Bringing Indigenous Representation to the Tech Sector Table – Digital Nova Scotia – Leading Digital Industry
Bringing Indigenous Representation to the Tech Sector Table

June 14, 2024

Michael Hebert, Founder and CEO of Turtle Island Technology Solutions, is on a mission to increase Indigenous representation and diversity in the tech sector. Operating from the Millbrook First Nation, Hebert shares his journey and vision in All Hands on Tech episode 41: Bringing Indigenous Representation to the Tech Sector Table. 

Reflecting on his 25-year tech career, Hebert remarks, “I’ve never once worked with an Indigenous person,” a realization that became the catalyst for founding Turtle Island Technology Solutions, a company focused on giving back. 

His efforts extend to mentoring and raising awareness about Indigenous representation in IT. Conversations with policymakers and community members reveal significant gaps in Indigenous participation in tech—gaps Hebert is determined to address.

“If Indigenous people aren’t skilled in that sector, then we won’t have our seat at the table.”

Hebert stresses the need for Indigenous youth to see tech as a viable career path, challenging the misconception that Indigenous skills are limited to trades. 

“I would love for more Indigenous people to realize that there is an opportunity for them [in technology],” he says, noting the critical role of digital skills in securing future opportunities. That’s why, a key initiative at Turtle Island Technology Solutions is its supplier diversity plan. 

“Organizations with diversity plans and diversity initiatives and reconciliation efforts, they perform better,” says Hebert.

Despite the challenges, Hebert remains optimistic and deeply connected to Nova Scotia. He draws parallels between the Mi’kmaq and Cree communities, emphasizing the importance of community involvement. “If I want to give back to the community, I need to be a part of the community,” he says, advocating for diverse skills within Indigenous communities, which are essential for growth.

“We need the community to have all sorts of different skills and capabilities.”

Hebert envisions Turtle Island Technology Solutions as a beacon of inspiration for Indigenous youth. He aims to demonstrate that a tech career can offer stability and growth, and he is committed to creating opportunities and dismantling barriers for Indigenous individuals. “I just think that now’s a good time for change in that regard. And, you know, Digital Nova Scotia exists because technology is the new frontier. It’s foundational to everything we do.”

Listen to the full conversation on our website, wherever you get your podcasts, or watch below!

Episode 41: Bringing Indigenous Representation to the Tech Sector Table