Trent University Professor Emeritus Marlene Brant Castellano appointed to the Order of Canada
Prof. Castellano among 74 new appointments announced by the Governor General of Canada
Trent University Professor Emeritus Marlene Brant Castellano, has received Canada's highest honour for lifetime achievement in her appointment to the Order of Canada, as announced last week by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada.
Prof. Castellano, a longstanding member of Trent's Native Studies department, has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada and is among 74 new appointments, including 17 Officers.
The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour. Appointments are made on the recommendation of an Advisory Council, chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada. The Governor General is the Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order.
"A bridge between cultures, Marlene Brant Castellano has worked throughout her life for the rights and well-being of Aboriginal peoples. Professor Emeritus at Trent University, she helped pave the way for Native studies as an academic discipline. She is also renowned for promoting community-based research, which respects Native traditions. This was central to the work of the influential Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, where she served as Co-Director of Research. She maintains a strong involvement with health and educational initiatives for Native Canadians and participates on panels and councils, sharing her wisdom, experience and leadership," states the award citation.
Prof. Castellano taught in the Native Studies Department at Trent in 1971 and 1972 and joined the faculty in 1973, just four years after the establishment of the program - the first of its kind in Canada. Prof. Castellano also served as Chair of the department from 1989 until 1991, at which time she became Co-Director of Research for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Prof. Castellano retired from Trent in 1996 but returned to teach in the first year of the Native Studies Ph.D. program and continues to be involved in an advisory capacity.
President Bonnie Patterson praised Prof. Castellano for her accomplishments as a faculty member and as an influential Canadian.
"Prof. Castellano has been working to positively influence peoples' lives and society since the very beginning of her illustrious career. On behalf of Trent University, it is an honour to congratulate Prof. Castellano on this well-deserved recognition," says President Patterson.
Prof. Castellano says she sees herself standing with "a foot in two worlds" - one in the Aboriginal world and the other in academe.
"I'm one of few people who is putting into words what Aboriginal people are telling me," she says. "They are the originators of the things I write... If you see me going forward to accept the insignia of the Order of Canada, you can imagine a whole host of people at my shoulders who have given me the words to pass along."
Prof. Castellano is a member of the Mohawk Nation, Bay of Quinte Band, who has also pursued careers as a social worker in child and family services and as a full-time wife and mother launching four sons into the world. She currently serves on the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics, which is charged by the Presidents of Canada's federal granting agencies - Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - with updating the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethics of Human Research.
Professor Castellano holds a B.A. degree from Queen`s University, an M.S.W. degree from the University of Toronto and has done graduate study in the field of adult education at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Her teaching, research and publications centre around social and cultural issues, participatory research methods, and the application of traditional knowledge in contemporary settings.
Professor Castellano has received honorary LLD degrees from Queen's, St. Thomas and Carleton Universities and was inducted into the Order of Ontario in 1995 and in 1996 received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her contribution to education.
She maintains a permanent residence on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory on the Bay of Quinte with her husband Vincent and continues with consulting work on social development and Aboriginal policy while balancing commitments as a grandmother.
Photo by Terry Bush
Posted February 21, 2005