Medium: Acrylic Paintings
Ovide Mercredi is a Cree, born in the northern community of Grand Rapids, Manitoba in 1946.
He served his community as Chief of Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005 to 2011 and acted as a
councillor for three years after his terms as Chief.
A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall Faculty of Law in 1977, he practiced
criminal law and later specialized in constitutional law as an advisor to Manitoba Chiefs. Ovide
Mercredi became a national and international leader in advocating for Indigenous peoples’ rights.
In 1989, Ovide was elected Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba as
well as appointed a member of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. He became a key
strategist for the Assembly during the time of the Meech Lake Accord constitutional reform
discussions. Ovide has always advocated for non-violent methods to resolve conflict and he had
an active role in negotiations in Oka, Gustafson Lake, Iperrwash and Burnt Church.
On June 12, 1991, Ovide was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, a role
which he held for two terms from 1991 to 1997, where he represented a diverse group of people
who embraced differing traditions and at times, represented conflicting interests. During his first
term, he led the negotiations for the First Nations in the Charlottetown Accord. In his efforts to
find consensus for policies and to foster unity, he spent much of his time traveling across Canada
to meet people and to learn firsthand of their difficulties.
He became the first chancellor of Manitoba's University College of the North in 2007. He was
selected in a traditional manner to be the National Spokesperson for Treaties 1 to 11 which he
led from 2006 to 2014. For his work as an advocate of non-violent methods for change, he has
been nominated by the Government of India for the Gandhi Peace Prize. He served on the board
of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Among his many honours and awards are; the Order of Manitoba in 2005 and honorary degrees
from Bishop’s University, St. Mary’s University, Lethbridge University, Athabasca University,
the Law Society of Ontario and the University of Manitoba.
Ovide is the author of My Silent Drum a book of poetry and enjoys golfing.
Currently, Ovide is advocating to help to transform health services and policy for those living in
the 49 communities of Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Northern Ontario.