Chief Darcy Bear
Chief Darcy Bear

Darcy Bear is Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. He was re-elected as Chief for a seventh consecutive term in November 2012 and has served his Community, located 26 kilometers south of Saskatoon, since 1991. 

Chief Bear’s leadership has been focused on financial accountability for Whitecap, self-government, and job creation through partnerships.

Early in his leadership tenure, Chief Bear and Council initiated a program to improve financial accountability. That led to correcting a 40% annual budget deficit on Reserve, a precursor to the financial and economic success the Whitecap First Nation has since earned. Many steps have been taken to achieve and maintain fiscal integrity for Whitecap including:

  • 20 consecutive unqualified audits
  • The Financial Transfer Agreement with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1997)
  • Consistent surplus operating budgets

Through a leadership role in self-governance, Whitecap Dakota First Nation positioned itself to sign the Framework Agreement for Self Governance with Canada’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan in January 2012. This represented a significant step forward for Whitecap as one of the earliest of all First Nations in Canada to sign such an agreement. It is, however, just one of many steps that have been taken by Whitecap under Chief Bear’s leadership. Other key initiatives include:

  • First Nations Land Management Act (2004)
  • Liquor Consumption Tax on-reserve agreement with Province of Saskatchewan (2007)
  • Full GST on reserve Agreement with Canada Revenue Agency (2007)
  • Real Property Tax Bylaw (ongoing)

Today, Whitecap enjoys a reputation as one of Canada’s most successful Communities in investment attraction and job creation. Chief Bear’s focus on “progress through partnerships’ has been pivotal to this status as he and Band Council have worked with the federal government, the provincial government, neighbouring rural municipalities and communities in the region. Some of the key partnership initiatives include:

  • Whitecap Dakota First Nation and City of Saskatoon (Fire and Protective Services)
  • Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Saskatoon Public Board of Education (Educational Service)
  • Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Saskatoon Tribal Council (Health Services)
  • Whitecap Dakota First Nation Tourism development partnership with surrounding Rural Municipalities and towns.
  • Dakota Dunes Golf Course partnership (Whitecap Dakota, Muskeg Lake and La Ronge First Nations)

The Dakota Dunes Golf Resort, the 80,000 square foot Dakota Dunes Casino and the creation of a tourism corridor that stretches from Saskatoon to Outlook are indicative of the many economic development successes for Whitecap. The list of accomplishments of this type includes the following:

  • Development of Dakota Dunes Golf Links Championship Golf Course (2005)
  • Development of Dakota Dunes Casino (opened 2007)
  • Development of Whitecap Trail Gas Bar Confectionary (expanded 2010)
  • Development of Whitecap Development Corporation
  • Development of Hotel Convention Center (construction to begin 2013)
  • Development of Light Industrial Park (ongoing)

As a result of this well-acknowledged development success at Whitecap, Chief Bear participates on the Boards of Whitecap committees and other organizations including:

  • Saskatoon Tribal Council Board of Directors
  • STC Cress Housing Corporation Board of Directors
  • Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies Board of Directors
  • Dakota Cree Sports Inc. Board of Directors
  • Dakota Dunes Golf Links Board of Directors
  • Dakota Land Holdings Inc.
  • Dakota Dunes Hotel Ltd.
  • Whitecap Housing Corporation
  • Whitecap Development Corporation Board of Directors
  • Whitecap Hotels Inc.

The result of this focus on sustainable economic growth includes the positioning of Whitecap as a highly desirable joint venture partner and the fact that the number of jobs located at Whitecap is now in excess of 650. To Chief Bear, the most important outcome of sustainable economic growth is the ability of Whitecap to provide an increased level of services to its citizens. The list of service and amenity enhancements at Whitecap is lengthy:

  • New Elementary School (1996)
  • Community Water and Sewer Infrastructure (1996)
  • Public Waste Disposal System (1999)
  • Waste Transfer Station (2001)
  • Three Phase power and expanded Natural Gas (2002)
  • High Speed Internet and Cellular service (2004)
  • Expanded sewer and water including large commercial Water plant (2006)
  • Paved community roads
  • 60 new Housing units (2000-2009)
  • Development of 49 lot Private Home Ownership subdivision (2008)
  • Establish RCMP service on reserve (2008-09)
  • Development of new retail facilities (2009)
  • Development of a for profit water utility
  • Expanded Health Clinic (2010)
  • School Expansion (projected 2013)

Chief Bear is a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan in 2005, and was then named one of the "Ten Most Influential People" by Saskatchewan Business Magazine and awarded the CANDO "Economic Developer of the Year" in 2006. In December 2011, Chief Bear was honoured with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the highest recognition given to residents of Saskatchewan and on May 23, 2012, Chief Bear was honoured with the Diamond Jubilee Medal reflecting his commitment to service.