the commitment behind the strategy as is illustrated by the strategy tagline – with the beat of the drum, three communities, one heart. As the first ever partnership to participate in CEDI’s accelerated 2-year stream of the program, during the pandemic no less, this partnership’s shared experience is rich with lessons learned and results of strengthening their government-to-government relationship and creating a more inclusive regional economy. The CEDI team will also provide a brief overview of the program, wise practice tools and resources and the Phase III partnerships. Join us to learn more! 
Lena Black, Yellowknives Dene First Nation
Lena Black is proud to be Dene and is very passionate about her roots, her community and moving the First Nations forward.  Lena is a member of Yellowknives Dene First Nation and grew up on Chief Drygeese Territory in the community of Ndilo. Growing up in the small community of Ndilo, Lena has witnessed changes in lifestyles for many over the years, as community members adapt to the ever-changing economy and technology.  Wanting to be part of change and growth at the community level, inspired Lena to run for Council and was elected in 2017 for two four-year terms, as well as being appointed to the board of directors for Det’on Cho Corporation.  During this time, Lena had already put 15 years with the Territorial Government, and decided it was time to move on. To be part of change and growth at the First Nation level, Lena applied and began work with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, first as the Economic Development Officer in December 2018, and then to her current training-on-the job for the Chief Executive Officer role. In addition to Lena’s day-to-day work, Lena takes an active role in her son’s education and extracurricular activities and volunteering her time with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s events.  Lena also participates in guiding the Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s Youth Advisory Board Society.  In her spare time, Lena enjoys spending time with her family, and being part of community events, all the while keeping her parent’s traditional teachings and Dene Laws, in everything she does, whether it be play or work. 
Kerry Thistle, City of Yellowknife
Kerry Thistle is the Director of Economic Development and Strategy at the City of Yellowknife. Kerry was born in St. John’s, NL and has called Yellowknife home since 2002.  Kerry has a Bachelor of Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax. Kerry has worked with the City of Yellowknife for over fifteen years. She has held the positions of Manager of Lands and Manager of Legal Services, before assuming her current position. Prior to her roles with the City, she was an Associate with Lawson Lundell LLP.  In her spare time Kerry can be found planning the next adventure with her three daughters.

Innovative Indigenous Agriculture Projects Lead by Indigenous Companies, Non-profits and Individual Entrepreneurs

Moderator: Jesse Robson, Farm Credit Canada; Nishin Meawasige, Mantoulin Brewing Co.; Randy Johns, Boreal Heartland and Nap Gardiner, NWC Wild Rice Co.

Showcasing opportunities in non-Timber Forest Products, Food and Beverage and how companies serve and partner with community from a variety of perspectives. Up to 95% of First Nations-owned farmland is farmed by non-Indigenous people. As First Nations continue to add land and funds to their governments via settlements and modern-day Treaties, navigating the ongoing opportunities for Indigenous agriculture across Canada is an important topic. And what role does value-added food and beverage, niche products and marketing of non-timber forest products play in all of this? With FCC focusing on accelerating the success of Indigenous agriculture projects, you’re invited to join Jesse Robson, FCC Project Manager, Indigenous Relations to hear how you can mobilize your community and monetize your agriculture resources and knowledge.
Jesse Robson, Farm Credit Canada
An Anishnabe graduate of First Nations University of Canada, Jesse started with Farm Credit Canada (FCC) in 2010. Since then, Jesse has had roles on the FCC Creative Writing team, Communications and Human Resources before joining Indigenous Relations as a Program Manager. At FCC, Jesse and others work to mitigate barriers and highlight opportunities in the agriculture and food industry for Indigenous communities, corporations and farmers. Jesse’s work at FCC, has led to him being published in the Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development in February 2021.


