As a new member of a national Indigenous board, Robert Dickson looks forward to bringing Indigenous people's priorities to the “broader table.”
Dickson, who’s the CEO of Attawapiskat Enterprises Inc., is a new member of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB).
NIEDB is the national, non-political organization providing strategic policy advice and guidance to the federal government on issues of Indigenous economic development
Dana Soonias, who’s the director of economic development and employment training services with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, also joined the board as a new member, while Quebec Mi’gmaq entrepreneur Victoria LaBillois was appointed as the vice-chair.
Dickson is from Lac Seul First Nation and a graduate of Wilfred Laurier University.
He’s been working with Attawapiskat First Nation for about 10 years. Attawapiskat Enterprises oversees three companies including Timmins-based Advanced Security, Attawapiskat Resources and Attawapiskat Catering LP.
Dickson has experience holding leadership positions in the public, profit and non-profit sectors. According to Indigenous Services Canada’s announcement, he’s also one of the founders of the Aboriginal and Visible Minority Supplier Council.
He said his appointment to the board is great for the representation of Indigenous people in the area as he will take their issues and priorities to the board that provides advice across the federal government.
Dickson said he has two priorities on his agenda which are northern development and procurement.
“Particularly remote northern development where I think access to support is very, very limited,” he said. “Procurement is a very, very important instrument in the development of Indigenous business. Procurement on the federal and provincial level is extremely important advancing this agenda.”
He also looks forward to working with Indigenous peoples across Canada.
“Indigenous business people from across the country where I could learn from their experiences, their challenges and see what sort of opportunities people are doing. To be able to bring that experience and advice back to the James Bay coast and Attawapiskat who I represent,” Dickson said.