media release

Former Musqueam chief to receive honorary degree

October 04, 2011
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Contact:
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca

Wendy Grant John
Photo on Flickr

Note: Grant-John is one of four distinguished individuals to be honored by SFU this week. Others include ecologist C.S. (Buzz) Holling, author William Deverell, and cellist Ian Hampton.

An honorary degree will be conferred on Wendy Grant-John, former chief of the Musqueam First Nation, on Friday, Oct. 7 (2:30 p.m.) during Simon Fraser University’s Fall Convocation.

Grant-John has worked for more than 30 years to improve the lives of Aboriginal people. As chief, she launched the first Aboriginal commercial fishery in Canada and helped the Musqueam achieve two landmark Supreme Court cases that solidified Aboriginal rights in the Constitution.

She was also the first woman elected regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations and served as a commissioner on the Pacific Salmon Commission.

From 1997-2002, she was Associate Regional Director-General of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for B.C., and in 2006, appointed as the Minster of Indian Affairs representative on the issue of matrimonial real property on reserves.

Grant-John, who has four grown children, four step-children, 10 grandchildren and three step-grandchildren, also worked on the Big Sisters mentoring program for First Nations Women.

She was also a founding member and director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (1998) and a founder of Musqueam Weavers.

Grant-John was awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2006 for her decades of work that included diversifying the economic base of the Musqueam reserve. Her many other awards include the 2001 YWCA Woman of Distinction award for social action.

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