One on One with Markus - Isadore Day

In 1999, now-Ontario regional chief Isadore Day says he was at a crossroad in his life.
Isadore Day became the Ontario Regional Chief in 2015. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

In 1999, now-Ontario regional chief Isadore Day says he was at a crossroad in his life.

He was living in Moose Factory, working at a treatment centre. He decided to move back to his home territory and live in the community where he was born, Serpent River First Nation.

"I started getting involved in my community … and there were some folks who said 'You know, you should join council,'" Day said.

"It became something I acquired a really quick passion for because I saw many of the things that needed to be addressed in my community."

Day was elected to council and in 2005, he became chief of the Serpent River First Nation.

'Advance toward solutions'

Day says a lot was accomplished during that time, but one thing that stands out for him is a case involving two kids and the Children's Aid Society.

The two children were taken out of the community and placed in Toronto. Day went to the office in Toronto and worked with the society to come up with a plan to have the children brought back to their home community.

"They were supported by the family and everything we said that was going to happen, happened," he said.

Day says he saw the impact of that work during his last year as chief for Serpent River.

"I was at a daycare graduation ceremony and I saw one of those little boys standing at the drum," he recalled.

"My whole purpose for what I would want to accomplish was standing right there in front of the drum. To this day, I look at that family and I can say we did the right thing."

In 2015, Day was elected Ontario regional chief. He works for and represents 133 First Nations communities in the province.

"It's part of my job to be ready, willing and able to assist those communities and help advance toward solutions."

With files from Markus Schwabe