Indigenous Success Stories: Métis

June 26, 2024


‘We lost our hero’: Family remembers Red River Métis music legend Ray St. Germain

APTN News: The legendary Métis musician and on-air personality, Ray St. Germain, has passed away a month shy of his 84th birthday.

St. Germain’s wife, Glory, broke the news of his passing via Facebook on Tuesday, mentioning he went quietly after years of dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

“We spent our lives filled with music, love and laughter with our five children,” she said in the Facebook post.

For decades prior to his Parkinson’s diagnosis, St. Germain rocked out on stage singing country songs and entertaining the masses with his longstanding television and radio career on shows like Big Sky Countryand Métis Hour x2.

Less than three weeks ago, his legacy was honoured with the renaming of his childhood street to Big Sky Country Way, where the house his father built for them still stands. The road also ends near the cemetery where his parents are laid to rest.

It was that event where he unexpectedly sang an Elvis Presley song, It’s Now or Never, in what is now his last public performance.

“So many friends, so many relatives. Thank you so much for everything,” said St. Germain at the time to a tearful crowd with a proud Glory at his side.

Ray St. Germain
Family and friends of Ray St. Germain at a news conference in Winnipeg on Wednesday. Photo: Sav Jonsa/APTN.

At a news conference in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Glory shared her cherished memories of their 50 years together.

“Ray sang to me every day, and we danced every day,” remembered Glory, “I’m so honoured that, you know, his music will continue to inspire people to sing, to praise their heritage, and to move forward with love and compassion.”

His daughter, Sherry, told those in attendance that her dad was a spiritual person. As he passed away, St. Germain held a crystal that Sherry’s best friend brought “so we could have his energy forever.”

“He was a jokester and a prankster,” said Sherry about her father, “He loved bringing joy to people.”

A good example of St. Germain’s humour is within the title of his autobiography, I Wanted to Be Elvis, So What Was I Doing in Moosejaw?

St. Germain was recognized by the Aboriginal Order of Canada in 1985 and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010 for his contribution to Canadian music and Indigenous culture.

“Our [Red River Métis] nation is in mourning, there is not a question about it. We lost our legend, we lost our hero,” said close friend and Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand.

St. Germain performing in an undated photo.

St. Germain was a proud of his culture, writing the iconic song I’m Mighty Proud to be Métis.

Chartrand said St. Germain was sharing his culture without fear during a time when many people couldn’t.

“That was the 1970s [when] that song was sung by him and written by him,” said Chartrand, “think about history – not many people were proud to be Métis then.”

Glory said that she was surprised when the ailing St. Germain decided to sing at his street naming ceremony earlier this month.

“It was his last hurrah to say, ‘I love you, I love everyone, and thank you for sharing the music, and music feeds the soul,’” said Glory.

She said that St. Germain always dreamed big, but was a very humble man in both his public and private life.

“The man that you all know and love? That’s the man that I know and love too,” she added.

St. Germain was known as Winnipeg’s Elvis for his soulful voice, and just like the King of Rock, his legacy will live on forever.

“It’s now or never, come hold me tight. Kiss me my darling, please be mine tonight. Tomorrow it will be too late, it’s now or never, my love won’t wait…” sang St. Germain one last time at the street naming ceremony.

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June 5, 2024

First Nations

Canada Post issues third stamp set honouring Indigenous leaders

NationTalk: OTTAWA – For the third consecutive year, Canada Post will celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 by issuing three stamps honouring Indigenous leaders.

Elisapie, Josephine Mandamin and Christi Belcourt will each be featured on a stamp for their environmental advocacy and championing the rights and cultures of their Inuit, First Nations and Métis communities.

The multi-year stamp series, launched in 2022, recognizes Indigenous leaders who have dedicated their lives to preserving their culture and improving the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Each stamp will be unveiled and celebrated at local events in Montréal, Quebec, and Thunder Bay and Ottawa, Ontario.

