Courtesy Indspire
A few of this year's Indspire Winners for Indigenous Achievement in Canada (left to right): Mark Stevenson Jo-Ann Episkenew Leonard George

Inspiration Redux: 7 More Indspire Winners for Indigenous Achievement in Canada

Sam Laskaris

Continuing our coverage of the 2016 Indspire Awards for indigenous achievement in Canada, we bring you the balance of the 14. These seven people have made their mark in law, the arts and health care, among other areas. Meet them below.

RELATED: Indigenous Inspiration: 7 Winners of the Indspire Awards in Canada

Education: Jo-Ann Episkenew

Jo-Ann Episkenew (Photo: Courtesy Indspire)

Jo-Ann Episkenew, who is Metis and lives in Regina, was honored in the Education category, for using indigenous and arts-based knowledge to help promote wellness among indigenous youth and adults.

“I love the work I do,” she said. “I guess this award is just icing on the cake for me. But I’m not doing this work for awards. I’m doing it for my community.”

Episkenew’s work includes research into suicide prevention, trauma and the effects of racism and colonization on respiratory health. She told ICTMN she was rather emotional when CEO president Roberta Jamieson called to tell her she was one of the Indspire recipients.

“I was crying when Roberta phoned me at the office,” she said. “It was like, Wow. It’s quite an honor, but I was shocked as well.”

Clint Davis (Photo: Courtesy Indspire)

Business and Commerce: Clint Davis

Clint Davis, who is Inuit and was born in Nunatsiavut, was selected in the Business and Commerce category for his work in indigenous business development. Since 2012 he’s been the vice-president of Aboriginal Banking at TD Bank Group. His responsibilities include implementing a national indigenous banking strategy. He also chairs the board for the Nanatsiavut Group of Companies.

Law and Justice: Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson (Photo: Courtesy Indspire)

Mark Stevenson, Métis, was honored in the Law and Justice category. Stevenson, who has a law office in Victoria, B.C., started focusing on indigenous constitution matters in 1982, working with the Privy Council in Ottawa. Since then he has negotiated numerous agreements on behalf of indigenous people. These include oil, gas, mineral revenue sharing, pipeline, forestry and impact benefit agreements stemming from hydro mega-projects.


Public Service: Leonard George

Leonard George, a member of British Columbia’s Tsleil-waututh Nation, was chosen in the Public Service category. A former chief of his First Nation, George is now a member of the Tsleil-waututh Economic Development Department, the business and economic development arm of the First Nation.

Joseph Boyden (Photo: Courtesy Indspire)

Arts: Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden is an accomplished Métis writer from Toronto honored in the Arts category. He has written three award-winning books; Three Day Road, Through Black Spruce and The Orenda. He currently splits his time living in Louisiana and in northern Ontario. All of Boyden’s books thus far are about First Nations heritage and culture. Three Day Road is about two Cree soldiers in World War 1 who served in the Canadian military.

Pat Mandy (Photo: Courtesy Indspire)

Health: Pat Mandy

Mandy, a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, was honored in the Health category. Her 45-year career has spanned nursing, administration and teaching, all for the betterment of indigenous health. She was a founding member of what today is known as the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada. She was also the first—and to date, only—indigenous president of the College of Nurses of Ontario. Plus she was a founding member of the Aboriginal Health Advocacy Committee.


Politics: Michael Kanentankeron Mitchell

Michael Kanentankeron Mitchell (Photo: Courtesy Indspire)

Mitchell, honored for his accomplishments in the Politics category, was the Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne from 1984 until his retirement earlier this year. During his tenure as Grand Chief, Mitchell successfully negotiated for Akwesasne to regain control of its own justice, membership and policing. He also spearheaded various conservation, health and education programs.

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