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File Hills Tribal Council

Grads celebrate with feast at File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council

Prayers, music, inspirational speakers and a feast marked a special graduation ceremony at the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, July 28, 2015.

Celebrants at the feast honouring the File Hills Tribal Council First Nations graduates of The Professional Director Certification Program™. Photo: U of R Photography

Prayers, music, inspirational speakers and a feast marked a special graduation ceremony at the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, July 28, 2015.

Dozens of people were celebrating their completion of The Professional Director Certification Program™. The program was presented in partnership by the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Brown Governance Inc. It’s about becoming a better board member.

“To be a good board member you have to know the ins and outs of what it takes to get the job done,” says Jaime Lavallee, Director of Indigenous Governance, Law and Policy for File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council. She is one of 53 people to graduate from the course.

“The best part was just being there with everybody else and focussing on the same goal to be better board members so we can better our communities,” she says.

Lavallee points out that some of the nations are already “structuring their business developments a little differently” as a result of taking the course.

The students come from the 11 member First Nations that make up the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council in Southern Saskatchewan.

Appropriately, the classes were held at the Tipi, located at the Treaty 4 Governance Centre in Fort Qu’Appelle.

Edmund Bellegarde, Tribal Chairperson of the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, feels it was critically important to offer this education in proper governance.

“This professional designation in corporate governance is a first of its kind initiative in First Nations country and will produce immediate and long term impacts in the development of our communities,” said FHQTC Chairperson Edmund Bellegarde.  

The program covers a variety of areas of governance relating to strategy, resources, risk and people.

The better an organization is governed, the better its management and the better the outcomes.

Graduates of the program serve on the boards of public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

“We are delighted to be working with the File Hills Tribal Council to provide board governance training to their many boards,” says Dr. Kathleen McNutt, Executive Director of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. “We’re proud of our partnership with Brown Governance and we’re honoured to be a part of this ground-breaking training for First Nations Boards. We applaud Edmund Bellegarde’s leadership in making this happen.”

“We are so delighted and proud to be associated with this First Nations Corporate Governance Program,” said Debra Brown, President and CEO of Brown Governance Inc.  “Even during the program, we saw immediate and significant impacts on the board of governance of economic, social and commercial enterprises owned by First Nations in the Treaty Four area.  The real impacts will be on the lives of the beneficiaries of these dozen of entities, including health centres, social and not-for-profits, housing corporations, economic development and partnerships, for years to come.”

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This article was authored by Costa Maragos, University of Regina

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