Cape Breton University is privileged to celebrate the lengthy and distinguished career of Dr. Paulette Tremblay, Ph.D., ICD.D, CAPA, whose contributions to indigenous financing, band administration and education continue to advance First Nation people and communities across the country.
A Turtle Clan member of the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory of Southern Ontario, Dr. Tremblay has been an educator for more than 30 years.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education at Dalhousie, and holds both a Master of Arts degree in education and a Doctor of Philosophy in education from the University of Ottawa.Dr. Tremblay is a Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA) and received the Institute of Corporate Directors Designation (ICD.D) from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.
In addition to teaching high school courses and acting as a guidance counsellor, Dr. Tremblay also earned several instructor certificates and has taught post-secondary courses and lectures at Algonquin College, the University of Ottawa, Cape Breton University and the Six Nations Polytechnic Institute.
As a researcher, she has published 38 papers and presented at numerous academic conferences, and helped or led on indigenous educational policy development and advocacy with governments, businesses and private sector organizations across Canada.
On top of all that, Dr. Tremblay has also maintained numerous professional affiliations and held many senior executive and administrative positions with First Nations organizations, as well as the federal government.
Dr. Tremblay always promised her grandmother she would become a teacher, but it was grief over her grandmother’s death when Dr. Tremblay was a teenager that led to her specialization in finance.Through her Mohawk treaty affiliation, Dr. Tremblay joined the United States Navy at 18 years old and was assigned to finance and accounting as a disbursing clerk according to the results of her entrance aptitude test.She turned down an advancement offer after serving three years, having witnessed the effects of the Vietnam War and decided it was time to return home and honour the promise to her grandmother.Thus began her career in education.
Since then, Dr. Tremblay has been Vice-President of Education and Training at AFOA Canada (former Aboriginal Financial Officers Association), Chief Executive Officer for the National Aboriginal Health Organization, Director of Education at the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (currently Indspire), Senior Executive Officer for the Six Nations Band Council, and a federal government designer and trainer with the Public Service Commission of Canada.
She has designed, developed and delivered programs, curriculum and educational materials and specializes in course evaluation and test measurement, and is currently Director of Education for the Assembly of First Nations, leading education reform initiatives for First Nations communities across Canada.
Dr. Tremblay is also very proud to be the former chair of the national advisory committee for Cape Breton University’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, which she says is exceptionally innovative at building relationships with First Nations and universities across Canada and is having a real impact on the lives of young indigenous people.
Education, she strongly believes, is vital to achieving the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Having received the 2015 Indspire Award for Education, Dr. Tremblay was humbled to be honoured by Indigenous people for this most prestigious award for high career achievements in education. Dr. Tremblay was also honoured as one of Wilfrid Laurier University’s 100 Alumni of Achievement in September 2011.
While committed to educational issues at the highest levels in the country, Dr. Tremblay also remains firmly dedicated to community and family. She delights in learning from and helping to educate her granddaughter, and truly believes in connecting education to cultural values.
Dr. Tremblay gained an immense respect for nature by shadowing her grandfather as he hunted or worked on the small farm at home, and learned a deep appreciation for the traditional ceremonies and customs of her Mohawk community, which helped pave the way to an understanding of and respect for the social, political, educational and cultural challenges among First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
Cape Breton University will confer the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a woman who continues to make an incredible contribution to the education of Mi’kmaq in Cape Breton and indigenous people across Canada, Paulette Tremblay.