OTTAWA – Gov. Gen. David Johnston acknowledged the importance of indigenous leadership Monday as he presented a number of awards during a ceremony at Rideau Hall. Here is a list of those honoured:
Sylvia Maracle, of Toronto, was named an officer of the Order of Canada. As executive director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, she has transformed the organization from a handful of reception hubs for migrating Indigenous Peoples into more than two dozen culturally grounded centres of community building.
Gord Downie, of Toronto, was named a member of the Order of Canada. The frontman of The Tragically Hip for 30 years, Downie was recognized for his devotion to promoting dialogue, raising awareness of the history of residential schools and moving the country along the path to reconciliation. Downie’s band mates — Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair — have also been named members of the order and are to receive their citations at a later date.
Jacqueline Guest of Bragg Creek, Alta., was named a member of the Order of Canada. An author with strong Metis roots, she has been a staunch advocate of youth and adult literacy in Canada and abroad.
Alethea Arnaquq-Baril of Iqaluit, Nunavut, was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division). The founder of Unikkaat Studio Inc., she has inspired Inuit communities to reconnect with their ancestral values and lost traditions through her many films.
J. Wilton Littlechild of Hobbema, Alta., and Marie Wilson of Yellowknife, N.W.T., were awarded the Meritorious Service Cross for their work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which examined the history of the residential school system. Sen. Murray Sinclair of Winnipeg was also awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, but will receive his insignia at a later date.
Stanley Vollant of Pessamit, Que., was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross. He promoted indigenous heritage with the Innu Meshkenu (My Innu Path), a 6,000-km walk that passed through indigenous communities across eastern Canada.
John Elliott of Victoria, B.C., and Elmer Seniemten George of Brantwood Bay, B.C., were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal after they translated the Douglas Treaties of the mid-1850s into the Lekwungen and Sencoten First Nation languages, helping shed light on the lack of understanding that existed between colonialists and First Nations when the treaties were first signed.
Hovak Johnston of Yellowknife was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for creating the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project to re-establish an Inuit art form that was on the verge of being lost. Marjorie Tahbone of Nome, Alaska, who also worked on the project will receive the Meritorious Service Medal later.
Tina Keeper, Andre Lewis and the late Mary Richard were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Fulfilling Richard’s vision, Keeper and Lewis produced Going Home Star–Truth and Reconciliation, a presentation performed by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. It tells the story of a young aboriginal couple confronting a painful past.
William MacLeod of Mistissini, Que., was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his leadership in economic development for northern Quebec. He made the Cree Construction and Development Co., one of the top construction companies in the province.
Julie Pellissier-Lush of Summerside, P.E.I., was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. She is a founding member of the Mi’kmaq Legends theatre troupe and preserves the legends of her ancestors through her work as a writer, actress and mentor to young performers.
Percy Sacobie of Fredericton, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. He built the Take a Break Lodge, a sweat lodge on St. Mary’s First Nation, to help people on their journey to recovery from mental illness and addiction.
Jordin Tootoo of Coquitlam, B.C., was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. The NHL star uses his celebrity to promote healthy lifestyles in the North. His Team Tootoo Fund encourages conversations about addiction and suicide and inspires youth to stay in school and pursue their dreams.
Ann Maje Raider of Watson Lake, Yukon, was awarded the Polar Medal in recognition of her exemplary dedication to community healing and enhanced safety. The executive director of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society she was instrumental in the creation of the Together for Justice community safety protocol which, in collaboration with the RCMP, established a framework that profoundly strengthened community-police relations in Watson Lake.
Darlene Scurvey of Whitehorse, Yukon was awarded the Polar Medal for her work as an early childhood educator at the Duska’a Head Start Family Learning Centre, where she promotes the preservation of traditional language and culture.
Barbara Bernard of Scotchfort, P.E.I., was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for her work as a community builder and organizer with the Aboriginal Women’s Association of Prince Edward Island.
Pauline Busch of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. As President of the Aboriginal Women of Manitoba for 10 years, she championed several important initiatives to eliminate family violence and crimes against indigenous women and girls.
Anita Campbell of Thompson, Man., was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for her work with the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Metis Women of Manitoba.
William Cranmer of Alert Bay, B.C., was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, He was instrumental in repatriating potlatch artifacts that were confiscated by the Canadian government in the 1920s, and in founding two cultural centres in British Columbia to preserve and exhibit these sacred items.
Pamela Glode-Desrochers of Halifax was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for her years of work with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.
Daryl Dancing Buffalo Kootenay of Morley, Alta., was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for his work with organizations as Canada World Youth and Canada Bridges.
Jarret Leaman of Toronto, was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for his work in support of indigenous youth, entrepreneurs and LGBTQ issues.
Opolahsomuwehs Imelda Perley of Fredericton, was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for her work teaching language, storytelling and other traditions in ndigenous communities.
Odelle Pike of Stephenville, N.L. was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for her work with the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network and the Newfoundland Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
Marilyn Sark of Lennox Island, P.E.I. was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for her efforts in supporting indigenous communities in Prince Edward Island, notably with the Aboriginal Nurses’ Association of Canada and the Aboriginal Women’s Association of P.E.I.