Elisapie stamp unveiling event: Thursday, June 13, 5 pm ET, Montréal

Elisapie (b. Elisapie Isaac, 1977) is an award-winning singer-songwriter, actor, director, producer and activist from Salluit, in Nunavik (northern Quebec). A talented storyteller who writes and sings in Inuktitut, English and French, she has devoted her life to raising awareness of Inuit language, heritage and culture through many artistic endeavours. Elisapie earned her second JUNO Award in 2024 for Contemporary Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year for her album, Inuktitut. She is also an acclaimed documentarian, multi-Félix Award winner and creator of Le grand solstice, a musical and cultural celebration televised annually for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Josephine Mandamin stamp unveiling event: Tuesday, June 18, 11 am ET, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Josephine Mandamin (1942-2019) was born on the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island, Ont. A residential school Survivor, Mandamin was an Anishinaabe Elder and world-renowned water-rights activist. Known as Grandmother Water Walker, Mandamin co-founded the Mother Earth Water Walk movement to draw attention to the issues of water pollution and environmental degradation in the Great Lakes and on First Nations reserves across the country. Among her many accolades are the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation (2015) and the Meritorious Service Cross – Civil Division (2017). Since her passing in 2019, Mandamin’s legacy has continued through community water walks and the efforts of the dedicated Anishinaabe women she mentored.

Christi Belcourt stamp celebration: Tuesday, June 25, 11 am ET, Ottawa

Christi Belcourt (b. 1966) is a Métis visual artist and environmentalist known for her intricate paintings that emulate Métis floral beadwork. Born in Scarborough, Ont. and raised in Ottawa, she is a descendant of the Métis community of Manitow Sâkahikan (Lac Ste. Anne) in Alberta. Belcourt uses her talent to celebrate nature, honour her ancestors, advocate for the protection of land and water, and support Indigenous knowledge, culture and language. Among her most poignant works is Walking With Our Sisters, an installation of more than 2,000 pairs of beaded moccasin tops honouring the lives of missing or murdered Indigenous women, Two-Spirit people and children.

The new stamps and collectibles will be available at and postal outlets across Canada starting June 21.

– 30 –

For more information:

Media Relations

May 29, 2024

First Nations

Murray Sinclair on his life’s new rhythm, same clear purpose

After decades in the public eye, the Indigenous advocate and former commissioner pivots to new chapter

Murray Sinclair visits Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School in Selkirk, where a mural of the former senator was painted on the wall by a Winnipeg artist and some students.SHANNON VANRAES/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The Globe and Mail: It’s a bright but crisp Tuesday morning in Winnipeg and Murray Sinclair is about to do what he’s done countless times before – deliver a speech to a packed room.

This time, as he makes his way to the front of a room inside the RBC Convention Centre, Mr. Sinclair is assisted by two men, who each grab one of his arms, to climb a couple of steps at the side of the stage.

There is a chair set out for him, which he slowly sits down in. He then takes a breath and begins to address the room.

Wearing a beaded vest made by his wife, Katherine, which signifies he’s a member of the Fish Clan of the Anishinaabe, Mr. Sinclair greets those gathered for Manitoba’s public-safety summit and says he regrets he can’t stand to deliver his remarks.

After decades of embracing a public-facing life while advocating for the rights of Indigenous people in this country, notably as the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Mr. Sinclair is taking part in fewer appearances like this one because of the state of his health.

Murray Sinclair speaks to an individual in the hallway inside Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School in Selkirk, Man. on April 30.SHANNON VANRAES/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

These days, the 73-year-old’s life has a slower rhythm. He is staying close to Winnipeg. His baritone voice, used as a lawyer, judge, commissioner and senator, is heard less frequently, while his efforts continue to be deeply felt.

As he speaks to the crowd, Mr. Sinclair’s drive remains clear. The same purpose has propelled him since childhood.

He shares a story about his grandmother, Catherine Simard – his kookum. She attended the Fort Alexander Residential School as a novitiate, whose role was to essentially be a servant to nuns.

Along with Mr. Sinclair’s grandfather, Ms. Simard raised her grandchildren after their mother, Florence, died of a stroke. Mr. Sinclair was one year old at the time of Florence’s death.

Ms. Simard wanted her grandson to become a priest while he wanted to go to university. Eventually, she relented and agreed to sign required documentation.

But she made an appeal that has played on in his mind ever since.

“She looked at me and said, ‘Okay, I understand. So, here’s my request. If I sign these, you have to promise that you will always take care of the people. You have to promise me that.’ And so, I said, ‘I promise you I will do that.’”

