NEWS

Gord Downie Was Just 1 Of 29 People Honoured For Indigenous Leadership

Here are the 28 other notable names.

06/20/2017 15:38 EDT | Updated 06/21/2017 11:52 EDT

Gord Downie was appointed a member of the Order of Canada Monday, for using his celebrity and reach to shine a light on the country's history of residential schools. He was just one of 29 honourees.

Using songwriting, The Tragically Hip frontman revived the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinaabe boy who died running away from a residential school because he simply wanted to go home.

Downie's 10-song album titled "Secret Path" and an accompanying graphic novel illustrated by Jeff Lemire brought Wenjack's story to a whole new audience.

It got people talking and reading about Canada's history with indigenous people, pushing the country forward on a path toward reconciliation.

Downie was just one of 29 people honoured this week with citations for their service to indigenous communities across the country.

Here are the other notable honourees:

  • Alethea Arnaquq-Baril - Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    (This is a list of winners of outstanding Indigenous leadership in Canada in 2017, honoured in a ceremony at Ottawa's Rideau Hall.)

    Arnaquq-Baril is regarded as one of Canada's top female directors. The Inuk filmmaker continues a storytelling tradition by using the camera to address northern issues with the sensitivities of someone born and raised within that culture.

  • Hovak Johnston - Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    Johnston co-founded the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project with Marjorie Tahbone to save revive the tradition of Inuit face tattoos that was on the verge of being lost.

  • Jarret Leaman - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Leaman was the first person from his Ontario reserve to receive a master’s degree. Spreading his time between several organizations and initiatives, Leaman dedicates his time to helping indigenous youth as well as advocating for LGBTQ issues.

  • Sylvia Maracle - Officer of the Order of Canada
    WireImage

    A longtime advocate for aboriginal and women's issues, Maracle's work with the National Association of Friendship Centres has helped deliver services to indigenous communities across the country

  • Jacqueline Guest - Member of the Order of Canada 
    WireImage

    The Métis award-winning author is a career advocate for youth and adult literacy in Canada. Writing historical fiction inspired by indigenous culture, Guest's books have helped inspire a generation of children to read.

  • J. Wilton Littlechild and Marie Wilson - Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    Littlechild, Wilson, and Justice Murray Sinclair spearheaded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and issued a landmark report to help people and governments get on the same page on reconciliation.

  • Jordin Tootoo - Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) 
    THE CANADIAN PRESS

    The NHL hockey player has used his celebrity to inspire kids to stay in school and children and adults to adopt healthier, active lifestyles.

  • Stanley Vollant - Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division)
    WireImage
    Vollant walked 6,000 kilometres on the Innu Meshkenu (My Innu Path) to promote indigenous cultural heritage. His journey inspired indigenous and non-indigenous people to join in his mission.
  • Pamela Glode-Desrochers - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Glode-Desrochers has spent the last 25 years advocating for Halifax's urban indigenous communities and fighting poverty and crime. She currently serves as the executive director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.

  • Elder Elmer Seniemten George and Elder John Elliott - Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    Both men helped to translate the Douglas Treaties, originally signed in the 1850s, into the Lekwungen and SENĆOŦEN First Nation languages in effort to promote better understanding between settlers and the First Peoples.

  • William Cranmer - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Cranmer helped repatriate two potlatch artifacts that the Canadian government confiscated nearly 100 years ago. To preserve and shared the history of the sacred items, he also founded two cultural centres in B.C. 

  • André Lewis, Tina Keeper and Mary Richard (posthumous) - Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    The three creative brains harnessed a traditional European art (ballet) to tell a poignant story about First Nations culture. They produced the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's "Going Going Home Star–Truth and Reconciliation," which toured across the country.

    Richard's graddaughter Ashley Ricard accepted the medal on her family's behalf.

  • William MacLeod - Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    MacLeod's business achievements in northern Quebec have inspired Cree youth to embrace more leadership roles and opportunities to develop other employable skills.

  • Julie Pellissier-Lush - Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    A writer, performer, and mentor, Pellissier-Lush is the founding member of the Mi’kmaq Legends theatre troupe. Her work has given a space for young performers to develop their theatre skills as well as an avenue to showcase work powered by indigenous stories.

  • Percy Sacobie - Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) 
    WireImage

    Seeing an opportunity to strengthen a community, Sacobie built the Take a Break Lodge on St. Mary's First Nation in New Brunswick. The sweat lodge has become a cultural cornerstone to help people ground their spirits while recovering from addiction and mental illness.

  • Ann Maje Raider - Polar Medal
    WireImage

    Raider's work as executive director of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society set in motion a new set of protocols in how northern communities in Canada interact with police to strengthen relations.

  • Darlene Scurvey - Polar Medal
    WireImage
    Her work as an early childhood educator at Duska’a Head Start Family Learning Centre in Yukon has helped inspire a new generation to learn the traditional language and culture.
  • Barbara Bernard - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Bernard's work with the Aboriginal Women’s Association of Prince Edward Island has equipped young people with traditional knowledge and indigenous teachings.

  • Pauline Busch - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Under her 10-year tenure as president of the Aboriginal Women of Manitoba, Busch shepherded programs that address family violence and protect indigenous women and girls. 

  • Anita Campbell - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Dedicated to elevating the lives of Métis people, Campbell's involvement with provincial politics and work with the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Métis Women of Manitoba has inspired others to get involved in indigenous communities.

  • Daryl Dancing Buffalo Kootenay - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Kootenay's community work focuses on youth. His involvement with Canada World Youth and Canada Bridges also motivated him to founding the first Stoney Nakoda Youth Council in his own community of Morley, Alta.

  • Opolahsomuwehs Imelda Perley - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    As a Maliseet speaker, her work teaching the language as well as continuing its tradition of storytelling has elevated understanding between New Brunswick's indigenous and non-indigenous communities.

  • Odelle Pike - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Focusing her time on advocating for indigenous women and seniors' issues, Pike has worked hard to protect some of Newfoundland's most vulnerable people.

  • Marilyn Sark - Sovereign's Medal For Volunteers
    WireImage

    Taking the helm of organizations such as the Aboriginal Nurses’ Association of Canada and the Aboriginal Women’s Association, Sark has helped to bring essential services to help P.E.I's indigenous communities.