Senator Murray Sinclair
Senator Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada’s second.
He served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of the TRC, he participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada, culminating in the issuance of the TRC’s report in 2015. He also oversaw an active multi-million dollar fundraising program to support various TRC events and activities, and to allow survivors to travel to attend TRC events.
Senator Sinclair has been invited to speak throughout Canada, the United States and internationally, including the Cambridge Lectures for members of the Judiciary of various Commonwealth Courts in England.
He served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Manitoba. He was very active within his profession and his community and has won numerous awards, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Manitoba Bar Association’s Equality Award (2001) and its Distinguished Service Award (2016) and has received Honorary Doctorates from 8 Canadian universities. Senator Sinclair was appointed to the Senate on April 2, 2016.
Honourable Graydon Nicholas
The Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Order of New Brunswick, was the 30th Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick from 2009 to 2014, becoming the first aboriginal person to hold this office. He was born on the Tobique Reserve in 1946. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis Xavier University in 1968, a law degree from UNB Law School in 1971 and a Master of Social Work degree from Wilfred Laurier University in 1974. He was a Provincial Court Judge from 1991-2009. He was Chair of Native Studies at St. Thomas University from 1989-1991. He worked with the Union of NB Indians as legal counsel, Chairman of the Board and President of the Union of New Brunswick Indians from 1974-1988.
He married his wife, Beth, in June 28, 1969. They have two sons, Michael and Brian. They are proud grandparents to Cato and Allison Nicholas who live in Arizona. Beth and Graydon are members of the Christian Life Communities (CLC) since 1984. They have served as National Presidents of CLC Canada. He is a firm believer of prayerful discernment to find out God`s plan in his life. He joined the Knights of Columbus in 2009 and received the First, Second, Third and Fourth Degrees. He was a participant at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Congresses in 2009 and 2012 at the Supreme Conventions. He was elected as a Supreme Director in Philadelphia at the Supreme Convention in 2015 for a 3 year term.
Graydon was appointed to the Endowed Chair of Native Studies on August 1, 2015 for a year term and reappointed to 2020. He is involved with teaching, research and community interaction. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada is July 2016. He was appointed to the Guadalupe Circle of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops [CCCB] in December 2016 to represent the Knights of Columbus.
Mike Downie - Co-founder, Downie-Wenjack Fund
Mike Downie, and his brother Gord, co-founded the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. An Indigenous led fund that aims to encourage all Canadians to walk the path of reconciliation. Mike is the co-creator, co-producer and documentary director of “Secret Path” the multi-media project that tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old Ojibway boy who ran away from his residential school in 1966 and attempted to walk home to Ogoki Post - 600 kms away. Mike is the also director of “Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert” a concert film that captures Gord’s epic performance of Secret Path at Roy Thomson Hall in 2016.
Mike wrote, produced and directed “Running on Empty” a documentary that received a prestigious Rob Stewart Award nomination for best nature documentary at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards (CSA). In 2016, Mike won a CSA for Best Science Documentary for a film called “Invasion of the Brain Snatchers” for the CBC’s The Nature of Things. Mike wrote and directed “One Ocean” and received a Best Director Gemini Award nomination and a the prestigious Allan King Award for Documentary Excellence by the Director’s Guild of Canada. The documentary also won two prestigious Chris Awards.
Mike was the original series producer for the hit CBC show “Dragon’s Den”, which won the Gemini Award nomination for Best Reality TV Show and won a “Chris Award” at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.
Mike has a Bachelor of Science degree from Queen’s University and a MBA from Schulich School of Business, York University. Before his career in film and television, Mike worked as a deep shaft miner in Northern Ontario, a medical researcher at McGill University, a junior economist in Toronto and a windsurfing instructor in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Dr. Jeannine Carrière
Dr. Jeannine Carrière is Métis and was raised in St. Adolphe Manitoba. She has been teaching social work since 1994 in Alberta and at the University of Victoria since 2005 where she teaches at the School of Social Work. Her role in the school has included being Chair of the Indigenous Specializations and to oversee the Indigenous Student Support Center for the faculty of Human and Social Development. Her research interests include Metis children’s identity and needs for cultural safety in adoptions and child welfare services. Dr. Carrière has been a practitioner in Indigenous child and family services for over thirty years and has conducted several research projects related to her research interests. with a number of publications including a co-edited book, Calling Our Families Home: Metis Peoples’ Experiences with Child Welfare (2017) which is the first book on Metis child welfare in Canada. She has also published on Indigenous knowledge building, health equity and the rights of sex workers and their families. In 2008 Dr. Carriere received the Adoptions Activist Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC). In 2017 Dr. Carrière received the University of Victoria Provost’s Advocacy and Activism Award for her work with Métis and First Nation People.
Jennifer King, MSW
Reconciliation and Policy Coordinator
Jennifer King, MSW
Anishinaabe from the Wasauksing First Nation, Jennifer has been working in areas of research, policy and public engagement in support of Indigenous women and children for over 10 years. Jennifer has a Master’s degree in social work, with a focus on Indigenous methodologies and Indigenous perspectives on policy and practice. She is passionate about the role of critical education and research in promoting justice, equity and meaningful reconciliation in Canada. An experienced presenter and facilitator, Jennifer has authored/co-authored several publications on Indigenous issues and is also a sessional instructor in the School of Social Work, University of Victoria, teaching via distance education.
Raven Sinclair, PhD
Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina
Raven Sinclair is Nêhiyaw-Cree from George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan. She is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Researcher with the University of Regina, Saskatoon Campus. Raven is a survivor of the Sixties Scoop / Indigenous child welfare system. Her areas of interest include Indigenous mental health and trauma recovery, Indigenous child welfare, transracial adoption and cultural identity, interpersonal and non-violent communication, and group process and facilitation. Raven has been court appointed as an Expert Advisor to the Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation, she is an advisory board member of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute of Indigenous Health Research, past Chair of the University of Regina Research Ethics Board, and a member of the CIHR College of Reviewers. Raven is a chess addict, and she likes to keep at least three moves ahead of her opponents. She is the mother of a beautiful and wild 13-year-old daughter, Mercedes, who gives her inspiration and hope for the future.