Jeannette Corbiere Lavell

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Jeannette Corbiere Lavell
Jeannette Vivian Corbiere

(1942-06-21) June 21, 1942 (age 76)
Known forCanada (AG) v Lavell
President of Native Women's Association of Canada
Founder of the Ontario Native Women's Association of Canada

Jeannette Corbiere Lavell CM (born June 21, 1942) is a Canadian and Anishinaabe community worker who focused on women's and children's rights. In 2018, she was honoured as a member of the Order of Canada.[1]


She was born Jeannette Vivian Corbiere in Wikwemikong, Ontario to Adam and Rita Corbiere. Her mother, a school teacher, was a cofounder of the Wikwemikong "Wiky" Powwow. Corbiere Lavell learned English from her mother and Ojibwe from her father. Corbiere Lavell attended business college in North Bay. After graduation, she worked for the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto as an executive secretary.[2] She was associated with the Company of Young Canadians, which gave her an opportunity to travel around the country, and was named, in 1965, as "Indian Princess of Canada".[3]

Corbiere Lavell married David Lavell in 1970, a non-Indigenous man, and subsequently was no longer deemed an Indian according to the Indian Act.[4] She challenged the Act in 1971; though her challenge failed, she inspired a later challenge, the success of which "permitted reinstatement of the First Nations women and children who had lost their status".[5][2] She later served as president of the Native Women's Association of Canada and founded the Ontario Native Women's Association of Canada.[4] Corbiere Lavell served as a cabinet appointee or the Commission on the Native Justice System, president or the Nishnawbe Institute, and president of Anduhyaun Inc. After she earned a teaching degree from the University of Western Ontario, she worked as a teacher and school principal.[3] She co-edited "Until Our Hearts Are On the Ground: Aboriginal Mothering, Oppression, Resistance and Rebirth".[6]

Her daughter, Dawn Harvard, was the youngest ever president of the Ontario Native Women's Association.[7] That organization established an award in honour of Corbiere Lavell in 1987.[3]

In September 2009, she became the president of the organization NWAC (Native Women's Association of Canada) for a three-years period.

In 2016, Corbiere Lavell was awarded an honourary doctorate of laws at York University for her work as a Native women's rights activist and educator.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Erskine, Michael (10 January 2018). "Jeanette Corbiere Lavell named a Member of the Order of Canada". The Manitoulin Expositer. Little Current, Ontario, Canada. Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Jeannette Vivian Corbiere Lavell". Library and Archives Canada. 2000. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Erskine, Michael (April 9, 2014). "Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, a lifelong advocate for women". Manitoulin Expositor. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Keith D. (August 13, 2014). Strange Visitors: Documents in Indigenous-Settler Relations in Canada from 1876. University of Toronto Press. p. 452. ISBN 978-1-4426-0566-4.
  5. ^ Kurszewski, Denise M. "Herstory Month in Canada - celebrating women's achievements". National Union of Public and General Employees. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "Jeannette Corbiere Lavell". Debajehmujig Storytellers. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  7. ^ "Ontario Native Womens Association - Board of Directors". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  8. ^ "Thirteen outstanding individuals will be recognized with honorary degrees at spring convocation | Alumni & Friends". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  9. ^ The Diamond Jubilee Medal
  10. ^ Appointments to the Order of Canada