Howard Adams

There are many things the great Louis Riel and Howard Adams would have agreed upon. There is also no doubt both these great Métis leaders, from different centuries, led lives guided by one time-honoured principle – the status quo is totally unacceptable. Now in his 70s, Dr. Adams takes it as a compliment if you label him a radical. In fact, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Fiercely proud of his Métis heritage, there are many who argue Dr. Adams single-handedly placed Métis concerns and conditions at the forefront of the Saskatchewan political agenda in the 1960s. He raised such a clamour that the provincial government invited him to serve as Deputy Minister of Indian and Métis Affairs. He refused – then kept on fighting from his favourite position – outside the mainstream.  A respected academic – he’s Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Davis. He is a member of the adjunct faculty, the University of Alberta’s graduate program in First Nations education and a prolific author.  Back from studies at Berkeley in the 1960s, he joined every University of Saskatchewan Aboriginal committee he could find, often pushing aside non-Native liberals from leadership roles. In retaliation these same liberals questioned Dr. Adams Métis status. After all, they argued, how could he be a “half-breed” if he had a Ph. D.? And so the fight has continued right up to the present day.  A modern-day Riel? Gabriel Dumont? You decide. Howard Adams was a 1999 National Aboriginal Achievement Award recipient in the Education category.