"Building Capacity for Community Prosperity"

When and Where?

November 27-29, 2023
Grey Eagle Resort & Casino
3777 Grey Eagle Drive
Tsuut’ina First Nation, AB

What is Alberta Links To Learning?

The goal of the Alberta Links to Learning event is to deliver a dynamic technical training forum for First Nation Economic Development Officers and Land Managers to enhance their ability to undertake successful lands and economic development ventures.

The event focuses on knowledge sharing and skills enhancement among practitioners at the community level. This forum delivers a series of workshops, led by experts in a range of economic and land development related disciplines, and offer opportunities for dialogue and networking.

Who is invited to Alberta Links To Learning?

Priority registration is for one Land Manager and One Economic Development Officer, or Councillors responsible for this portfolio from each Alberta First Nation. Registration, travel, accommodation, and expenses will be covered for each delegate to attend the event! There will be a fee of $350 plus GST for additional delegates (beyond the allowed EDO/Lands Manager from each community).


Registration opening soon!

Priority registration is for pre-approved community delegates.

To register please contact:

Danielle Lightning,
Cando Special Projects Director
780-990-0303 ext. 229

Travel Costs & Expense Claims

Travel costs will be reimbursed only for pre-approved delegates. All delegates are responsible for coordinating and booking their own travel, and ensuring they comply with the Federal Treasury Board travel rates and this event’s travel policies.

Accommodations need to be secured by emailing Danielle.Lightning@edo.ca

Deadline to book your accommodations is November 3, 2023.
The deadline to submit expense claims is January 12, 2024.

Travel Policy  (Click Icon To Download)

Expense Claim Form - All  (Click Icon To Download)

Expense Claim Form - Links To Learning  (Click Icon To Download)

Expense Claim Form - Accredited Training  (Click Icon To Download)

If you have any questions, please contact:

Danielle Lightning,
Cando Special Projects Director
780-990-0303 ext. 229

Agenda PDF  (Click Icon To Download)

Monday, November 27, 2023

7:30am - 8:30am
8:00am - 3:30pm
8:30am - 10:30am
Big Plume Room
8:30am - 10:30am
Crow Flag Room
10:30am - 10:45am
10:45am - 12:00pm
Big Plume Room
10:45am - 12:00pm
Crow Flag Room
12:00pm - 1:00pm
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Big Plume Room
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Crow Flag Room
2:15pm - 2:30pm
2:30pm - 4:30pm
Big Plume Room
2:30pm - 4:30pm
Crow Flag Room

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

7:30am - 8:30am
8:30am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 3:30pm
8:30am - 9:30am
Tsuut’ina DE
9:30am - 10:30am
Tsuut’ina DE
10:30am - 10:45am
10:45am - 12:00pm
Tsuut’ina DE
12:00pm - 1:00pm
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Tsuut’ina DE
2:15pm - 3:15pm
Tsuut’ina DE
3:15pm - 3:30pm
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

7:30am - 8:30am
Tsuut’ina DE
8:30am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 3:30pm
8:30am - 9:00am
Tsuut’ina DE
9:00am - 10:00am
Tsuut’ina DE
10:00am - 10:15am
10:15am - 11:15am
Little Drum Room
10:15am - 11:15am
Eagle Robe Room
11:15am - 12:00pm
Little Drum Room
11:15am - 12:00pm
Eagle Robe Room
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Tsuut’ina DE
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Tsuut’ina DE
2:15pm - 2:30pm
2:30pm - 3:30pm
Tsuut’ina DE
3:30pm - 4:30pm
Tsuut’ina DE

ENRT 110: Introduction to Natural Resources

The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the natural resources sector and current ecology and management issues. It serves as an introductory core course in the Environment Resources Technology Program but is tailored for all students with an interest in natural resources. The lectures and field labs in the course provide a general overview of how scientific inquiry and knowledge can be integrated with First Nations, economic and cultural values to provide a basis for understanding the natural resource sector. The subject areas will include forestry, wildland recreation, wildlife, mining, fisheries, rangeland, hydrology, and First Nations traditional ecological knowledge.

