Aaron Paquette is one of Canadaʼs best-known First Nations Metis personalities.
The author of the bestselling book Lightfinder, Aaron is a talented artist, illustrator, goldsmith and cathedral stained glass artist. He is also a political commentator as well as a popular Keynote Speaker and Facilitator. Active in his community, Aaron sits on various civic, provincial and national Boards and Advisory Councils.
He is also fortunate to be alive.
It was on a cold August night in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that Aaron found himself on the guardrails of the High Level Bridge. It was a moment of crisis.
Over the intervening years, through ups and downs and many mistakes and learning opportunities, Aaron found his way back. He found his a voice to his message that we all suffer, but none of us are alone. There is strength within us and around us that we can constantly draw on, not only to get us through tough times, but to propel us into the life we always wanted. When we use our courage to listen to it.
In great demand, Aaron is an engaging, exciting and inspiring speaker and gives generously of his spirit creating laughter, joy and learning. He has shared the stage with Phil Fontaine, Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, Dr. Marie Wilson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, former Auditor General of Canada Sheilah Fraser and the Right Honorable Paul Martin.
In early 2013 he coined the term #Ottawapiskat which helped disrupt the way we look at the relationship between Indigenous Reservations and the Canadian Government in a constructive and humorous way. It was a stark and paradigm shifting marriage of the words Ottawa (Canada’s capital city) and Attawapiskat, a northern community under the grip of extreme poverty and suffering. People immediately saw the potential and began creating their own highly charged, incisive, or just plain funny tweets around the new word.
Making space for other’s creativity and inventiveness is something that inspires Aaron’s work and efforts. His bestselling, award winning novel Lightfinder is taught across Canada in schools, colleges and universities.
As an experienced facilitator, trainer and engaging public speaker, Aaron has worked with the Royal Conservatory’s adjunct program -Learning Through the Arts- as both a Mentor Artist and as the First Nations Representative and Consultant in Alberta. This experience focused on providing the skills and background knowledge for infusing differentiated learning within the general curriculum in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
Aaron has collaborated with Ministries, Teachers’ Associations, and various community members and teachers, providing region wide teacher workshops and in- school experiences related to the art curriculum that also provide an FNMI perspective.
Through this collaboration, he also provides student workshops, professional development sessions and artist-in- residence programs.
A skilled communicator, Aaron has worked with Alberta Education in Professional Development, Reconciliation, Literacy, Overcoming Obstacles, Residential School & Forced Adoptions, Creativity, among other topics.
He has worked for years with the Edmonton Public School Board with both in-class sessions and special sessions for promising young artists. The Catholic School Boards in the Central and Northern Alberta region have also enlisted Aaron in many projects ranging from elementary school visits that tie art into curricular learning to mural painting with High School students.
Aaron also has regular art shows in Galleries across Canada, takes on public art commissions. He works as a guest curator for The Art Gallery of Alberta, St. Albert’s public Gallery: Profiles, and the McMullen Gallery at the University of Alberta Hospital. He has had a traveling exhibit with the Art Gallery of Alberta called Halfbreed Mythology.
Aaron is the co-founder and CEO of the Cree8 Success Education Conference.
- Truth and Reconciliation
- Literacy and Storytelling
- Diversity and Inclusion