Carl Urion

Dr. Carl Urion is one of a small group of Aboriginal scholars in Canada who promotes the importance of education, and the development of indigenous education. For the past 30 years, Dr. Urion has created a substantial body of academic work and mentored two generations of Aboriginal students to advance and excel. His own academic career began in the late 1950s when he attended university courses, while working full-time as an agricultural labourer and construction worker. He eventually graduated by earning a B.Ed. with Distinction in 1970 from the University of Alberta. From 1970 to 1973, he was a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Anthropology and a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Education. He earned his Ph.D. in 1978 from the University of Alberta’s Department of Anthropology and held a number of positions with the university including Assistant Professor, Director of the Office of Native Affairs and eventually full Professor in 1987. In 1982, he became the Director of the Office of Native Affairs and was at the forefront of influencing universities to increase access and support for Aboriginal students. As an Aboriginal academic, he was one of the first role models in a university setting who, through his teaching and research, set a new standard for Aboriginal students. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the U of A., and still very much involved in writing and research. His current research covers traditional knowledge, hate crimes, post-traumatic stress disorder in burn patients and the preservation of the Cree language. Despite a debilitating physical illness, Dr. Urion has continued his work with dignity and resolve.