(Click Icon To Download Workshop PDF)

Presented by: Jason Johnston

Jason W. Johnston is an Anishinaubae from Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation in Ontario. He holds multiple diplomas and a master's degree in environmental science and outdoor studies. With over a decade and a half of experience, he has worked for various national parks in Canada and private organizations, incorporating Indigenous cultural knowledge and ways of knowing. He has also worked as an environmental monitoring technician and grizzly bear guide.

Since 2018, he has taught numerous classes for Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and has been the Interpretive Program Coordinator for Cape Croker Park since 2020. Additionally, he serves as the Ontario representative on the Executive Board of Directors for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and is a professor in the Tourism Management department at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia.

ACED 100: Introduction to Community Economic Development

ACED 100 clarifies the importance of Community Economic Development as a strategy for the development of economically marginalized and depressed communities. The course introduces students to the theory and practice of Community Economic Development and provides them with an insight as to combining both theory and practice to help build capacity and sustainability within a community. It promotes a future role and job for the Community Economic Development Officer and highlights how the successful completion of the course could help increase the development of healthy Aboriginal communities.

Presented by: Morgan Bamford

Morgan is a contract instructor with Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and will be facilitating the accredited training course, ACED 151 (Leadership Development). He has a background in Municipal-Indigenous relations, Indigenous CED and organizational development. Morgan currently works in the municipal sector and co-owns a small CED research and consulting business.

Morgan holds an MBA in Community Economic Development (Cape Breton University), a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies and Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Sport and Recreation (University of Alberta). He is PAED (Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer) certified through Cando. He and his wife and son live in Edmonton.

AB Links to Learning Procurement / Government Support Focused Workshops

Panel 1
Accessing Economic Development Support Programs and Mentorship
Nov. 28 – (9:30 AM - 10:30 AM)

Economic Development Officers often need timely and specific support to ensure that their work has the greatest impact. This support may include access to technical information on new funding programs, ongoing mentorship, and coaching. This panel brings together several programs and subject matter experts to discuss programs and ideas that can assist Economic Development Officers in accessing greater support.

1. Paul Macedo – Cando’s Procurement Mentorship and Tools
2. Tim Dymond – ISC Indigenous Concierge Service
3. Linda Griffioen – Education & Programs Coordinator, Alberta Business Link
Moderator: John Johnstone, Cando

Workshop 1
Defining Community & Business Capacity to Unlock Opportunities
Nov. 28 – (10:45 AM - 12:00 PM)

Understanding and strategically communicating current community capabilities and having an economic development vision strengthens a community’s ability to decide where to invest valuable time and resources. This workshop will provide strategies and tools to develop a community and business capacity assessment that can be used to support decision making.

1. John Johnstone – Cando
2. Tim Dymond – Indigenous Services Canada
3. Ryland Brennan – Acosys
4. James Tessier – NRED
Moderator: John Johnstone, Cando

Workshop 2
Technical Writing – Best Practices for Business Plans, Grants, and Requests for Proposals
Nov. 28 – (1:00 PM - 2:15 PM)

Economic Development Officers and community administrators are often tasked with responding to grant proposals, providing updates for project funding, participating in procurement, and developing community economic development plans. All these activities have a common requirement: technical writing skills. Join this workshop to discuss some of the best practices for technical writing for government audiences.