These words have been Mr. Sinclair’s guide. When he faces an important decision, he wonders what his kookum would think. Many times – in dreams, he says – she’s appeared before him to indicate: “So far, so good.”

“I am always guided by the sense of responsibility to family and to community,” he says. “Everything I’ve ever done in my life has been about that question: ‘What is it that I can do to help our family, our community to be safer?’”

This winter, Mr. Sinclair moved into assisted living, along with his wife, who has been medically vulnerable in the past few years. He lives with congestive heart failure, which affects his heartbeat and the way he breathes.

Murray Sinclair visits birds named Bonnie and Clyde inside an assisted-living residence in Winnipeg on April 30.SHANNON VANRAES/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Two zebra finches, seen on April 30, have become friends with Murray Sinclair.SHANNON VANRAES/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

He also has lymphedema, which caused a buildup of fluid in his legs. Though his legs have been drained of fluid, he lost a lot of muscle mass that affects strength, which he says means they do not work as well.

He also doesn’t drive much any more, despite still having a licence. Mr. Sinclair often gets help from his kids or from his assistant, James, to get around.

Inside the assisted-living building, it hasn’t taken him long to form bonds. He’s known for chatting up staff and residents alike, including Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie and Clyde are zebra finches, small songbirds known for their social nature. Using a walker, he heads down from his unit to visit the birds in the afternoon, along with their four babies. He lobbied to see them named Bezhig, Niizh, Niswi and Niiwin – one, two, three and four in Ojibwe.

When he stands by their cage, he talks to the birds and gives them instructions, such as to stop fighting. He also sits near them to complete crossword puzzles from The New York Times and The Washington Post.

But Mr. Sinclair is not settled into a life of full retirement. He has returned to law practice at Cochrane Saxberg LLP to mentor young lawyers. He’s also been writing his memoirs, Who We Are: Four Questions For a Life and a Nation. The questions that inspired the book are: “Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?”

Mr. Sinclair started writing his memoirs as a letter to his granddaughter, whose English name is Sarah, after he suffered a minor stroke. He feared then that he may not be around as she grows up.

The book, expected to be published this fall, will look at the future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada and include experiences that shaped him as a man, a father of five and a grandfather of five.

Mr. Sinclair is best known for his work leading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which spent six years examining the lasting effects of Indian Residential Schools and presented a final report in 2015. The commission’s work, and its 94 calls to action, have formed a blueprint for change for the country.

He is also recognized for other roles, such as serving as co-commissioner of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. Established in 1988, it was created in response to the murder of Helen Betty Osborne and the shooting death of J.J. Harper after an encounter with a Winnipeg police officer. The events raised significant questions about how the justice system was failing Indigenous people.

Mr. Sinclair was Manitoba’s first Indigenous judge. Additionally, he conducted a pediatric cardiac inquiry called after 12 children died in 1994 while undergoing or shortly after having surgery at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre.

In 2016, he was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and he retired from that role in January, 2021. The following July, he was named as the first-ever Indigenous person to serve as the chancellor of Queen’s University. He decided not to seek reappointment but will stay on at Queen’s as a special adviser to the principal on reconciliation. 

Mr. Sinclair grew up in Selkirk, Man. The small town, which has a population of approximately 10,500 people, is evidently proud of its connection to him.

There is a Murray Sinclair Park, which Mayor Larry Johannson said “will serve as a constant reminder to young people who play there that they too can grow up in our community and accomplish great things.”

Perry Bellegarde, who served as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations and Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, march during the Walk for Reconciliation on May 31, 2015 in Gatineau, Que.JUSTIN TANG/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Inside the Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, the cafeteria is called Senator Sinclair Commons. A mural of him was painted on the wall by Winnipeg artist Charlie Johnston, along with some students. During a recent visit, Mr. Sinclair said he admired the effort put into it and said, “It’s nice to be honoured in that way.”

The area is filled with lasting childhood memories. One house – now gone – where he lived with his grandparents, north of Selkirk, was located close to the Red River and he used to swim there.

Mr. Sinclair also fondly recalls growing up alongside his “twin” (well, almost). His late brother, a massive Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan called Buddy (whose legal name was Henry Jr.), was born a year after Murray and was his “comrade-in-arms.”

