×
 

Board of Directors

Message from the Board Chair

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) was created with a social purpose to create jobs and opportunities for First Nation people. SIGA is owned by 74 First Nations of Saskatchewan (The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN)), and it is an honour to represent the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.

 

As stewards of the organization, the Board sets out a course for the future by implementing the strategic direction for the company. Always looking five years ahead, SIGA continues to reinvest in its facilities, its people and implement initiatives that focus on the outcomes required by our shareholders, customers and employees.

 

Since opening its doors, SIGA has generated more than $1 billion in revenue for our beneficiaries. As a fairly young company, this is an outstanding accomplishment – one that we can all be proud of.

 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we look forward to sharing in the success of our common vision.

 

Respectfully,

Chief Reginald Bellerose

The Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for the stewardship of the organization and is ultimately accountable for the management of the affairs and business of SIGA. It has established a terms of reference addressing its principle duties and responsibilities as a Board. All of its directors are independent of management and no member of management serves as a director.

Board Chair

The Chair, as the presiding director, provides leadership in guiding the Board and coordinating its activities; and fosters Board relationships in the best interests of the organization. The Chair, while working closely with the President and CEO, retains an independent perspective to best represent the interests of SIGA, the Board and the communities they serve. The Chair, on behalf of the Board, reports to the FSIN Economic and Community Development Commission (ECDC) and the FSIN Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the corporation, including all business aspects of casinos owned or operated by SIGA. The Chair in turn reports to the Board of Directors any recommendations offered by ECDC and the Assembly. The Chair is a non-executive appointment.

Directors

The Board of Directors is comprised of not more than thirteen members. The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the Tribal Councils appoint these members to the Board. Only individuals registered under The Alcohol and Gaming Regulation Act, 1997 may be members of the SIGA Board.

Reginald Bellerose

Board Chair

Board Chair – Reginald Bellerose
Reginald Bellerose has been a SIGA’s board member since March 2008 and became Chair of the Board in February of 2015.He served as the Chief of Muskowekwan First Nation for 17 years, and is currently Chair of Bellerose and Associates Inc., and Chair of the board at SIGA and Saskatchewan Indian Training Assessment Group, vice-president of KDM Constructors, and spokesperson for the Touchwood Agency Tribal Council.Throughout his career, he served on a number of boards, committees and commissions for non-profit and for-profit organizations in areas such as health care, justice, business, youth, agriculture, gaming and mining.Bellerose holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Concordia University. He also credits his education to teachings and knowledge shared by chiefs, elders and youth who he has met over the years.

Chief Larry Ahenakew

Chief Larry Ahenakew, was appointed to the SIGA Board of Directors on June 2020. Originally from Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation, Chief Ahenakew represents the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC). Chief Ahenakew graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Native Studies degree with a minor in Commerce. Chief Ahenakew was formerly a Band Councilor on his reserve, which he held for twelve years before he decided to take on the larger role of Chief in 2005. Chief Ahenakew was currently re-elected his 6th term June 2021 for a four-year term. After 21 years of trying to settle there TLE, it was approved by both the Federal and Provincial Governments March 2022 and looking to move forward to purchasing more lands for our community for more development in the economy and for cultural, hunting grounds for our youth and elders.

Chief Darcy Bear

Chief Darcy Bear is in his eighth consecutive term as Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. He holds a Business Administration Certificate and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Saskatchewan. Chief Bear has also been the recipient of many awards including the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan in 2005; the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2011; and the Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Recently, he was awarded the 2016 Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Hall of Lifetime Achievement Award for his oversight of the transformation of the community, increasing opportunity and prosperity against formidable odds. He has dedicated half of his life to the betterment of his community and has been the driving force behind extensive economic development and an improved quality of life within the community.

Chief Richard Ben

Chief Richard Ben joined the SIGA Board in October 2009. Richard served as Chief of Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation from 2008 until his election to Tribal Chief of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council on November 21, 2018. Prior to his tenure as Chief, he also served one term as a band councillor. Currently, Chief Ben is also the Vice-Chair of SIIT. His experience includes terms with the FSIN Education and Justice Commissions, and a number of boards with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. Chief Ben’s background also includes three years in the army reserve and four years as a Recreation Director on his home reserve. Chief Ben has an education in Police Sciences and Information Technology and recently obtained his certificate in Business Administration.

Carole Bryant

Carole Bryant , Pro. Dir, rejoined the SIGA Board in January 2010. Carole is currently Director of Governance and Corporate Services with the Ranch Ehrlo Society. She has had diverse career experience in social work, community development, Human Resources, corporate services, board governance and communication. Carole is the past-president of the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers and is a former past-president of the Regina Rotary Club. She was one of the founding board members of SaskPower Commercial Inc. and has board experience with the Luther College Board of Directors, Investment Saskatchewan and is a former President of the Regina and District Food Bank. Carole has a master’s degree in social work. She completed her MBA from Queen’s University in Kingston and has her CPA designation.

Chief Bobby Cameron

Chief Bobby Cameron As a member of Witchekan Lake First Nation located in Treaty Six territory (northern Saskatchewan), Chief Bobby Cameron has spent the majority of his life maintaining strong ties to culture, language and identity. As an avid hunter, trapper, and fisher, Chief Cameron advocates and understands the significance of First Nation culture and tradition with respect to keeping close ties to traditional lands. He is currently in his third term as Chief of Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, a Treaty and Inherent Rights organization that represents 74 First Nations and more than 160,000 First Nation people. Previously, he served one term as a Vice-Chief for FSIN. Chief Cameron is also the Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations. Chief Cameron holds a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. A devoted partner and father of six children, Chief Cameron is a strong advocate for Treaty and Inherent Rights for future generations of First Nation people.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson

A member of Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB), Tammy Cook-Searson was raised on the family trapline near Brabant Lake, Northern Saskatchewan. A fluent Cree speaker, Cook-Searson is exceptionally proud of her First Nations heritage, and is a strong advocate of culture and language, maintaining strong ties to the land. Elected LLRIB Councillor at the age of 25, she served three terms before she was elected as the band’s first female Chief in 2005. Cook-Searson is currently serving her sixth conservative term.