1. Tim Dymond – Indigenous Services Canada
2. Kris Ruiter – Regional Manager, Procurement Assistance Canada
3. Shannon Preus – Regional Manager, Partnerships, Business Development Bank of Canada
4. Ryland Brennan – Principal, Business Consulting Services, Acosys Consulting

Workshop 3
Government of Canada Procurement Transformation Focus
Nov. 28 – (2:15 PM - 3:15 PM)

The Government of Canada needs feedback on the transformation of Indigenous procurement. Indigenous Services and Public Services and Procurement Canada along with Cando would like the assistance of EDOs, community leaders, Indigenous businesses, and support organizations to take a deep dive into some of the key barriers that Indigenous businesses and communities face and discuss what is required to finally move beyond those barriers. Using Indigenous Participation Plans, the Indigenous Business Directory, and Joint Ventures as examples, what can be done to make meaningful improvement to the current system.

This session will require pre-registration for participants and a pre-conference package will be provided to ensure that the session will create the most benefits for participants.

1. Tim Dymond – Economic Policy Advisor, Indigenous Services Canada
2. Kris Ruiter – Regional Manager, Procurement Assistance Canada
3. Paul Macedo – Communications Director, Cando
4. John Johnstone – Associate Director, Procurement, Cando

John Johnstone, Associate Director – Procurement, Cando

John Johnstone is joining Cando as the Associate Director – Procurement, on a long-term assignment from Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to support the Government of Canada’s commitment to increasing Indigenous participation in federal procurement. Based in Victoria, BC, John will provide focused support to Economic Development Officers, communities, and businesses to navigate Government of Canada procurement opportunities. John brings over 20 years of experience with the Government of Canada and has an extensive background in project management, strategic engagement, business development, and economics.

Ryland Brennan, Principal Consultant with Acosys Consulting Services Inc.

Ryland Brennan is a settler based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) who has worked in the Indigenous Relations space on behalf of industry, government, and Indigenous communities across Canada for just over a decade. Having worked for both Indigenous organizations and private industry, Ryland has led governance improvement initiatives, developed, led, and implemented multiple Project and Program-specific Indigenous Participation Plans (IPPs), and supported multi-year projects through the regulatory process.

He is currently a Principal Consultant with Acosys Consulting Services Inc. providing Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients with the support and direction they need to continue their success. When Ryland was asked to submit a bio that included something about his personality, he realized that he has no notable hobbies or interests other than spending time with his wife and two young children.

Ryland is a recipient of the Faculty of Arts Student Association (FASA) Builders Award for his contributions to the University of Calgary; holds a Bachelors Degree in Law and Society, and has attained additional credentials in Negotiation, Mediation, Project Management, Leadership, and Indigenous Relations.

Timothy Dymond, Policy Advisor, Public Services and Procurement Canada

Tim works in the Transformative Indigenous Procurement Strategy Directorate at Indigenous Services Canada where he manages the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business and the Indigenous Business Directory. He provides policy advice and guidance to the procurement community, as well as, supports and educates Indigenous business owners looking to sell their goods and services to the Government of Canada. Prior to working with Indigenous Services Canada, Tim was with Public Services and Procurement Canada where he was focused on the development of standard templates and tools for contracting officers to include in their solicitations to increase the representation of Indigenous businesses and Peoples in federal procurement. He also led the implementation of the Nunavut Directive, providing support to contracting authorities working on procurement files in Nunavut and other Modern Treaty areas.

Tim is a veteran of the Canadian Forces, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Manitoba.

Paul Macedo, Communications Director, Cando

Paul Macedo is excited to promote the tremendous work that Cando does as a leading authority on Indigenous Economic Development. In his role as Communications Director, Paul oversees the relationships between Cando and its many partners in the public and private sectors. Paul also oversees the development and distribution of all Cando communications including - the main Cando website (edo.ca) the e-newsletters, Cando Connect magazine, plus all of Cando's growing social media channels (facebook, twitter and linkedIn). More recently, Paul has assumed the lead role for Cando's marketing and sponsorships/fundraising for Cando's 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.

