He was dedicated to the land and to the tradition ways, passed down from the ancient Rubber Tree People. He spent years investigating the origins of his tribe, and eventually took a teenage Chakotay on an expedition to the Central American rainforest to find those Rubber People who had remained in their original homeland. They succeeded, and Kolopak was given a tattoo in the style of the Sky Spirits.
However, Chakotay did not share his father's views and saw his tribe's traditional way of life as backward. During the expedition, Chakotay revealed that he had been accepted into Starfleet Academy, and would be leaving their world. Kolopak, though disappointed, let his son go. (VOY: "Tattoo")
With the advent of peace between the Federation and the Cardassians, Kolopak joined the Maquis to defend his homeworld from the threat. He was killed in action and this event prompted Chakotay to leave Starfleet and take his father's place in the Maquis, as well as get an identical tattoo in honor of his father's memory. (VOY: "Tattoo", "In the Flesh")
When Chakotay believed that he had a child, following Seska stealing a sample of his DNA, he went on a vision quest, and communicated with his father to decide what he should do about the child. Kolopak told Chakotay a tale of their tribe, many centuries ago, when white conquerors raped the women, impregnating many of them. The tribe accepted the children and cared for them, regardless of their births; one of them, Ce Acatl, was a direct ancestor of Chakotay. Kolopak asked Chakotay if his son was any different from Ce Acatl, and Chakotay acknowledged his father's wisdom; whatever the circumstances of his creation, his son was his son, and a child of his people. (VOY: "Basics, Part I")