Jeannette Corbiere Lavell

Jeannette Corbiere Lavell portrait

Doctor of Education

(honoris causa) DEd

Jeannette Corbiere Lavell was born on the Wikwemikong Reserve on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, belonging to the Nishnawbe people.

In 1970, Corbiere Lavell received notice from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development that she was no longer considered an Indian according to the Indian Act because she had married a non-native man. She challenged section 12 of the Indian Act on the basis that it was discriminatory. The case would go to the Supreme Court of Canada which ruled that the Bill of Rights did not apply to that section of the Indian Act. It would take until 1985 for section 12 of the Indian Act to be repealed.

Corbiere Lavell is a founding member of the Ontario Native Women's Association. She was Vice-Chairwoman from 1972 to 1973 and President from 1974 to 1975. She was elected a Vice-President of the Native Women's Association of Canada. She also held the position of President of both the Nishnawbe Institute and Anduhyaun Inc.

She was a cabinet appointee to the Commission on the Native Justice System, an education/employment counsellor, and a consultant to the community for the Ontario government.

Corbiere Lavell works tirelessly against injustice. The Ontario Native Women’s Association established the Jeannette Corbiere Lavell Award “to be presented annually to a deserving Native Woman demonstrating the same qualities and dedication as Jeannette”.

Nipissing University will bestow Jeannette Corbiere Lavell with an honorary doctor of education.

Honorary Degree Recipient: Jeannette Corbiere Lavell