Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild

Commissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission

J. Wilton Littlechild is a Canadian lawyer and Cree chief who served as Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. From 1988 to 1993, Littlechild was the Member of Parliament (PC) for Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

A residential school survivor, he was born in Hobbema, Alberta, and became the first status Indian from Alberta to obtain a law degree (University of Alberta, LLB’76). In 1976 the Cree Nations bestowed him with a headdress as an honorary chief and endowed him with his grandfather’s Cree name, Mahihgan Pimoteyw, which means Walking Wolf. A member of the 1977 Indigenous delegation to the United Nations, he has worked since then on the UN Declaration. Grand Chief Littlechild was commissioner to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada from 2009-2015. Today he is a practicing lawyer in the Erminiskin Reserve, Alberta.

Creator of the North American Indigenous Games, Littlechild is a highly accomplished athlete and inductee into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. His numerous awards include the Order of Canada (1998), the Canada 125 Medal, the Indspire Award for law and justice (2015), the Pearson Peace Medal (2019) and honorary doctorates from several universities.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, affirms the Declaration’s application in Canada. We will discuss how the UNDRIP Act could “close socio-economic gaps, advance reconciliation and renew relationships based on the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.”

The series’ goal is fostering a dialogue with experts in Indigenous issues, as we listen and learn. We hope, together, to make a difference through these conversations. In keeping with Harvard’s Charter of 1650 that mandated Indigenous education, we are dedicated to promoting the work of the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP), as well as UNDRIP.