How to unleash Indigenous entrepreneurial potential – by Joseph Quesnel (Troy Media – April 8, 2018)

Chief Reginald Bellerose of Muskowekwan encourages First Nations to find the correct balance between politics and business

To Chief Reginald Bellerose of Muskowekwan First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, the wave of the future belongs to Indigenous entrepreneurship.

“Our entrepreneurial spirit has been dormant. We must re-ignite that spirit,” said Bellerose, the 13-year chief of the small Anishinaabe community on Treaty 4 territory.

For the 49-year-old, the key is changing laws to unleash Indigenous community potential, as well as changing attitudes within Indigenous communities, in governments and among business investors.

The longtime elected political leader has been promoting business development and community self-reliance for so long that he should be called a business leader. With his grandfather and uncle serving as chiefs of Muskowekwan and neighbouring Kawacatoose in the past, Bellerose said he has “100 years of leadership in his blood.”

While some families are involved in agriculture or other industries, Bellerose said his family has a legacy of leadership.

After taking political science and history at Concordia University of Edmonton, he studied project management at the University of Saskatchewan. Elected for the first time as chief of his community at age 35, he had already worked in the banking industry and in Indigenous education. He was also a negotiator for an Alberta First Nation on a power project.

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