February 14, 2024
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.
Senior Communicdation Coordinatior
February 2, 2024
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:
Tla’amin Nation, BC
Dr. Jayelle Friesen-Enns
Red River Métis, Manitoba Métis Federation, MB
Business & Commerce
Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation, QC
Culture, Heritage & Spirituality
Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory, ON
Kanonhsyonne Jan Hill
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON
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
Moose Cree First Nation, ON
Thomas V. Hill
Six Nations of the Grand River, ON
For more information about each of the recipients, please visithttps://indspire.ca/events/indspire-awards/laureates/
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
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 canadapost.ca and postal outlets across Canada starting June 21.
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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 facebook.com/ABMetis. 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 www.thetruecanadians.com.
June 8, 2022
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 canadapost.ca 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
Murray Sinclair honoured with Order of Canada at Rideau Hall ceremony
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