AUNDECK OMNI KANING—While he has enjoyed his over 46 years of working for First Nations politically, Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee has announced that he will not be seeking re-election of the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief position.
“I will not be seeking re-election on June 6 in Fort William at the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council (election),” Grand Council Chief Madahbee told the Recorder last week. “I’ve been working politically for First Nations for 46 years, since 1983 in some type of political office. After 46 years, while I’ve enjoyed my work, I want a regular life again.”
Grand Council Chief Madahbee is currently serving his third consecutive term as grand council chief. He also served one term as grand council chief (beginning in 1980), the youngest grand council chief ever at 27 years of age. He has also served as president of the Union of Ontario Indians and the Anishinabek Nation 7th Generation Charity.
He has more than 40 years experience in band politics, including 17 years as chief of Aundeck Omni Kaning. Grand Council Chief Madahbee has served as manager of aboriginal financial services for Toronto-Dominion Bank and as a regional sales manager for the First Nations Bank of Canada. His prior roles on a regional level include Lake Huron regional grand chief, Lake Huron representative on the Anishinabek Nation Leadership Council, Ontario regional chief, and the tribal chair of the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising. His business experience has included being president of Castle Building Supply and owner/operator of Crystal’s Variety Store.
His dedication to the Anishinabek Nation has included active leadership positions such as chairperson for the Robinson-Huron Treaty Claim Strategy Team and the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre. He is the past vice-president of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and he has held numerous other board positions.
He has been the health portfolio holder for the Chiefs of Ontario, member of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee of Health and Co-Chair of the non-insured health benefits review.
Grand Council Chief Madahbee has been involved in several areas including business development, management, finance, band management, program supervision, community infrastructure and development, federal and provincial programs and resources and is an active participant in the political arenas with the Anishinabek Nation, Chiefs of Ontario and the Assembly of First Nations.
“I have served as a band councillor (AOK), treaty area regional grand chief for Ontario and also on the National Confederacy Natives for the Assembly of First Nations,” Mr. Madahbee told the Recorder.
“I’ve had the opportunity to address the United Nations twice, in Geneva over Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights and in New York in regards to nuclear waste concerns,” continued Grand Council Chief Madahbee. He was also involved in several constitution talks in the early 1980’s such as the Meech Lake Accord.
He pointed out, “I was telling someone recently the most gratifying part of the jobs I’ve had over the years has been helping others, for instance those who have had health issues. One example is a man who is a quadriplegic; he had been severely beaten when he went to British Columbia and ended up being in a hospital for five years because he couldn’t afford to get back home. We were able to help come up with $50,000 to help him get back home. A real highlight of my career has been helping people like this in these types of cases.”
Other notable highlight was “the HST fight with the federal government so that it wouldn’t affect First Nations. Every time a dollar is spent by one of our people we are actually saving eight cents,” he said.
Grand Council Chief Madahbee said he is looking to do contract work after he officially steps down as grand council chief. “I’ve been thinking about this for several years now. I have seen a couple of leaders step down after they have been in this type of position for too long and I didn’t want this to happen in my case. I’ve had a good run but now it is time for someone else to carry on.”