Claudette Commanda, Elder

Kitigan Zibi Algonquin First Nation

Elder Claudette Commanda is an Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation located in the province of Quebec. An alumni of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law and Faculty of Arts, Claudette has dedicated the last 35 years promoting First Nations people, history, culture and rights in various capacities as a University of Ottawa student, professor, member and chair of the Aboriginal education council; and via public speaking events.

She is a professor for the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Women’s Studies; Faculty of Education; Faculty of Law; and the Aboriginal Studies Program, teaching courses on First Nations Women; Native Education; First Nations People and History; Indigenous Traditions; and Decolonization. In addition, she is the Chief Executive Officer of the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres, a national organization which protects and promotes First Nations culture, languages and traditional knowledge. She is inducted into the Common Law Honour Society; served two terms on the Board of Governors for the First Nations University of Canada; and three terms on the Kitigan Zibi band council.

In 2017, Claudette is the first First Nation appointed Elder in Residence for the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; and the first person of a First Nation heritage to be appointed to the Board of Governors for the University of Ottawa. She is the Special Advisor on Reconciliation, for the Dean, Faculty of Law.  Claudette is a proud mother of four and a grandmother to ten beautiful grandchildren. In March 2020, Claudette received the 2020 INDSPIRE Award for Culture, Heritage and Spirituality. In November 2022, she was appointed Chancellor for the University of Ottawa. She is the first Indigenous person to be appointed Chancellor of the University.