Keynote Speakers

Dan Christmas

Senator Dan Christmas

Mr. Christmas has served in various leadership positions in the Mi’kmaw Nation of Nova Scotia. After serving five years as the Band Manager for the Community of Membertou, Mr. Christmas worked for the Union of Nova Scotia Indians for 15 years - the last 10 as its Director. He was actively involved in the recognition and implementation of Mi’kmaw aboriginal and treaty rights in Nova Scotia. From 1997 to 2016, Mr. Christmas held the position as Senior Advisor with Membertou and had assisted the Chief and Council and its Management Team with the day-to-day operations of the Community of Membertou. Dan also served as elected councilor for Membertou for 18 years.

Mr. Christmas has been active in a number of international, national, provincial and local agencies in a wide range of fields including aboriginal & treaty rights, justice, policing, education, health care, human rights, adult training, business development and the environment.

In 2005, Mr. Christmas was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University and an honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College in 2016. In 2008, he was the recipient of the National Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award from the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada.

In December 2016, Mr. Christmas was sworn in as an Independent Senator for Nova Scotia. Senator Christmas is the first Mi’kmaw senator to be appointed to the Senate of Canada.

Fred Bergman

Fred Bergman

Mr. Bergman is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC). He was previously the Director of the Economics & Statistics Division, Nova Scotia Department of Finance. Mr. Bergman is an expert in sourcing business statistics and APEC’s lead on economic impact analysis. He authored numerous APEC reports, including a Report Card on Atlantic Indigenous Economic Outcomes and Opportunities and a recent research report Highlighting Successful Atlantic Indigenous Businesses. He provided presentations to the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat and the New Brunswick Indigenous Economic Development Roundtable Preparation Session. He was the Nova Scotia Department of Finance project lead on the First Nations Fuel Tax Settlement Agreement. Mr. Bergman is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has a Master of Business Administration degree from Dalhousie University, a Master of Economics degree from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University.