Randy Johns, Boreal Heartland
I am the manager of Boreal Heartland and CEO of Keewatin Community Development Association (KCDA). KCDA is a non-profit Indigenous organization dedicated to economic and career development in Northern Saskatchewan. Boreal Heartland was started to develop income earning opportunities for Indigenous people in our region. I have lived in the north for over 40 years and learned the bush from local trappers and people of the land who took me under their wing as a young man. I now have family connections in the north through my children. I grew up on a small farm in southern Saskatchewan and find that Boreal Heartland gives me a chance to return to my roots as well as help others to do so through connection to the land. 
Nap Gardiner, NWC Wild Rice Co.
Napoleon Gardiner was born and raised in the historical Métis community of Ile a la Crosse, Saskatchewan. Nap has trapped, fished commercially, harvested wild rice and worked as a corporate executive.  He has served as Mayor of his community. He helped build Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation and for many years acted as its CEO in a facility which now bears his name. Nap worked for the Department of Northern Saskatchewan as an economic development officer. He helped create and, as CEO, operated the Keewatin Yatthé Regional Health Authority. Nap served for a number of years on the executive of the APTN Board of directors. He’s spent time working on Parliament Hill. He presently works as CEO of North West Communities Management Company (NWCMC) pursuing economic, sectoral, and business development and training. NWCMC owns the NWC Wild Rice Company.
Nishin Meawasige, Mantoulin Brewing Co.
Nishin is Anishnaabe from Serpent River Anishinabek and a proud resident and business owner on Manitoulin Island, an emerging tourism force in Northern Ontario. Co-founder of Manitoulin Brewing Company, he intimately understands the challenges and successes of owning and operating a small business in Northern Ontario within the realms of tourism, culinary tourism and the craft beer movement. "Our business and marketing philosophy has always been about more than just making quality craft beer. Fundamentally, we recognize the value and distinctiveness in promoting all things Manitoulin, whether it be places, things or culture. We're all about real stories and creating lasting experiences."  Most recently, Nishin has assisted Indigenous Tourism Ontario in providing guidance and assistance to numerous small businesses as they navigated the challenges and opportunities associated with the onset of COVID.  Furthermore, he has worked with the Culinary Tourism Alliance to develop a comprehensive food strategy for Manitoulin Island with a prominent underlying focus on economic reconciliation and balancing the dynamic engagement of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses. Earning his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Guelph, Nishin believes distinctiveness in any business is largely driven by the diversity of its people. Leveraging this diversity builds lasting competitive advantage, and most importantly instills humility and respect in everyone.

Positioning Your Nation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Charmaine McCraw, ORIGIN
Immerse yourself in what was, what is and what can be while positioning your Nation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution which represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. It is here; it is a new chapter in human development; it is fueled by extraordinary technology advances in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual, Augmented, and mixed reality. The technology presents opportunity for Indigenous economies to overcome remote locations and expedite reconciling with advancing world economies. ImmersiveLink is an Indigenous created, revolutionary Virtual Reality platform that will enable Indigenous peoples to preserve our biological and land based Traditional Knowledge. We can leverage our storytelling and communicating traditions of passing knowledge, by digitally combing them with scientific data to reinstate our place as “care takers of the land” while thriving in today’s emerging economy.
Charmaine McCraw, ORIGIN
Charmaine McCraw comes from a background of Community Economic Development; with 15 years of experience, she is an Irish-Ojibwe kwe born and raised in Northern Ontario. Charmaine has a passion for the North and the development of its peoples. She is a strong believer in using technology to encourage relationships between our youth and elders as well as to connect people to opportunity. She believes it’s more than just technology-driven change; it is an opportunity to harness converging technologies with life-long traditional knowledge to create an inclusive, human-centered future for everyone.

Economic Reconciliation Through Industry-Indigenous Partnerships

Steven Vanloffeld, eSupply Canada & Wade Griffin, BGIS     
Economic reconciliation will play an increasing important role in Indigenous communities, as governments and industry look to diversify their supply chains and create partnerships with local communities and businesses. These partnerships can have a tremendous impact not only in Indigenous communities, but for local entrepreneurs. This presentation will highlight the mutual benefits that can result from Industry-Indigenous partnerships, through a case study on a supplier agreement between Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions Canada LP, a multi-national corporation in the facilities management space, and eSupply Canada, an Indigenous-owned online distributor of office, janitorial, and industrial supplies.
Steven Vanloffeld, eSupply Canada

