Arts Celebrating Arts is a luncheon held annually as part of the University of Manitoba’s Homecoming to honour the outstanding achievements and contributions of students, faculty and staff.
|Phil Fontaine||Ximena Munoz||Meghan Montgomery|
Phil Fontaine – Mr. Phil Fontaine was born at Sagkeeng First Nation (formerly known as Fort Alexander) in Manitoba, about 150 kilometers north of Winnipeg. His first language is Ojibway. In his youth he attended a residential school operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Sagkeeng. He also attended the, Assiniboia Residential School in Winnipeg and he graduated from Powerview Collegiate in 1961.
In 1973, Mr. Fontaine was elected Chief of Sagkeeng First Nation for two consecutive terms. Upon completion of his mandate, he and his family moved to the Yukon, where he was a Regional Director General with the Federal government. In 1981 Mr. Fontaine graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies. After graduation, he worked for the Southeast Resource Development Council as a Special Advisor, which was followed by his election to the position of Manitoba’s Vice-Chief for the Assembly of First Nations. Mr. Fontaine was one of the Manitoba First Nation leaders instrumental in the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord.
In 1991, he was elected Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and served for an unprecedented three consecutive terms. In 1997, he was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. After one term as National Chief, he was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission. Mr. Fontaine returned to the Assembly of First Nations as National Chief for two more terms, in 2003 and held the post until 2009. Among his many accomplishments as the longest serving National Chief, he will be most remembered for successfully negotiating the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which included financial settlements for survivors and the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Since September 1, 2009, Mr. Fontaine serves as a Special Advisor to the Royal Bank of Canada. His mandate is to “provide advice and counsel to RBC’s Canadian businesses to help the company deepen its relationships with Aboriginal governments, communities and businesses in Canada”. On March 29, 2010, Mr. Fontaine joined Norton Rose OR LLP (formerly Ogilvy Renault) as Senior Advisor and advises Canadian and international clients on First Nations matters, including Aboriginal law, energy, environmental, and mining and resources. Mr. Fontaine also serves as a director for numerous private and public companies including Next Alternative Inc., Chieftain Metals and Avalon Rare Metals. Mr. Fontaine is owner and President of Ishkonigan Inc., a successful consulting company he founded in 2009 specializing in Aboriginal relations, negotiations, government relations, mediation and advisory services. The national company has offices from Saskatchewan to New Brunswick, and employs over 20 specialized Aboriginal professionals with a diverse and growing client base.
He is a Member of 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 fifteen Honorary Doctorates from Canada and the United States.
Ximena Munoz - Ms. Munoz is the Province of Manitoba’s first Fairness Commissioner. Ms. Munoz immigrated to Canada in 1978 from Chile. She had completed four years of university in Chile in agronomics and farm economics. Once she arrived in Canada she attended the University of Manitoba and earned an advanced Arts degree in Psychology.
After fleeing from Chile to Canada, Ms. Munoz had to learn firsthand how to adapt to a new country. She has spent the balance of her career helping other newcomers have a smooth transition to their new lives in Canada. Her first job in Canada was as a student, writing a guide for newcomers. She spent the next 20 years working to improve settlement and labour market services for Canadian immigrants. In her previous position as the director of the Manitoba Settlement and Labour Market Services Branch, she established Manitoba’s Settlement Strategy and has worked with other provincial departments and with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
As Manitoba’s first Fairness Commissioner, Ms. Munoz is responsible for improving qualification recognition for skilled immigrants in Manitoba and for implementing the Fair Registration Practices in the Regulated Professions Act. The Government of Manitoba recognizes the need to do a better job recognizing the knowledge and expertise skilled immigrants bring to our community.
The Regulated Professions Act and the Office of the Manitoba Fairness Commissioner represent a new phase in the Government of Manitoba’s continued commitment to the integration of immigrants. Ms. Munoz looks forward to the challenge of ensuring registration practices for internationally educated professionals are transparent, objective, impartial and fair. The result will be a more vibrant and diverse workforce from which all Manitobans will benefit.
Meghan Montgomery - Ms. Meghan Montgomery As a child growing up in Winnipeg, Meghan Montgomery was active in many sports, including basketball, volleyball and swimming. It wasn’t until Orientation Week in her second year of study at the University of Manitoba that she took up rowing. At the time Ms. Montgomery was working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree, which she would finish along with her Bachelor of
Education degree a few years later. Being outside on the water and the balance and grace in the rowing stroke got her hooked. Joining the Manitoba Provincial Rowing Team in 2001, Ms. Montgomery began racing in her first high performance events shortly after. In 2001 she attended the Canada Summer Games in London Ontario where she was part of a crew that won bronze medal.
In 2005 a coach from the Winnipeg Rowing Club informed Ms. Montgomery that the birth defect in her right hand would qualify her to participate in Para-Rowing; and that rowing was going to be part of the Paralympic Games for the first time. She began training shortly after that and officially made the Canadian Paralympic team in 2006. After training for three years Ms. Montgomery represented Canada in the rowing portion of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, where her crew placed sixth. A second attempt at the London Paralympic Games in 2012 placed her crew at seventh. In addition to the Paralympics, Ms. Montgomery has also competed
and placed several times at the World Rowing Championship where she has won two bronze medals (2006 and 2007), one silver medal (2011) and one gold medal (2010).
After graduating with her Education degree, Ms. Montgomery moved to Victoria, British Columbia to train full time. She is currently living and working at Shawnigan Lake School in Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia as a mathematics teacher and a rowing coach. She is also a member of the Canadian Paralympic Committee Athlete Council.