Patrick is from Hobbema, Alberta and is a member of the Samson Cree Nation. He was born January 22, 1957. By trade, he is a certified Electrician and by profession, he is a certified Hypnotherapist and has a Master’s in Complementary Therapies.
Pat worked for the Band for 10 years starting as a maintenance worker to electrical apprentice to journeyman status to being the electrical supervisor. As the supervisor, he found no challenge and became very discontent with his position. He decided to venture out on his own. He saw that there was much dependency on the Chief and Council and decided that not everyone could or should work for the band. The model was very much communistic and based on a dictatorship pyramid model where all the power is at the top. In the neighboring towns, the governments did not own the businesses but it was individuals that created the economic base. On the rez, the Chief and Council controlled everything. He decided to take the lead in showing other Nation members that we could own our own businesses. He started a local Chamber of Commerce and it looked like private ownership would work . It didn’t.
In his business ventures, he began with his own electrical contracting business which lead to lighting and appliance sales which lead to backyard satellite systems which lead to an over the air cable tv system for the whole rez with a local channel for local news and up to date info. He also had a furniture business and an arcade for the kids in the community.
In 1987 all this came crashing down. He began to experience a lot of jealousy and backstabbing. He began to wonder “Why are we the way we are? What is the problem?” He came to the conclusion that there really is only one problem, everything else is an effect of that one problem. IT IS THE WAY WE THINK!!! We are programmed this way. We program ourselves based on the events in our life. There were and still are many social problems in the community. All based on collective programming. (ie) Residential schools.
Pat decided to be part of the solution, thus the journey from business development to people development. He chose an unconventional path, picking up all kinds of tools to make that difference. He became a certified Hypnotherapist and a Master’s in Complementary Therapies. When he came into his community with these tools, doors closed in his face. He was told “As Indian People, that is not our way” Long story short, he changed his approach and called it “Education and Training” same stuff different approach. Made the difference, people want to learn, they do not want to be therapied. He did a lot of group work in many Native Communities doing personal empowerment and a process he called “Personal Sovereignty.”
In 1999, the band spent 100 Million Dollars over the 50 Million Dollar annual budget. Election year. Pat decided to run for leadership to build a system of accountability. He got into council and served for 6 years. (2 terms)
The first order of business was to address the lack of accountability. An Alberta Band went through some financial challenges and over 200 criminal charges were laid. At the end of the day there were no convictions. It was all chalked up to poor management and management systems. Pat could see the same result and Elders advised the new Chief and Council to let the past go. Water under the bridge.
There were many conflicts and disputes related to land and occupational rights going to the political level. Pat decided to set a process to deal with these conflicts utilizing the Elders and community members. The process was called “Wetaskitowin” which means to co-exist, live in peace. Pat emphasized that this process was about accountability not conflict. Management was hired to run this program but it had a very short life span.
While on council, Pat served on numerous boards and committees and also served as the Chair of several of these boards and committees. Pat observed a lot of inconsistency in the band owned businesses from structure to governance to a huge gap with the shareholders (Band Members). Again using the Elders and community members, he lead in the development of a “Corporate Strategy”. The prime intention was to separate the politics and programs and services from the business side. A CEO was hired separate from Band Administrator.
Elections happened in 2005 and Pat is out. The Corporate Strategy dies and Pat is left on 3 boards. A public Company that Pat was chairing, Oil and Gas company owned by the Band and an Insurance Company also owned by the Band.
Pat joined the management team of the Oil and Gas Company in March of “06. His contract was terminated on Oct 31 ’08. He is working as an independent right now doing workshops and speaking engagements.
Pat is a family man that commits much time to his sons’ hockey. When he is not involved in hockey, he enjoys the occasional game of golf.