Ernest Benedict

Ernest Benedict is an elder of the Mohawk Nation whose influence as an educator, traditional leader and enduring force in social and community development continues to influence Aboriginal people.  He received a B.A. from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY in 1941 when Canadian Aboriginals with university degrees were almost non-existent.  He began recording the North American Indian history and culture through curriculum materials, visual aids, books and artifacts.  This development was revolutionary and unique, contributing to the education system which had no Native studies programs, no cultural inclusion units, nor Aboriginal input in the classroom.  In the years that followed, Mr. Benedict helped develop the Indian Way School, the Indian Survival, and the concept of “native control of Indian education”.  He was a lecturer and professor at Trent University, Loyalist College, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, St. Lawrence University, McGill University and Concordia University.  He served as Chief and Grand Chief of the Akwesasne Council, formed two community newspapers, worked with Aboriginal inmates, on drug and alcohol prevention, with Friendship Centres and many other activities.  On the international level, Ernest presented an eagle feather to Pope John Paul II on behalf of the Native People of Canada.  Ernest continues to teach, write, and act as a cultural and spiritual leader in Cornwall Island, Ontario.