Session: Support Organizations Panel
Nov. 29 – (9:00 AM - 10:00 AM)

Matt Hill, Business Link, Director, Operations and Client Service

Matt is an integral member of Business Link, where he leads a team of strategists and program specialists. Business Link, a government-supported non-profit, assists over 6,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners each year, offering tailored guidance to help them start and grow. With specialist programming for Indigenous and Immigrant entrepreneurs, the organization also spearheads initiatives to enhance digital adoption among Alberta's small businesses. Matt's enthusiasm for small businesses is evident. He views them as vital force in the community, contributing significantly to Alberta's vibrant quality of life. Business Link's ethos resonates with his personal beliefs: fostering sustainable, rewarding enterprises that enrich community life.

With a background in the UK as a small business owner and leadership roles in the education and non-profit sectors, Matt brings a varied perspective to his work. Alberta has been his home for the past six years, a place where he appreciates the inclusive spirit and the daily buzz of entrepreneurial energy.

Tyson Wright, Network Coodinator, CFT7

Tyson Wright is the Network Coordinator for Community Futures Treaty Seven. His role is to facilitate promotion and raised awareness within the southern Alberta Business Community of CFT7-funded employment services and candidates – through direct and digital engagements. His Siksika Name is “Niinaamskopakitopi” (Medicine Pipe Rider). As a Blackfoot member of the Siksika Nation, Tyson is motivated to work collaboratively with the Stakeholders of Treaty Seven, in building relationships through advocating and promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Tyson enjoys travelling the world, meeting new people from around the world and learning from diverse cultures and backgrounds. He has received a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Calgary and Indigenous of Social Work Diploma.

Community Futures Treaty 7 Presentation will Highlight:

• Introduction of Stakeholders and Treaty Seven Tribes – Culture Awareness
• About CFT7 mission and mandate
• CFT7 Services & Programs
• Capacity Building
• Promoting of business case for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

Winona Lafreniere, Director, National Energy Business Centre of Excellence, Indian Resources Council

With a strong connection to her Anishinabe roots in Manitoba, Winona lives out her passion through storytelling, philanthropy and supporting the economic, social, and cultural aspirations of Indigenous people across Western Canada. Being a strong advocate and leader in business and workforce development, Winona recognizes the need for Indigenous Inclusion in all aspects of her role as Director of the National Energy Business Centre of Excellence at the Indian Resources Council. Her work and volunteer experience spans over three decades, focusing her efforts on empowering and engaging with youth and Indigenous leaders to address social, environmental, technological, and economic challenges. As owner of Indigenous Innovative Solutions, she continues to create innovative solutions that focus on regeneration and restoration of Mother Earth.

She is an active member of the Energy Futures Lab, Clean Resource Innovative Network, Rotary Club of Calgary North, Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee, Project Forest and is currently working on several community-led projects provincially and internationally. Her ancestral knowledge and ways of being helps to foster the growing demand for the sharing of ecological knowledge and wise management practices that will aid in reducing our environmental footprint and create a viable and sustainable future for many generations to come. Anyone who knows of her will say she “lives to give” with love and kindness!

(Click Icon To Download Workshop PDF)

Strategic Planning/Board Governance - Whiskeyjack Group INC (WJGroup)
Nov. 29 – (10:15 AM - 11:15 AM)


Ashton Gibson, Lead Consultant & Ken Hein, Subcontract Consultant

Strategic Planning and Leadership

Strategic planning and leadership are critical components of effective organizational management. Strategic planning involves the process of defining an organization's mission, vision, and long-term objectives, as well as outlining the strategies and tactics necessary to achieve these goals.

Leadership, on the other hand, is the art of influencing and guiding individuals or groups to achieve common objectives. Effective leaders set the direction, inspire their teams, and foster a positive work culture. They play a crucial role in implementing the strategic plan by providing vision, motivation, and direction, as well as making important decisions, delegating tasks, and managing resources.

In essence, the relationship between strategic planning and leadership is symbiotic. Leadership is instrumental in driving the execution of a strategic plan, and strategic planning provides the framework within which leadership can operate effectively. Together, they are fundamental to an organization's success, ensuring it remains adaptable, focused, and capable of achieving its long-term goals.

