Keynote Speaker: Whitecap's Story -- Chief Darcy Bear, Whitecap Dakota First Nation
Friday, May 19, 9:00 a.m. -10:00 a.m., Michelangelo AB
Sponsored by Loraas
Chief Bear has been widely-recognized for his economic, business and cultural achievements. He was a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan in 2005, he was named one of the "Ten Most Influential People" by Saskatchewan Business Magazine and was awarded the CANDO "Economic Developer of the Year" in 2006. In 2009, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations awarded Chief Bear the Circle of Honour Award for Community-Based First Nation Business. In December 2011, Chief Bear received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the highest recognition given to residents of the province.
On January 25, 2012, Whitecap Dakota First Nation signed the Framework Agreement for Self Governance, which kick-started Whitecap’s journey towards self-governance. On May 23, 2012, Chief Bear was honoured with the prestigious Diamond Jubilee Medal, reflecting his commitment to service. In 2013, he was named an Inaugural Grandey Leadership Honouree, and the City of Saskatoon also bestowed a municipal park in his honour. The 2014 Throne Speech in the provincial Legislature recognized Chief Bear’s “progressive leadership.” He was the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2014. Most recently, he was awarded the 2016 Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Hall of Lifetime Achievement Award for his oversight of the transformation of the community, increasing opportunity and prosperity against formidable odds. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes First Nations business person whose community leadership and business success has made a substantive contribution to the economic and social well-being of Aboriginal people across Canada.
Chief Bear was instrumental in developing a self-governing Land Code, which created a business-friendly environment on Whitecap lands, complete with a land tenure system, commercial infrastructure and a real-property tax law. Whitecap now serves as a national example of positive community development and heightened self-determination. To date there has been approximately $100 million in capital investment in the community and an unemployment rate reduction from 70% to 5%.