Two of the most highly regarded indigenous actors to grace the big screen will deliver the keynote addresses at the upcoming Vision Quest Conference & Trade Show in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Adam Beach and Kyle Nobess will inspire the audience at the 21st annual event — Canada’s longest-running Aboriginal business, community and economic development conference. Vision Quest takes place May 16-18 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. What began as a small event attracting 250 people now draws thousands and features 90 trade show booths over two and a half enlightening days. “An event like Vision Quest is important because it's bringing together a cross-section of people: business leaders, youth, government, community professionals, chiefs, mayors, counselors, all gaining new information and best practices — things they can take back to their communities,” Leann Brown, board member, said.
The dynamic event features workshops and courses, numerous speakers, an expansive trade show, cultural demonstrations, and entertainment, says Kim Bullard, chair of Vision Quest Conferences Inc. “It’s this winning formula that has granted Vision Quest a long and successful history,” she added.
Adam Beach, an Anishinaabe actor, is known for many acclaimed film and television projects including Suicide Squad, Law & Order,Windtalkers, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and more. Born in Ashern, Manitoba, Beach spent his early years growing up on the Lake Manitoba/Dog Creek First Nation. After the tragic deaths of both his mother and father, Adam and his two brothers went to live in Winnipeg with an aunt and uncle. It was at Gordon Bell High School where Beach attended his first drama class, and began performing in local theatre productions. Acting eventually led Adam to a very successful career in entertainment. In response to his dream of helping Aboriginal youth find a better way in life through film, Adam founded the Adam Beach Film Institute in Winnipeg. In early 2012, an initial gift of donation from San Gold Corporation enabled Adam to begin to see the realization of this dream.
Kyle Nobess has always dreamt of being an actor, and through perseverance, hard work and self-belief he has been fortunate to work in film and television in various ways. Today he is a recognizable and established Aboriginal actor and screenwriter, YouTube artist, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. Kyle's passion is to share his courage and message with youth around the world, that dreams are possible and anything is achievable when you set your mind to something. Drawing from his own experiences, Kyle shares his journey of recovery from drugs and alcohol and the healing path to getting a second chance at life. Through personal development and finding inner strength, Kyle is proud to say he has experienced true freedom within his body, spirit and mind – that well-being is attainable, and that dreams are indeed possible for each of us.
Honourary Chair 2017: Sheila North Wilson, Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO)
Each year, Vision Quest names a distinguished members of the Aboriginal business community as its Honourary Chair. This year that person is Sheila North Wilson, a member of Bunibonibee Cree Nation. She was elected as Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) in September 2015. Previous to that position, she served as the Chief Communication Officer at Assembly for Manitoba Chiefs, a CBC journalist and CTV correspondent, an economic development officer, a radio personality, and a Cree translator. She holds diplomas in business and community development, a certificate in radio and television broadcasting, and a diploma in Creative Communications. A gifted writer, a Radio Television Digital News Association award winner, and a Gemini Award nominee, Wilson is passionate about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). With this in mind, she created the hashtag #MMIW which is now commonly used on social media. She continues to work closely with families, friends, as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders to advance the political will to address racism and the issues around violence against Indigenous people.
Delegates of Vision Quest have an exclusive opportunity to register for one of two full-day Pre-Conference Courses, running concurrently on Tuesday May 16. Delegates can choose from one of the following two courses:
“From Vision to Reality: How to Start a Successful Business”: This business workshop will provide answers to get businesses up and running, and share information about tools, resources and money that may be available to help start businesses.
“Rise Above: Living a Life Teachings”: From tipi to talking stick, interactive and experiential, this course explores cultural teachings that challenge participants to reflect on the sacred, identity, their own untapped potentials and personal barriers to the life they want.
Free Public Lecture:
On Wednesday May 17, from 7-9pm, the public is invited to attend a free public lecture a topic of great importance to northern communities.
“Ice Roads and Cargo Airships: State of Technology and Opportunities for the North”: The impact of climate change on the ice roads of Manitoba is impossible to ignore. Since 1997, their season has been halved, and the wide temperature variations now experienced are increasing the risk of using these life-lines to remote, fly-in communities. Fortunately, a solution to the failing ice road system may be just around the corner – cargo airships. Airship technology is being rediscovered, just like electric cars and wind turbines, as part of a new low-carbon future. Dr. Barry Prentice is a recognized expert in airship technology, and will be presenting the results of 17 years of research in this field.
“Presentation of the Elijah Harper Service Dog Award”: On Thursday May 18 over lunch, the Manitoba Search and Rescue (MSAR) service dogs program will be making a special presentation to a deserving candidate. The award is named after Elijah Harper, a founding member of MSAR, who was instrumental in the development and advocacy of service dogs for the disabled.
The inaugural recipient in 2014 was a military veteran suffering with a rare disorder that caused him to shake uncontrollably. The miracle dog awarded to him cured his pacing and speech issues. In 2015, the recipient was a child who had a rare seizure disorder. Her service dog was trained to detect and notify of these seizures, saving the little girl’s life on multiple occasions, and giving the family peace of mind. In 2016, a dog was awarded to a firefighter who suffered physical and psychological injuries while saving the life of a fellow firefighter. This year, the award will go to an RCMP officer suffering from PTSD.
Dragon’s Quest Business Plan Competition:
Vision Quest Conferences Inc. is pleased to once again partner with the Aboriginal Business Service Network in presenting the Dragon's Quest Business Plan Competition. Cash prizes totaling $10,000 are awarded in two categories – Rural and Urban (City of Winnipeg) – to assist winners in turning their business dreams into reality. Three finalists in each category will present their business plans to a panel of judges, with the winners announced at the Gala Banquet on Thursday May 18.
It’s a Vision Quest tradition to close the conference with a Gala Banquet on Thursday evening. This year’s Gala features a three-course dinner, presentation of awards for the Dragon’s Quest Business Plan Competition and Steve Prince Memorial Bursary, cultural presentation by Plains Ojibway Singers and Dance Troupe, and entertainment by renowned comedian Don Burnstick.
Trade Show With Free Public Admission:
More than 90 exhibitors will be on display at Vision Quest’s Trade Show, representing business suppliers, service providers, hospitality groups, career opportunities, economic organizations, educational institutions, information services, and a wide selection of artists and artisans. Free Public Admission is open Wednesday May 17 (8:30am to 4:30pm) and Thursday May 18 (8:30am to 2:30pm).
About Vision Quest:
Vision Quest Conferences Inc. is a community based charitable organization formed through partnerships with Manitoba’s five Aboriginal Community Futures Development Corporations (Cedar Lake CFDC, Dakota Ojibway CFDC, Kitayan CFDC, North Central CFDC, Southeast CFDC).
Vision Quest thanks the following sponsors to date for their support: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Province of Manitoba, MSAR Service Dogs, South Beach Casino & Resort, World Trade Centre Winnipeg, First Peoples Economic Growth Fund, Aboriginal Business Service Network, Animikii Indigenous Technology, Bell MTS, City of Winnipeg – Oshki Annishinabe Nigaaniwak, Enbridge Pipelines, Northern Values, Amik.ca, APTN, First Nations Voice, NCI FM, NOW Country 104.7, and SAY Magazine. www.vqconference.com.