Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair – Doctor of Civil Laws ('21)

Video transcript

“The road we travel is equal in importance to the destination we seek.”


The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair is a former Canadian senator and was Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Throughout his life and career, he has been an outstanding advocate for Indigenous people.

Justice Sinclair was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988 and to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba in January 2001. He was Manitoba's first and Canada’s second Indigenous judge.

Born and raised in the Selkirk area north of Winnipeg, Justice Sinclair graduated from high school as class valedictorian and athlete of the year in 1968. After serving as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Manitoba, he attended the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba and, in 1979, graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba.

He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1980. In the course of his legal practice, Justice Sinclair practised primarily in the fields of civil and criminal litigation and Aboriginal law.

From June 2009 until its completion in December 2015, he oversaw the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. During that time, he heard the testimony of more than 7,000 former students. The final report, released in December 2015, spanned six volumes and made 94 recommendations to the federal government.

He was appointed to the senate in 2016 and served actively until his retirement in January 2021.

Justice Sinclair was awarded one of the first National Aboriginal Achievement awards in 1994. Since then, he has received many other prestigious honours and more than a dozen honorary degrees.

Justice Sinclair is married to Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair (Animiki-quay). They have five children and five grandchildren.