Dr. Pamala Palmater: Lawyer, educator, activist and author

Dr. Pamala Palmater: Lawyer, educator, activist and author

Dalhousie is presenting eight outstanding individuals with honorary degrees during Spring Convocation ceremonies in May and June. Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals across a wide range of disciplines and achievements. They recognize people who have shown inspirational leadership; outstanding contributions to a field or discipline of study or a non‐academic area of achievement; and/or outstanding achievement at or contributions to Dalhousie. Candidates are reviewed and recommended by the Senate Honorary Degrees Committee and approved by the university Senate. The 2022 honorary degree cohort consists of five people who are already alumni and three more who soon become alumni (as all honorary degree recipients officially join our alumni community if they’re not a member already). They represent Dal’s supporters and friends, and we are grateful in the Office of Advancement for the many ways they enrich our community.

Honouring Dr. Pamela Palmater: Lawyer, educator, activist and author

For the past 30 years, Dr. Pamela Palmater (LLM’99, JSD’09) has been a courageous and outspoken leader whose legal, social and political work has been instrumental in developing policy and legislation on issues concerning Indigenous sovereignty.

Across her career she has studied, worked, volunteered and mobilized others to take action on issues of vital importance for Indigenous peoples. She is the author of several books, the most recent of which, Warrior Life, has been described as “a rallying cry for Indigenous peoples and allies alike to forge a path toward a decolonial future.”

“I live what I study and I have suffered what I advocate against. I couldn’t do anything else but what I am doing.” —Pam Palmater to Dal in 2014 when she was featured in the Dalhousie “Building a Better World” profile series.

Specialist in Indigenous and constitutional law

Dr. Palmater grew up within a large family in Ugpi’ganjig/Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. A two-time graduate of Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law, where she specialized in Indigenous and constitutional law, she is currently professor and chair in Indigenous Governance in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University.

She is also a member of the Canada Research Chair program’s College of Reviewers. Her expertise has been sought after by Canadian Parliament and the United Nations, and she is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the Award for Excellence in Human Rights from the Atlantic Human Rights Centre.