Sociology ProgramDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology
Sociology Program

'Robert Animikii Horton

Robert Animikii Horton

"Bebaamweyaazh"

Rainy River First Nations

Manitou Rapids Anishinaabe

Descendant of Long Sault Rapids (“Kaynahchiwahnung”)

Marten Clan (“Waabizheshii Dodem”)

Degree: B.A. (Honors) 2006

Major: Sociology - Politics, Society, and Economy emphasis

Minors: Human Relations and Ethnic Studies

Organization: Rainy River First Nations Trust and Grand Council Treaty Three

Title: Community Fund Trustee and Federal Coordinator

Website: www.rainyriverfirstnationtrust.ca

E-mail address: r.horton.rrfn@gmail.com

Job History, Involvement, and Responsibilities:

Since graduating from St. Cloud State University, Robert has taken his career in a variety of directions ranging from First Nation leadership, academia, sociologist and cultural research, social and political activism, working in politics, writing and authoring published works, speaking internationally, economic development, and creative programming.

Notably, Horton’s focus has been primarily committed to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada.

Horton has recently completed the Aboriginal Trustee Accreditation Program from Lethbridge College (Alberta) in partnership with the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATOA), Technical (TAED) and Professional (PAED) level economic development diploma certifications from CANDO (Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers), and an Ontario teaching license in Social Sciences and Humanities, Native Studies, and English at the Intermediate/Senior (Grades 8-12) level in conjunction with his Bachelors of Education (B.Ed.).

He has been teaching as an instructor in the Department of Education at Lakehead University while earning his Masters of Education since 2012 and now serves on the Lakehead University Alumni Association Board of Direction and the Aboriginal Head Start Board in Thunder Bay.

In 2011, Robert completed the Masters of Arts (Sociology) program from Lakehead University. His Thesis “A Seventh Fire Spark. Preparing the Seventh Generation: What Are the Education-Related Needs and Concerns of Students from Rainy River First Nations?” aimed to amplify voices of past and present students from his First Nation community in order to communicate (to educational and community leaders) their experiences, needs, concerns, and suggested areas where support must be increased to promote educational success and graduation. As part of this Thesis, Robert developed the Gikino Amawaagan First Nation Student Support Wheel. The model seeks to empower students and communities, forges long-term partnerships and equity between student support sources with the student kept central to all efforts, and is built utilizing traditional Anishinaabe cultural teachings, philosophies, epistemologies, and worldviews. The model is guided by the Anishinaabe Medicine Wheel, the Anishinaabe Seven Grandfather Teachings, declarations of commitments to maintaining relationships to benefit each student, and the healing of long-time fractured areas of support that has occurred from the move from traditional education to modern schooling. The Model creates long-term relationships between the family and relations, schools and educators, communities and community leaders, culture holders and elders with prime focus on supporting learning for each student.

Horton has also served as a national representative for a variety of organizations, giving keynote and plenary addresses for/at organizations such as: economic development and business organization Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO), Chiefs of Ontario, Ontario Native Educators and Counselling Association, Indigenous Cooperative on the Environment, treaty regions in Canada, as well as a Treaty Three Community Ambassador at the Ohski-Aa-yaa'aag mino Bimaadiziwin Annual Gathering. 

Since 2007, Rob has been involved in the Treaty #3 region; serving as a Trustee for the Rainy River First Nations $78 million dollar Community Fund Land Claim Trust following the 2005 historic Land Claim in Ontario. He serves his community in promoting and directing approvals towards education, health, economic development, cultural continuity, business, and housing for Rainy River First Nations members. He has also been directly assisting with the Anishinaabemowin Anjimaamino Biijigaade Language Revitalization Project to honour and preserve the Anishinaabe language in partnership with regional elders and leaders. It is a three year research and development project to determine and outline the next 20 years of language initiatives, programs, and planning in the Treaty #3 region of Ontario.

Horton has been served as a Federal Consultation Coordinator for Grand Council Treaty #3 (First Nation political representation) for the National Federal Action Plan to increase positive relations and respect for Treaty rights between indigenous First Nations and the Nation of Canada, as well as serving his First Nation community as an Education Coordinator, Curriculum Developer for the Rainy River District School Board, Social Analyst, youth advocate, assisting the Chief with general and veteran memorial historian research. In 2009, he joined all Ontario’s Grand Chiefs and Mayor Len Compton at an event in Kenora, Ontario as a keynote speaker giving a plenary address and serving on a panel of youth leaders.

Horton’s authored works have been published in; “Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism” (published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and edited by Jessica Yee), “Protecting the Circle: Aboriginal Men Ending Violence Against Women” (published by Ryerson University and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network), and the 2012 book “Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations.”

Horton was recently awarded; the 2008 National Aboriginal Role Model Award from the Queen of England's Representative and Canada's Governor General Michaelle Jean for his work in social justice, leadership, and activist – described as an “Ogichidaa Scholar, Activist, and Future Leader.” Horton was also presented with; the 2008 "Heroes of our Time" Award from the Assembly of First Nations and National Chief Phil Fontaine, the Ontario First Nation Post-Secondary Achievement Award presented by actor Dakota House , induction to a course curriculum on Indigenous Leaders of North America at the Justice Institute of British Columbia by instructor Kirsten Mikkelsen, and an honorary lifetime induction to Alpha Kappa Delta (International Honours Society for Sociologists).  Horton recently received statements of commendation for activism, First Nation leadership, and youth advocacy from Indian and Northern Affairs Representative Chuck Strahl, the Hon. Joe Comuzzi (P.C., Member of Parliament, Superior North) and the Hon. Tony Clement (P.C., Member of Parliament).

How I use sociology in my job(s):

 “I’m always learning. But in terms of how Sociology is used, I utilize my background in sociology in many ways. It begins with learning the root causes of issues, becoming familiar with the processes to create long-term and stable change to influence the world around us in positive way, and then blending such education with personal dedications. This blend guides any sort of efforts ranging from activism, orator work, writing, and working for my People. St. Cloud State University’s Sociology program gave me the first steps on a very unique journey and I am very thankful to the educators who shared their expertise and administrators who supported me.”

Advice for students:

"The best advice I can offer students with an interest in sociology is to acknowledge and fully understand that you are an active part, not a detached aspect, in the society to which you exist. No matter how distant or abstract issues or enacted policies may appear, we are connected within this said society. Sociology opens eyes, minds, and hearts to issues and concepts that one, without placing their feet in the sands of context, may have gone without building an understanding towards. Because you are a part of this world, this society, you can most certainly affect and influence change. Become the change in which you are passionate to see and part of the stability in the foundations of progress made. You are part of this web of life, the world, and society. Be the change you wish to see. It is more than possible to have strong roots and strong wings. Defy convention. Hope. Dream. Imagine. Inspire.

Gashkozin. Niibawain. Giigidoon. Aabijidoongaanaweyin Gaa-gii-miinigooziyin Mii ih gii-pagamishkaag ji-andwaa nikaadomaan niishwaaso-bakine-ishkode.”

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