Steven Vanloffeld is an Anishinaabe business owner from Saugeen First Nation, ON. He is owner and principal consultant of INDsight Consulting, a company that specializes in research, engagement, and evaluation of health, education, and social programs; and he is also Founder and CEO of eSupply Canada, a national online distributor of office, janitorial, and industrial supplies. Steven possesses an intimate understanding of the economic challenges and opportunities Indigenous communities face, having served as an elected member of council of Saugeen. In this leadership capacity, Steven was responsible for establishing the Saugeen economic development corporation, bringing in the First Nations Market Housing Fund, and leading the development of the community’s new administration office. Prior to his entrepreneurial journey and foray into community politics, Steven served the Executive Director of the Association of Native Child and Family Service Agencies of Ontario, a membership organization whose member agencies provide child welfare services to over 80 First Nation communities across Ontario.  Steven was responsible for supporting province-wide child welfare systems-level transformation to improve outcomes for Indigenous children, families, and communities, and representing member agencies’ interests at federal, provincial and sector tables. Steven has wide-ranging expertise engaging and collaborating with Indigenous communities, industry, and all levels of government. Steven holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Indigenous Community Development, and he is completing an Executive Master of Business Administration. Steven is a former Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, past recipient of the Royal Roads University Founders’ Award for Leadership and Personal Development in 2017, and past recipient of the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Affairs Award.


Wade Griffin, BGIS
Experienced Indigenous Economic Development Director with a demonstrated history of working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership. Effective communicator and successful Indigenous Engagement professional. Well versed in Business Development, Operations Management, Policy Development & Implementation, and Strategic Planning.


Untapped Revenue Sources

Norma Orellana, MNP
What does a Nation with no businesses located on reserve, and a Nation with hotels, casinos, and restaurants on reserve have in common? Both can earn tax revenue that outweighs the cost of implementation. The wealth created can be used by the Nations at its own discretion. In this session, we’ll explain some unconventional options for these two Nations to create revenue opportunities for themselves. All the pro’s and con’s will be addressed. The objective is for the audience to walk away with an understanding of whether these opportunities are worth exploring in their own communities.
Rob Campbell, MNP

Rob is a Partner and the National Director of Indigenous Services for MNP. Through a career spanning 30 years Rob has held senior posts within Government, Corporate and Aboriginal sectors. More recently Mr. Campbell has been recognized by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business as one of the “Top 50 Executives in Canada 2020” award winners. With strong interpersonal and communication skills and a high degree of empathy Rob identifies well with MNP clients and their needs. His unique experience has given him an in-depth understanding of Indigenous issues and opportunities. As National Director, Rob supports and helps oversee MNP’s services and programs or Canada’s Indigenous community. Mr. Campbell is a trusted and respected executive, leader and entrepreneur with effective long-term working relationships in a range of diverse settings primarily focused on the Corporate and Indigenous community. Rob provides consultation and support on community, economic and business development, governance and leadership issues at local, regional and national levels. Rob is experienced with working with large, multifaceted groups representing the interests of Businesses, Boards, Indigenous and Municipal Leadership. He has assisted a wide range of organizations in performance improvement and enterprise recovery. Rob is highly regarded for managing politically sensitive issues with integrity, professionalism and a disarming humor that supports effective relationship building. He is well connected with Indigenous, political, provincial and federal government, and business leaders across Canada.


