Ovide Mercredi is a Cree born in the northern community of Grand Rapids in 1946. A graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Law degree he specialized in constitutional law as an advisor to Manitoba Chiefs. He became a key strategist for the Assembly during the time of the Meech Lake Accord constitutional reform discussions. He also had a strong leadership role in helping to resolve the Oka Crisis in 1990.
He was elected as National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations in 1991. During his first term he led the negotiations for the First Nations in the Charlottetown Accord. He was re-elected in 1994 and served as National Chief until 1997. Ovide addressed the United Nations in Geneva and New York. He led a human rights delegation of Canadians to the troubled area of the Mexican state of Chiapas. He served as Chief of his home community from 2005 to 2011.
He co-authored “In the Rapids: Navigating the Future of First Nations” with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond in 1993. He has contributed articles to other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys painting and writing poetry.
Ovide is an advocate of non-violent methods for change and travelled to India when he was nominated for the Gandhi Peace Prize. He has received honorary doctorates from a number of Canadian universities. He received the Order of Manitoba in 2005. In 2010 the Peace and Justice Studies Association awarded him their Social Courage award. In 2013 he was selected as the Distinguished Alumni of the University of Manitoba.
Ovide Mercredi is a strong believer in a positive future for all First Nations communities and recognizes the inherent strength and talents of First Nations people. He has always maintained that his people possess the answers to their needs and aspirations. To him healing can be accomplished by the simple application of traditional values such as respect and kindness.