“The Road to Knowledge is Eternal” A life time of Commitment to Anishinaabe Education.
Grand Chief Eddie Benton Banai granted two degrees at special ceremony in Northwestern Ontario
Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig is proud to announce the bestowal of two doctoral degrees on Professor Edward Benton Banai (Bawdaywidun Banaise)
Bawdwaywidun was granted the Doctorate of Indigenous Philosophy for his successful completion of the Andaa Wiinjigewin program at Seven Generations Institute.
Bawdwaywidun was also recognized with the Degree of Meritorious Doctor of Indigenous Studies for Meritorious Service as an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper by the Worlds Indigenous Nations University.
Grand Chief Bawdwaywidun has dedicated his life to the betterment of the Anishinaabe people. Bawdwaywidun began his career in education in the 1960s working as an educator, community organizer and spiritual leader for the American Indian Movement (AIM). Bawdwaywidun was not satisfied with the poverty and deplorable social conditions in the Native communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota which resulted from the Indian Boarding School system and failed American policies for dealing with “the Indian Problem.” Bawdwaywidun worked to create a school for Native children to have a safe place to relearn their culture and history and avoid the racism that was ever prevalent in the mainstream school system. This vision came to life in the 1970s with the creation of the Red School house in Minneapolis. In the 1980s Bawdwaywidun authored the “Mishomis Book” a one of a kind book about Anishinabe history, culture and worldview which has helped countless Anishinabe people find pride in their identity.
Since that time Bawdwaywidun has worked in both Canada and the United States working as a teacher and school administrator. Bawdwaywidun specializes in teaching Anishinaabe philosophy, history, culture, and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway Language). Throughout his life and career, Bawdwaywidun has used a “culture based education” approach that centres the students’ learning in Anishinaabe philosophy and the worldview of the Anishinaabe people. Bawdwaywidun also serves his people as the Grand Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, the modern embodiment of the historic Midewiwin Society.
In 2008 Bawdwaywidun became the Professor of Anishinaabe Studies at Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig in Sault Ste Marie. Shingwauk is an Anishinaabe culture-based post secondary institute which is the embodiment of the vision of Chief Shingwaukonse to create a “Teaching Wigwam” where Anishinaabe people could learn their culture as well as the best of what European settlers had to offer.
Bawdwaywidun’s lifelong commitment was recognized by the world this week at a special ceremony in Fort Frances, Ontario. Bawdwaywidun was granted his PhD in Indigenous Studies and an honourary doctorate degree at the Annual General Meeting of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC). WINHEC was founded in 2002 at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education. The Goal of WINHEC is to promote and protect Indigenous sovereignty, cultures, languages, and right to self determination through higher education.
The degrees were conferred by World Indigenous Nations University Chancellor Turoa Royal at a special ceremony at the Sacred and Spiritual grounds of Naicatchewenin First Nation. “Collectively, we recognize the importance of the lifelong contributions Bawdwaywidun has made to awaken our minds, our spirits, our desire to do that which was told to Anishinaabe in particular, but has ultimately impacted Indigenous peoples globally.” Chancellor Royal said.
Bawdwaywidun was accompanied at the ceremony by Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig President Darrell Boissoneau, Ontario Regional Grand Chief Isadore Day, Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge Eastern Doorway Chief, Jim Dumont and many other friends and family.
“Doctor Bawdwaywidun is an esteemed and respected Elder and scholar in cultural based Anishinabe education who has been a inspiration to many students who have walked through the doors of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig University from which they received their accreditation in 2012” said Darrell Boissoneau, President of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.. “Today we are proud of our professor and join the world in recognizing his lifelong work in ensuring the Anishinabe Worldview continues on for another seven generations.”
It is clear that Bawdwaywidun has and continues to do incredible work for his people and all indigenous people around the world. He leaves good tracks on the road of Anishinaabe Mino Bimaadiziwin; good life for generations to follow.
Words of congratulations and support poured in from Anishinaabe leadership across the territory.
“Dr. Banai has always been considered a leader in the area of education, culture, and language within the Anishinabek Nation and it is inspiring to see him recognized for his contributions to indigneous education. He is a leader that students and all citizens look up to because he also believes in personal life long learning.”
Grand Council Chief Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee
“I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving to be honoured with such a prestigious doctorate. Bawdwaywaydin (Eddie Benton) is a recognized elder and is sought for his knowledge in designing and developing culture-based curriculum based on Anishinabe philosophy and theology. Eddie’s unique teaching style has made a difference in our students lives, providing them hope and pride as Anishinabek peoples. Congratulations brother! We are proud of you.”
Chief Lyle Sayers, Garden River First Nation
“I want to offer my congratulations to our friend and colleague, Eddie Benton-Banai – Bawdwaywidun – on receiving this great honour. This is so well deserved. We at Algoma University, have been privileged to have been able to work with Eddie, and our students have benefited greatly from their interactions with him, especially as he has guided them in their understanding of Anishinaabe language and culture. We are looking forward to our continued work with Eddie in the future.”
President, Algoma University