Marcel Gagnon, an accomplished artist and advocate for the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Thursday at the 2021 convocation at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Gagnon, who belongs to the Bear Clan, is an Elder in Residence at the Prince George Post-Secondary Institute and has been recognized for his many accomplishments.
And that’s a long list.
Gagnon is a longtime advocate for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, has spent nearly two decades sharing his Indigenous teachings with men in provincial and federal corrections, has worked as a counselor in addiction and released four studio albums for which he received two Juno Award nominations.
WATCH | Gagnon performs live from the UNBC campus radio studio:
According to a statement from the university, since he began serving as an Elder-in-Residence in 2018, Gagnon has been committed to sharing his knowledge and understanding of his cultural teachings and has been instrumental in introducing the Aboriginal justice system in Prince George.
“The connection to my spiritual and cultural past has been huge for me and has helped me unleash the gifts I’m meant to share with the world,” Gagnon told CBC Radio producer Michael Juk ahead of the graduation ceremony. .
Gagnon dedicated his first album, Crazy creator, to residential school survivors. His musical style weaves elements of blues and rock and, according to Gagnon, is still influenced by his Indigenous history and spirituality.
During the pandemic, the accomplished elder lived off the grid in a cabin on a lake north of Prince George and is currently working on his memoir.
In a statement, he said it was a great honor to receive the honorary doctorate: “I accept and share this honor on behalf of my dear mother Margaret Gagnon.
LISTEN | Gagnon speaks with CBC producer Michael Juk about connecting with himself and with the land during the pandemic:
10:25Off stage: Marcel Gagnon