Aaron Paquette is one of Canadaʼs best-known First Nations Metis personalities. He is a bestselling, award-winning author, an acclaimed painter and artist, an illustrator, goldsmith and cathedral stained glass artist.
Active in his community, Aaron sits on various civic, provincial and national Boards and Advisory Councils. On October 16, 2017, Aaron was elected to the Edmonton City Counsel to represent Ward 4 in the City’s Northeast.
He is also fortunate to be alive. It was on an August night in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that Aaron found himself on the guardrails of the High Level Bridge. A moment of crisis. Over the intervening years, through ups and downs and many mistakes and learning opportunities, Aaron has found a way to voice his message. We all suffer, but none of us are alone. There is a 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.
Aaron’s public art and mural work is colourful, flowing and accessible, perfect for any community. In great demand, Aaron is an engaging, exciting and inspiring speaker and gives generously of his spirit in laughter, joy and learning.
He has shared the stage with former and current politicians such as Phil Fontaine, Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, Dr. Marie Wilson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, former Auditor General of Canada Sheilah Fraser, Right Honorable Paul Martin, among others.
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. He was a candidate for Member of Parliament for the riding of Edmonton-Manning in 2015.
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- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the New World
Organizations across North America are grappling with questions around Diversity and Inclusion. While most have a general understanding of what this may look like, and why it is important, very real questions remain.
Can we go further in our understanding and practice? What does that look like? What challenges might we be faced with and what are the benefits we can realize when we open our organization more fully to these concepts? The good news is the answers to these questions and more can be discovered along the way.
Aaron Paquette takes the audience on a journey of obstacle and triumph that is both deeply personal and universal. Through story and experience the societal, structural, and imaginary divisions that separate us are challenged, making way for a robust and resilient approach to bringing out the best in those around us and in our organizations.
- Literacy and Storytelling
The power of literacy is the power to discover stories. To tell your story is to shape your life. Words create worlds
- My Mental Health Journey