Warner Adam, a tireless advocate for Indigenous children and families, is set to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Northern British Columbia during a special ceremony at the Prince George campus on Oct. 21.
Adam is a member of the Lake Babine Nation and the Chief Executive Officer of Carrier Sekani Family Services. Under his leadership, Carrier Sekani Family Services has become a leader in its field across Canada.
“I am deeply grateful to be selected for this honorary degree and must acknowledge that I owe this privilege to all the Elders that guided me in setting the stage to re-build our Nations and communities. This work can be challenging but our collective efforts have created space for cultural understanding and shared knowledge,” Adam says. “These ways, reinterpreting modern innovations while being informed by the wisdoms and learned practices of Elders, outline the best way in forging ahead with reconciliation and improving the lives of our people and all of society.”
Adam’s connections to UNBC include collaborations with UNBC researchers, including Dr. Sarah de Leeuw, Dr. Margo Greenwood, Dr. Sean Maurice and Dr. Travis Holyk on studies related to health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people as well as reshaping the politics of health care.
“I would also like to acknowledge the good and important work in highlighting Indigenous excellence that the scholars, academics, and leaders at UNBC are dedicated to supporting,” Adam says. “In addition to a commitment to reconciliation, UNBC has also positioned itself as an institution that welcomes Indigenous students, supports their individual needs and celebrates their achievements.”
Adam is an executive producer, along with 2012 UNBC honorary degree recipient Dr. Cindy Blackstock, of the 2021 film For Love. It documents the atrocities committed by the Canadian child welfare system against Indigenous children and families, what is happening now, and how Indigenous communities are reclaiming jurisdictional control of child welfare services.
In addition to his work at Carrier Sekani Family Services, Adam is the founding president of the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society, has served as the deputy chair for the First Nations Health Council for two terms and has served on numerous community boards as well as federal, provincial and First Nations committees. He has also served on the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council executive board, the Lake Babine Nation Council and at treaty tables.
Adam holds a certificate of Administration of Aboriginal Governments from the University of Victoria, a Master of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and a certificate in Indigenous Governance from the University of Arizona.
The honorary degrees will be presented as part of a day of celebration on Oct. 21, which will also include a special in-person celebration for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 as well as the formal installation of UNBC Chancellor Elder Darlene McIntosh and President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Geoff Payne.