One of Alberta Venture’s 50 most influential people of 2015, Joseph Dion is chairman and chief executive officer of Frog Lake Energy Resources Corporation (FLERC). One of Canada’s only wholly-owned First Nations oil and gas exploration and production companies, FLERC operates on Frog Lake First Nations lands in partnership with several oil companies.
With over 35 years of First Nations oil and gas experience, Dion has worked to preserve and integrate the First Nations core values or ‘Teepee Principles’ in his work and daily life. Respect, strength, and kinship guide him in all of his endeavours. Prior to coming to Frog Lake Energy, Dion worked as a consultant for First Nations in Canada, and Indian tribes and Alaskan Eskimo groups in the United States. He worked with energy companies and governments negotiating Impact Benefit Agreements and joint ventures. In 1980, he established Dion Resources Inc. and advised on matters of First Nations self-government, business, finance, and energy.
Dion comes from a family of hereditary chiefs. He is great-grandson to notable Cree Chief Big Bear, who played pivotal roles in Canadian history. As his great-grandfather before him, Dion served in his hereditary role as Chief of Kehewin Cree Nation and Grand Chief for Alberta. During the proposed patriation of the Canadian Constitution of Prime Minster Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in 1976, Dion led a delegation of chiefs from Treaty Six and Seven to petition Queen Elizabeth to protect the treaty rights of the First Nations. In the 1982 patriation of the Canadian Constitution, Section 35 (1), states the recognition and affirmation of the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This law was entrenched after concentrated lobby efforts by Dion and other First Nation leaders from England and Ottawa. His efforts were validated, as Dion was named Outstanding Young Canadian by the Government of Canada.
From tribal administrator, council member, treaty chairman, constitutional coordinator, to president and chairman of numerous boards, brotherhoods, and associations, Dion works tirelessly for the social and economic well-being of First Nations. In 1984, Dion founded the Indian Resource Council of Canada. This council now represents over 150 First Nations in Canada and was instrumental in establishing Indian Oil and Gas Canada, a federal government agency responsible for managing oil and gas development on Indian reserve lands.
Today Dion is proud to be a board member of Indspire, an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people so they can achieve their highest potential. Through awards, donations, bursaries and scholarships, this organization inspires. It recognizes professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding career achievement and benefits not only these recipients, but their families, their communities, and our nation. In addition to this work, Dion is an active member of the Alberta Chamber of Resources. This is a resource-based industry organization which believes, that through open dialogue, cooperation, and our collective ability, we can positively shape the future. This organization is driven by a diverse membership that collaborates to provide visionary leadership for the responsible, innovative, and ethical development of Alberta’s natural resources.