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Indspire Announces 2014 Indspire Award Recipients

October 29, 2013

Indspire announced the 14 outstanding Indigenous Canadians who have been selected as the recipients of the 2014 Indspire Awards and who were acknowledged in the House of Commons today. The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons acknowledged the names of the award recipients after Question Period and hosted a reception in their honour immediately after.

The 2014 Indspire Award recipients are:

“Our award recipients are the outstanding leaders in their fields, having made extraordinary contributions to their communities and to Canada,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. “We honour their accomplishments so those following in their footsteps will be inspired to fulfill their own great potential. The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the summit of achievement amongst Indigenous peoples, and by recognizing the early achievements of successful First Nation, Inuit and Métis youth we are inspiring their peers to reach for the stars.”

The 21st Annual Indspire Awards national gala will be held on Friday, March 21, 2014 at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg. Global Television and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) are the returning exclusive broadcast partners, airing the gala ceremony at a later date. For tickets, please call 416.987.0250 or 1.855.INDSPIRE (463.7747) x228. Tickets can also be purchased online at indspire.ca/tickets or via e-mail at ticketsales@indspire.ca.

This year’s Awards gala is being presented by CIBC. Gerry McCaughey, President and Chief Executive Officer stated “CIBC is proud to return as presenting sponsor of the Indspire Awards to celebrate the extraordinary talent and achievement of the recipients: artists, entrepreneurs, legal and political champions, teachers, athletes, environmental guardians and cultural proponents. These individuals reflect the broad range of skills and innovation in Indigenous communities across Canada. The Indspire Awards shine a national spotlight on the success and contributions of our country’s Indigenous peoples, and we join with all Canadians in congratulating this year’s recipients.”

Formerly called the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, the Indspire Awards have celebrated the significant contributions of Indigenous people in Canada for 21 years. The Awards are aligned with Indspire’s mandate to provide educational support and programs for future generations to succeed.

The Indspire Awards promote self-esteem and pride for the Indigenous community and provide outstanding role models for Indigenous youth. They recognize the success of individuals who have the discipline, drive and determination to set high standards and accomplish their goals.

The national jury for the Indspire Awards is comprised of previous recipients, who represent a range of economic sectors, fields of endeavor and regions across the country. From hundreds of nominations the jury selected 10 career achievement award recipients, three youth award recipients (First Nation, Inuit and Métis) and one lifetime achievement award. Recipients are selected through a jury process that is based on the highest merits of fairness, honesty and respect to all of the highly-deserving nominees.

Indspire Awards 2014 supporters include:

2014 Indspire Award Recipient Biographies:

Lifetime Achievement
James Eetoolook
Inuit
Nunavut

For over 45 years, James Eetoolook has dedicated his professional life to serving the people of his home community of Taloyoak. His numerous efforts have provided inspiration and service to other Indigenous people across the north and throughout Canada. Eetoolook was very involved in the negotiation of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement that reshaped Canada when he served as president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association. In his current position as Vice-President of the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., he works diligently to protect Inuit culture and heritage to ensure that the rights of all Inuit people are safeguarded. He has recently focused his work on championing issues of vital importance to Inuit people, specifically the environment and wildlife. In this capacity, he is the currently the Chair of the Inuit Wildlife and Environment Council.

Arts
Kent Monkman
First Nation: Fisher River Cree Nation
Manitoba

Kent Monkman is one of Canada’s pre-eminent contemporary artists. He works in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance and installation and has had solo and group exhibitions at museums in Canada and around the world. Monkman’s award-winning short film and video works have been screened at various national and international festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Much of his work has been represented in numerous public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum London, The Glenbow Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, The Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. He was featured with many prominent Indigenous achievers on the popular CBC series 8th Fire in 2012.

Business & Commerce
Dr. Marie Yvonne Delorme
Métis
Alberta

In 1999, after many years in the telecommunications industry, Dr. Marie Delorme left to pursue her dream of entrepreneurialism. She founded the Imagination Group of Companies, including Nation Imagination – The Aboriginal Gifting Company, the first Indigenous owned entity to franchise its operation nationally. The Group’s national consulting practice engages with Indigenous communities, governments, corporations, and educational institutions. Dr. Delorme has received numerous awards including the Métis Nation of Alberta Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and the University of Calgary Dr. Douglas Cardinal Award. She is Vice-Chair of the Mount Royal University Board of Governors, serves on the RCMP Foundation Board, and is an advisor to two Universities. Dr. Delorme holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University, and a PhD from the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on inter-cultural leadership.

