For those of you not totally familiar with my qualifications I thought a brief biography would be helpful.
I was born in Fort Frances and lived on this reserve with my grandfather and grandmother, Louis and Minnie Bruyere until I was 8 years old. My family and I then lived in the lumber camps of Sapawe and the bush camp of MANDO where I attended the one room school house. At the age of 12, I started working for my Aunt Maud and Uncle Bob Calder, fishing on Rainy Lake in the summers. It was at this time I developed a strong work ethic which helped me throughout later years. A few years later I began working for The Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company (MANDO), with my father where we cut wood, went on log drives on the rivers and tributaries that lead to Rainy Lake, lived on the wannigans and used small tugs that pulled the log booms. Yes, that’s right I was a lumberjack.
The opportunity to attend a course at Confederation College to become a Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic sent me down to Thunder Bay (Port Arthur). It was there I met and married my wife and after graduation we made our home in Atikokan where we raised our 4 children.
I became interested in the emergence of the Native political scene in the 1970’s and the call to organize. Using the resources at my disposal I tested my political skills and won many elections in the capacities of director, vice president and president of major native political associations. I always had a desire to learn all I could about the workings of our native political structure and more importantly those of the government. These positions allowed me to travel extensively and view indigenous peoples from around the world, to see their hardships and how they as a people dealt with them. But, best of all, I could see the roadblocks set before us as a people.
I was able to take a leading role in the re-structuring of the Canadian Constitution to recognise the rights of indigenous peoples.
I used these skills as the owner of Aboriginal Resolution Management, of The Red Indian Collectibles and Antiques, Lum’s Restaurant and the co-owner of First Nations Communications.
The next step then would be to learn all I could from the other side, that of the government. This I did when the time was right to accept a position in government to learn what I could as well as provide for my family. My last position was as Senior Economic Development Officer for Northern Ontario at INAC. Always in my heart was the desire to return to the community I left as a child, to bring back what knowledge I could to help others.
I taught Aboriginal Advocacy Law and the Constitution and a course on Community Development at Confederation College before being hired as the band manager for Couchiching First Nation until the passing of our then chief, Chuck McPherson.
I had come home.
My credentials can be found on google for those of you who want more specifics. My experiences in both native politics and within various government agencies are there also. These, I feel, make me a good candidate for the position of chief.
My experiences have given me a strong work ethic, a determination to see projects through, the integrity to do what is right and the willingness to listen to the other side. I have a deep commitment in the welfare of our native youth and the welfare and safety of our seniors.