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Tribute to the late Honourable James K. Bartleman

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August 23, 2023

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The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) extends deep condolences to the family and friends of the late Honourable James K. Bartleman, the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Mr. Bartleman believed in the importance of reconciliation and substantive equality and dedicated his life to advancing human rights. 

As a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and first Indigenous Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Mr. Bartleman advocated to improve education and literacy for Indigenous youth and reduce stigma around mental health. A public servant with a 35-year diplomatic career in the Canadian foreign service, an author, and a keen spokesperson for Ontario’s Indigenous communities, he promoted the significance of identifying and removing systemic barriers for everyone.

In his lifetime, he received 13 honorary degrees and numerous distinctions, including the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and a Knight of Justice in the Order of St. John. Also, he received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, published five non-fiction books and three novels, and launched the first Lieutenant Governor’s Book Drive.

His legacy is inspirational, and his passing is a great loss for Ontario. The OHRC commends his work to remove barriers for Indigenous communities and to make education a tool to reduce inequalities across Ontario.