Business Model Circle: An Innovative Entrepreneurial Model

Dr. Brent Ramsay and Jack Smith, University Canada West
In a two-phase study twelve Indigenous community entrepreneurs and sixty-four Indigenous graduate business school students provided information on their entrepreneurial perspectives, start-up business processes, as well as their interest and motivations for new venture development. The entrepreneurs came from a variety of business experiences and sectors. The graduate students identified either entrepreneurial experience and backgrounds or were planning/considering a business start-up. Outcomes from the research and analysis resulted in an alternative, innovative new venture model (Business Model Circle) creating a dynamic and fluid design that expands upon the Business Model Canvas framework typically found in entrepreneurial start-up and development processes. The workshop summarizes the outcomes and the new model design as a potential tool for Indigenous entrepreneurs. This workshop would also appeal to delegates interested in economic reconciliation education and tools.
Dr. Brent Ramsay, University Canada West
Dr. Brent Ramsay is a full-time faculty member at University Canada West where he teaches entrepreneurship and consulting in the MBA program. He previously taught and provided research at Simon Fraser University and has an entrepreneurial background. Jack Smith is a person of Plains Cree and Metis ancestry. He is an experienced entrepreneur and on faculty at University Canada West where he teaches Strategy in the MBA program.
Jack Smith, University Canada West
Jack Smith is of mixed ancestry from central Alberta.  His mother is the late Rachel Littlechild from Ermineskin First Nation and his father is the late Joe Smith, a Metis from Lethbridge, Alberta and grandson of Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Charlie Smith from Pincher Creek, Alberta. Jack Smith holds a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Simon Fraser University.  He is currently enrolled in studies leading toward a Doctorate in Business Administration at the Paris School of Business in Paris, France.  His research is focussed on leadership styles, socio-emotional wealth, and socio-economic theoretical concepts and their potential application to First Nation business development.  Ultimately Jack hopes to further discussion in response to the million-dollar question about whether doing business in and with Indigenous communities and individuals is different than doing business in mainstream corporate Canada, and indeed, globally. Jack currently teaches courses at University Canada West on the topics of ethics, corporate social responsibility, strategic planning, and the Canadian business environment.  And he continues to consult in the areas of business and socio-economic development, and special projects focussing on referrals management and negotiations.  Both his teaching and his consulting practice strive to further economic reconciliation for Indigenous individuals and communities in Canada.

Indigenous Procurement Panel

Moderator: David Acco, Acosys Consulting Ltd.
  • Mike Ricci, Indigenous Services Canada
  • Kear Porttris, QM Environmental
  • John Johnstone, Public Services & Procurement Canada
  • Cassandra Dorrington, CAMSC
  • Ross Holden, Babcock Canada

The Canadian Government has committed to delivering more opportunities for Indigenous businesses to succeed and grow by creating a new target to have at least 5% of federal contracts awarded to businesses managed and led by Indigenous Peoples. This ambitious target will add more than $4B of opportunities through mandatory and voluntary set-aside contracts, Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements (CLCA) economic development obligations, prime vendor’s Indigenous Participation Plan (IPP) commitments, etc. The panelists will share their experiences, successes, and chal­lenges related to the procurement from the perspective of being an Indigenous business, government buyer, and a prime vendor. The panel will also provide information; on the federal and corporate procurement process, including how the government of Canada and corporate Canada buys goods and services, and how Indigenous companies and communities can strategically position themselves to participate in the process to be part of the $4B of contracting opportunities that are on the horizon.


Mike Ricci, Indigenous Services Canada
Having worked in the public service since 2011, Mike Ricci joined the Business Development Directorate at Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in February 2018.  As a Senior Program Officer, Mike provides policy advice and guidance to the federal procurement community, as well as supports and educates Indigenous business owners looking to sell their goods and services to the Government of Canada. In addition to his work at ISC, Mike spends his time chasing after his two young children, skiing, biking, and enjoying live music.  
Kear Porttris, QM Environmental
Kear Porttris is a civil engineer with consulting, contracting and public sector experience who joined QM during the Spring of 2021. He is Métis-Chinese and has extensive experience in bridging cultures and Peoples, navigating complex relationships personally and professionally. Kear has more than seven years in the environmental industry and more than ten years working with and connecting to Indigenous People and communities. He is passionate about helping people reach their potential and works with various partners and organizations to increase the representation of Indigenous people in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and professional roles. Kear has successfully negotiated partnerships and contracts that reflect the client’s needs while considering each communities partner’s unique situation. Although he was born and raised in Regina, SK Kear now calls Victoria, BC home and supports QM projects across the country.
John Johnstone, PAC-PSPC
John is based in Victoria, BC, and he provides engagement support to the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) now Procurement Assistance Canada (PAC) at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).  John’s goal is to ensure that the Indigenous business community and support organizations have the opportunity to actively patriciate in federal procurement. From general guidance to business-specific information, John and his team help businesses navigate the government contracting process utilizing his 22 years of experience with the federal government. John holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University, a Certificate in Project Management and Strategy Leadership from the University of British Columbia and is a certified Project Management Professional.
Cassandra Dorrington, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council 
Cassandra Dorrington leads the charge of delivering of programs and processes to promote and facilitate procurement opportunities between major corporations in Canada, and suppliers of all sizes owned and operated by CAMSC. In her term as President, she has been instrumental in expanding the CAMSC brand across Canada as well as internationally and has significantly grown the supplier base in Canadian marketplace. As a result of CAMSC’s growing prominence in the business community, Cassandra sits as a member of the Toronto 2015 Diversity Advisory Council and the Toronto Board of Trade Diversity Council, and she has been frequent speaker at seminars and conferences both nationally and internationally. She also is a member of the National Advisory Council for the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises. When not advocating for Supplier Diversity in Canada, Cassandra advocates for unification of the accounting profession in Canada. An active part of the team to merge the CMA, CA and CGA professions in Canada in 2013, Cassandra has completed her term as Chair of National board of CPA Canada and currently sit as Chair of the Nomination and Governance Committee for both CPA Canada and CMA Canada. She also continues to be active in the Nova Scotia marketplace in her role as Chair for the Black Business Enterprise in Nova Scotia. In addition to her wide range of experiences in the business world, Cassandra’s community involvement has garnered her Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, the YWCA Woman of Distinction award for Community Service and a 2010 Women of Excellence award. 
Ross Holden, Babcock Canada

