(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – May 30, 2016): Today, Algoma University conferred an Honorary Degree, a Doctor of Laws, hororis causa, on Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, at a luncheon on campus attended by members and friends of the Algoma University community.
“We are honoured to acknowledge Senator Sinclair for his national reputation and his significant impact in Aboriginal affairs, by bestowing on him a Doctor of Laws,” said President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Craig Chamberlin. “Senator Sinclair has been the greatest supporter of education that integrates, respects, and affirms the knowledge and traditions of all First Peoples. We look forward to working closely with him as we implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.”
View Senator Sinclair’s speech upon receiving the honorary degree.
From Selkirk, Manitoba, Mizhanay Gheezihk (The One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky) is a member of the Fish Clan, a member of the Three Fires Society, and a Third Degree Member of the Midewiwin (Grand Medicine) Society of the Ojibway Nation. Senator Sinclair graduated from Law School at the University of Manitoba in 1979 and was called to the Bar in 1980. In 1988, he was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court and named Co-commissioner of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. In 2001, the Federal Government promoted Sinclair from the Provincial Court to the Superior Court of Manitoba, the Court of Queen’s Bench. He is the first judge of Aboriginal descent in Manitoba, and the second in Canada. He has practiced law in the fields of civil and criminal litigation and Aboriginal law and is best-known for his representation of Aboriginal peoples and his knowledge of Aboriginal legal issues. In 1994, he received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Justice Sinclair was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March 2016.
Sinclair became a national figure when he was appointed to Chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Under his leadership, the TRC heard from more than 7,000 people and filed a two-million word report that includes 94 recommendations.
Algoma U’s Chancellor Shirley Horn and President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Craig Chamberlin conferred the honorary degree. An honorary degree is considered the highest honour bestowed on an individual in higher education.