Keewaywin FN member receives Honourary Doctorate from Lakehead U.

From Wawatay News Online ...

Kakegamic now a doctor
Wawatay News - May 31, 2007

Artist, educator, political leader and activist are all words that describe Goyce Kakegamic.

Now, doctor can also be added to that list.

The recently retired former Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief was awarded an honourary doctorate from Lakehead University May 25.

“I would like to begin by telling you how humbled and honoured I am by the recognition you have bestowed on me today,” Kakegamic said, in offering the convocation address. “I would like to thank all of those who played a part in the nomination and conferring of this award.”

Lakehead president Frederick Gilbert introduced Kakegamic, before helping him into his graduation robes on stage.

“(Kakegamic) is a multi-talented individual who has made important contributions in … art, education and political leadership,” Gilbert said. “Goyce is an accomplished artist whose work can be found in private collections around the world.

“Goyce has been a leader in promoting excellence in First Nations education.”

Kakegamic also spent three terms as deputy grand chief from 1997 to 2006.

“With quiet determination, he has worked at forging mutually beneficial partnerships between First Nation government and their municipal, provincial and federal counterparts.”

Kakegamic said it’s been a long journey to present day from where he was born and grew up in Keewaywin.

“I was brought up on the land with my extended family,” he said. “My parent’s generation was the last to have lived their lives in our traditional territory. My parents and grandparents were caring and loving and their lessons and values have carried me throughout my lifetime.”

Kakegamic is a residential school survivor. He doesn’t speak at length about the abuses he suffered, nor does he dwell on the past. Instead he rose above,  earning bachelor of arts and bachelor of education degrees from Lakehead in 1986.

Kakegamic said more work is necessary to create cultural understanding between First Nation people, urban society and vice versa.

“The challenges faced by all residents of northwestern Ontario cannot be effectively addressed by a continuation of Native and non-Native solitudes,” he said. “I firmly belief reaching accommodations and understanding between cultures in northwestern Ontario will be one of the most significant challenges as we begin this new millennium. I also believe very strongly multiculturalism requires that each of us gain an understanding and knowledge of other cultures to bridge the gap.”

James Thom —