Keynote Speaker

Ellen Gabriel

Ms. Gabriel graduated from Concordia University in May 1990 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major Studio Art.  She began her public activism during the 1990 Siege of Kanehsatà:ke (1990 “Oka” Crisis) and was chosen by the People of the Longhouse and her community of Kanehsatà:ke to be their spokesperson.  The 1990 Kanehsatà:ke Siege transpired when the Municipality of Oka and private developers decided to appropriate the common lands in Kanehsatà:ke to expand their 9 hole golf course.  The community of Kanehsatà:ke exercised their sovereign right to defend their lands by creating a barricade on a secondary dirt road to protect the Pines from illegal development on Kanehsatà:ke common lands.

Since 1990, Ellen has worked consistently and diligently as a human rights and environmental advocate for the collective and individual rights of Indigenous peoples.  She has continuously worked to sensitize the public and their institutions, on the impacts of colonization upon Indigenous peoples, Canada’s colonial history, and the richness of Indigenous peoples’ culture and identity as well as, their human rights.

Ms. Gabriel was elected president of the Quebec Native Women’s Association from 2004 to 2010, a position she held with great honour.  Ms. Gabriel has presented at numerous parliamentary committees, as well as, the national assembly in Quebec, and at the international level, participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as well as the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

She remains a vigilant advocate for gender equity, justice for murdered and missing Indigenous women; the revitalization of Indigenous languages, culture, traditions, Indigenous peoples' rights to self-determination and Climate Change.