Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Citizen and Senator has been honoured as a recipient of the Law Foundation of Ontario’s coveted 2020 Guthrie Award.
The 2020 Guthrie Award is an annual recognition that showcases exceptional access to justice champions and contributions to the community. This year the award was given to the Elders’ Council, an all-Indigenous panel made up of 13 Elders and knowledge keepers, including MNO Citizen and Honourary Senator Verna Porter-Burnelle.
Like her fellow Council peers, Verna Porter-Burnelle was selected to serve the Elders Council due to her well established personal leadership strengths, specialized knowledge and her ability to lend a Métis perspective to the discussions and deliberations.
The Elders Council engages Indigenous approaches to support the work of the Indigenous Justice Division (IJD) of the Ministry of the Attorney General; with a long term goal of repairing the relationship between the Ministry and Indigenous communities.
“The Elders bring a compelling truth and integrity to their work,” shared Linda Rothstein, the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Board Chair. “By sharing their knowledge and lived experiences directly with those within the justice sector, the Elders’ Council is helping to transform not just opinions but policies and laws that could bring about meaningful change and improve access to justice for Indigenous people across the province.”
Senator Porter-Brunelle was one of the founding members of the Georgian Bay Moon River Council, where she served as Chair, Women’s Representative and Senator. She also served as Senator to the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) and spent three years as an Elder at the Aboriginal Education Center at Georgian College in Midland, Ontario.
Her efforts on the Elders’ Council help to guide Ontario in its mission to reclaim Indigenous legal systems, strengthen supports, and provide better access to justice services for Ontario’s Indigenous peoples.
The Métis Nation of Ontario extends its congratulations and sincere gratitude to Verna Porter-Brunelle, and all of her Council colleagues, for their continued efforts to create a more just system for Métis, and for Ontario.