Saskatoon

Whitecap Chief Darcy Bear wins lifetime achievement award

Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear wins Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award

Chief Darcy Bear is being recognized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. (David Stobbe/Submitted to CBC)

Whitecap Dakota Chief Darcy Bear is being recognized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business for his community leadership and business acumen.

Bear has won the 2016 Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chief Bear joined CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning to talk about receiving the award. 

"Certainly it's very humbling, but as a leader it's something you don't do by yourself," Bear said. "You can have vision, but you need people to actually work with you to make it happen. So it's a community award, as far as I'm concerned."

In 1991, when Bear began working with his First Nation, the community had serious debt issues and high unemployment. Nearly 25 years later, the community has developed a self-governing land code, casino, and one of the province's top golf courses.

"I was raised in Whitecap by my grandparents, and I've seen the days when we had to heat our homes with wood and haul water and that, and [there was no] modern infrastructure," Bear said, reflecting on what the reserve used to be like. 

"We went from a 70 per cent unemployment rate, to a five per cent unemployment rate; we now have 680 jobs with 500 people commuting from Saskatoon on a daily basis to come and work in our community," Chief Bear said in the release.

The award recognizes a First Nations, Inuit, or Métis business person whose leadership has made a contribution to the economic and social well-being of Aboriginal people across Canada. Bear will pick up the award at the CCAB Gala in Toronto in February.  

"Chief Darcy Bear is a national leader and has made Whitecap Dakota First Nation a model of community-driven business development," CCAB President J.P. Gladu said in a release. "He is a leader who is respected by government, Canadian and Aboriginal businesses, and his own community."

The Whitecap Dakota First Nation is located 26 km south of Saskatoon, 

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