Ogakie – 4
I have committed over 25 of years to the change and development of opportunities to enhance capacity to the Indigenous communities in western Canada; Robb’s focus has been through education, arts/culture, athletics and business development to better the lives and communities he has worked with. I am a former professional athlete where I gained success in playing professional football with the Edmonton Eskimos in the mid 80’s from this I gained the mentoring and leadership skills that allowed me to break away from the poverty cycle, that many of our indigenous peoples come from unfortunately, and create a world for myself that allowed me to grow my foundation as an urban indigenous youth that grew up in extreme poverty to be a role model and mentor to many indigenous youth today. I have focused my efforts in three key areas Community Development, Economic Development and Arts/Culture over the years I have consumed my time and effort to be a change agent in our community by bridging gaps that exist in a socio-economic disparity between indigenous communities and the mainstream to create a space of engagement that allows for better recognition of our great history and culture from the indigenous communities that go back thousands of years.
As one can see from my bio I have demonstrated through and through by actions and words my humble beginnings to influencing how industry and Governments engage our communities by way of proper consultations and community infrastructure that will serve as a legacy and footprint for the benefit not only for the indigenous community and inclusive to all citizens of Canada.
As a member of Fort McKay First Nation I not only pursue efforts of business as a business entrepreneur I focus great attention to creating a workplace that allows participation of members from the indigenous community to work and advance their career pursuits within my enterprises I am involved with.
For Instance in my last venture I owned and operated a Scaffold Insulation business, Brocha Systems Ltd, where I was successful in building the Grizzly Oilsands Plant in fact my company was the only contractor to be on site from start to finish and through to commissioning in fact Brocha Sytems Ltd received great recognition for doing its work in safe, efficient, on time manner but including the effort of having connected with a local learning Institute, Blue Quills College and co-creating a Scaffold Insulation training program for indigenous students, where were able to take the best and brightest and bring them on to projects we were working on.
Historically the Edmonton region has been home to many different indigenous clans that have traveled far and wide to access the medicine plants this region has provided for thousands of years.
The Indigenous demographics of Canada, we make up 4% of the Canadian population and 6% of the Alberta Population and 9% of the Edmonton regional population yet we over represent in 64% of Child welfare case load, male 43%/female 72% incarcerations are indigenous, something is grossly wrong with these statistics. In a country that is a world leader in Human Rights and measured in the standards of the World Health Organization, W.H.O., as a 1st World living standard yet the original people of this land lives in what the WHO would measure as 3rd world in many communities across Canada.
The Edmonton Region is home for over 65,000 indigenous people and within one hours drive of Edmonton the are 100,000 indigenous peoples inclusive to the Edmonton population, making Edmonton region the largest population of indigenous peoples in Canada. With the huge population the Indigenous population is extremely marginalized and over represented in many facets of community services, from incarceration, high school drop out to teen pregnancy to Child Welfare caseloads. Quality Healthcare access to services for the Indigenous community in general is met with many barriers, from racism, transportation, out of pocket cost for services and medications to paying for parking. The wide range of challenges the needs of our indigenous community are ever increasing and becoming more complex in the prevalence of diabetes, cancers other health issues that plague our communities today like never before.
Within the one hours drive of the city of Edmonton’s regional indigenous population is the various First Nation communities that utilize the city of Edmonton on a daily basis, one of the First Nation communities is Maskwacis First Nation and their traditional land use stretching to the south shores of Saskatchewan River to the community of Hardisty AB. Along with Maskwacis First Nation and other Metis and First Nation communities face a great challenges of servicing their membership that have chosen to live in Edmonton; there is an Indigenous organization that provides front line services delivery to urban indigenous populations for more than 20 years in all areas of community development from Group homes to education programs to providing job ready opportunities to their indigenous clientele by providing PPE, safety tickets to subsidized employment for their clients for up to the first three months of employment, this organization is Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society and recently Ogakie Industries Ltd has formed a strategic relationship to access Bent Arrow’s data base and to provide a conduit to meaningful employment opportunities for their indigenous urban populations looking for meaningful employment and career opportunities.
