Who We Are
Established in 1991 by English River First Nation (ERFN), the Des Nedhe Development Corporation was designed to grow sustainable employment and business opportunities for ERFN community members.
Now, driven by our purpose, rooted in our character and led by a team of experts, Des Nedhe Group has grown into a national leader in Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic development – a diverse collective of Indigenous-owned businesses dedicated to creating lasting change in Indigenous communities and corporate supply chains across Canada.
For generations, the local Dene people have used the word Des Nedhe to describe the “great river” that flows next to them – known today as the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan. Like that great river, Des Nedhe Group is powerful and relentless – always moving forward.
Rooted in the strength of the people and Elders of English River – and in the spirit of the river itself – we carry ambitions and dreams that will inspire the next generation of Indigenous leaders in the English River community and beyond.
Des Nedhe Group is driven by powerful twofold purpose:
a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs in English River First Nation and Indigenous communities across Canada, helping them to forge their own paths to economic self-determination.
top tier performance and value-adding partnerships to our clients, cultivating a skilled and inclusive workforce and supply chain that benefits all of Canada.
Our Board’s Story
As a group of enterprising companies, Des Nedhe Group is committed to the ambitions of our ERFN members, our community owners, and our industry partners.
Back in 2016, ERFN decided to take Des Nedhe to the next level when it comes to governance. ERFN leadership brought in a structure modeled on the best Indigenous-owned companies globally.
It was determined that having a business board rather than a political board would be better for our company’s growth and needs. We wanted to ensure business decisions were made by people with the right skills and experience. We wanted there to be regular and rigorous oversight of the CEO and Executive Team, and we wanted ERFN leaders and members to have an easy line of sight on what is happening at their companies. With this, came greater certainty and stability for our lenders, investors, partners and our community members.
Good Governance by Design
Our Board is governed by a best-practices Business Charter. The charter is a roadmap that defines the relationship between EFRN and its businesses. The Charter sets out things like:
- How directors are appointed
- Who sits on the board
- When the board must seek approval from the Council
- Reporting requirements back to ERFN leaders and members
The role of our board is to ensure business success, and to enhance transparency and accountability.
From Community to Industry
We feel a good board represents a range of sectors. We want our board members to be leaders in their communities, and leaders in their industries. Their unique insights, skills, and expertise are a resource we can draw from, and this is reflected in our criteria:
- Board Members are professionals with demonstrated expertise in areas like construction, retail, renewable energy, or law
- There can be up to seven seats on the Des Nedhe Board. Two of those seats must always be EFRN Band Members (but not Chief or Councillors)
- One representative from ERFN Band Council attends board meetings, but cannot vote
The Board of Directors plays a number of important roles:
Helping guide the overall direction and strategy of Des Nedhe Group, in coordination with ERFN leadership
Developing a framework on how our company operates and what our policies will be
Protecting our organization’s assets and making sure they are kept in good order. Assets include our facilities as well as our employees and contractors
Ensuring we as a company do what is best for our community owner and the membership
We seek to build value and prosperity for English River and all of our stakeholders through: