Keynote Speakers

Thursday Keynote Speaker: Chief Tammy Cook-Searson.

A member of Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB), Tammy Cook-Searson was raised mostly on the family trap line near Brabant Lake. A strong advocate of culture and language, she is a fluent Cree speaker and has strong cultural ties to the land. At the age of 25, Cook-Searson was first elected to the LLRIB council and served three consecutive terms. After eight years on council, Cook-Searson ran for the position of Chief to which she is currently serving her fifth consecutive term.

Cook-Searson currently serves as the President of Kitsaki Management Limited Partnership, the band’s economic development initiative whose ventures include group insurance, environmental services, engineering services, mining, utility project management, catering, trucking, and a golf course. With its focus on long-term sustainable businesses, Kitsaki examines many potential business opportunities that meet appropriate profitability, risk, and employment criteria.

In 2016, Cook-Searson received an honorary degree, a Doctor of Laws honoris causa, from the University of Regina for her leadership and advocacy for Indigenous issues. She has also received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in 2006, and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. As a Canadian Ranger with the 4 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, she is instrumental in assisting in community evacuations and conducting search and rescue operations.

She is an active member of the community, involved in many cultural events as well as fundraising activities, including the Jim Pattison’s Children’s Hospital Foundation. A mother of three, Cook-Searson has been married for 26 years. She enjoys spending time with friends and family in the bush and on the lake. She loves berry picking, boating, and canoeing. She has completed four marathons and one ultra-marathon. She is currently training for the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Friday Keynote Speaker: FSIN Fourth Vice Chief Heather Bear

Before devoting her work fulltime to FSIN, Heather served as Councillor / Headwoman for the Ochapowace First Nation for six years. As a wife and mother of four children, and most recently a grandmother, she is dedicated to the health and wellness of her family and commits to First Nations culture and traditions.

Heather is an alumnus of the First Nations University of Canada, and received her Certificate in Indigenous Leadership, Governance, and Management Excellence through the Banff Centre of Management and proceeded to work in a fast-paced environment, assuring First Nations’ Inherent and Treaty rights are protected. Passionate about Treaty, her move to FSIN was a natural fit.

With encouragement from friends, family, and neighbors, Heather started her journey into provincial politics in 2014 and was successful as the second female Executive member to be elected in FSIN history. Once again, in October 2017, she was re-elected for a second term and continues to focus on the forward momentum of the FSIN as one of the leading First Nations organization across Canada and uses her drive and untiring commitment to bring greater autonomy and dignity to the First Nations people of the province.

In her free time, Heather loves promoting live music and her own unique talent that is well-known province-wide. She currently lives in Ochapowace First Nation with her family.