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Justice Murray Sinclair

Honorary Doctorate


Justice Murray Sinclair

The Honourable Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair - LL.B, DU, DCL
Honorary Doctor of Laws

The Honourable Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair was born just north of Selkirk, at what used to be St. Peters Reserve, and he faced early hardship. As an infant his mother died, and he was raised by caring grandparents and extended family. His Ojibway name Mizanay Gheezhik, means "the One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky,” and Justice Sinclair has spent his life creating a new image of justice for Aboriginal people.

He showed early promise and was Valedictorian for his graduating class and Athlete of the Year at Selkirk Collegiate. Justice Sinclair continued his academic career at The University of Winnipeg, studying sociology with a history minor in 1975. He successfully applied to law school in 1976 and moved to the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba, where he graduated in 1979.

Justice Sinclair was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge, appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in 1988. In the same year, he was appointed co-commissioner of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, with Associate Chief Justice A. C. Hamilton. Their in-depth study produced almost three hundred recommendations and still impacts our justice system today. His high-profile responsibilities also included directing the very complex Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest at the Health Sciences Centre. He also served as legal counsel for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

Today Justice Sinclair chairs the critically important Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, part of a comprehensive response to the Indian Residential School legacy. The Commission’s mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools and document the truth of survivors, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the Indian Residential Schools experience.

Justice Sinclair has spent his life in public service on behalf of all Manitobans, having served on numerous community boards including The Boy Scouts, The John Howard Society, The Royal Canadian Air Cadets, The Canadian Club, The Canadian Native Law Students Association, The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, and The Board of Regents of The University of Winnipeg, to name just a sampling. In 1994 he was honoured with one of the first National Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

Justice Sinclair’s distinguished career, community service and sincere humility is an inspiration to us all.