An executive school 'for and by First Nations leaders' set to open in Montreal

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A school 'for and by First Nations leaders' will open its doors in December at HEC Montreal, the people behind the project announced on Thursday at the Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous Peoples and Quebec.

Two Indigenous graduates of HEC Montreal, Manon Jeanotte and Ken Rock, founded the First Nations Executive Education (FNEE).

Their goal is to "equip leaders in our communities to strengthen our self-determination," explained Jeanotte.

The teachings will be "co-created," with half of the faculty coming from academia and the other half being Indigenous people with extensive knowledge of the field, she said.

"We want to strengthen the skills of our leaders by combining our ancient knowledge with contemporary best practices," she added.

But it is also the exchange between participants "that will allow First Nations to grow," Rock added. He noted as an example the fact that "the Cree have a lot of experience with Hydro-Quebec, while the Atikamekw have more experience with forestry."

"We need to talk about economic reconciliation" and that First Nations participate in the commercial life of the province, he said.

INDIGENOUS GOVERNANCE

The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, Ghislain Picard, will be one of the trainers, drawing on his long experience in politics. He said he was "thrilled" with the project, stressing "the importance of having the necessary means to engage our communities, our leaders and those who wish to be engaged."

The first iteration of the program will be open to chiefs, grand chiefs and board chairs. The four modules will address authentic management, collaborative mindset, community impact and governance.

"A dozen participants have already confirmed," said Serge Lafrance, director of the HEC School of Management (the program from which the FNEE was inspired). In the future, the FNEE will gradually open up to "elected officials, administrators, business leaders and entrepreneurs."

- This article was produced with financial support from Facebook and The Canadian Press News Fellowships and first published in French on Nov. 25, 2021.

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