Margo Greenwood, a recently appointed senator for British Columbia

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, an opportunity to learn about the cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis and those who are committed to their well-being.

Last November, The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the Governor General appointed Dr. Margo Greenwood as an independent senator to fill a vacancy for British Columbia.

Dr. Margo Greenwood is an internationally recognized and highly respected Indigenous scholar of Cree ancestry. She is a researcher, author, mother to three sons, and grandmother to one granddaughter. Dr. Greenwood grew up in Ponoka, Alberta and has lived the majority of her adult life in Vernon, British Columbia.

From a young age, Senator Greenwood credits calling on the power of dreaming to overcome challenges in her life journey. Personally and professionally, her dream – and vision – of bettering the lives of children, families, and communities has evolved over the years. Senator Greenwood is particularly recognized for her commitment to the health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children. While she has travelled around the world, contributing to policy and program development to improve the lives of Indigenous children and youth, she has made Western Canada her home and represents British Columbia as an Independent Senator. In this capacity, she is deeply committed to promoting and ensuring the continued well-being of all children and families in Canada.

Senator Margo Greenwood. | Photo courtesy of Senate of Canada

Internationally, Senator Greenwood has worked with UNICEF, the United Nations, the World Forum Foundation, and the Canadian Reference Group to the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Nationally, she has served on the National Public Health Expert Advisory Committee for the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health, the Indigenous Health Advisory Committee for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Public Health Network of Canada. She also participated in the development of three federal early childhood programs: the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative, the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Program, and the First Nations Head Start On Reserve Program. She also recently co-authored the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework. Provincially, Senator Greenwood serves on the Board of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia and is a Council Member of the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. She was also a founding member of the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society, where she served as the inaugural Vice President for 10 years.

When Dr. Greenwood was appointed to the Senate, she was serving in two prominent national capacities alongside her professorship at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC): as Academic Leader of the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health, where she had worked since its inception in 2005; and as interim Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health. Senator Greenwood remains a Professor in the Education Program at UNBC. In 2015, she was named one of the University of British Columbia’s top 100 educators.

In recognition of her outstanding leadership and contributions to society, Senator Greenwood is the recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth II, for her work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in early childhood education; the Perry Shawana Child Care Advocacy Award from the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society; the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (now the Indspire Award) for Education, from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation; the Academic of the Year Award, from the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC; and most recently she was appointed to the Order of Canada as an Officer, for her scholarship in early childhood education and her transformational leadership in Indigenous health policy.

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Source : Senate of Canada