Reconciliation advocate earns honourary degree

Indigenous rights and reconciliation advocate Mavis Gillie received an honorary degree last week from the University of Victoria.

Indigenous rights and reconciliation advocate Mavis Gillie received an honorary degree last week from the University of Victoria.

Gillie, 88, received the university’s highest honour at a special convocation ceremony March 9.

In her younger years, Gillie spent a decade in the Northwest Territories and it was there that the plight of First Nations peoples ignited her lifelong activism for justice and healing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities based on moral and spiritual grounds.

After moving to Victoria and during the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry in the 1970s, Gillie was a founding member of Project North (Victoria Chapter), offering assistance and support for the Dene and Inuit in their opposition to the pipeline proposal.

Her later work included aiding First Nations in opposing logging in Haida Gwaii and the Stein River Valley, and organizing support for the Nisga’a Treaty.