Former Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Phil Fontaine is a bold, tenacious, solution-oriented, forward-looking and articulate advocate for the future of Canada and for its indigenous peoples.
Phil Fontaine has been instrumental in facilitating change and advancement for Canada's indigenous people from the time he was first elected Chief at the young age of 28. In 1982 he was elected to the position of Manitoba Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations and in 1991 he was first elected as Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba, serving three consecutive terms in office.
He played a key role in the development of Manitoba's Framework Agreement Initiative and in the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord. In 1997 he stepped onto the national stage when he was appointed to the highest elected position in First Nations politics as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, serving once again three terms in office.
Phil's list of accomplishments as National Chief include signing the Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation of the First Nations of North America, and leading the successful resolution and settlement of the 150 year Indian residential school tragedy, leading to the historical apology by the Canadian government. He was also the first Indigenous leader to address the Organization of American States.
Phil is founder and President of Ishkonigan, a consulting and mediation firm that provides professional management and advisory services to indigenous communities, governments and the private sector. Known for his calm and confident demeanor, he has a proven record of opening the lines of communication and bringing people together in a common cause for a better future.
Phil Fontaine has received many awards and honors for his work, including six honorary degrees and a life membership in the Order of Manitoba. He is a proud member of the Sagkeeng First Nation and still plays an active role in the support of his community. His ability to inform, inspire, demonstrate leadership and build consensus makes him a highly sought-after keynote speaker.