Biography of Patricia D. Starr
Patricia Starr is a member of the Beaver Clan of the Haisla Nation from the northwest coast of B.C. She is part of a large extended family system of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren, located primarily in Kitamaat, BC. She is married to Brad Starr of the Haisla Nation and has four stepchildren and three grandchildren.
Her main passion in life is to assist First Nations in the resolution of trauma and addictions issues so that they, as a collective spirit, can move beyond survival. Her main belief is “In order to heal, we must acknowledge the past, work through the horrors, remember the blessings, and take charge of our future.” This is done through re-connection with the spirit of our Ancestors and our Creator.
Some of the unique features of her life are:
- She is a survivor of multiple childhood traumas. She has spent many years working on Recovering from those multiple levels of trauma.
- She is in Recovery from Addictions and recently celebrated her 34th year of sobriety.
- She grew up spending time between her maternal Grandmother who spoke primarily Haisla and her mother who was the primary caretaker for most of her childhood.
- Raised in a matriarchal society in which women play a major role in leadership (formal and informal).
- Learned the history of her family, clan, and people from her grandmother.
- Was inspired by her grandmother and mother to further her education and to work for the betterment of her people.
- Is working with her family on the preservation of the language and healing traditions of the Haisla.
- Attended the Aboriginal Studies Program at North West Community College in 1978 where she first began to get a clear understanding of the socio-economic plight of First Nations / Indigenous People in Canada and around the world.
- Completed three levels of the NNADAP Counsellor training from 1980 – 1983 when she worked as a community-based A&D Worker.
- Graduated from UBC with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1987 after completing the Native Indian Teacher Education Program.
- Has extensive experience in community development working in various communities for the past 30 years.
- Has worked in the Addictions Field off and on for the past 36 years.
- Has taught school throughout Northern BC.
- Worked for 13 years as an Addictions Specialist for the Pacific Region First Nations Inuit Health Branch. While in that role, she worked hard to develop real partnerships with the First Nations Treatment Centres and Community-based Workers regarding program delivery and service design.
- One of a group of 6 First Nations who began the work of developing the First Nations Wellness Addictions Counsellor Certification Board of BC. After she moved to her home community, she sat on that national board for 5 years.
- A member of the NIFCS board of directors starting in 2010 to present.
- Is certified as an Indigenous Certified Addictions Counsellor Level III by the Indigenous Certification Board of Canada.
- Is currently employed as the Executive Director of the Gya’ Wa’ Tlaab Healing Centre Society in Kitamaat, BC. This year, in June of 2017 she celebrates 11 years of service to the Society. She spends her time between program delivery and administrative duties.
- She remains deeply committed to working with anyone who has intention to heal the past traumas and move towards a healthy, more balanced future.
Her mantra: somehow, someway, we’ll get through this (day, time, loss, crisis, trauma, etc.) – together we can do anything.
As long as you are moving in the right direction – it’s okay. Small changes lead to big changes, over time it all adds up to a positive investment in the future of our families and our nations.