Jack was born April, 1937 in Norway House into a family that had lost its treaty status. “It happened when my father, Kenneth Robinson, married my mother Theresa Spence, from Cross Lake. They began living in a camp outside the community. As I grew up I learned to survive from my parents and grandparents through hunting, fishing and trapping.”
Jack’s formal education began at age nine. “Because we had a camp across the lake, I canoed back and forth in summer to attend school, and in winter, walked across the ice. After two years we moved into Norway House. Being Metis, I didn’t have to attend residential school. I am happy for that and didn’t lose my Cree language.”
Jack's work experience during the following decades was impressive: male nurse, probation officer, social worker, parole officer, child welfare worker and community development worker. By age 60, however, alcohol and drug addiction had firmly taken hold. “Four times I tried and failed to cure myself at the local treatment center. I had to return to where I was raised.” Jack left his urban environment behind and began living in the wilderness outside Thompson.
Thus began Jack’s healing journey. For almost two years he and his partner lived in a cabin — really a one room shack — he constructed himself. "As I struggled with my addictions, I relearned my culture. I began coming into town and learning from elders and traditional healers.” The culmination of Jack’s storied career is counseling others with addictions. He began in Thompson at the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Center part time, which led to a full time position. Jack is widely respected for his wealth of knowledge and experience.