Phil Fontaine with 2010 Winter Olympics torch, representing the Royal Bank of Canada.
by Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail, May 16, 2014
At 30 years old, Phil Fontaine was an angry man.
A survivor of sexual abuse at a residential school, separated from his parents at a young age, forbidden from speaking his native language, the Anishinaabe from Manitoba was elected at the age of 29 as chief for the Sagkeeng First Nation, situated east of Lake Winnipeg. By his own account, he was impatient and belligerent, especially in his dealings with government bureaucrats.
The former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations mellowed over the years. He became convinced he could do more for aboriginal people through compromise and pragmatic action than angry radicalism. But he remains passionate about the need for Canada to address the appalling poverty among First Nations people. He sees resource development as one way to end that poverty. Read the rest of this entry →