2:15 PM - 2:45 PM
by Robert Bernard
Location: Kluskap Room
Atlantic Region Coordinator | Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)
Robert Bernard is a business owner of Diversity Management Group (DMG), an Indigenous consulting firm which is based out of We’koqma’q First Nation in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Since starting his business in 2000 DMG has created numerous partnerships with one goal in mind – to help create capacity building opportunities for Indigenous people, businesses and communities. He prides himself on helping to rediscover the true and authentic culture & heritage of his Mi’kmaw people through tourism initiatives aimed at cultural resurgence. Robert sits on the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) Board of Directors, the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council (CNSLC) and was named National Chair of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada from 2016-2017. He currently works as the Atlantic Indigenous Tourism Coordinator for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and leads the Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise Network (NSITEN).
Over the past 30 years, Mr. Bernard has always worked towards increasing the capacity of Mi’kmaw communities, organizations, businesses and individuals covering areas such as business and community development/planning, cultural revival through tourism sector integration and investment and socio- economic investment strategies.
From 1997-2007, Mr. Bernard worked as the first Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Sports & Recreation Circle which focused on increasing the healthy active lifestyles of the Mi’kmaw people of Nova Scotia. His work included negotiation with the Provincial & Federal Governments as well as the Tripartite Forum, the National & International Indigenous Sports organizations. He was also the co-founder of the first Aboriginal Business Chamber of Commerce in Nova Scotia from 1998-2003.
Since 2011 Mr. Bernard has also operated One Sky International (OSI) Environmental Services which focuses on helping communities to better protect their infrastructure components from the severe and ongoing effects of climate change. OSI does this through a national protocol called PIEVC which was developed by Engineers Canada. Over the past 8 years OSI has delivered contracts in First Nations communities in Nova Scotia and now in New Brunswick since 2016.
Mr. Bernard’s focus has always been community oriented and works to help provide updated, specific and pertinent knowledge to all his clients with a focus on a grassroots and inclusive process that targets all age groups, genders and social status. This model has been very successful in building awareness, support for project development and the ongoing sustainability of initiatives focused on positive community and organizational growth. Mr. Bernard has delivered dozens of workshops, presentations and has facilitated sessions from the community level to national levels involving grassroots, governments, multiple industry and political levels.
Most recently Mr. Bernard founded the Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise Network (NSITEN) and works to promote Indigenous owned businesses involved in the mainstream tourism sectors. One of the key goals has been to identify authentic cultural knowledge enhancement opportunities involving the protection and transition of historic and traditional knowledge through the eyes of the Elders. This has been identified as one of the main priorities. These involve sensitive topics as the protection of language, traditional and authentic cultural practices, protection of traditional medicines and recent work towards identifying strategies that enhance Indigenous food sovereignty for the Mi’kmaw people.
For more information please visit our website at www.dmg-osi.com.