MAKERS Profile

Roberta Jamieson

Indigenous Activist

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Roberta L. Jamieson talks about her experience growing up a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario; her becoming the first First Nations woman to receive a law degree; how she was the first woman to be elected Chief of her territory; and her current work as the President and CEO of Indspire.
Roberta Jamieson is known as one of Canada's important visionaries and leaders. A Mohawk woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario — where she still resides today — Jamieson hails from a close-knit family of eight brothers and sisters.   In 1970, Jamieson, enrolled as a student at McGill University in Montreal with the intention of studying medicine. However, her interest in medicine quickly dwindled after she became involved in the James Bay Cree defense — an initiative to prohibit the James Bay Hydro Development project from taking over the Six Nations territory. This political awakening eventually influenced her to switch her major from medicine to law.   Jamieson became the first woman from a First Nation in Canada to graduate from law school in 1976, after receiving a degree from University of Western Ontario.   The trailblazer hosts an impressive resume of accomplishments that culminate from her years serving as a Chief, commissioner, Ombudsman, businesswoman and activist. Many of her accomplishments can be classified as 'firsts' — she was the first woman to be appointed Ombudsman of Ontario and the first woman to be elected Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.    Currently, Jamieson serves as CEO and founder of Indspire and is the founder of the international Aboriginal Media Arts Festival "imagineNATIVE."

More From Roberta

Another Time of Change
Roberta Jamieson talks about how she stepped down from her appointment as chief to pursue education reform.

Getting Our Young People to Stay in School
Roberta Jamieson talks about the achievement gap in education.

I Did Not Aspire to Be Chief
Roberta Jamieson talks about how she became elected chief.

This Is a Simple Equation
Roberta Jamieson talks about how her people contribute to the greater good of the country.

The Promise of Canada
Roberta Jamieson talks about Canada's future.

We Were Here since Time Immemorial
Roberta Jamieson talks about the history and culture of the Six Nations of the Grand River.

I Thought, What Am I Doing Here?
Roberta Jamieson talks about her experience enrolling at McGill.

Dick and Jane Didn't Live in My Community
Roberta Jamieson talks about how she was always expected to make something for herself.

She Taught Me Determination
Roberta Jamieson talks about the greatest lessons her mother taught her.

The Thanksgiving Address
Roberta Jamieson talks about the most important elements of negotiation.

We'd Been Colonized
Roberta Jamieson talks about the decision-making system of the Six Nations of the Grand River tribe.