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  6. Nature Foundation announces appointment of Dr. Mark Dockstator as new Board Chair

Nature Foundation announces appointment of Dr. Mark Dockstator as new Board Chair

May 12, 2022 - Indigenous scholar, administrator and business leader Dr. Mark S. Dockstator, a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, has been appointed Chair of the Nature Foundation—the charitable arm supporting the national research and educational initiatives of the Canadian Museum of Nature. Dockstator also offers a special focus on Indigenous issues, with decades of experience in the public and private sectors, as well as academia.

Dockstator is an associate professor at Trent University’s Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies and is a former President of the First Nations University of Canada in Regina, Saskatchewan. He received his doctorate in law from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in 1994.

“We are grateful to benefit from Mark’s proven leadership skills, critical thinking and deep respect for a world driven by sustainability,” says Laura Evans, Executive Director of the Nature Foundation. “As one of the first Indigenous persons to lead a national charitable foundation of this calibre, Mark provides a critical voice to weave reconciliations efforts into the Foundation’s initiatives, especially those focussed on Northern communities.”

Dockstator, who lives in Oakville, Ontario, also serves on other boards including the Rideau Hall Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Royal Military College.

“I’m honoured to accept this appointment and welcome discussions with the Foundation on the importance of looking at nature as being all inclusive, with impacts on so many levels. How can we, being a part of nature, bring our skills and interests together to build a sustainable world?” says Dockstator. “As a Foundation, with nature as its focus, we can guide and interest others to how and why they can be part of a sustainable future.”

The overall mission of the Nature Foundation is to inspire investments in nature to fund projects that lead change, strengthen our collective understanding of a healthy natural world, and contribute to a sustainable future. With a particular focus on the Arctic and environmental issues such as climate change and loss of biodiversity, the Foundation elicits substantial philanthropic gifts to fund research in species discovery and change, global knowledge sharing, scientific training, and public education.

Dockstator draws from his personal experience in guiding his commitment to the Nature Foundation. “Being First Nations, there is a natural connection to nature, the natural world and issues of sustainability, and that is ingrained in our traditional teachings,” he explains. “My family is very involved in learning from elders and traditional knowledge, and embedded in that philosophy is how we all have a responsibility as stewards of the land. This should be a driving factor, for humankind, to be stewards of the natural environment.”

To date, the Nature Foundation has cultivated more than $6 million in philanthropic gifts. Among the highlights are:

  • $1 million endowment from Hatch for the Hatch Mineral Sciences Discovery Fund, providing funding for scientific training for the next generation of earth scientists and fieldwork;
  • $500,000 endowment from Brookfield to support the mentorship of undergraduate students in collections-based research and to advance Arctic field research;
  • over $1 million in support from Gilles Haineault to assist in acquiring the renowned Haineault Mont Saint-Hilaire Collection of minerals, a national treasure;
  • a legacy gift from Drs. Stewart and Jarmila Peck for a visiting scientist fund and support of collections-based biodiversity research at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Among more recent philanthropic gifts is Foundation support for a new MITACS post-doctoral fellowship at Carleton University, starting in fall 2022. The researcher will investigate the way that the Canadian Museum of Nature and its predecessors marginalized knowledges, peoples, and places through its research and collection practices, with a focus on the Canadian North. The Nature Foundation has also secured $75,000 from a private family foundation for programs that will support the museum as a welcoming and accessible destination for Indigenous peoples.  

More about Mark Dockstator
During his career, Dockstator has developed a specific expertise in Indigenous issues, and has served as principal investigator for national and regional research projects in Indigenous health, treaties, Indigenous languages and culture, education, and economic development.

He has served as founding Chair of the First Nations Statistical Institute, Senior Negotiator and Researcher for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, President and CEO of Rama Economic Development Corporation, Special Advisor to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and Special Advisor to the Chief Commissioner of the Indian Land Claims Commission.

About the Nature Foundation
The Nature Foundation is an independent charitable entity supporting the Canadian Museum of Nature by inspiring philanthropic investments in nature for discovery, research and education to foster solutions for our future. The Foundation and its supporters advance fact-based science through vital funding that empowers the museum’s research, collections, and educational initiatives.

The Foundation’s Board is comprised of business leaders and changemakers from across Canada who share a commitment to inspiring investments in nature and a desire to support a sustainable future. 

To discover more about the Nature Foundation, contact Laura Evans, Executive Director and Chief Advancement Officer (levans@nature.ca), or visit foundation.nature.ca.

The Nature Foundation includes the following Board Directors:
Mark S. Dockstator, Ph.D., Oakville, ON, Chair of Board
Rob Crosbie, C.M., St. John’s, NL, Past Chair
Glenn Ives, FCPA, Vancouver, BC, Chair, Finance Committee
Shilpa Tiwari, Ph.D., Chair, Governance Committee
Don Bubar, M.Sc., P.Geo, Toronto, ON
Matt Creager, Halifax, NS
Sean Finn, Montreal, QC
Alexandria Marcotte, P. Geo, Toronto, ON
Joy Romero, P. Eng., MBA, Calgary, AB
Robyn Seetal, CPA, Calgary, AB
Hon. Monte Solberg, P.C., Calgary, AB
Michelle Valberg, Ottawa, ON