Magella “Max” Gros-Louis (or Oné Onti in the Huron-Wendat language, meaning “paddler”), politician, businessman (born on 6 August 1931 in Wendake, QC; died on 14 November 2020 in Quebec City, QC). As chief of the Huron-Wendat for 33 years, Gros-Louis championed several Indigenous causes including the fight for recognition of Indigenous territory and overall equality for Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Max Gros-Louis served as chief of the Huron-Wendat of Wendake for over 30 years.
He later worked as an expedition guide, a surveyor's labourer, travelling salesman and manager of a Huron-Wendat dance troupe. In the 1950s, he became a producer of pan-Indigenous handicrafts.
Max Gros-Louis was first elected chief of the Huron-Wendat of Wendake (formerly Huron of Lorette) in 1964. He served three terms in total: 1964-84, 1987-96 and 2004-08.
During his time as chief, he was involved in the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67. He also served as a secretary and spokesperson during the foundation of the Indians of Quebec Association (from 1966-73). In 1970, as a Quebec representative, Gros-Louis was a founding member of the National Indian Brotherhood (later the Assembly of First Nations).
Gros-Louis also served in international Indigenous organizations, including as vice-chief of both the North American Assembly of First Nations and World Assembly of First Nations.
His autobiography, First Among the Hurons, was published in 1973.
Honours and Awards
Internationally, Gros-Louis has been recognized by the Académie Diplomatique de la Paix and by France with the Legion of Honour and the National Order of Merit.