Ross Holden is the Head of Community Engagement and Outreach at Babcock Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Babcock International, with head offices in Ottawa and operations in BC, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Ross has 25 years’ experience as a policy and community relations professional in government, the private sector, and consulting. Between 1997 and 2013 Ross worked for several Government of Canada organizations, including Health Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, where he was instrumental in developing the CNSC’s approach to meeting the duty to consult and accommodate. From 2013 to 2018 he was a Senior Indigenous Community Engagement Advisor at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, and prior to his employment with Babcock in November of 2021 he undertook several consulting assignments with public and private sector clients. At Babcock Canada Ross is responsible for implementing Babcock’s commitments for the CCAB ‘s Progressive Aboriginal Relations program, including facilitating the expansion of Indigenous businesses in Babcock’s value-added supply chain. He is also responsible for leading Indigenous engagement in support of Babcock Leonardo Canadian Aircrew Training’s bid on the Future Aircrew Training Program, and writing the Indigenous Participation Plan required to be submitted with the bid.


The Future of Federal Public Procurement – How Will it Create Opportunities for Your Community?

Daniel Sandoz, John Johnstone & Tim Low, PAC-PSPC
The Government of Canada purchases over 20 Billion dollars in goods and services each year and Procurement Assistance Canada (PAC) provides services to assist Indigenous businesses and communities navigate federal procurement processes. Currently, there are a number of initiatives focusing on modernizing federal procurement that are intended to make it easier for Indigenous businesses and communities to participate and thrive.  Economic Development Officers and community leaders have an important role in support of bringing together Indigenous businesses and government opportunities to strengthen Indigenous economies. Join us for a discussion on how to ensure the greatest positive impact for Indigenous communities using a number of key federal initiatives, including:
  • The 5% Mandatory Indigenous Procurement Policy
  • Indigenous Participation Requirements in Federal Contracts
  • Best Practices to Partner with Indigenous Communities and Businesses 
  • The  Role of EDOs in the Procurement Process
  • How to best connect Indigenous Businesses with Government Buyers, and vice versa
  • The Role of regional and national Indigenous organizations to support communities and procurement initiatives
The intention of the session is to ensure that participants receive information on the initiatives and be given the opportunity discuss how these changes may impact their communities. 
John Johnstone, PAC-PSPC
John is based in Victoria, BC, and he provides engagement support to the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) now Procurement Assistance Canada (PAC) at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).  John’s goal is to ensure that the Indigenous business community and support organizations have the opportunity to actively patriciate in federal procurement. From general guidance to business-specific information, John and his team help businesses navigate the government contracting process utilizing his 22 years of experience with the federal government. John holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University, a Certificate in Project Management and Strategy Leadership from the University of British Columbia and is a certified Project Management Professional.
Daniel Sandoz, PAC-PSPC
Daniel joined the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) now Procurement Assistance Canada (PAC) in the Pacific Region in September 2014. In addition to his work as Policy Analyst, Business Engagement, within the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises, Daniel brings a wealth of experience, including over 15 years of global purchasing and marketing experience. Daniel has been involved in procurement performance improvement projects, e-commerce and SAP implementations for a global player in the chemical industry in Switzerland. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) from Royal Roads University and an Executive MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business/Western University. Daniel is a Certified Agile Leader with the Scrum Alliance. 
Timothy Low, PAC-PSPC
Tim is of Metis ancestry and is a semi-retired federal public service executive.  He joined Procurement Assistance Canada (PAC) Team as a Casual employee in January 2021.  His role is to assist with the Indigenous Engagement Strategy which is designed to facilitate Indigenous businesses gain greater access and success with Government of Canada procurement opportunities. Tim has over thirty five years of progressive senior management/executive experience in the provincial and federal public sectors as well as in the Indigenous government sector. This experience includes extensive experience in providing advice and assistance in the development, analysis, and evaluation of various types of legislation, regulations, programs and policies most of which has been related to Indigenous community, economic, business and labour market and skills development. He has served on the boards of two very successful Aboriginal Capital Corporations at the Chairperson and Executive Committee levels. Tim is also a former Associate faculty member of the Canadian School of Public Service where he facilitated courses in the Indigenous Learning series. Tim holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Regina and a Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer designation from the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO). He and his wife, Donna, live in Ladysmith, BC where they enjoy golf, hiking, being out on their boat and being with their grandchildren.

