Aboriginal Economic Development Conference heads back to RBC Convention Centre.
Vision Quest Conference and Trade Show, Canada’s longest running Aboriginal business, community and economic development conference, will be returning to the RBC Convention Centre May 16th to 18th.
The conference, which has been ongoing since 1997, has seen nearly 15,000 participants come together from not only Manitoba but all over North America, and has earned a reputation as a dynamic gathering that serves multiple purposes and has grown in size every year.
Kim Bullard, Chair of Vision Quest Conferences Inc. says the goal of Vision Quest is to educate, enlighten, and entertain throughout the three-day event.
“We have a schedule packed with workshops and courses, inspiring speakers, an expansive trade show, cultural demonstrations, and entertainment,” Bullard adds. “It’s a winning formula that has granted Vision Quest a long and successful history.”
Vision Quest Conferences Inc. is a community based charitable organization formed through partnerships with Manitoba’s five Aboriginal Community Futures Development Corporations (Cedar Lake CFDC, Dakota Ojibway CFDC, Kitayan CFDC, North Central CFDC, Southeast CFDC).
Each year a new line up of acclaimed and inspirational speakers hit the stage to talk about their life experiences and this year is no different with Adam Beach and Kyle Nobess attending the conference as the keynote speakers.
Beach is an Anishinaabe actor, known for many acclaimed film and television projects including Suicide Squad, Law & Order, Windtalkers, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and more.
Nobess is an established Aboriginal actor and screenwriter, YouTube artist, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker who recovered from drugs and alcohol and will be discussing the healing path to getting a second chance at life.
RoseAnna Schick, spokesperson for Vision Quest says in addition to the speakers, one of the unique options Vision Quest offers the Conference Delegates is their two full-day Pre-Conference courses.
“Living a Life Teachings course explores cultural teachings that challenge participants to reflect on the sacred, identity, their own untapped potentials and personal barriers to the life they want,” says Schick. “The other is called From Vision to Reality and is designed to provide answers to get businesses up and running, and share information about tools, resources and money that may be available to help start a business.”
With over 90 exhibitors on display at the Trade Show, there is a big opportunity to meet some of the most influential Aboriginal business owners and operators, as well as community leaders. There is free public admission to the Trade Show on Wednesday and Thursday.
While many of the delegates travel from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario and Alberta, Aboriginal leaders and entrepreneurs from as far away as Nunavut, Northwest Territories and the U.S.A. have also participated. Conference Delegates who attend the event are Aboriginal business owners and operators; Aboriginal youth; community leaders; economic development officers; investors and financial institutions; government and corporate representatives; business and community service providers; individuals or businesses interested in working with the Aboriginal community.
The traditional Vision Quest Gala Banquet closes the conference on Thursday night with the presentation of awards for the Dragon’s Quest Business Plan Competition, Steve Prince Memorial Bursary, cultural presentation by Plains Ojibway Singers and Dance Troupe, and a performance from renowned comedian Don Burnstick.
Adam Beach is an Anishinaabe actor, who was born in Ashern, Manitoba, Beach spent his early years growing up on the Lake Manitoba/Dog Creek First Nation. After the tragic deaths of both his mother and father, Adam and his two brothers went to live in Winnipeg with an aunt and uncle. It was at Gordon Bell High School where Beach attended his first drama class, and began performing in local theatre productions. Acting eventually led Adam to a very successful career in entertainment. In response to his dream of helping Aboriginal youth find a better way in life through film, Adam founded the Adam Beach Film Institute in Winnipeg. In early 2012, an initial gift of donation from San Gold Corporation enabled Adam to begin to see the realization of this dream.
Kyle Nobess has always dreamt of being an actor, and through perseverance, hard work and self-belief he has been fortunate to work in film and television in various ways. Kyle’s passion is to share his courage and message with youth around the world, that dreams are possible and anything is achievable when you set your mind to something. Drawing from his own experiences, Kyle shares his journey of recovery from drugs and alcohol and the healing path to getting a second chance at life. Through personal development and finding inner strength, Kyle is proud to say he has experienced true freedom within his body, spirit and mind – that well-being is attainable, and that dreams are indeed possible for each of us.
Sheila North Wilson is a member of Bunibonibee Cree Nation andwas elected as Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) in September 2015. Previous to this, she enjoyed a career as the Chief Communication Officer at Assembly for Manitoba Chiefs, a CBC journalist and CTV correspondent, an economic development officer, a radio personality, and a Cree translator. She holds two diplomas in Business Accounting and Rural Development with a focus on community development, a certificate in radio and television broadcasting, and a diploma in Creative Communications.
Sheila is a gifted writer, a Radio Television Digital News Association award winner, and a Gemini Award nominee. She is passionate about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). With this in mind, she created the hashtag #MMIW which is now commonly used on social media. She continues to work closely with families, friends, as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders to advance the political will to address racism and the issues around violence against Indigenous people.
Sheila was featured in Chatelaine Magazine as one of the Top 30 Women of 2015 and by media personality Ace Burpee from Virgin Radio as one of the Most Fascinating 100 Manitobans to Watch.
By: Sara Jean