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President DeGagné selected to help shape National Council for Reconciliation


Nipissing University President, Dr. Mike DeGagné, has been appointed to the interim Board of Directors for the new National Council for Reconciliation.
 
The council, announced last week by the Trudeau government, is chaired by Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, a former member of Parliament and residential school survivor who also served as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission member. 

Joining Littlechild and DeGagné on the Board of Directors are:
  • Max FineDay, co-executive director of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth group Canadian Roots Exchange;
  • Clint Davis, chair of the board of directors for the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies in Labrador;
  • Jean Teillet, the Métis Nation Lawyers Association's founding president; and
  • Edith Cloutier, president of the Regroupement des Centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec.
Over the course of the next six months, the Board members will engage with various stakeholders to recommend options for the establishment of the National Council for Reconciliation and the endowment of a National Reconciliation Trust.
 
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission envisioned an "independent, national, oversight body" called the National Council for Reconciliation to act as a kind of reconciliation watchdog, holding governments and Canadian society to account on reconciliation goals, monitoring and reporting on progress, educating the public and promoting dialogue. It also called for the endowment of a National Reconciliation Trust.
 
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the interim Board for the new National Council for Reconciliation with these outstanding and inspiring individuals,” said DeGagné.  “There is a lot of positive momentum following the TRC report and subsequent calls to action.  Bringing Canadians to work together in the spirit of reconciliation is key to achieving reconciliation. I look forward to the creation of an organization which engages all Canadians.”

“Noting the importance and positive impact of follow up on the TRC's calls to action, I am very encouraged by this government's move to establish an interim committee to work on the Council for Reconciliation. A tremendous amount has been done to promote Reconciliation across Canada since our report. However, there is no coordinating or monitoring mechanism. I look forward with interest to the establishment of a Council who will be influential in the increased engagement of the rest of Canada. True reconciliation requires all of us working together,” said Littlechild in a media release.
 
"Reconciliation is not just an Indigenous issue, it's a Canadian one, and it will take genuine collaboration at all levels to advance this journey. I am honoured that these highly accomplished and dedicated individuals have agreed to serve on Interim Board of the Reconciliation Council. I look forward to receiving their concrete recommendations that will further the Government's commitment to advancing reconciliation for the benefit of all Canadians,"‎ said The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.
 
DeGagné is the sixth President and Vice-Chancellor of Nipissing University. His career includes work with the federal government in management of Aboriginal programs and as a negotiator of comprehensive claims. Most recently, he served as the founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, a national organization which addressed the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.
 
He has served on numerous Boards of Directors in the health and university sectors including as Chairman of Ottawa's Queensway-Carleton Hospital and Chairman of the Child Welfare League of Canada.
 
With a PhD in Education focusing on Aboriginal post-secondary success from Michigan State University, Dr. DeGagné also holds a Masters degrees in Administration and Law. He lectures nationally and internationally in the areas of Indigenous governance and reconciliation. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

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