Featured on the SAY Facebook page, this section Spotlights individuals, programs and organizations who contribute to the well-being of our lives.


The Cando 2014 ED of the Year Award Winners:
Nisga’a Lisims Government, BC – Community Category
Chris Hartman, BC – Individual EDO Category
Acosys Consulting, QC – Aboriginal Private Sector Business Category


The Vision Maker Media Board of Directors recently honored two gentlemen who have been instrumental
in changing the media landscape for American Indians and Alaska Natives:

Michael Smith (Sioux), founder of the American Indian Film Institute (AIFI) will receive the First Annual Frank
Blythe Award for Media Excellence.

Frank Blythe (Eastern Band of Cherokee/Sisseton/Wahpeton Dakota) is the founding executive director of what is now Vision Maker Media. What began as a membership service for public television stations to broadcast Native American content, its first name was Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium in 1976. He led the organization until he retired in 2006.


Arts-Related Grants Awarded by First Nations Development Institute
Believing Native American art is indispensable to Native economic development and retention of cultures
and languages, $30,000 grants were awarded to each of six organizations to help them better serve Native
arts and artists, as part of the new Native Arts Capacity-Building Initiative underwritten by the Margaret A.
Cargill Foundation.

Grantees are:
• Four Bands Community Fund in South Dakota,
• Minneapolis American Indian Center in Minnesota,
• Sitting Bull College in North Dakota,
• Lakota Funds in South Dakota,
• White Earth Indian Reservation Tribal Council in Minnesota,
• Woodland Indian Art, Inc. in Wisconsin.


The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has been placed on the list of Manitoba’s Top Employers for the seventh consecutive year. This exceptional accolade is from the annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.


President Barack Obama named nineteen distinguished individuals as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among the recipients of this prestigious award is Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), President of The Morning Star Institute since its inception in 1984. She was Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) from 1984 through 1989, and continues to serve as Co-Chair of the NCAI Subcommittee on Human, Religious, and Cultural Concerns.


The first Inuit woman from Nunavut to be promoted to the rank of Corporal and then Sergeant has received the International Association of Women Police (IAWP)’s 2014 Community Service Award.

Sgt Yvonne Niego, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), like most Inuit youth of her generation, attended Residential School in Churchill and Yellowknife. Starting her life of firsts, she was the first person from her small community to attend University, when she studied at the University of Calgary.


NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) prestigious Gaming Hall of Fame in the Fall of this year and he received the Association on American Indian Affairs’ (AAIA) Leader of Distinction Award in recognition of his contributions and service to Indian country.

The Gaming Hall of Fame is the gaming industry’s highest honor given to those who have made significant contributions in leadership and entertainment. Eighty-six people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1989. Stevens is the third Native American to be inducted in the Hall of Fame’s 25-year history. The popular leader has been at NIGA’s helm for 14 years.


CAMSC Business Achievement Award Winners honoured at the 10th Anniversary Gala included the CATA Technology Innovation Award to Canadian Prairie Garden Purees, founded by Sandy Bay First Nation member Kelly Beaulieu, a Manitoba-based agri-business.

And the Small Business of the Year to Manitobah Mukluks founded in 1997 by Sean McCormick. This Winnipeg-based footwear company has taken traditional mukluks and moccasins and adapted them for modern wear.


Kenojuak Ashevak, the famed Canadian and Inuit art pioneer, had a tribute on October 3rd courtesy of the Google doodle. The search engine’s daily design was a brown and ochre owl with proudly splayed feathers. It closely resembles Ashevak’s 1995 work Owl and Caterpillar — on what would have been the artist’s 87th birthday.

She died in her home in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, in 2013 after a long battle with cancer. Ashevak’s The Enchanted Owl, her most famous work, was featured on a Canadian stamp and has permeated Canadian culture.


Since 2003 the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) has celebrated the accomplishments of 728 remarkable women through the “Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Awards

Rosa Walker is one of 2014’s recipients. Rosa is the founder, president and CE O of the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute (ILDI). It is important to her to mentor new leaders, and provide opportunities for Indigenous people. On a Global level, ILDI runs the World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF).


Nadine St. Louis of Sacred Fire Productions, Montreal, Quebec has been featured in the McLeans 2015 Guide to Jobs in Canada under the Cool Jobs section.

Native art curator Nadine St-Louis recognized that Aboriginal artists have world-class talent, and she’s giving them the platform they need. After her Eleven Nations exhibition in Montreal in 2012, Nadine realized she needed to turn a temporary exhibition into a permanent social economy project to ensure Aboriginal artists from Quebec had a permanent presence accessible to markets and buyers.


Guatemala’s president has apologized to 33 communities of indigenous Achi people who were forced to abandon their homes to make way for construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam in the north of the Central American country.

President Otto Perez Molina says he asks forgiveness for atrocities and other human rights violations suffered by those communities over the project, which occurred during Guatemala’s civil war. Some people were assassinated and others had their land expropriated.

The apology was delivered to a gathering of Achi as officials provided details of an agreement to provide $153.8 million in compensation for the damage inflicted on them. The money will be distributed among the 33 communities over the next 15 years.


Waneek Horn-Miller (who appeared on the cover of SA Y’s 2012 AFN Special Edition), and racquetball player Josee Grand’Maitre who were named Canada’s assistant chef de missions for next summer’s Pan American Games, and Waneek hopes to use the platform to help inspire aboriginal youth.


This Fall, the Government of Canada announced funding in the amount of $250,000 for a project to increase the participation of women, including Aboriginal women, in the mining industry in rural and remote communities in British Columbia, Yukon, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

The project will engage industry associations, mining companies, academic institutions and gender experts in a variety of activities, including the development of a National Women in Mining Action Plan.


Arnait Video Productions’ recently released documentary S OL was chosen for TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival. The screenings will take place in Toronto in January and be followed by a Canadian tour of major cities.

SOL also won the Grand Prize for Best Canadian Feature at RIDM (The Montreal International Documentary Film Festival) on November 23th 2014.

This documentary provides a compassionate tribute to a young Inuk artist and an investigation surrounding his suicide that sheds light on the hard social conditions in Canada’s North.