LLD for highly respected Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler

Posted: 09/20/2016

Photo of Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is a highly respected leader who has championed the cause for truth and social justice for First Nation communities.

The Law Society of Upper Canada will bestow upon Grand Chief Fiddler an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) at the Call to the Bar ceremony in Toronto on September 23.

Born in Sioux Lookout and raised in Muskrat Dam First Nation, Grand Chief Fiddler studied Business Management at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.

He has led the way for First Nation rights and reforms on issues such as police services, clean water, housing and health services.

From 1990-93 he served as the first Executive Director of the Tommy Beardy Memorial Family Treatment Centre in Muskrat Dam, a residential program for substance abusers and their families. He went on to serve as Deputy Chief of Muskrat Dam First Nation from 1993-98, then served as Health Director at Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) from 1998 until his election to the Executive Council in 2003.

As two-term Deputy Grand Chief between 2007 and 2014 he was a driving force for change in the justice system. He directly oversaw the advocacy that led to the creation of the Iacobucci Inquiry into the systematic underrepresentation of First Nations people on Ontario juries.

He has led justice initiatives including the Goudge Inquiry and the Kashechewan inquests. He joined the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2010 as Manager of Regional Liaisons and Ontario Regional Liaisons.

Elected Grand Chief of NAN in August 2015, he, along with the Executive Council of three Deputy Grand Chiefs, is responsible for implementing the mandates directed by Chiefs of 49 First Nation communities across Northern Ontario, including 34 remote fly-in communities.

Grand Chief Fiddler executes his duties with humility, intelligence, thoughtfulness and respect.

Under his leadership, he has most recently overseen the conclusion of a three-year Ontario/NAN policing reform table that will see the creation of legislated standards for the delivery of Indigenous policing for those First Nation communities who choose mandated services. Moreover, he personally advocated for the Inquest into the Deaths of Seven First Nation Youth who were high school students in Thunder Bay. The recently concluded Inquest spanned some nine months and led to 145 recommendations, which both Ontario and Canada have pledged to address.

He works diligently and successfully with all levels of government and currently co-chairs, along with a Government of Ontario ministry official, the Debwewin Iacobucci Implementation Committee responsible for delivering on the reform prescribed in the Iacobucci Report. Behind the scenes, he has been a tireless advocate for the convening of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

Grand Chief Fiddler’s dedication and diligence to meeting the challenges of his office to fight for economic and social equality for First Nation communities has rightly earned him the respect of members of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Canada.

He attributes his successful career to the loving support of his wife Tesa and daughters Lynette and Allison with whom he lives in Thunder Bay.