Getting Ready to Take Your Business Global

Todd Evans, Export Development Canada; Monica James, BDC and Tara Scheurwater, Manitoba & Saskatchewan Regional Office of the Trade Commissioner Service

Trade was a very important part of Indigenous prosperity prior to European settlement, with goods travelling across pre-Columbian Turtle Island (North America) through a wide-ranging network of trading routes.  That trading spirit is still strong among Indigenous nations, and a growing number of communities recognize access to export markets can play an important role in building economic self-sufficiency and community prosperity. Panelists from Export Development Canada, the Trade Commissioner Service and Business Development Bank of Canada will discuss how trade can support economic development objectives, and contribute to sustainable growth for Indigenous businesses.  The panel will also provide Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs with information and guidance on preparing their business to go global.  Topics to be covered will include:

  • Challenges faced by Indigenous exporters.
  • How exports can support economic prosperity and development.
  • Key steps to take when you wish to start exporting.
  • Preparing a financial plan to support your export growth.
  • Resources and information for Indigenous exporters.
Monica James, Business Development Bank of Canada
Monica James is a commercial banking expert who helps Indigenous business owners realize their entrepreneurial dreams. As a proud Cree woman from the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, and raised in northern Manitoba, she understands the unique challenges Indigenous entrepreneurs face and has dedicated her career to empowering them, plus giving back to her community. In her current role at BDC, she leads the bank’s national Indigenous entrepreneur strategy, increasing access to capital and resources through collaboration with Indigenous organizations. She also guides and supports the organization’s reconciliation journey by honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #92. She is a founding member of the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, the first in Canada. She works and resides on the ancestral lands of Treaty 1 and the Homeland of the Red River Metis, acknowledges and respects that she’s a guest on these lands.
Todd Evans, Export Development Canada 
As National Lead for Indigenous Exporters, Todd’s role is to advance Export Development Canada’s understanding of the needs and challenges of the Indigenous business community, and to lead EDC’s strategy for serving this market. Prior to taking on his current role, Todd was a principal with EDC’s Economics team. His previous positions at EDC include director of economic analysis and forecasting, and director of the corporate research department. Before joining EDC in 1997, Todd worked with various public and private sector organizations including Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the Economic Council of Canada, the Conference Board of Canada and HLB.  His areas of expertise include economic development and international trade. During his 25 years with EDC, Todd has led numerous initiatives including development of the Corporation’s Canadian economic benefits framework, developing the Global Export Forecast and he is a key author of EDC’s integrative trade methodology. He has published several articles on issues around international trade, foreign investment and global supply chains. More recently, he has been working closely with a team of his EDC colleagues and Indigenous business partners to build and implement EDC’s Indigenous export strategy. Todd has a BA degree in economics and statistics from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a MA degree in economics from Carleton University in Ottawa. Originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, Todd is honoured in representing his Mi’kmaw nation and culture. He is a traditional pow wow dancer and plans to spend a lot more time on the pow wow trail when he retires.
Tara Scheurwater, Trade Commissioner Service

