Murray Sinclair

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Murray Sinclair is Ojibway-Canadian judge, First Nations rights activist, and the current chair of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Committee.[1]

Early Life[edit]

Justice Sinclair was born and raised in the Selkirk area north of Winnipeg, graduating from his high school as class valedictorian and Athlete of the Year in 1968.[1] Justice Sinclair was an Air Cadet with 6 Jim Whitecross Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron for several years. After serving as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Manitoba, Justice Sinclair continued his academic career at The University of Winnipeg, studying sociology with a history minor in 1975. He successfully applied to law school in 1976 and moved to the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba, where he graduated in 1979.[1]

Legal Career[edit]

He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1980. In the course of his legal practice, Justice Sinclair practiced primarily in the fields of Civil and Criminal Litigation Human Rights and Aboriginal Law. He represented a cross section of clients but by the time of his appointment, was known for his representation of Aboriginal people and his knowledge of Aboriginal legal issues.

Shortly after his appointment as Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988, Justice Sinclair was appointed Co-Commissioner, along with Court of Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice A. C. Hamilton, of Manitoba's Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People (The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry). In November 2000, Justice Sinclair completed the "Report of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest," a study into the deaths of twelve children in the pediatric cardiac surgery program of the HSC in 1994. That report has led to significant changes in pediatric cardiac surgery in Manitoba and the study of medical error in Canada.

He has also served as legal counsel for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba in January 2001.

He is Manitoba's first Aboriginal Judge.[1]

Truth and Reconciliation Committee[edit]

Sinclair was appointed the Chair of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Committee in June 2009. The Commission’s mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools and document the truth of survivors, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the Indian Residential Schools experience.[1]

Personal Life[edit]

Sinclair has been an adjunct professor of law and an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Manitoba. He is married to Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair, and is the father of four children: Misko (Manon) Beaudrie, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Dene Elizabeth Anne Sinclair and Gazhegwenabeek (Gazheek) Morrisseau-Sinclair.

His Ojibway name Mizanay Gheezhik, means "the One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky."[1]

Sinclair has served on numerous community boards including The Boy Scouts, The John Howard Society, The Royal Canadian Air Cadets, The Canadian Club, The Canadian Native Law Students Association, The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, and The Board of Regents of The University of Winnipeg.[1]


Sinclair was awarded the A. J. Christie Prize in Civil Litigation in his second year of law and articled with a law firm in his home town.

He was awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement award in 1994, as well as five honorary degrees for his work in the field of Aboriginal justice.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Justice Murray Sinclair". The University of Winnipeg. Retrieved 2014-03-18.