Keynote Presenter: Ovide Mercredi
Thursday, May 28
9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Ovide Mercredi is a Cree born in the northern community of Grand Rapids in 1946. He served his community as Chief of Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005 to 2011. He was a councillor for three years after his term as chief.
A graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Law degree he practiced criminal law and later specialized in constitutional law as an advisor to Manitoba Chiefs. Mercredi has worked tirelessly for the rights of First Nations people throughout Canada. He is known as a First Nations leader that speaks eloquently with great passion and clarity.
In 1989, he was elected Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba. He became a key strategist for the Assembly during the time of the Meech Lake Accord constitutional reform discussions. He also had a strong leadership role in helping to resolve the Oka Crisis in 1990.
Ovide Mercredi was elected as National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations in 1991. During his first term he led the negotiations for the First Nations in the Charlottetown Accord. He was re-elected in 1994 and served as National Chief until 1997. He addressed the United Nations in Geneva and New York. He led a human rights delegation of Canadians to the troubled area of the Mexican state of Chiapas.
In addition to serving as a lawyer and politician he co-authored “In the Rapids: Navigating the Future of First Nations” with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond in 1993. He has contributed articles to other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys painting and writing poetry. Ovide is an advocate of non-violent methods for change and travelled to India when he was nominated for the Gandhi Peace Prize. He has received honorary degrees from Bishops University, St Mary’s University, The University of Lethbridge and Athabaska University. He received the Order of Manitoba in 2005. In 2010 the Peace and Justice Studies Association awarded him their Social Courage award. In 2013 he was selected as the Distinguished Alumni of the University of Manitoba. He is currently a Senior Advisor to the President of the University of Manitoba.
He was the National Spokesperson for Treaties 1 to 11 from 2006 to 2014, having been chosen in a traditional and customary manner. As National Chief he worked closely with Elders from all regions of Canada. As a Treaty Spokesperson, he continued his practice of seeking the advice and support of traditional Elders.
Ovide serves on the board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Winnipeg Boldness Project.
Ovide Mercredi is a strong believer in a positive future for all First Nations communities and recognizes the inherent strength and talents of First Nations people. He has always maintained that his people possess the answers to their needs and aspirations. To him healing can be accomplished by the simple application of traditional values such as respect and kindness.
Our High Education System – Our Future: Equity, Innovation and Change.
Stephen has worked extensively with public and private education institutions in Canada (Athabasca University), the US and the UK (Open University), was a former Vice President of a technology company (Axia NetMedia) and has undertaken quality reviews and assessments of online and educational organizations around the world. He recently completed an assessment of the impact of the Commonwealth of Learning in the developing nations of the Commonwealth. He has also worked extensively in health care, over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies and many non-profit organizations. His expertise is as a consultant on organizational change and transformation.
His most recent publication (with Janet Tully) is the book Rethinking Post-Secondary Education – Why Universities and Colleges Need to Change and What Change Could Look Like (New York: Lulu Press – it is also available on Kindle.ca). He is an excellent trainer, facilitator, workshop leader and strategist.
Some Career Highlights Connected to Education
Stephen’s varied career is summarized at www.stephenmurgatroyd.com and his profile is also available on Linked In at https://ca.linkedin.com/pub/stephen-murgatroyd-phd-fbpss-frsa/0/10b/8b