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Suzanne Carrière: If We Can All Be Friends, We Can All Move Forward

Canada’s first Métis citizenship judge, Suzanne Carrière, has presided over 1,950 citizenship ceremonies, personally welcoming over 145,000 newcomers into the Canadian family. As one of only 9 citizenship judges in Canada, she uses her platform unfailingly to speak about reconciliation being a shared responsibility of all Canadians, whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous, whether born here or elsewhere. In June 2021, she was honoured to preside the very first citizenship ceremony in Canadian history using a revised oath of citizenship recognizing the right of Indigenous Peoples, in response to TRC Call to Action #94.

“New Canadians I find are really receptive to the message and the idea of reconciliation. Sometimes even more so than people that are born here. I think because many of them might come from other colonized countries, so they’ve experienced colonization before. So a lot of them really seem to get it, and so one of the best parts of my job are when I get to have interesting conversations with people about reconciliation and what people’s role is in reconciliation in Canada.

Suzanne has many Indigenous leaders that she admires. Perhaps one of the more well known of those Indigenous leaders is the former member of the Senate and the Chief Commissioner of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She was forever impressed with his powerful conversation about the simplicity of why we should simply strive to be friends.

Prior to her appointment as a citizenship judge, she practiced law for over 14 years, including 8 years with the federal Department of Justice in Aboriginal Legal Services. During that time, she represented Canada in more than 200 hearings and settlement interviews with Indian residential school survivors as part of a dispute resolution process established to resolve claims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse suffered at the schools. She considers this work to have been life-changing.

Suzanne Carrière is proudly Red River Métis on both sides of her family, and lives, works and plays on Treaty 1 territory with her husband and three children.

Among the many suggested books to read, here are but a few: 


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