Darren Harper is an Anishinaabe member of the Red Sucker Lake First Nation in northern Manitoba which is affiliated with the Treaty #5 territory and the Tribal area of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO). Darren is the nephew of former MLA and key person instrumental in the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord, Elijah Harper. Darren graduated with his MBA in July 2011 and has utilized this new experience to provide capacity at various levels to First Nations and further assist in educating the non-Indigenous community with the customs, culture and traditions for doing new business and partnerships abroad.
Until 2008, Darren was affiliated with the Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council (OFNYPC). In April 2009, one of Darren’s most recent accomplishments and humble experiences was being selected to attend the Papal visit in Rome, Italy, in his presence of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, for the apology of the Indian Residential School era. He was involved with the traditional protocols and assisted the Elder prior to the general audience to ensure that each of the items that the National Chief presented to His Holiness was blessed from our people and our way of life.
Currently, Darren owns a number of companies that specialize in consulting for communities in the area of Indigenous opportunities for capitalizing on growth, sustainability and profitability that relates to new market prospects. This includes infrastructure, housing and utilizing potential avenues of investment and project development through economic ventures, technology and long-term visioning, but not forgetting about the traditional and cultural perspectives in both his professional and personal lifestyle through the Anishinaabe way of life.
Darren believes that the future to Indigenous people prospering and developing strong economies of scale is to develop a plan and strategy that offers forward thinking for strategic business planning. Finding a common ground of developing business models and building capacity for generations to come will be the future of generating economic stability. Balance and compromise should be included overall when defining what approaches, strategies and goals are going to be utilized for future consideration. As Indigenous people, we believe that everything is sacred around us, that everything has a spirit and we must recognize and pay that respect to those things around us; that includes the water, air, lands and living beings abroad.