While he is lauded for his ability to speak about the country’s most difficult moments, Mr. Sinclair, whose Ojibwe name is Mizanay Gheezhik, meaning “the One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky,” is a warm and social person at his core.

When you show him a picture of a child – which is pretty much a must if you’re a parent who shares any amount of time with him – his face lights up with a wide smile. His quirky sense of humour is a hallmark of his personality. Take, for example, when he dressed up as a bumblebee to impress his granddaughter for Halloween. And then there was the time he was Shrek.

Niigaan Sinclair, Mr. Sinclair’s son, a well-known commentator on Indigenous issues and a professor at the University of Manitoba, says his father carries “a spirit of humour” to cope with some “very, very hard things.”

He says his father also loves people – when he’d go with his dad to the mall to run a simple errand, such as getting a tube of toothpaste at a drugstore, it would somehow turn into a four-hour trip.

“Dad can’t not talk to people and visit with people,” he says. “Of course, he knows everybody because he’s done everything.”

Murray Sinclair pauses and places his hands on the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after it was released on Dec. 15, 2015 in Ottawa.ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Niigaan says his father is still the same way and he wants to hear people’s stories. He says his dad also carries the weight of some of the most horrific ones in the country’s history.

As the head commissioner of the TRC, his father was “the listener” who heard brutal and violent accounts from the perspective of survivors and what they experienced during their childhoods at residential schools.

“How could you not have that burden to carry for the rest of your life?” Niigaan says. “At this phase of his life, it’s not just physical health. It’s the fact that he’s – for his entire career – helped this country through its most difficult and darkest chapters.”

But he says a remarkable thing about his dad is how he is “able to carry those stories a little bit lighter” because of his commitment to traditional Anishinaabe ceremonies, spending time with his children, his grandchildren and in Winnipeg and Treaty 1 territory.

Mr. Sinclair makes it known it was a text message from Manitoba’s new Premier, Wab Kinew, sent only a few days prior, that led to his appearance at the public-safety summit. He said he usually requires more notice to get somewhere, but he told Mr. Kinew: “Because it’s you, I’ll do it.”

The two go way back – to the time when Wab, now 42, was learning to crawl.

The Sinclair and Kinew families founded an Anishinaabe preschool together. The idea was fuelled by a desire to ensure their children learned the Ojibwe language, as well as their culture. The program began in the living room of the Sinclair home and eventually they secured space through the Winnipeg school division for it. The families remain close.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shares an embrace with Murray Sinclair as they take part in ceremonies for the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Ottawa on Sept. 30, 2022.SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

At the ceremony last October, Mr. Sinclair called the swearing-in of the new Premier “Manitoba’s true act of reconciliation.”

Mr. Kinew, on the other hand, sees Mr. Sinclair as “the living embodiment of reconciliation in Canada” – someone he describes as a wise and calm presence who is focused on bringing people together.

“To me that is what a reconciliation is all about,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Kinew also feels indebted to Mr. Sinclair.

“You don’t get the opportunities that I’ve enjoyed in my life without the contributions of Murray Sinclair,” he said. “As much as I feel like I owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude, I hope all Canadians feel the same way.”

Looking at the future, Mr. Kinew believes his mentor “will always have a tremendous role in the public discourse of this country.”

At this juncture of his life, Mr. Sinclair sees himself having a strong sense of who he is and a good sense of humour. He admits, when speaking of his energy levels, that he doesn’t “last long” and he knows when it’s time to rest.

“I don’t know about that, but okay,” Niigaan says with a chuckle. “He will give and give and give. And sometimes, he needs others to remind him of the importance of loving himself.”

When people reach a certain age, especially after a long career in public service, Niigaan says, they need to determine the contribution they will continue to make while focusing on family and community.

Niigaan says his father needs care and support with his health. In turn, the family wants to spend as much time as they can with him.

“He also wants to give to us the stories that perhaps he hasn’t shared for most of our lives,”Niigaan says.

“These are things that I think he wants to give to us before he travels to the west as they say in our culture, which is, enters the next spiritual phase of his life, where he goes and visits our relatives.”