Tara Scheurwater has worked with Global Affairs Canada connecting Canadian companies to opportunities abroad for more than 20 years in a variety of roles at Headquarters in Ottawa, in the Regional Offices across Canada, and abroad. Tara has worked as the Senior Trade Commissioner at the Consul General of Canada in Osaka, Japan, as Senior Trade Commissioner for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and most recently, as Senior Trade Commissioner at the Consul General of Canada in Mumbai, India. She is currently enjoying being in Winnipeg as the Director of the Regional Office of the Trade Commissioner Service in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Jason Thompson, Superior Strategies / Warrior Supplies
A proud member of the Red Rock Indian Band, Jason Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Superior Strategies Inc. and Warrior Engineering Ltd team. With over 20 years of business and management experience, Mr. Thompson has proven to be a skilled executive and visionary entrepreneur. Jason sits as the President of both Superior Strategies Inc. as well as Warrior Engineering Ltd, both are majority Indigenous Owned and Operated Businesses, and have demonstrated continued growth year after year. The never setting and opportunistic traits, are also evident in the recent launch of his very own Warrior Brand, which includes a variety of PPE, Work Wear and most recently Warrior Apparel. Throughout his career Jason has always demonstrated strong leadership skills and has realized the importance of building and maintaining a successful team. Never settling, collaborative, out of the box thinker are a few adjectives that can be used to explain Jason. A proud father of three, who recently welcomed his secondt Grand Child, Jason and his wife Tara are approaching 26 Years of Marriage, ultimately linking his success to his strong family support. Jason remains a very strong advocate for meaningful participation of Indigenous People and Businesses on a local and national level.

Homeownership in Action - Building on Ideas

Harold Tarbell, Tarbell Facilitation Network & Deborah Taylor, First Market Housing Fund

Please join the First Nations Market Housing Fund for a presentation on how the 'Fund' is working to increase homeownership and strengthen the housing markets and economies in First Nations communities on reserve, on settlement lands and on lands set aside. A brief presentation will highlight the work being done to: reform the Fund's authorities, governance, services and partnerships; leverage the $1 billion in home ownership loan guarantees currently available and the remaining $2 billion in potential loan guarantees; and respond to recent survey guidance from First Nations leaders, staff and homeowners on how to be more responsive to their needs, circumstances and capacities, including through the development of new products and tools. The interactive session will be facilitated by Harold Tarbell (Akwesasne Mohawk) and participants will have the opportunity to help the Fund succeed by engaging in the dialogue and sharing ideas through easy-to-use audience response tools. Oh, and there will be prizes!


Harold Tarbell, Tarbell Facilitation Network
Mr. Tarbell is a member of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne (Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Saint Regis Tribal Council) with over 20 years of experience providing group facilitation, strategic planning, conference moderation and professional development services in a wide variety of sectors (e.g. health, education, economic, environment, community development, organizational change, etc.) for Indigenous, corporate, and government organizations in both Canada and the United States. Harold’s work experience has included serving as the Tribal Chief at Akwesasne, Multicultural coordinator, Land Claims researcher, Parliamentary Liaison, Director of the federal Aboriginal training and employment strategy, Executive Director of Buffy Sainte Marie’s Cradleboard Teaching Project, and Chief of Staff to National Chief Ovide Mercredi during the Charlottetown Constitutional Negotiations.
Deborah Taylor, First Nations Market Housing Fund
Deborah Taylor is the Executive Director of the First Nations Market Housing Fund, a position she has held since the Fund was opened in 2008.  Prior to taking on this role she has more than 25 years of work experience at CMHC where she held positions of increasing responsibility.  During her career she has worked extensively with First Nations people on the design, development and management of housing programs.