As Chief of LLRIB, Cook-Searson is President of Kitsaki Management Limited Partnership, which manages the bands economic development activities. The Kitsaki portfolio is diverse, with investments in insurance, engineering, mining, utility project management, environment, hospitality, transportation, and more. Kitsaki is committed to long-term, sustainable business, and continues to develop opportunities that meet the appropriate profitability, risk and employment criteria.

In recognition of her leadership to develop solutions for social challenges, advocacy for Indigenous issues, and community service, Cook-Searson has been recognized with many awards, including: Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business – Woman in Leadership Award (2021); Award Canadian Armed Forces Special Service Medal
(2020); honorary Diploma of Business Administration from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (2019); Louisa Sanderson Memorial Award, La Ronge Native Women’s Council (2019); Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce ABEX Award for Community Leader of the Year (2017); honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Regina (2016); Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012); Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2006); and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).

Cook-Searson serves as Board Director with multiple organizations, including: the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority Board, the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, and the Assembly of First Nations. Her role as LLRIB Chief also means she is an active member of the Prince Albert Grand Council and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. As a Canadian Ranger with the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, she assists with search and rescue operations in the region.

Driven by a collective vision of community, Cook-Searson recently played an instrumental role working with others to lobby for the funding to build a Wellness, Treatment and Recovery Centre in La Ronge. This Centre will provide northerners with timely access to mental health and addictions support services, blending therapeutic treatment with traditional Woodland Cree teachings. This $16.1 million project is currently under construction in La Ronge, with completion slated for spring 2022.

Cook-Searson is involved in many cultural events and fundraising activities. She leads a healthy lifestyle, and is an active member of her community. Cook-Searson enjoys spending time with family and friends in the bush and on the lake. She loves berry picking, photography, running, and learning new

Kevin Poock

Kevin Poock from the Battleford Tribal Council Management Corp. was appointed to the Board in February 2012 by the Battlefords Tribal Council. Kevin is a Chartered Financial Planner who has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He was instrumental in the financing and opening of the first four casinos operated by SIGA. In 1998 he joined Battlefords Tribal Council to assist their Economic Development Division. He currently is part of a group that manages several diversified businesses, holding companies, and analyzes new opportunities for First Nations.

Chief Calvin Sanderson

Chief Calvin Sanderson was appointed to the SIGA Board of Directors in the Fall of 2018 and represents the Independent Bands. Chief Sanderson was a Band Councillor from 2000 to 2003 and then became Chief of the Chakastaypasin Band, a position he’s held since. He has been involved in settling land and annuity claims for Chakastaypasin and strives to work hard to benefit his membership. Chief Sanderson has also been on the Board of Indigenous Gaming Regulators since 2009.

Elder Joe Quewezance

John Charles Thomas – FSIN Senator

John Charles Thomas – FSIN Senator is a distinguished member of Beardy & Okemasis First Nation. Prior to be elected Band Councillor in the late 1980’s, he had worked as a Probation Officer, Lands Coordinator; Land Manager; as well as, a Treaty Land Entitlement Trustee and was involved with the Saskatchewan Indian Culture Center and the Beardy & Okemasis First Nation. Senator Thomas was instrumental in developing the Executive Management Act, Senate Act, Land Management Act, Housing Act, Personnel Management Act and Band Custom Election Act for Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation. After his term as councillor started working for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. Senator Thomas is very passionate about his family, especially his grandchildren, politics, treaties, economic development, sports and recreation, governance and justice.

Chief Lee Kitchemonia

Chief Lee Kitchemonia previously served on Council for Keeseekoose First Nation for 16 years and became their Chief in 2021. His primary occupation throughout his life has been farming. Later in life, he received his post secondary education at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) and earned a Bachelor of Education degree and began teaching elementary school on Keeseekoose First Nation. He has been married for 25 years and has children and one grandchild.

Chief Michael Starr

Chief Michael George Starr was first elected as Chief of Star Blanket Cree Nations in 2009 and has held this role for 4 consecutive terms. Prior to being elected Chief, he had been a Councillor for 15 years.
Chief Starr has worked towards economic sovereignty for First Nations and sits on the Board of Directors for the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association (SIGA), one of the largest economic drivers for First Nations in Saskatchewan. He is also a board member for FHQ E-Commerce, Keeseechiwan Holdings, and FHQ Casino Holdings. He is advancing a solar energy project and a greenhouse project.

Passionate about Education, Chief Starr has committed focus to advancing educational opportunities and outcomes for First Nations youth locally, regionally, and nationally. Star Blanket Cree Nation is home to the First Nations University of Canada, a post-secondary institution founded by the 74 First Nations located within Saskatchewan. Chief Starr sits on several boards, committees and commissions dedicated to strengthening education systems and is a proponent for integrating the importance of honoring the Treaties into curricula. Chief Starr also values the role of Sports and Recreation plays in developing well-rounded leaders.
Chief Starr believes in the importance of strong institutions that support wellness and sits on the All Nations Healing Hospital Board of Directors as well as the Leading Thunderbird Lodge Board of Directors.

He holds a Professional Director designation, a Business Administration Diploma from the First Nations University of Canada, and a Community Programming Diploma from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies.