Ovide Mercredi installed as chancellor of Manitoba's newest university

Ovide Mercredi has been installed as the first chancellor of the University College of the North, which serves students above the 53rd parallel.

Ovide Mercredihas beeninstalled as the first chancellor of the University College of the North, which serves students above the 53rd parallel.

Mercredi was honoured in a ceremony at the university's The Pas campus on Tuesday.

"The installation of the chancellor is just part of that process of completing the institution and now dedicating its focus on its vision for the future, which is serving the north, making sure that education is valued in the communities," Mercredi said.

"I think it's a very symbolic indication to the young people in aboriginal communities that they have opportunities if they pursue them, and that any one of them could become a future chancellor of the University of the North, or a president of a university, or a professor, and so on.

"Whatever they choose to do, they can accomplish it."

The position adds to Mercredi's long list of accomplishments.The lawyer, who is chief of the Misipawistik Cree Nation, has held several top jobs in the native community, including grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and played key roles in constitutional discussions for the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord.

He is only the second aboriginal person to be named chancellor of a university in Canada.Mary Simon, an Inuit woman installed at Trent University in Ontario, was the first.

The University College of the North's programming focuses on community, northern and aboriginal development, offering certificates, diplomas and degrees to about 2,600 students on campus at The Pas and Thompson and through satellite centres in 10 northern communities.

The institution offers more than 40 programs ranging from trades, health-care and nursing— including aboriginal midwifery— to law enforcement and aboriginal self-government administration.