There, people like Mr. Sinclair’s grandmother – his beloved kookum – will be waiting for him.

February 14, 2024

First Nations

NAFC CEO Jocelyn W. Formsma Honoured with the 2024 Indspire Public Service Award

Nationtalk: Ottawa, ON – The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is proud to congratulate our CEO, Jocelyn W. Formsma, on the announcement that she has been awarded the 2024 Indspire Public Service Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Indigenous community. This well-deserved honour is a testament to Jocelyn’s more than 20 years of dedicated service within the Friendship Centre Movement and her unwavering commitment to the betterment of all aspects of life for Indigenous people.

Jocelyn has played a pivotal role in advancing Indigenous causes through her extensive volunteer and board work with organizations such as the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), Indigenous Bar Association (IBA), Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) and National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Inc. (NICHI). Her tireless efforts have left an indelible mark on the Indigenous community, fostering positive change, and promoting inclusivity.

Board President Kelly Benning expressed admiration for Jocelyn’s exceptional contributions, stating, “Jocelyn’s leadership and passion for serving the Indigenous community are truly inspiring. Her over two decades of commitment to the Friendship Centre Movement and her active involvement with various organizations demonstrate a profound dedication to the betterment of Indigenous lives. We are immensely proud to have her as the driving force behind the NAFC, and this award is a well-deserved recognition of her exemplary public service.”

Jocelyn’s visionary leadership has not only shaped the trajectory of the NAFC but has also made a lasting impact on the broader Indigenous community. The Indspire Public Service Award reflects her outstanding achievements, commitment to social justice, and unwavering advocacy for Indigenous rights.

Please join us in congratulating Jocelyn on this remarkable achievement and expressing gratitude for her continuous efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of Indigenous people.

Media Inquiries

Senior Communicdation Coordinatior

February 2, 2024

First Nations

Indspire Honours Indigenous Excellence with Announcement of 2024 Indspire Awards Recipients

NationTalk: Indspire is thrilled to announce the 2024 Indspire Awards, an annual celebration honouring the remarkable achievements and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. This prestigious event will take place on April 18th, 2024, at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians from across the country.

The Indspire Awards recognize Indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding career achievement, promote self-esteem and pride for Indigenous communities, and provide inspirational role models for future generations. This year’s event marks the 31st anniversary of the awards, a testament to the enduring commitment of Indigenous peoples to pursuing excellence in multiple fields of endeavour.

The 2024 Indspire Awards recipients are:

Youth Recipient
Adam Gauthier
Tla’amin Nation, BC

Youth Recipient
Braden Kadlun
Kugluktuk, NU

Youth Recipient
Dr. Jayelle Friesen-Enns
Red River Métis, Manitoba Métis Federation, MB

Eden Robinson
Haisla, BC

Business & Commerce
Victoria LaBillois
Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation, QC

Culture, Heritage & Spirituality
Edna Manitowabi
Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory, ON

Kanonhsyonne Jan Hill
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON

Lea Bill
Pelican Lake First Nation, SK

Ronald Eric Ignace
Skeetchestn Indian Band, BC

Law & Justice
The Honourable Michelle O’Bonsawin
Abenaki First Nation of Odanak, QC

Public Service
Jocelyn Formsma
Moose Cree First Nation, ON

Lifetime Achievement
Thomas V. Hill
Six Nations of the Grand River, ON

For more information about each of the recipients, please visit

August 29, 2023


Remembering Dr. Earl Cook

NationTalk: We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Dr. Earl Cook. He was a former Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) Board Chair and former Minister of Post-Secondary Education at the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN—S). Additionally, he was a founding member of the Métis Veterans Association, an association that represents the interests of Métis Veterans and commemorates their service. From the GDI Board of Governors and staff, we send our deepest condolences to Dr. Cook’s family and wish to express our gratitude for his years of service to the Saskatchewan Métis.

