Donate Now Menu


February 04, 2020 – Ohsweken, ON – Ten outstanding Indigenous leaders from a diverse array of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities will be honoured at the 2020 Indspire Awards ceremony in Ottawa, Ontario, on Friday, March 6, 2020. The Indspire Awards are presented by Indspire, a national Indigenous charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Following the ceremony, the 2020 Indspire Awards will broadcast Sunday, June 21 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC, APTN and CBC Radio One.  

The Indspire Awards represents the highest honour the Indigenous community bestows upon its own people.  The Awards recognize Indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding career achievement on a national level in a variety of fields, including: the arts, business, culture, education, health, law, public service, sports, and lifetime achievement. Three Youth Award winners are also being honoured for their accomplishments, serving as role models to other First Nations, Inuit, and Métis youth in their communities and across Canada. 

The nationally-broadcast ceremony will also feature performances by some of the most acclaimed Indigenous performers in Canada, to be announced in the coming weeks.

Indspire is delighted to announce that the recipients of the 2020 Indspire Awards are:

Youth – First Nation
Ta’Kaiya Blaney
Tla’amin First Nation, BC
Internationally Recognized Activist, Actor & Musician

Youth – Inuit
Alicia Aragutak
Umiujaq, Nunavik 
Innovator, Community Leader & Founder of Qarjuit Youth Council

Youth – Métis
Alana Robert
Manitoba Métis Federation, MB
Governor General’s Award Winner, Law Student & Human Rights Advocate

Business & Commerce
Dawn Madahbee Leach
Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, ON
Expert on Indigenous Economy-Building, Community and Business Leader

Culture, Heritage, & Spirituality
Claudette Commanda
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, QC
Elder, Professor, Cultural Advisor & Champion

Candice Lys
Fort Smith Métis Council, NT
Health Educator, Governor General’s Award Winner & Honorary Naval Captain

Karen Lawford
Lac Seul First Nation, ON
Aboriginal Midwife, Registered Midwife, Professor, Community Advocate & Policy-Shaper

Law & Justice
Marian Jacko
Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, ON
First Indigenous Female Children’s Lawyer for Ontario, Advocate for Youth & Community Leader

Public Service
Gina Wilson
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, QC
Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, Canadian Heritage, Partner in Truth & Reconciliation Efforts, Lifelong Public Servant

Lifetime Achievement
Jeannette Corbiere Lavell CM
Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, ON
Lifelong Activist, Cultural Champion, Precedent-Setter & Human Rights Advocate

For full bios on each of the recipients, please visit https://indspire.ca/events/indspire-awards/laureates/

“The Indspire Awards celebrate and honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals who are not only having a profound impact on their communities and the country, but who also serve as positive role models for Indigenous youth,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire and Executive Producer of the Indspire Awards.  “In all they do, these individuals are deeply inspirational, and as leaders in their respective fields, they are motivating young Indigenous people to strive for success.”

This year, each recipient will be presented with a beautiful gold pin featuring a Canadian diamond unearthed from the Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories and supplied by Rio Tinto. The Indspire Awards celebration takes place directly after Soaring, Indspire’s annual empowerment gathering for Indigenous youth, which will be happening from March 5-6, 2020, at the Westin Centre in Ottawa, ON.  Hundreds of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students from across the country are expected to take part in career workshops and motivational presentations, and many will also attend the Indspire Awards ceremony on March 6.  The Indspire Awards recipients’ innovation, hard work, and dedication to Indigenous advancement inspire Indigenous youth to become the next generation of leaders across the country.  Find out more about Soaring here!

Indspire gratefully acknowledges the support of the following sponsors and partners:

Presenting Corporate Sponsor: TD Bank Group
Lead Partner: Government of Canada
Supporting Partner: The Government of Ontario
Indigenous Youth Sponsor: Shell Canada Limited
Major Sponsors & Broadcast Partners: CBC and APTN
Major Sponsors: Suncor Energy Inc., and Syncrude Canada Ltd.
Youth Laureate Sponsor: Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust
Founding Partner and Official Airline: Air Canada
Post-Ceremony Reception Sponsor: Teck Resources Limited
Entertainment Sponsor: The Slaight Family Foundation
Supporting Sponsors: Cenovus Energy, Ontario Power Generation and Rio Tinto

“TD is delighted to congratulate the 2020 Indspire Award recipients. Through the TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship platform, we are proud to highlight this year’s honorees and celebrate their achievements and contributions to Canada and Indigenous communities.” Said Doris Bear, Vice President, Indigenous Banking, TD Bank Group.

For tickets, please call 416.987.0250 or 1.855.INDSPIRE (463.7747) x 228. Tickets can also be purchased online at https://indspire.ca/events/indspire-awards/tickets/ or by emailing ticketsales@indspire.ca. The awards ceremony will be broadcast on APTN and CBC in June during National Indigenous History Month.

About Indspire

Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire provides financial awards, delivers programs and shares resources so that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students will achieve their highest potential. In 2018-2019, Indspire provided more than $16.3 million through 5,553 bursaries and scholarships to First Nations, Inuit and Métis students across Canada. For more information about the 2020 Indspire Awards, please visit indspire.ca.


For media interviews, photos of recipients and more information, please contact:

Nick Foglia
Vice President, Communications and Marketing