Claudette Commanda is an Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation located in the province of Quebec. An alumna of the University of Ottawa faculties of Law and 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 the chief executive officer of the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres, a national organization that protects and promotes First Nations culture, languages and traditional knowledge. She is also the CEO of Maclean Day Schools Settlement Corporation. Ms. Commanda has taught at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Women’s Studies, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Law and the Indigenous Studies Program, teaching courses on First Nations Women, Native Education, First Nations People and History, Indigenous Traditions, and Decolonization. She was 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 was the first appointed First Nation Elder in Residence for the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, and the first person of a First Nation heritage to be complete a full term on the Board of Governors for the University of Ottawa. She was also the Special Adviser on Reconciliation, for the Susan & Perry Dellelce Dean, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section). Claudette is a proud mother of four and a grandmother of 10.
In March 2020, Claudette received the 2020 Indspire Award for culture, heritage, and spirituality.
Role and responsibilities
The Chancellor is the titular head of the University, and accordingly, occupies the place of honor at commencement exercises and other functions. She is an ex-officio member of the Senate and is appointed by the Board of Governors, with the concurrence of the Senate, for a term of four years. The Chancellor is also an Honorary Member of the Board of Governors for the duration of her term and enjoys all the rights and privileges of an Honorary Member. She may be reappointed at the end of her term.