Dr. Cook was a Saskatchewan Métis man raised in the traditional lifestyle and a fluent Swampy Cree speaker. He served on the GDI Management Board from 1981 to 1982, and the GDI Board of Governors from 1997 to 2021. From 2017 to 2021, Dr. Cook served as the GDI Board Chair as well as the MN—S Minister of Education (2013-2021). During his term, Dr. Cook was instrumental in the creation of the Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP), after the NORTEP (Northern Teacher Education Program) program lost funding, and in securing funding for the Gabriel Dumont Scholarship Foundation, Gabriel Dumont College, and the Métis Nation University Sponsorship Program. His love for the North motivated his career as he spent his life dedicated to improving the well-being and education of the Métis.

An instrumental and vocal advocate for Métis people in Saskatchewan, Dr. Cook began his career in the early 1970s when he served as a Community Development Worker for the Métis Society of Saskatchewan in his hometown of Cumberland House. Dr. Cook was a passionate educator, and he taught students from elementary to university in his lengthy career. He was an instructor at the Northern Professional Access College and served on the Indian and Métis Curriculum Advisory Committee, the Saskatchewan Indian Languages Committee, and the Northern Labour Market Committee. He was a faculty member, Director, and Special Advisor to the President/CEO of the NORTEP, Instructor at the Northern Professional Access College, and Coordinator of the Northern Health Strategy. He also worked with the Kikinahk Friendship Centre board in La Ronge and participated in the Association of Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan and the National Association of Friendship Centres. Throughout his career, Dr. Cook remained dedicated to closing the socio-economic gap between Métis and non-Indigenous people.

In 2017, Dr. Cook was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the U of S after decades of altruistic service furthering Indigenous education in the province. In an interview with Global News upon announcement of this honour, Dr. Cook said, “My fondest memory is being part of a Métis local on campus that lobbied for the establishment of a Native Studies department.” He graduated from the U of S with a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1980, and a Postgraduate Diploma in 1985, majoring in Indian and Northern Education, after successfully lobbying for the establishment of the Native Studies Department.

Dr. Cook worked tirelessly right until the end of his life to put the ideals of reconciliation into practice and create a better future for Métis people in Saskatchewan. He has left an indelible mark on education in the province, and his work is carried on by friends, family, and students whose hearts he has touched.

June 6, 2023

First Nations

Canada Post to pay tribute to Indigenous leaders with second stamp set in multi-year series

NationTalk: OTTAWA – Canada Post will once again mark National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 by issuing a set of stamps honouring three Indigenous leaders.

Nellie Cournoyea, George Manuel and Thelma Chalifoux will each be featured on a stamp recognizing their dedication to advocate for the rights of the Inuit, First Nations and Métis communities they proudly served.

This stamp issue is the second in Canada Post’s multi-year Indigenous Leaders stamp series, launched last year. Each stamp will be unveiled at local events in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, North Vancouver, British Columbia and St. Albert, Alberta.

Nellie Cournoyea stamp unveiling event: June 11, 1:30 pm (Mountain Time), Ulukhaktok, N.W.T.

Nellie Cournoyea (b. 1940) has devoted her life to fighting for Indigenous self-determination and Inuit empowerment. Selected as Premier of the Northwest Territories in 1991, she became the first Indigenous woman to head a provincial or territorial government in Canada. She played a key role in the discussions leading to the creation of Nunavut, and after leaving office in 1995, she served for 20 years as chair and chief executive officer of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. An Officer of the Order of Canada, Cournoyea is currently chair of the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board and vice-chair of the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation.

George Manuel stamp unveiling event: June 12, 1 pm (Pacific Time), North Vancouver, B.C.

George Manuel (1921-1989) was a First Nations political leader, author and champion of Indigenous Peoples. Over the course of a political career that spanned four decades, he held many influential roles and worked to improve the social, economic and political conditions of First Nations people in Canada. His efforts contributed to the inclusion of Indigenous and treaty rights in the Canadian Constitution. Co-founder of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, Manuel was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and received many acknowledgments for his work, including an appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada.

Thelma Chalifoux stamp unveiling event: June 13, 1 pm (Mountain Time), St. Albert, Alta.

Thelma Chalifoux (1929-2017) was a Métis activist who channelled the strength she gained from her own personal challenges to help others and fight against discrimination. The first Indigenous woman appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1997, she devoted her life to improving the welfare of her people, particularly Métis women. She was instrumental in helping create provincial programs for Indigenous Peoples in the areas of housing, education and social assistance. Chalifoux also served as Métis Elder in Residence at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and helped found the Métis museum and resource centre Michif Cultural Connections, located in St. Albert.

