Ava Hill, former Elected Chief and Councillor from Six Nations, has been awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by Brock University.
Dr. Hill served for 15 years on the Six Nations Elected Council, including two terms as Elected Chief.
She is a member of the Mohawk Wolf Clan and is a co-chair of a Working Group that is creating a Declaration on Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples Through Sports. She was also appointed as a Board Director for Commonwealth Sport Canada and is a member of the Canadian Advisory Board for Right to Play.
The honorary distinction is given to an outstanding individual who has contributed notably to their field of discipline and is recognized by their peers as a person of great moral standing.
Dr. Hill gave the convocation speech at Brock’s virtual Fall Convocation on Friday, October 15.
“I was completely received and at a loss for words when I received the call to inform that I would be receiving this prestigious honour,” said Dr. Hill.
“As an indigenous woman and leader I feel very privileged to receive this honorary doctorate during a time when more and more people are becoming aware of a dark part of the history of this country, which is when so many indigenous children were forced into residential schools.”
“After many years working as a secretary and an administrative assistant and an executive assistant to many different male leaders I decided to jump from the
frying pan into the fire and run for the position of firstan elected councillor and then as the elected chief in my community at Six Nations,” said Dr. Hill.
“As a woman leader my job wasn’t always easy. I had to work twice as hard to prove
that I could do the same or even better than my male counterparts. I have had to endure sexist remarks, racism, put downs, misogyny and threats. And have been made to feel that I could not do the job… I always remembered what I was doing it for. I wanted my community to be healthy, safe and sustainable and everything I did and everything I continue to do today is for the people in my community and for all indigenous people but
particularly for the youth that are watching and learning,” said Dr. Hill.
“As future leaders in this country, I urge all of you to strive to make those changes that are necessary to make the world a better place. Reconciliation must inspire all of us — indigenous, non-indigenous, all cultures — to transform society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace and prosperity, on these lands that we now share.”