Keynote Speakers.

Senator Murray Sinclair.

Senator Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada’s second.

He served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of the TRC, he participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada, culminating in the issuance of the TRC’s report in 2015. He also oversaw an active multi-million-dollar fundraising program to support various TRC events and activities, and to allow survivors to travel to attend TRC events.

Senator Sinclair has been invited to speak throughout Canada, the United States and internationally, including the Cambridge Lectures for members of the Judiciary of various Commonwealth Courts in England.

He served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Manitoba. He was very active within his profession and his community and has won numerous awards, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (1994) and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2017) from Indspire, the Manitoba Bar Association’s Equality Award (2001) and its Distinguished Service Award (2016). He most recently received the President’s Award from the Canadian Bar Association (2018), the SSHRC Impact Award (2019) and will be the 2019 recipient of the Symons Medal.

Senator Sinclair has received Honorary Doctorates from fourteen Canadian universities and
was appointed to the Senate on April 2, 2016.

While in the Senate he has served on the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. He is currently a member of the Senate Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senator’s Committee as well as Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and Rights of Parliament.

Senator Joe Williams.

Joe Williams is a Wiradjuri/Wolgalu, First Nations man born in Cowra, NSW. Having lived a 15 year span as a professional sports person, playing in the National Rugby League for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching to professional Boxing in 2009. Although forging a successful professional sporting career, Joe battled the majority of his life with suicidal ideation and Bi-Polar Disorder. After a suicide attempt in 2012, he felt his purpose was to help people who struggle with mental illness through his foundation The Enemy Within.

Joe is an author having released his own autobiography titled Defying The Enemy Within in 2018 and in 2017 was named as finalist in the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards for his work with suicide prevention and fighting for equality for Australia’s First Nations people. Joe received the Wagga Citizen of the Year in 2015 for his work within the community, mental health and suicide prevention sectors and in 2018 received Suicide Prevention Australia’s highest honour, a LiFE Award for his dedication and work in community in the mental health and suicide prevention sector. More recently, Joe was named a dual winner of the Australian Mental Health Prize in Nov 2019.