Since Confederation in 1867, Canada has identified and conducted itself as a country of two founding nations, the British and the French, while subordinating the status of Indigenous peoples. A new project is seeking to alter that narrative through official recognition, on the 150th anniversary of the 1867 confederation, of the foundational contributions of Indigenous peoples to the formation of Canada, in addition to the British and the French. By resetting Canada’s origin story, future generations will better understand the true nature of the country’s origins, and we will improve the context for discussion and action on commitments already made to reconciliation, building nation-to-nation relationships and rights to self-determination.
About the speakers
Phil Fontaine [BA/81, LLD(Honorary)/10] is a Special Advisor of the Royal Bank of Canada. Mr. Fontaine served as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for an unprecedented three terms. He is a member of the Order of Manitoba and has received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Equitas Human Rights Education Award, the Distinguished Leadership Award from the University of Ottawa, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and most recently was appointed to the Order of Canada. Mr. Fontaine also holds eighteen Honorary Doctorates from Canada and the United States.
Professor Kathleen E. Mahoney has a J.D. from the University of British Columbia, an LL.M degree from Cambridge University and a Diploma in International Comparitive Human Rights from the Strasbourg International Human Rights Institute in France. She is a Professor of Law at the University of Calgary and Queen's Counsel. She was the Chief Negotiator for Canada's Aboriginal peoples claim for cultural genocide against Canada, achieving the largest financial settlement in Canadian history for the mass human rights violations against Indigenous peoples of Canada. She was the primary architect of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and led the negotiations for the historic apology from the Canadian Parliament and from Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. She was co-counsel for Bosnia Herzegovina in their genocide action against Serbia in the International Court of Justice with the result that the definition of genocide in the Genocide Convention was altered to include mass rapes and forced pregnancy as genocide offences. Among her many awards and distinctions, Professor Mahoney is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Queen's Counsel, a Trudeau fellow and a Fullbright and Human Rights fellow (Harvard). She received the Governer General's medal for her contribution to equality in Canada. She has held Visiting Professorships or Fellowships at Harvard University, The University of Chicago, Adelaide University, University of Western Australia, Griffiths University, the National University of Australia and Ulster University.