THE CANADIAN FRENCH-SPEAKING WORLD and some of the people who have contributed to its greatness



Max Gros-Louis

Date of birth:
August 6, 1931

Place of birth:
Village-des-Hurons de Wendake


Grand Chief and champion
of aboriginal rights

Photo : avec l'autorisation du chef
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Max Gros-Louis attended the school in his Amerindian village through grade 4 and then transferred to the Académie de Loretteville through grade 9. He took English by correspondence and concentrated on aboriginal law and its elements, such as the Indian Act, the British North America Act, the Quebec Act and the treaties. From his youth he has been a respected hunter, fisherman and trapper. He has worked at a number of occupations having to do with Amerindian crafts and retail sales. For some 10 years he was vice president of the Association professionnelle des artisans du Québec. From 1964 to 1984, he was Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation. In 1984 he retired from political life, but only very briefly: by 1987 he was back, and in 1994 he was re-elected Grand Chief.

Max Gros-Louis is known above all for his contributions as the founder and director of organizations dedicated to the culture and rights of Amerindians. Between 1965 and 1976 he was successively a founding member, vice president and secretary-treasurer of the Association des Indiens du Québec; he was for five years Secretary of the Indian Advisory Council; for three years he was Director of the World Assembly of First Nations. In 1983 and 1987, he represented aboriginal Quebeckers at federal constitutional conferences on aboriginal law. He has been an administrator of the Aboriginal Economic Development Program and a member of the Multiculturalism Council. Director and Vice Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for 10 years, he has also represented the Abenaki and Huron-Wendat nations and has sat on various national committees of the Association [Assembly?] of First Nations.

In the course of his productive life, Chief Gros-Louis has received many awards and honours and has presided over many political, cultural and sports events. In 1966 he was recognized as a "diplomat for peace" by the Organisation internationale de la presse diplomatique for his involvement and dedication. In 1989, France presented him with its Médaille d'or du Mérite et du dévouement, for his exceptional services to the human community. Two years later he was made a Chevalier of France's Ordre national du mérite. In 1992, he was the guest of honour at the launching, in Laflèche, France, of the celebrations marking the 350th anniversary of the departure from France of the founders of Montreal. Chief Gros-Louis has taken part in many public affairs and cultural broadcasts, which has given him the chance to meet such well-known figures as Charles de Gaulle and Jacques Chirac. He has addressed a number of university groups both in Canada and abroad, and is regarded as an elder by many of Canada's aboriginal nations. All his life, Max Gros-Louis has worked to develop the culture and rights of aboriginal people and to ensure their international recognition.