Gail Guthrie Valaskakis
Media and Communication (2002)
Dr. Gail Guthrie Valaskakis is the leading authority on Northern and Aboriginal media and communications in Canada. She has consistently raised the profile of Aboriginal media and communications in university and government circles. By doing so, she has helped the medium gain crucial academic recognition, policy support and resources, particularly in the North. In the late 1960s, she began her fieldwork for her doctoral dissertation, studying the impacts the satellite system would have on the people of Canada’s North. Years later, she wrote a report, The Role and Future of Aboriginal Communications, for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Numerous articles, papers and research projects came in between. Her expertise has been recognized internationally and Dr. Valaskakis has been invited to lecture in China, Russia, Israel, the United States and at universities across Canada. She began at Concordia University as an Associate Professor, and rose to full Professor, Research Professor, Dean of the school’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Vice-Dean of Academic Planning, and Special Advisor to the Rector on Aboriginal Affairs. She now serves as Director of Research at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation in Ottawa. Dr. Valaskakis was a founding member of the first post-secondary institution in eastern Canada, Manitou College, designed specifically for Aboriginal students. She also helped create the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and used her skills to establish a halfway house north of Montreal. Waseskun House has grown into a full-fledged Healing Lodge for men in trouble with the law. One of the leading Aboriginal academics in all of Canada, Dr. Valaskakis has blazed a true path, countless others will surely follow.