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Board Governance

Indigenous board governance is a framework and set of practices that guide the operation of boards in organizations serving Indigenous communities or addressing Indigenous issues. This approach is grounded in respecting Indigenous cultural values, traditions, and the unique needs of Indigenous people. It typically involves collaboration, inclusivity, and a deep understanding of the community's history and aspirations.

Key elements of Indigenous board governance often include involving community members in decision-making, fostering culturally sensitive leadership, honoring traditional knowledge, and promoting transparency and accountability. The aim is to ensure that boards effectively serve the best interests of the Indigenous community they represent and advance their self-determination and well-being.

 Ashton Gibson, Lead Consultant (Sub-Contract)

Mr. Gibson has over 15 years of experience working in Indigenous Business and Economic Development in Alberta and is passionate about helping communities to grow their economies. Mr. Gibson’s experience includes 17 years working at Indigenous and Services Canada (ISC) in finance, community economic development, and business development positions. He has also been working for Whiskeyjack Group as a sub-consultant for the past 5 years. Mr. Gibson received his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta in 2002. He also obtained the Certified Professional Accountant, Certified Management Accountant Designation (CPA, CMA) in 2016 and left ISC in August of 2018 to pursue his consultancy business on a full-time basis.

Ken Hein, Subcontract Consultant

Ken Hein is awarded the esteemed Fellow Certified Management Consultant designation with 35 years of experience. His in-depth expertise developed through a balanced mix of public and private sector consulting assignments including work with First Nations, municipal, provincial and private industry. Ken’s approach is client-focused, forward thinking and business-oriented on both business and technology-based initiatives. He has led as well as provided support on many assignments in Business Transformation, Project Management and Risk.

Ken’s expertise includes Business Case Development, Strategic and Outcome Planning, Governance, Change Management, Process Design and Documentation, highly success with responding by way of proposals to Public Procurement (experience in writing over 250 RFP documents over the past 15 years with public sector organizations), Coaching, Training, Facilitation. Ken has developed over 40 Business Cases over the past 25 years. His consulting focus is aimed at assisting organizations improve performance, achieve business objectives, and manage opportunities and risk with an overarching goal of value creation.

Ken has the following education:

• Fellow Certified Management Consultant (FCMC) – Since 2015
• Certified Management Consultant (CMC) – Since March 1997
• Challenge Dialogue certificate with a methodology to support complex projects in 2020
• Business/Technology diploma – Since January 1990
• University of Manitoba – Managerial Accounting diploma (1982-1983)
• University of Alberta Faculty of Extension – Project Management courses (1995 – 1996)

Solid Waste Management
Nov. 29 – (10:15 AM - 11:15 AM)

The First Nation Solid Waste Management Initiative (FNSWMI) is a national program that was commenced by the Federal Government of Canada - Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in January 2016. The funding was for solid waste projects and gradually also solid waste Operations and Maintenance. Since First Nations were previously asked to prioritize their most urgent infrastructure projects, solid waste projects often did not receive high enough priority to receive funding. Since 2016 that changed and many Alberta Region First Nations received funding for solid waste management studies and the implementation of the study’s findings, both with capital and O&M funding. The FNSWMI provides funding for the equipment, training and equipment housing. There will be a discussion of the various solid waste management systems, recycling and waste segregation, costs – capital and operation and maintenance, sustainability/efficiencies, how funding is provided under this initiative, and economic development.

