Elder Harry Bone has worked tirelessly and quietly throughout his life to bolster Indigenous rights. He serves as a source of inspiration to the Faculty of Medicine, which shares his goal of improving the lives of Indigenous peoples by respecting their individual and collective rights. He is awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Manitoba for working with respect and humility toward this honourable end.
He is a member of the Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Nation, where he served as a Chief and Director of Education. He also worked as a CEO at the West Region Tribal Council and as a Director of the Manitoba Indian Education Authority. While a graduate student in political studies at the University of Manitoba he was a Student Advisor and Lecturer. Elder Bone was also a Director of Native Programs for the Federal Government and he served as a Vice-President of Aboriginal Cultural Centres of Canada
Elder Bone is currently a member of the Elders Council, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and the Treaty Relations Commission. Through the Treaty Relations Commission, he has been active in working with the Manitoba and federal governments, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre on the Treaty Education Initiative. This initiative develops Treaty-education resources for K-12 teachers to help them introduce treaties and traditional laws and knowledge to their students.
Elder Bone’s expertise in First Nations governance at the community level is well regarded. He has led delegations that have met with all levels of government and has been instrumental in furthering many projects for the benefit all Manitobans, such as the Oral History Project and the Historical Atlas of First Nations in Manitoba.
Elder Bone and Elder Doris Pratt co-authored Untuwe Pi Kin He - Who We Are: Treaty Elders’ Teachings Volume, a book that documents the traditional laws and customs of Indigenous peoples in Manitoba in a way that is accessible to all interested readers; it is not a revision of history but rather a retelling of history from Indigenous historians, giving them an opportunity to reclaim words and inject new power into them. Like Elder Bone, the book aims to inspire people through compassion, reason, humility and human dignity.
The University of Manitoba honours Elder Bone for his tireless and trendsetting work that advances Aboriginal education in Canada.
Elder Harry Bone