Indigenous leader to receive honorary degree at Brock's fall convocation on Friday

ava hill

An Indigenous leader will receive an honorary degree at Brock University's 2021 Fall Convocation on Friday.

Ava Hill grew up on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, and says post-secondary education wasn't an option for her.

She says she instead graduated high school, got a job, and worked her way up to become the Elected Chief of the Six Nations Elected Council.

Hill says receiving the degree this Friday means more to her than just another accolade.

“It’s very meaningful because I never went to post-secondary. I never had the opportunity. Nobody ever encouraged me to do that or gave me that option.” 

Hill, who was born on the Six Nations Reserve and is a Wolf Clan Mohawk, served nine years as a councillor on the Six Nations Elected Council, and then two terms as Elected Chief.

She will receive her honorary doctorate of laws Friday during Brock’s 110th Convocation ceremony. 

Brock will livestream the speaking and ceremonial elements of a traditional ceremony at 11 a.m. at brocku.ca/livestream

Students will also be invited to view their own Convocation Portal, where they will see a personalized celebration page tailored to them.

While this will mark Hill’s first University degree, it’s not the first Brock Convocation ceremony she’s been a part of as her daughter Julie Hill (BBA ’07) graduated from the University in 2007. 

In her keynote address, Hill plans to deliver a message of hope and inspiration to the Class of 2021.

“There are so many Indigenous kids who were treated so badly in schools — both residential schools and day schools,” she said. “We weren’t encouraged, so that’s what I want to do. I’ve always felt the need to encourage young people to be whatever they want to be.

“None of my teachers would have ever thought I would end up being elected the Chief of the largest-populated First Nation in Canada,” she said.

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