The new stamps and collectibles will be available at and postal outlets across Canada starting June 21.

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For more information:

Media Relations

January 31, 2023


New Métis book puts spotlight on reconciliation

NationTalk: Métis Nation of Alberta – (Edmonton, AB) The Métis Nation of Alberta today released a book chronicling the challenges and achievements of the Métis since their rights were recognized in the Constitution Act of 1982.

The True Canadians: Forgotten Nevermore reflects on the Métis lineage to the original inhabitants of this land, and the Métis struggle for acceptance as a proud, independent people.

The book provides a history of the Métis that is often at odds with traditional colonial accounts, presenting Canadians with a more accurate and clear understanding of the role the Métis played in the economic and cultural development of the nation.

The book was published by the Métis Nation of Alberta. The title was inspired by the Métis Nation’s anthem and is intended to generate passionate conversation. The book is being distributed by Sandhill Book Marketing Ltd., the most recognized supplier of non-fiction single titles and independently published Canadian books in the industry.

The True Canadians details the history of the Métis extending back hundreds of years to their ethnogenesis, and the status they enjoyed as a proud and independent people before becoming dispossessed by European colonialism.

With a particular focus on Alberta, the book describes the rise of the Métis Nation of Alberta since its founding early in the 20th century. It also details the Métis pursuit of reconciliation and the recent agreement with the federal government recognizing the right of the Métis Nation within Alberta to self-government, and especially the work leading up to the ratification, in 2022, of their own Constitution.

The passage of the MNA Constitution, with more than 96% of the Métis vote, represented the final step for the Métis of Alberta to becoming a fully recognized order of government within Canada, with increased authority to manage their own affairs and strengthening their position to negotiate rights and claims.

With The True Canadians, the record is set straight and ensures Métis rights are forgotten nevermore.


“Truth is the first element of reconciliation. I hope The True Canadians encourages Canadians to engage in conversation about reconciliation-in-action for the Métis Nation. The Métis experience will no longer be overlooked or ignored.” – Audrey Poitras, President, Métis Nation of Alberta

“This book is an earnest re-telling of the history of the Métis people, a version most Canadians have never seen. Readers are introduced to a sweeping narrative depicting the strength, pride, and independence of the true Canadians.” – David Wylynko, co-author

“The True Canadians is an account of our Métis Nation’s deep and longstanding connection to the west.  We can proudly trace our Métis families back to the fur trade of the 1700s when our traditional homeland extended from the Great Lakes, across the prairies to Rocky Mountains, into the Northwest Territories, and even south of the American border, long before the Dominion of Canada existed.”– Patricia Russell, co-author

A gathering to launch the book will take place today at 5 p.m. MST at the Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre in Edmonton, and will be livestreamed at The authors will do a book signing tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Audreys Books in Edmonton.

Learn more at

Media contact:

Nicole Sparrow,

Enterprise Canada

June 8, 2022

First Nations

Canada Post honours three Indigenous leaders

Harry Daniels, Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and Jose Kusugak to be commemorated in upcoming stamp set

NationTalk: OTTAWA – On June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day – Canada Post will issue a new set of stamps to pay tribute to the lives and legacies of three Indigenous leaders. Harry Daniels, Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and Jose Kusugak will each be featured on a stamp in recognition of their incredible commitment and contributions to strengthening the Métis, First Nations and Inuit communities they served.

The upcoming stamp set is the inaugural release in Canada Post’s new Indigenous Leaders stamp series. Prior to issuing the set on June 21, the stamps will each be unveiled at local events in Regina and Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Harry Daniels stamp unveiling event: June 13, 11 am, Regina, Sask.

Harry Daniels (1940-2004) was a politician, activist, writer and actor who dedicated his life to the rights and well-being of Métis and non-status Indians in Canada. Among his most important contributions was ensuring their inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples by lobbying to have them included as one of the Indigenous Peoples recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982, and recognized as “Indians” under the British North America Act, 1867. In March 2004, he was awarded the Order of the Métis Nation by the Métis National Council.