Here is an outline of the efforts in creating change and enhanced capacity building for the indigenous communities in western Canada.
INVOLVED WITH SEVERAL BOARDS AND COMMITTEES, PAST AND PRESENT
- Former Board Member Fort Edmonton Park Mgmt Co.
- Fort Edmonton Park Capital Campaign Foundation Committee.
- Mentor to Faculty students at University of Alberta’s Peter Lougheed Leadership College.
- Fifth year as Council member of the Indigenous Wisdom Council with Alberta Health Services, where I sat as co-Chair for the first three years.
- Committee member Patient First Strategy with Alberta Health Services.
- Indigenous Council member of the new Royal Alberta Museum.
- Director of the First Peoples Institute, our focus in to create future Indigenous leaders through athletics and academics, by creating an Indigenous Sports Academy.
- Former President Elect of Wicihitowin, www.wicihitowin.ca
- Former six term Board Member of Edmonton Economic Development Corp., EEDC.
- Former Committee member of Canadian Indigenous Business Association. www.fnciba.com
- Former Council member Interagency Council on Homelessness.
- Current President of Dream Speakers Society, an Aboriginal film society. www.dreamspeakers.org
- Past Board member, Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce.
- Former N.A.A.B.A, Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association, 2nd Vice-President, 2007/08. www.naaba.ca
- One of the founding members of Open Doors for Kids. www.opendoorsforkids.ca 2001,02,03
- Former Trustees for the Canadian Native Friendship Centre, Edmonton. 2002,03
- Former vice-chair of the Edmonton Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee served 4 of 6 yr term 2001, 02, 03, and 04. www.edmonton-aboriginal.ca
- Former committee member of Active Edmonton, 2002, 03. www.activeedmonton.ca,
- Former Board Member of the Edmonton Recreation Co-ed Hockey League, 2002, 03, 04. www.rechockey.ab.ca
- Former coach of a hockey team within the Edm. Co-ed Rec. Hockey league for five years.
- From 2000 to 2003, I have brought over 175 kids for equipment fitting and have found ways to get their registration fees covered and transportation to and from hockey games.
- Co-ordinate youth teams for relay events that raised money for worthwhile events.
- Co-ordinate inner city youth ball hockey tournaments. At no cost to the teams participating.
- Involved with the I.A.A.W. as volunteer at the awards gala (Institute for the Advancement for Aboriginal Women) for the last several years.
GUEST SPEAKER, PANELIST & FACILITATOR AT CONFERENCES THROUGHOUT WESTERN CANADA:
- Speaker, Canadian Indigenous Business Association, CIBA, 2008.
- Dehcho Economic Development Corporation Business Conference Hay River March 2008, “Rewards and Challenges of Doing Business in the Oilsands” & “Mobility and Sustainability Business Practices.”
- Denendeh Development Corporation, October 2007 & 2008. Spoke on “North and South Working Together”
- Alberta Aboriginal Business Symposium & Gala, Enoch AB October 2008, Topics: Business Ownership Rural vs Urban; “Challenges of Owning a Business” & “Youth in Business”
- I have facilitated a Workshop, 2009 NWT Aboriginal Business Conference, in Yellowknife this September 22 to 24th| 2009, with special guest Chief Clarence Louie and Red Power Squad. This will be my 3rd year in a row I’ve been invited to attend to either present or facilitate at this conference.
- Robb will be moderating a session for Chief of the Osoyoss Indian Band Clarence
- Louie and Perry Kocis, trans Canada Pipeline during the Aboriginal Business Conference, also Robb will be presenting on,” Set Aside Benefits & Challenges of Small Business Associated with Major Development Projects.” This conference was in Community of Hay River First Nation took place March 15 to 18th/2010.
- Canadian Oil & Gas Conference Calgary speakers, on Nation to Nation Conversation and Doing business in our Traditional Territories, 2015.
- Member as Keynote Panel National Buyers Sellers Forum Calgary Doing Business in our Traditional Territories and Nation-to-Nation Conversation for Economic Development Sustainability, 2016.
- Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce, Indigenous Economic Partnerships, panelist, October 2016.