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Presented by: Jan Davies, Environment Officer, ISC

Jan Davies has been with the Federal Government since Oct 2006 with the various iterations of Indigenous Services Canada. He first started with Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC) as a Water Resource Officer conducting Water Licence Inspections of arctic communities and industrial activities in the North Mackenzie District of the Northwest Territories. During this time he was driving, boating and flying around the region inspecting various activities that had to do with water, wastewater and solid waste (it was his dream job). Next he was a Water Strategy Officer in the Yukon Region with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) working with the Water Strategy, coordinating the Circuit Rider Training Program and providing program/funding support to various First Nations’ water/wastewater infrastructure projects. Currently he works with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) out of the Alberta Region Office (Edmonton) with their Environment and Natural Resources Unit assisting with environmental reviews, environmental emergencies/incidents, funding audits, but primarily working with the First Nation Solid Waste Management Program. He’s an outdoorsman and enjoys buying and selling outdoor gear. He lives with his wife and three boys just outside of Edmonton and still misses the North.

First Nations Land Management (FNLM) and Reserve Land and Environment Management Program (RLEMP)
Nov. 29 – (11:15 AM - 12:00 PM)

First Nations Land Management (FNLM) is a self-governance regime undertaken by First Nations wherein they gain a greater administrative control over their reserve land management and become exempt from 44 sections of the Indian Act. The workshop will outline the FNLM process, funding opportunities, and the benefits of FNLM for economic development. RLEMP, another funding program for land and environment management on reserves, is also explored.

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Presented by: Feinan Long, Policy Officer, Special Initiatives, Land Management

Feinan Long is a Policy Officer at Alberta Region ISC whose team supports the various land management related self-governance initiatives undertaken by First Nations. Feinan has a master’s degree in rural planning and development from University of Guelph, and has previously worked at Alberta municipalities as a land use planner. She is keen to re-learn land use planning and stewardship from the perspectives of Indigenous communities and leaders.

Stronger Together: First Nation-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative
Nov. 29 – (11:15 AM - 12:00 PM)

The First Nation-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) is a joint initiative between Cando and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) that enhances the capacity of participating First Nations and adjacent municipalities to engage in collaborative community economic development planning and initiatives.

The CEDI team will provide an overview of the Stronger Together approach and CEDI program best practices and tools, and provide insight and guidance on how your community can best prepare to make a joint application to the CEDI program with a neighbouring First Nation or municipality.

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Presented by: Carmelle Nepoose, CEDI Program Officer

Carmelle Nepoose is from Samson Cree Nation of Maskwacis, Alberta. Carmelle has a Business Administration Accounting Diploma from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. She started with Cando in 2018 as the Special Projects Coordinator and eventually transferred to the position of Certification Coordinator for the Western Region of Canada. She is currently a CEDI Program Officer.

She was previously employed with Samson Cree Nation, where she was a dedicated employee in the Residential Development department. Carmelle looks forward to having the opportunity to work with many accomplished Indigenous Economic Development Officers and Land Managers from across Canada. Working in multiple positions at Cando she has gained valuable work experience and enjoys networking with professionals in the field of Economic Development.

Nov. 29 – (1:00 PM - 2:15 PM)


TALSAA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting First Nations communities in their journey towards self-sufficiency through land management training and networking. Our mission is driven by our belief in growth through communication, collaboration, and building capacity within lands departments. We are committed to promoting sustainable land practices and economies, while also respecting and preserving traditional values and practices.

Our vision is to empower First Nations communities by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to effectively manage their lands and resources in a sustainable manner. We strive for strong, healthy communities that are self-sufficient and deeply connected to their land. At TALSAA, our guiding light is the belief that training and networking are crucial elements for the success and prosperity of First Nations communities. By providing these essential resources, we aim to support thriving and self-sufficient communities that honor their traditional values and practices.

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NALMA – Land Use Planning

Land use planning is the process of allocating lands, community resources, facilities, and services with a view to maintain and improve the physical environment and the economic and social conditions of a community. This process helps to assist First Nation communities reach unique goals for their lands, ensure sustainable development, affirm rights, establish community values on the development of their lands, and determine future land uses. Culture, tradition, type of land regime, experience, available resources, and the wishes of the community are all factors that must be considered to help determine the type and extent of the Land Use Plan (LUP).

