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Honorary degree citation - Wilton Littlechild

By: Monica Mulrennan, June 2018

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, a champion of human rights who has built bridges through athletics, politics, and law for more than 40 years.

Wilton Littlechild studied physical education. A multi-talented and hardworking athlete, he played football, semi-professional baseball and hockey, and was a member of Team Canada in swimming. All told, he has won more than 70 provincial, regional, national and international championships, and features on seven Sports Walls of Fame.

After breaking his leg playing hockey, he returned to school and extended his successes far beyond sports. He became the first ever Treaty First Nations person to earn a law degree from the University of Alberta, the first to be appointed to Queen’s Counsel by the Alberta Law Society, and, later, the first to serve in Canada’s Parliament.

Il fait partie de 150 000 enfants qui ont fréquenté les pensionnats autochtones. Plus tard, il réussira à transformer l’expérience traumatisante qu’il a vécue pendant cette période regrettable de notre histoire en une puissante force porteuse de justice en agissant à titre de commissaire à la Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada.

As a leader in the global Indigenous rights movement, he has been active with the Canadian Council of International Law, the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, and the United Nations.

His work with the UN spans more than 3 decades and includes contributions to the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Littlechild is currently serving a three-year term as Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations.

He has been an advocate for the benefits of sport. He was a founder of the North American Indigenous games and of the first ever World Indigenous Nations Games in Brazil in 2015, where he delivered an address on behalf of the United Nations.

He continues to actively promote a physical, healthy lifestyle for young people, and says his motto “Winners don’t quit; quitters don’t win,” is really about pursuing life goals with balance.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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