Culture, Heritage & Spirituality
Maggie Paul
First Nation: Passamaquoddy, St. Mary’s First Nation
New Brunswick

Maggie Paul has been a sweat lodge keeper for more than 15 years. As a gifted singer, she uses song throughout the ceremonies and as a way to mentor young people who are looking to find their voice. She had made two CDs that have captured the traditional songs of the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet people. Paul’s contribution and dedication to song has inspired a new generation of singers to maintain their culture. A true inspiration to people through song, Paul is also an invaluable supporter to those in her community who are struggling. As a strong believer in keeping people’s traditions alive like she has done on the east coast, she has travelled to Paris, Venezuela, Mexico and Belize to share and learn from their cultures.

Education
Rita Bouvier
Métis
Saskatchewan

A committed lifelong learner, Rita Bouvier has served various roles in the education field. She has helped in the development of the Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Centre and worked with the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation, as well as with the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program of the Gabriel Dumont Institute. Bouvier is also an established poet as well as a freelance writer who has published two books, is completing her third and has co-authored a book on education. Her community involvement includes work with the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Writer’s Circle, a member of Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik – Women Working together, Education International, among others. Her most recent and influential work has been her part with the Joint Task Force on Improving Educations and Employment Outcomes for the First Nations and Métis People, called Voice, Vision, and Leadership: A Place for All.

Environment & Natural Resources
Charlie Snowshoe
First Nations: Teetl’it Gwich’in First Nation
Northwest Territories

As an influential leader, Charlie Snowshoe has worked tirelessly to keep the lands protected for future generations and has spent the better part of his life dealing with environmental issues. He is currently fighting for the Peel River Watershed which he believes should not be mined and kept preserved. The Peel River lies in front of Snowshoe’s home town Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories. He has spent many years out on the land and river from where he would harvest fish, moose, beaver and muskrats. Snowshoe has received numerous awards for his work including the Commemorative medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in 1992, the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award in Environmental Impact Assessment for Western and Northern Canada Affiliate of the International Association for Impact Assessment, and in 2008 the Gwich’in Achievement Award for Land and Environment.

Health
Dr. Evan Tlesla II Adams
First Nation: Sliammon First Nation
British Columbia

Dr. Evan Tlesla II Adams is currently the Deputy Provincial Health Officer with responsibility for Indigenous health for the province of British Columbia. In this role since 2012, Adams works to support the development and operations of the First Nations Health Authority as well as reporting on the health of Indigenous people in the province. He is the past President of the Indigenous Physicians’ Association of Canada and former Director of the Division of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, UBC Department of Family Practice. Adams was the recipient of the 2005 Family Medicine Resident Leadership Award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the 2005 national winner of the Murray Stalker Award from the CFPC Research and Education Foundation. Also an established actor, Adams has received multiple awards for acting and has been a part of numerous television shows and movies, including the Emmy winning TV-movie “Lost in the Barrens.”

Law & Justice
Marion Meadmore
First Nation: Peepeekisis First Nation
Saskatchewan

Believing that the time is now for Indigenous people in terms of their strengths, beliefs, and rights, Marion Meadmore has been working towards this for many years. Meadmore was a founder of a number of organizations throughout Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada. Between 1954 and 1968, she founded and helped develop five organizations that continue to evolve and develop today. In 1978, she earned her law degree and became the first Indigenous woman to be called to the bar in Canada. As a lawyer, she helped to establish the Canadian Indian Lawyer Association, now the Indigenous Bar Association.  In 1985, Meadmore was awarded the Order of Canada. Her work continued as a lawyer and consultant, taking her across Canada and North America. Since 2011, she has been actively involved on the National Council of Indigenous Elders for the Creation of Wealth Forum.

