Saskatchewan to Host 12th National Aboriginal Achievement Awards

By Lloyd Dolha

The nation’s premier aboriginal event – the 2005 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards – will take place at the Saskatoon Centennial Auditorium and Convention Centre on March 31, 2005.

Each year 14 outstanding aboriginal achievers receive the NAAA in diverse fields such as arts, business, law, education, community development, health, heritage, medicine, public service, science and sports.

The NAAA will honour 12 career recipients, one lifetime achiever and one youth whose award includes a $10,000 scholarship.

Coming from all walks of life, this year’s 14 recipients showcase the diversity, contribution and achievement that can be found among Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Details of the hosts and entertainment have yet to be released, but the gala event will feature performances by some of Canada’s top aboriginal entertainers and will include video vignettes of award recipients. This year’s recipients include:

Bertha Allen, Lifetime Achievement Lolly Annahatak, Social Services
Gwich’in First Nation Inuit of Nunavik, Quebec

Andy Carpenter Sr., Environment Douglas Golosky, Business and Commerce
Inuit of the Northwest Territories Metis, Alberta

Dr. Thomas Digan, Medicine Judy Gingell, Community Development
Six Nations of the Grand River Territory Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Yukon Territory

Joe Jacobs, Arts and Culture Dr. Gerald McMaster, Arts and Culture
Six Nations of the Grand River Territory Red Pheasant First Nation

Fauna Kingdom, Youth Sharon Firth, Sports
Metis, Manitoba Tel’lit Gwichin First Nation, N.W.T

Dr. Eber Hampton, Education Brenda Chambers, Media &Communications
Chickasaw Tribe, Oklahoma, (Saskatchewan) Champagne & Aishihik First Nation

John Joe Sark, Heritage & Spirituality Dr. Emma LaRoocque, Education
Lennox Island First Nation, P.E.I. Metis, Lac La Biche

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the awards and the new face of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation CEO Roberta Jamieson, at the helm of the nation’s premier aboriginal organization.

“The foundation is honoured to recognize the recipients today, people who have converted their potential into accomplishment, enriching us all with their gifts. They are a symbol of hope and encouragement for tens of thousands of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth who have so much to offer Canada and their own peoples if their own potential can be nurtured and realized,” said Jamieson.

The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards was created in 1994 to celebrate and promote positive role models for aboriginal youth. The awards are part of the work of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages and empowers young aboriginal people to advance their educational and career opportunities. Since 1988, the Foundation has provided more than $16 million to deserving aboriginal students across the country, with scholarship disbursements reaching more than $2 million each year.

The last time Saskatchewan hosted the awards was in Regina in 1988.