Fontaine to receive Honorary Degree at BU

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BRANDON, MB – Brandon University is pleased to announce that Phil Fontaine, champion for facilitating change and advancement for First Nations people, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the 99 th Spring Convocation in May.

  A Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) will beconferred upon Mr. Fontaine during the morning ceremony.

 “It is a great honour for Brandon University to bestow an honorary doctorate upon such a distinguished Manitoban,” says Dr. Deborah Poff, President and Vice-Chancellor.

  In the early 1980’s, Fontaine was elected to the position of Manitoba Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations. When his term expired in 1991, he was elected Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs where he served three consecutive terms. He played a key role in the development of Manitoba’s Framework Agreement Initiative, in the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord, and signed an Employment Equity Agreement with 39 federal agencies. In 1997 he stepped onto the national stage where he was elected to the highest elected position in First Nations politics, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He recently finished serving an unprecedented third term in office.

  His list of accomplishments as National Chief include signing the Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation of the Indigenous and First Nations of North America, being the first Indigenous leader to address the Organization of American States, leading the successful resolution and settlement of the 150 year Indian residential school tragedy which led to the historical Apology by the Canadian government, the Making Poverty History Campaign, lobbying for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and negotiating a fair and just process for the settlement of Specific land claims. His belief in creating an inclusive Assembly of First Nations ensured that all information was accessible in both French and English languages, and initiated the Renewal Commission, resulting in a 47 recommendation report on improving the political structure of the AFN, including a universal vote by all First Nations citizens.

  Fontaine is a dedicated and highly respected figure in Canada. He has membership in the Order of Manitoba and he currently owns and operates Ishkonigan Inc., a consulting and mediation company. Fontaine is a proud member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba and still plays an active role in the support of his community.

  “It is a privilege for Brandon University to recognize and honour the many contributions that Phil Fontaine has made. His commitment to social justice is demonstrated throughout his life’s work,” says Dr. Scott Grills, Vice-President (Academic and Research).


  For more information, please contact:


  • Kristen Fisher
  • President’s Office
  • Brandon University
  • P: (204) 727-9714


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