How Our Journey Began
My name is Patricia “Patt” Mabin. I am a descendant of Chief Little Thunder (Joseph Gourneau) and his father before him,
Old Wild Rice, one of the earliest recorded chiefs of the Pembina/Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. I began this journey
when my brother Mike and I were driving home after spending the day in Belcourt, North Dakota, on the Turtle Mountain
Reservation. We were talking about our heritage and our futures. I expressed that I’d like to find a way to bring our past into
the present and keep our culture alive. The discussion of bison, survival, and ingenuity started to unfold, and when pemmican was
mentioned, that is where the vision of Pemmican Patty began.
I believe that Pemmican Patty breathed new life into a worn-out woman. I’ve visited or lived in many of the states west of the
Mississippi, had the honor of caring for my Grandmother during her last year of life, and learned that money might make
living “easier” but true riches (and character) come from hardship. The most I’ve really had to offer has been
time and love. In my late 50s’, I lived in Mexico for a year before bringing my 7-year-old granddaughter to North Dakota to live
with me. I journeyed with her through tuberculosis, all her childhood vaccinations, mega dental work, and into middle school when
her family decided to take her back. After a lifetime of putting others before myself, I was over 60, overweight, without an income,
without a car and unable to afford rent. After moving back into my parents’ basement and being treated for depression once more, I
struggled to consider a future, much less try to dream up something new to try!
With the help of the Creator, my family and especially my brother, the dream of Pemmican Patty has come alive. It has given me
renewed hope and purpose. It’s strengthened family ties and provided a view of the past and a vision for the future. It’s living proof
that the joy is in the journey! Based on a strong desire to keep our heritage alive, my brother, nephew and I learned that our Metis
ancestors, as well as our Grandma Ida, made pemmican to sustain themselves and others, including trappers, traders and soldiers.
Dubbed “the indigenous super food,” our version of pemmican is made of real food. A combination of bison, beef, berries,
sunflowers, and a hint of honey provides a convenient, natural source of energy for people on the go in today’s modern world. My
hope is for this product to promote good health and preserve Metis traditions, one pemmican bite at a time!