Dr. Elmer Ghostkeeper was born to parents Adolphus and Elsie Ghostkeeper at the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement in Alberta. He speaks fluent Michif. Elmer is a father, grandfather, teacher, philosopher, community leader, business person, knowledge keeper and scholar. He is also author of the book Spirit Gifting The Concept of Spiritual Exchange.
The book looks at the yearly Métis cycle of Mekiachahkewewin or Spirit Gifting, where humans engage in a collaborative project with the Earth for mutual survival. When resource industries come to Paddle River, the community's relationship with the Earth changes profoundly. Ghostkeeper describes his experience of opposing worldviews.
As a member of the Métis Nation, Elmer has worked throughout his life to promote the rights of Métis peoples in Canada, including advocating for the inclusion of Métis peoples among the Aboriginal peoples of Canada in the Canadian Constitution.
Elmer has served as president of the Alberta Federation of Métis Settlements Associations. He has worked extensively as a consultant to shape local, national and international policy, research, and teaching conversations about how Indigenous knowledge systems and western scientific traditions might work together.
Elmer developed Weche Teachings, A Partnership of Aboriginal Wisdom and Western Scientific Knowledge. He uses these teachings to explain and analyze modern day puzzles affecting Indigenous peoples. His vast experience as a business leader and adviser has resulted in Indigenous knowledges now being included in resource industry projects.
"Aboriginal wisdom is extremely important to the economic development and self-sufficiency of Aboriginal communities,” says Elmer.
In 2001, SunStar Resources Inc. was incorporated. It is an oil and gas company wholly owned and operated by the Métis people. Elmer became President and CEO. Elmer has also served as regional manager of Aboriginal Health Services for the Capital Health Authority in Edmonton, where he developed a unique program to help people live with and manage diabetes. Elmer also worked as assistant city engineer of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory.
Elmer Ghostkeeper has been blessed with two sons and a daughter, and an “abiding passion for the horse and dog.”
Elmer is the holder of two Anthropology degrees from the University of Alberta. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university in November 2022.
“I view life here on Mother Earth as a gift, a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment from the Creator.”