Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Awards
November 20-22, 2024 | Winnipeg, MB
The Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Awards recognize Indigenous educators, one Indigenous organization, and one non-Indigenous educator who have made valuable contributions to community-based education and who honour the principles of Indigenous knowledge.
Award recipients receive a complimentary ticket to the 2024 National Gathering for Indigenous Education, an award from Indspire President and CEO, Mike DeGagné, and a gift of $1,000 to be used towards classroom needs. They will also receive an all-expense-paid trip to the awards ceremony in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
2023 Guiding the Journey Recipients
Indigenous Educator Award
Inuit I Iqaluit, NU
Monica Ittusardjuat is an Inuktitut language expert and Inuktitut editor at Inhabit Education which is a Nunavut-based educational resource development company that was incorporated in 2014. Monica has thirty years experience in education and language studies. (M.Ed.) She has taught in elementary and high schools, as well as in the Teacher Education Program at Nunavut Arctic College. She has also worked at Nunavut Arctic College’s Inuktitut Centre of Excellence teaching Inuktitut linguistics at the Interpreter/Translator and Inuit Studies Program. She also worked at the National Inuit Organization for the unification of the Inuktut writing system. After trying to retire, Monica started a new career as a Senior Inuktitut Editor, which she says is her “dream job.”
Lisa Michano-Courchene M.Ed., OCT
Indigenous Educator Award
First Nation I Biigtigong Ninshnaabeg, ON
A mother, wife, and educator from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, Lisa Michano-Courchene (Ziigwan-kwe) from the Bear Clan, has spent the last 23 years in the field of education. She has spent most of her life in the community and along the north shore of Lake Superior, spending time on the land and embracing the teachings from her parents, grandparents, and community members. After leaving the community to attain Western education she was welcomed home into the role of an educator in the local community school. Through the years she has taught various grades, has been a principal and now serves as the Director of Education. One of the main priorities of her work is developing and implementing community-based curriculum enriched with culture, language, traditions, and philosophy of the Anishinaabe people.
Indigenous Educator Award
Inuit I Rankin Inlet, NU
Nadia Sammurtok is an Inuk educator from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. She is a mother of two who is passionate about teaching her children about their Inuktitut language and culture at home. Nadia is a published author and has written several children’s books that focus on her Inuit culture and Inuit societal values. She has also contributed to the field of education by creating, developing, and participating in the advancement of various Inuit and Inuktitut resources for use in Nunavut’s schools. As a single mother, Nadia obtained a Bachelor of Education, and recently, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership Studies. Nadia hopes to one day see the opening of Nunavut’s first Inuktitut school and be part of the team who brings that vision to life.
Partner in Indigenous Education
Mystery Lake School District – Thompson, MB
Loretta Dykun is a strong advocate and partner for reconciliation in her community. As the Cultural Proficiency Consultant at the Mystery Lake School District in Thompson, MB, Loretta was involved in the Wichitowin government-led initiative for education as well as introducing Cultural Proficiency Training to the school district, University College of the North, the Northern Regional Health Authority, and the RCMP. Loretta is a strong promoter of Cree language and, as a speaker, she was involved in the development and creation of the Cree high school level course. She also organized and delivered Indigenous-based Mini-Winterfests in her school district at six elementary schools; these have taken place each year since the early ‘90s. Although she has just retired, Loretta is still working to ensure that Indigenous students have culturally appropriate activities and teachings while also ensuring that non-Indigenous students learn about the culture as well.
Fort Chipewyan Community High School
Fort Chipewyan Community High School (FCCHS), operated by the Mikisew Cree First Nation School Authority, was established in February of 2020 through the collaboration of Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Fort Chipewyan Metis. Combining Alberta Program Of Studies educational practices with traditional, Indigenous learnings, FCCHS aims to promote culture, land-based learning and languages such as Cree and Dene in the daily curriculum. With 90+ graduates since establishment, FCCHS continually adjusts learning approaches to accommodate all students Grades 9-12, including adults. The non-conventional design of the High School allows students to embrace their history and culture while working towards the ultimate goals of a High School Diploma, personal wellness, strong identity and connection to home, and confidence to take steps into the future.