Keynote Speakers

Bold, tenacious, solution-oriented and forward-looking, Phil Fontaine is an articulate advocate for the future of Canada and for our indigenous peoples. As the former three-term National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, he is a shining example of how strong leadership can work.

Known for his calm and confident demeanor, he has a proven track record of opening the lines of communication and bringing people together in a common cause for a better future and to resolve issues of the past. Fontaine’s proven ability to inform, inspire, demonstrate leadership, and build consensus makes him a highly sought-after expert.

Fontaine, the youngest son in an Ojibway family of 12 children, has been instrumental in facilitating change and advancement for First Nations people from the time he was first elected to public office as chief, when he was only 28 years old. Today, First Nations people are now the fastest growing demographic segment in Canada.

Phil Fontaine is a charismatic speaker who has dedicated most of his life to the advancement of First Nations people. Corporations, governments and associations seeking leadership advice will benefit from Fontaine’s extraordinary ability to speak from the heart and teach others how to achieve results.

Mr. Catsi was appointed to this position in 2010.  In this capacity he oversees the internal and external communications of the Authority including, public outreach, marketing, and media to raise awareness of the Authority and its programs.  He also works closely with AIDEA’s department heads and development staff to provide an efficient and effective intake process for prospective projects. Additional duties include program development, legislative review, and strategic planning.

Prior to joining the Authority, he managed rural economic development organizations on local and regional levels as executive director of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference and the Skagway Development Corporation.  Mr. Catsi has served as president of the Alaska Partnership for Economic Development, was elected to the Skagway City Council, and served on the boards of the Alaska Municipal League and the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Mr. Catsi is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, Australia with a Bachelor of Science in Geography, and he is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).

Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan campus and Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.  Ken was raised in Whitehorse, Yukon and has long-standing professional and personal interests in Aboriginal rights, northern development, northern Canadian history, science, technology and society, and Japan Studies. Ken has written extensively on Aboriginal history, Indigenous-newcomer relations and post-secondary education.  He recently co-authored a book called From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Roadmap for all Canadians.