Asper School of Business signs historic memorandum of understanding
Cooperation with Norway House Cree Nation and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. to guide Reconciliation through business education
On August 29, 2023, Dean Bruno Silvestre of the Asper School of Business signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with leaders from Norway House Cree Nation and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc (MKO).
The signatories will work together to achieve goals outlined in the MOU, which include developing joint programs and initiatives aimed at creating employment opportunities in business, economic development and entrepreneurship for Northern First Nations learners; fostering connections between signatory Nations, the business community of Manitoba and Asper faculty; and integrating more First Nations-specific training and topics into curricula at Asper.
Representing the Asper School of Business, Silvestre joined Norway House Cree Nation Chief Larson Anderson and MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee to sign the document in Norway House.
Silvestre notes that while the official signing is the culmination of months of collaboration, this event is only one step in Asper’s commitment to Reconciliation.
“The Asper School of Business is taking a historic step in our ongoing journey toward Reconciliation by signing this MOU, the first of its kind for our School,” said Silvestre. “I am thrilled to sign this agreement, which has taken shape over the past year and formalizes our commitment to work closely with Norway House Cree Nation and MKO, supporting the future of First Nations people and business.”
Silvestre and Zach Unrau [BComm(Hons)/17], program director of Indigenous Business Education Partners (IBEP) at Asper, attended the Reclaiming Our Future through Economic Development Youth Conference, hosted by Norway House. Silvestre delivered a keynote speech and Unrau conducted a workshop, each intended to inspire youth to pursue business education and to inform potential students of learning services available at Asper.
IBEP offers services and a welcoming community to all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students pursing a bachelor of commerce or professional graduate degree at Asper. These services and community connections are key to upholding agreements made in the MOU and ensuring an enhanced, supportive learning environment for students from First Nations.
As one of Asper’s strategic priorities, Reconciliation through business education represents a commitment to supporting the personal and professional success of Indigenous students at Asper and ensuring all students begin their careers with respect for the history, present and future of the Manitoba business landscape.
Chief Anderson of Norway House emphasizes the impact of this agreement as a foundation for future success.
“This MOU will lay the groundwork for a better path forward for the future of our youth and will provide opportunities that will ensure their personal and personal success for them and their families,” said Anderson.
Grand Chief Settee of MKO emphasizes that this personal and professional success for First Nations communities is inextricable from Reconciliation.
“The business sector is key to the realization of self-determination for our people, and access and opportunities in business education are consistent with reconciliation. This MOU is a promising step in the right direction,” said Settee.
This self-determination and success will look different for every student, as they carry their individual values, experiences and stories into their education. With this MOU, the Asper School of Business is prepared to move forward in consultation with and accountable to the signatory First Nations to best support each student in their journey and to advance futures not yet realized.