Phil Fontaine – Ojibway Sagkeeng First Nation

Phil Fontaine attended a residential school operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Sagkeeng and the Assiniboia Residential School in Winnipeg.

In 1981 Fontaine graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts.

He entered politics and his career spanned 30 years.

He held positions as Chief, Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and National Chief of the AFN.

Fontaine is best known for his advocacy for survivors.

In 1990 Fontaine spoke publicly about the abuse that he experienced in residential school.

His words put the issue on the national agenda and later, Fontaine was key in the settlement agreement.

On June 11 2008, when Parliament apologized to survivors, Fontaine was present in the House of Commons.

“Brave survivors, through the telling of their painful stories, have stripped white supremacy of its authority and legitimacy… What happened today signifies a new dawn in the relationship between us and the rest of Canada. We are and always have been an indispensable part of the Canadian identity.”