Statement Congratulating Mary Simon on her historic appointment as Governor General

July 7, 2021

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) at UBC sends a heartfelt congratulations to Mary Simon on her historic appointment as Governor General of Canada.

Simon has been a tireless advocate for Inuit, women and northern Canadians her entire life, and today has made history by being named the first Indigenous Governor General of Canada. While IRSHDC recognizes there is still a long road ahead, this appointment takes us one step further on the path toward reconciliation.

“Mary Simon has been and continues to be an inspiration to Indigenous women across the country,” says Centre Academic Director Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Aki-Kwe. “This appointment not only recognizes her contributions to our country, but also provides a precedent for Indigenous people, and Indigenous women in particular, to take their seats at tables across the country.”

Upon installation, Simon will become Canada’s 30th Governor General. Simon has had an extensive career advocating for the rights of Inuit, including as Canada’s first Inuk ambassador, as president of Makivik Corporation during the implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and as a negotiator involved in repatriating Canada’s Constitution in 1982.

Mary Simon has received honorary degrees from McGill and Queen’s University and is a member of the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec and the Gold Order of Greenland. She is a recipient of the Governor General’s 125th Commemorative Medal, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.