Waswanipi, Québec , Canada
|| October 28, 1961
May 27, 2017 03:28pm
Native American -
|Info||Diom Romeo Saganash is a Canadian politician and the Member of Parliament for the Quebec riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou. He is a member of the New Democratic Party and was first elected in the 2011 federal election, succeeding Yvon Lévesque of the Bloc Québécois. |
Saganash was born on October 28, 1961 at Waswanipi, a native reserve in Quebec. He attended law school at the University of Quebec in Montreal and in 1989 he became the first Cree to receive a law degree in Quebec. Saganash's first language is Cree; he is also fluent in English and French.
Saganash attended an Indian residential school. At the age of 7, he was among 27 Cree children taken from their homes to attend French-language schooling in La Tuque, while living with an English-speaking, Anglican family. The program was cancelled the following year, but he remained there for 10 years, completing his schooling in French.
In 1985, Saganash founded the Cree National Youth Council. Saganash was served as deputy grand chief of the James Bay Crees of Northen Quebec from 1990 to 1993.
Prior to his election, Saganash served as director of governmental relations and international affairs for the Grand Council of Crees. From 1997 to 2000, Saganash chaired the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment.
As a prominent Cree figure in a riding with many Aboriginal voters, Saganash received personal support from NDP Quebec lieutenant Thomas Mulcair, who referred to Saganash as a "very important candidate".
On Friday September 16, 2011, Saganash announced that he was running for the leadership of the NDP, to succeed Jack Layton. He is believed to be the first aboriginal leader to run for the leadership of a major Canadian party.