Politics
Grand Chief Stewart Philip
First Nation: Penticton Indian Band
British Columbia

Grand Chief Stewart Philip is currently serving his fifth three-year term as President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.  Prior to this, he was Chief of the Penticton Indian Band for 14 years and councillor for 10 years before becoming Chief.  During his Presidency at the UBCIC, membership has tripled. He was instrumental in the formation of the Tsawwassen Accord to bring together BC First Nations leadership in working together. He is the founder of the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program British Columbia in partnership with the provincial government. As a role model himself, Grand Chief Philip has been involved with his community his entire life and openly shares his stories and struggles to help others. He was acknowledged by the Okanagan Nation for his lifetime commitment to the defense of Indigenous Peoples’ Title and Rights by bestowing on him and his family the rare honour of the title of Grand Chief.

Public Service
Robert Watts
First Nation: Six Nations of the Grand River
Ontario

A graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and fellow at the Harvard Law School, Robert Watts has been involved in Indigenous issues for more than 30 years. Currently, he is an adjunct professor and fellow at Queens University in the School of Policy Studies, works on the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s sitting process, and is a member of the Leadership Council to McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development Relations. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and past Interim Executive Director of the Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He has taught, debated and lectured at a number of universities in Canada and the United States and at the Canada School of Public Service.

Sports
Mary Spencer
First Nations: Chippewas of Nawash First Nation
Ontario

Mary Spencer is a boxer who currently competes as a 75 kilogram middleweight. She has won three World Championships, five Pan American Games gold medals, and eight Canadian Championships. She began serious boxing training in 2002. Women’s boxing was part of the Olympic Games for the first time in London in 2012 in which she competed. She was named ‘one to watch’ in The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity’s Most Influential Women list and is a Member of Motivate Canada’s GEN 7 Aboriginal role model initiative. She was also chosen as a CoverGirl model for 2012.

Youth – First Nation
John Nicholas Jeddore
First Nations: Miawpukek First Nation
Newfoundland

As a guide, photographer and cultural liaison with the Mi’Kmaq Discovery Centre, John Nicholas Jeddore aims to promote and preserve Mi’kmaq culture. He became a guest curator for a large Aboriginal exhibition opening in 2013 at the The Rooms Museum in St. John’s and wrote a monthly column called “Traditional Voices.” For the past year, he has participated in Memorial University’s Aboriginal Health Initiative Program to work with elders on traditional lands and learn about ceremony and medicines. He is an advocate of Indigenous student rights at the national level where he sits as a Provincial Aboriginal Student Representative on the Canadian Federation of Student’s Newfoundland & Labrador Executive. Graduating in 2012 from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bio-Chemistry, he is now in his first year of Medical School.

Youth – Inuit
Sarah Arngna’naaq
Inuit
Nunavut

Sarah Arngna’naaq completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Victoria in 2012, is currently articling with the Department of Justice for the Government of the Northwest Territories, and was called to the Bar In September of 2013. During her studies, she completed two internships abroad, one in Ghana, West Africa and the second in Wellington, New Zealand. When she was a law student, she also worked at the Law Centre run through the University. She has always had a passion for law, and more specifically, for laws of the Inuit people. To date, much of her work has been in the development of new laws and regulations for Nunavut as a separate territory.

Youth – Métis
Christie Lavallée
Métis
Manitoba

Diagnosed with a brain tumor at three and a half years old, surgery and 14 months of chemotherapy left Christie Lavallée with a lifelong visual disability. That has never set her back, and at 18 she is an honour roll student, a Canadian National 3D Indoor Archery Champion who is ranked #1 in Canada in the Women’s Junior Compound, and Youth Coordinator at the St. Ambroise Manitoba Métis Federation Youth Centre in her community. Recently, she has taken on the task of studying science at University with a goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist. As a cancer survivor, she continues to give back and has led the Annual Terry Fox Run at St. Laurent school since 2001. She is also a traditional Métis square dancer performing regularly throughout Manitoba and is also a traditional hunter.

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For media interviews and more information, please contact:
Betsy Chaly
Vice President, Communications and Marketing
Indspire
T: 416.987.0260
C: 647.622.2469
bchaly@indspire.ca