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Celebrating Indigenous leaders


David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presented honours to Northerners in recognition of outstanding Indigenous leadership at a ceremony June 19, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario.

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril from Iqaluit, Nunavut, received the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) for inspiring Inuit communities to reconnect with their ancestral values and lost traditions through her films.

The following received the Meritorious Service Medals (Civil Division): Hovak Johnston, from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, as part of the team that created the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project to re-establish an Inuit art form that was on the verge of being lost; and Jordin Tootoo, who grew up in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, for using his star power as an NHL hockey player to promote healthy lifestyles in Canada’s North, including encouraging conversations about addiction and suicide, and inspiring youth to stay in school and pursue their dreams.

Polar Medals were given to: Ann Maje Raider from Watson Lake, Yukon, for her dedication to community healing and enhanced safety and for the creation of the Together for Justice community safety protocol which, in collaboration with the RCMP, established a framework that profoundly strengthened community-police relations in Watson Lake, a protocol since adopted by communities through­out northern Canada; and Darlene Scurvey from Whitehorse, Yukon, for actively preserving traditional language and culture to preschool-age children.

Odelle Pike from Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for work with numerous provincial organizations, including the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network and the Newfoundland Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.