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“And I would actually go out there and he would show me how to survive and transfer those skills as a young boy,” Lafond recalls.
His father would skin beaver, wolves, muskrat and lynx and prepare them for sale at a market, Lafond says.
“So I used to watch and learn as he was doing this and it was a tough job. I used to watch and think, ‘Wow, this is a lot of hard work.’ ”
Growing up in Green Lake taught Lafond appreciation for his Metis culture and living off the land. His father also taught him a very specific lesson — to avoid procrastinating — that has served him well in his career.
When Lafond moved from Green Lake to Saskatoon at 15, about the same time his father died, he was struck by the change of pace.
“Coming from a small community where things were slow paced, you know, you were able to take your time, things weren’t moving so fast. You come into the urban centre, things are moving fast. There’s a lot of people.”
Lafond felt he also had to grow up fast by working to help support his mother back in Green Lake, in addition to attending high school and then university in fast-paced Saskatoon.
Even though he had left Green Lake, the Metis village and his Metis heritage never left him.
He embarked on a career that has been mainly dedicated to serving Indigenous peoples.
“And so relationship to me is very important,” Lafond says. “That really also is part of my DNA. We’re relationship people. It’s important for us to have relationships. It’s important for us to collaborate, to dialogue. We try to look at things from a consensus perspective.”