Participants will learn key concepts in Land Use Planning, have an overview of the planning process and the importance of community engagement to a successful plan, and understand what funding is available through National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA) to assist first nations in developing their own land use plans.

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 Crystal Janvier-Romaniuk, Executive Director, TALSAA

Crystal Janvier-Romaniuk is the Executive Director of TALSAA. Crystal brings a strong educational background, and she is dedicated to advocating for the empowerment of First Nations communities through land management training and networking. TALSAA continues to make significant strides in promoting sustainable land practices and economies, while also prioritizing the preservation of traditional values and practices.

 Alex Marques, Land Use Planning Coordinator, NALMA

Alexander Marques (MScPl) - is a land use planner that has worked extensively with Michipicoten First Nation, authoring their first Land Use Plan and leading a wide range of research, policy and construction projects over the previous 3.5 years including residential subdivision, community and health facility expansions, the development of a business park and open air market and infrastructure improvements. Currently leading the Land Use Planning unit at the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA), Alex is looking forward to being a part of training the next generation of Land Managers in Land Use Planning, advocating for first nations development and land use planning activities, and supporting first nations in undertaking their own land use planning processes across Canada.

Emergency Response
Nov. 29 – (2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

Is your community ready for a disaster?

When disaster strikes, the services of first responders are essential. In some cases, police, fire, emergency, and military personnel are asked to help bring order and critical resources to the crisis at hand. However, when they leave, and communities start to "get back to normal“ how do community leaders create and implement effective economic recovery efforts? How do they best support their local business community? How can they re-position themselves as an attractive place to invest? What resources are available to help keep businesses in business?

Answers to these questions become critical as communities begin efforts to rebuild after a disaster that has impacted their local and regional economies. A disaster is not just the loss or damage to physical infrastructure like bridges, roads, and homes, but it also impacts businesses and their ability to compete in the global economy.

It’s not IF a disaster is going to happen. It’s WHEN.

This session will provide some practical insights about community preparedness, response and recovery, including some real life community examples.

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 Leann Hackman-Carty, CEO, Economic Developers Alberta

Leann has been the CEO of Economic Developers Alberta since 2009. In 2014, Leann completed a project with 11 Alberta flood impacted communities. In 2016-17, she worked with the Fort McMurray region on business and economic recovery by setting up and operating the business hotline; validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief; and leading a 10-member economic recovery assessment team to the region. In 2019 she updated the Community Toolkit for Economic Recovery and Resiliency (Canadian Version) to help communities prepare for and recover from economic disruptions, and brought this resiliency training program to Canada in 2017.

In addition to her work at EDA, she heads up MYD Global, which is focused on community capacity building, resilience and recovery. At the end of December 2017, she released her “Master Your Disaster” series of guidebooks on Amazon designed to help individuals, businesses and communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. In 2018, she received Public Safety Canada’s Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award-Resilient Communities.

 Natalie Gibson, Senior Economic Development Specialist, Economic Developers Alberta

Natalie Gibson, is President of InnoVisions and Associates. For more than 20 years Natalie has been inspiring community leaders towards positive change through her work in both the public and private sectors. Natalie is a dedicated problem solver who can identify, discuss and determine the best path forward in a myriad of situations on any scale. Her superior communications skills and clear focus allows her to work closely with clients to determine initial and long-term success using the most efficient and effective tools available. As part of the Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) Natalie has worked on countless projects across Canada and the U.S. including her work with the EDA’s Emergency Disaster Recovery Project during the Alberta Floods of 2013 and in 2017 following the Fort McMurray wildfire.

As a teacher and motivator, Natalie delivered one of Canada’s first Community Economic Development Training Programs (CEDTP) through the EDA, inspiring hundreds of community representatives, elected officials and industry leaders. Natalie’s ability to objectively assess an organization’s advantages and faults allows her to uncover opportunities in business retention, expansion and investment, building wealth and boosting economies across the country.

