Picture of Dr. Marie Battiste

Dr. Marie Battiste

Change agent, public intellectual, and world-class scholar

A change agent, a public intellectual, and a world-class scholar, Dr. Battiste has been instrumental in setting the foundation for Native studies in North America. By developing courses that inspire and respect Aboriginal knowledges, teachings, languages and heritages, her vision of education reform set the standard for scholarship in many universities and institutions across North America. Born to Mi’kmaw parents who did not finish primary school, this “guru” of Aboriginal university education and research says it all started with her parents' words of encouragement. “They made me feel good and I liked that. They nourished my learning spirit.” More importantly, her parents passed on Mi’kmaw language and teachings to begin her learning journey. This journey was inspired also by what was going on around her at the time. “Racism, inequality, systemic discrimination, learning from Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement how to make changes—all of these have been inspiring, motivating triggers in my life.” Her achievements and commitments to Aboriginal knowledge, learning, anti-racism and decolonization of conventional education systems have created significant pathways and innovations. But through all of her intellectual discourses and writings, it is the Mi’kmaw teachings that guided both her parents in their artistry in basket making and her own learning and achievements—“Do the best you can and take pride in all you do.”