On Saturday, November 2, 2019, during the Fall Convocation ceremony, Cape Breton University will confer the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a man who has played a lead role in advocating for Indigenous people’s rights on a national and international scale, Ovide Mercredi.
“Cape Breton University is very proud to confer an honorary degree to Ovide Mercredi, says President & Vice-Chancellor, David C. Dingwall. “Mr. Ovide’s dedication and fortitude for advocating for Indigenous people’s rights in Canada is something we can all learn from and apply as we work toward indigenization by building on what has happened in Canadian history and embracing our new collective responsibilities.”
Ovide Mercredi is a Cree, born in the northern community of Grand Rapids, Manitoba. He served his community as Chief of Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005 to 2011. A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall Faculty of Law in 1977, he practiced criminal law and later specialized in constitutional law as an advisor to Manitoba Chiefs. Ovide Mercredi quickly became a national and international leader in advocating for native peoples’ rights. On June 12, 1991, Mecredi was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, a role which he held from two terms from 1991 to 1997. Mercredi’s many honours and awards are the Order of Manitoba, nomination for the Gandhi Peace Prize, and honorary law degrees from Bishop’s University, St. Mary’s University, and Lethbridge University.
Ovide Mercredi was previously quoted as saying, “I say that I am an optimist about our future because I know that when we come together as men and women, as Elders and children, for the collective good of our people and the advancement of our communities and our societies, not only will we benefit, but Canada as a whole will benefit.”
“CBU has a forty-year history of working with First Nations communities and as we work toward further strengthening those relationships and Indigenizing our educational and academic experience, we want to ensure that we do it hand in hand with the communities that we serve,” says Stephen Augustine, Associate Vice President, Indigenous Affairs & Unama’ki College. “Ovide Mercredi’s vision and experience, and now connection to our University, will undoubtedly provide great guidance as we continue on our collective journey to Indigenize the L’nu Way here at Cape Breton University.”
Cape Breton University has been awarding honorary degrees since 1989, and during that time, has welcomed people from around the world, in numerous sectors into our Alumni family.
The 2019 Fall Convocation ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, 2019, at the Canada Games Complex.