Dan Goodleaf

Dan E. Goodleaf’s career in the public service has led him to attain two firsts: the first Aboriginal person to be an Ambassador for Canada; and the first Aboriginal Deputy Minister in any federal government department. Born on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve, Mr. Goodleaf is Canada’s Ambassador to Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica, and he believes his life in the public service allows him to make a positive difference. He has said that “if you really want something in your life, you can achieve it, as long as it is positive.” Even being hospitalized with tuberculosis when he was 13 didn’t stop him from finishing in the top 10 per cent of his class. Mr. Goodleaf earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Loyola College in Montreal and, after a brief stint as an ironworker in the United States, became Co-ordinator of the Native Youth Program for the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) in 1973. He rose quickly through the ranks of DIAND becoming Deputy Minister in 1993, the highest level possible for a public servant. As Deputy Minister, he was instrumental in settling some major outstanding Aboriginal treaty issues, such as the Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement, the British Columbia Treaty Process, and Nunavut. In 1995, he was appointed Canada’s Ambassador to Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. Mr. Goodleaf’s personal mission is to improve the lives of impoverished children in Costa Rica.