Opening & Closing Ceremonies

Shawna Morning Bull, Manager Business Development

Shawna Morning Bull whose traditional name is Ikannaisapiistikomi (Low Owl Hoot Woman) is a member of the Piikani First Nation which is apart of the Blackfoot Confederacy, She is presently employed as the Manager Business Development at Community Futures Treaty Seven (CFT7) in Calgary, Alberta for the past 13 years. Prior, she was a Business Loans Manager with Alberta Indian Investment Corporation and a Business Support Officer with Indian Business Corporation, but her career in business began with Peace Hills Trust in 1997. She has attended Lethbridge College for Business Management and Criminal Justice. In June 2022, attended Harvard Business School and completed a one week Leadership Program.

Shawna was on the Piikani Resource Development Limited Board of Directors from August 2011 to January 2020, an entity operating on her homelands of the Piikani Nation to develop, design and implement projects, programs and services for the benefit of her First Nation economy. Shawna, was also on the Board of Directors with CANDO as the Alberta Representative from 2013 to 2022. Shawna is the 2018 recipient of the Chief David Crowchild Award, she was presented this award by Mayor Nenshi in June 2018 for her efforts to build bridges in and around Calgary between indigenous and non-indigenous people and entities.

Shawna is married to Wade and together they have 5 children and 7 grandchildren. She enjoys attending her children’s activities such as college basketball, hockey, mixed martial arts, wrestling and they all enjoy hitting the powwow trail, where Shawna is a traditional dancer.

Michelle Nieviadomy

Michelle Nieviadomy is Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree woman) with a passion for wellness, social justice & community development. She is a member of Kawacatoose First Nation and while her roots are in Saskatchewan, she has called Edmonton home for the past 20 years. She is the Assistant Director at the Edmonton Native Healing Centre.

She is an entrepreneur with her own business called Iskwew Health promoting health & wellness in various capacities! (Zumba, meditation, bootcamp, fitness kickboxing, wellness retreats) She believes movement is medicine & connection is everything!

Welcoming Remarks
Nov. 28 – (8:30 AM - 9:30 AM)

Ray Wanuch, Executive Director Cando

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, raised on the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement and is of First Nations descent from the Ermineskin Cree Nation. Obtained a Bachelor of Management degree from the University of Lethbridge in 1989; and also possesses the Technician and the Professional Level Certification from Cando.

Prior to working with CANDO, was the CEO of Settlement Investment Corporation. Then moved on to facilitate and manage the Métis Settlements Economic Viability Strategy, which received international recognition for sustainable development. Also managed and taught a self‐employment program for the Métis Nation of Alberta. Volunteer work includes being appointed to the Alberta Water Council by the Métis Settlements General Council; as well as serving as the former Cando Co-President and Director representing Alberta.

Married to Nola Wanuch from the Enoch Cree Nation, and have three wonderful kids: Wendell, Natasha and Sydney, and three wonderful grandsons: Aiden, Nashua, and Taye.

Brent Henry, Director, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) - Alberta Region

Brent joined ISC-Alberta's Regional Operations sector as the new Director of Lands, Environment and Economic Development on 1 September 2023. In this role, he provides executive oversight and management in each of these areas, as well as Additions to Reserves. Brent was with the ISC-First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) sector from 2012 to September 2023. There, he managed the Regional Support Unit, Operations and Infrastructure Directorate, and was the Regional Director for Health Programs and Benefits, providing oversight of Non-Insured Health Benefits, Mental Wellness and Community Health Promotions. He specializes in logistics, program and financial management.

Brent is a 30 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, where he spent his final nine years as a financial comptroller. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (History Honours) from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Arts (War Studies) from the Royal Military College of Canada. He has also completed the NAIT Project Management Certificate. Married to Kim for 30 years, he has two sons and five grandchildren ages 5-18. A life-long learner, Brent recently earned his black belt in Uechi Ryu karate and is working on a Creative Writing Certificate through the University of Calgary.

Artisans TBC

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