Chief Ovide W. Mercredi
Doctor of Civil Law
Chief Mercredi was first offered an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by Saint Mary's at Convocation in May of this year. He was a key player in the negotiations that preceded the Charlottetown Accord and his constitutional responsibilities prevented him from accepting the degree at that time. Ovide Mercredi, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a Cree Indian brought up in Grand Rapids, Manitoba. After working for Ontario Hydro for a number of years, Mercredi entered the University of Manitoba as a mature student and graduated with a law degree in 1977. During his time as a student, he started a political association for native students and persuaded the University to start an Indian Studies Department which now offers 26 courses. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1979, and practised criminal law until 1983. Mercredi then became involved in constitutional law and aboriginal constitutional reform, occupying many positions within the AFN. He provided leadership and legal advice in the AFN's opposition to the Meech Lake Accord and was an advisor to Elijah Harper during that period. Mercredi has served as Commissioner for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and was a member of the Senate Committee on Native Studies and a member of the Manitoba Alcoholism Foundation.