Jose Kusugak stamp unveiling event: June 14, 6 pm, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut

Jose Kusugak (1950-2011) was an Inuit activist, linguist and broadcaster who played a critical role in the efforts that led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999 – for which many consider him a Father of Confederation. He dedicated his life to raising awareness of Inuit identity and issues in Canada, as well as promoting and preserving Inuit language and culture, and coined the phrase “First Canadians, Canadians First” to describe his people. Kusugak was also part of the first generation of Inuit children who were sent to residential schools.

Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier stamp unveiling: June 15, 2 pm, Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.

Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier (b. 1954) spent nearly 40 years as leader of the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan – the most consecutive terms ever served by an elected First Nations chief in Canada. She led several projects related to education, wellness and social reform, while also working to preserve the culture, language and traditions of her people. In 2018, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. This spring, she was in the Indigenous delegation that met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system, of which she is a survivor.

Stamps and collectibles will be available at and postal outlets across Canada starting June 21.

June 6, 2022

Anishinabek Nation celebrates inaugural Anishinaabe Giizhigad

ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (June 6, 2022) – The Anishinabek Nation celebrates the inaugural June 6 Anishinabek Nation holiday, Anishinaabe Giizhigad, in honour of the historic proclamation of the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin (constitution).

“Today, we recognize June 6 as a day of great historical significance for the Anishinabek Nation, member First Nations, and citizens, and is cause for celebration across the Nation,” states Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe. “It is a day where we remember and acknowledge the assertion of our sovereignty and responsibilities that are foremost guided by the Seven Grandfather Teachings. It is a day where we celebrate Anishinabek and the resiliency of our people who have survived decades of assimilation and racism. Our beautiful culture, traditions, and people will continue on for generations to come. We encourage our E’Dbendaagzijig to join in on this wonderful day today and on every June 6 to come!”

The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin was ratified by the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council by Grand Council Resolution and confirmed by a Pipe Ceremony in Sheguiandah First Nation on June 6, 2012. The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin is a commitment to live by Anishinaabe law.

The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin was developed in consultation with Anishinabek First Nations leaders and citizens over the course of 13 years. Throughout this period, the consultation process was led by former Anishinabek Nation Head Getzit Mishomis Gordon Waindubence (Shiikenh)-baa, and included Dodemaag (Clan) teachings and principles of traditional governance.

In 2011, the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin Preamble, Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe (One Anishinaabe Family), was approved by the Chiefs-in-Assembly. The Preamble contains instructions on how to live according to the Laws the Creator has given to the Anishinaabe. Mishomis Gordon Waindubence-baa sat with an Elders Council to create the Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe, which provides the context, spirit, and intent in which the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin is understood.

The Anishinabek Nation Executive Leadership proclaimed the new holiday in November 2021.

The Anishinabek Nation is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 citizens. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

May 27, 2022

First Nations

Murray Sinclair honoured with Order of Canada at Rideau Hall ceremony

APTN News:

Murray Sinclair received the Order of Canada Thursday for dedicating his life to championing Indigenous Peoples’ rights and freedoms. Sinclair held his wife’s hand as the award was announced in Rideau Hall, and was met with a standing ovation as he rose to receive it.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon presented Sinclair with the award at the ceremony, which was held several months after it was announced he would receive the honour.

By accepting the award, Sinclair wanted to show the country that working on Indigenous issues calls for national attention and participation, he said in an interview. Sinclair, 71, said at his age he has begun to reflect on his life, and he realizes that he’s had both the joy and sadness that comes with participating in this work. Receiving the award recognizes the importance of that work, and can act as inspiration for younger people, Sinclair said.

“When I speak to young people, I always tell them that we all have a responsibility to do the best that we can and to be the best that we can be,” he said.

Sinclair led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated the experiences of Indigenous children sent to residential schools. Sinclair said it was a particular honour to receive the award from Simon, the first Indigenous Governor General, as she is a good friend and was an honorary witness to the commission.

“As an Indigenous person, we had a unique relationship. And I think we brought it to what happened here today,” he said.

The former senator is a highly respected voice on matters of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest distinctions, for those who have made exceptional contributions to Canadian society.

Sinclair also received the Meritorious Service Cross for his role in overseeing the Truth and Reconciliation commission and producing the final report.Report an Error Tell us your Story