- On Tuesday, April 16th at 8:00 pm on CBC Television, 14 outstanding
Aboriginal heroes took centre stage to receive a National Aboriginal
Achievement Award, the Aboriginal community's highest honour.
Produced by Mohawk conductor John Kim Bell and the National
Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, fourteen of Canada's most powerful
Aboriginal role models were honoured.
"The message of these awards for young Aboriginal people
- is they can go as far as they want in politics, science, business
or the arts, if they set goals and stay focused," said John
Kim Bell, the executive producer and founder of the awards. "And
for Canada, the award recipients show that it is possible to be
Aboriginal and to be successful in this country", said Bell.
The achievers are an inspiring group of men and women ranging
from a family physician to a business executive with one of Canada's
oldest corporations to three outstanding visual artists, to a young
hockey player who is the first Inuk to be drafted into the NHL.
This night of honour features performances by Canada's top Aboriginal
performing artists, performing against a powerful artistic set designed
by Mr. Bell. Interspersed between the sensational performances,
the glittering evening features video vignettes of the lives and
accomplishments of this year's achievers.
Taped at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, comedian
Don Burnstick hosts an evening boasting an eye-popping, colourful
set of stained glass cathedral windows, three giant Aboriginal faces
carved into a cliff, fluttering butterflies, a huge snake and turtle
set against flowers and wildlife.
The line-up includes a a sensational opening number by Tamara
Podemski an up and coming performer of stage and screen last seen
in the New York production of Rent. Coloratura soprano Minda Forcier
using her lyrical voice to sing Leonard Bernstein's Glitter and
Be Gay from Candide. B.C. blues performer, George Leach who rocks
the show with a blistering performance of Young Enough. And, Ms.
Fortier who will again show off her voice for the closing number,
where she performs with baritone Carey Newman in a sensational duo
of Just Show Me How to Love You.
The 2002 National Aboriginal Achievement Award recipients are a
valiant group of men and women. The video vignettes will feature
the stories of these brave men and women who have touched the lives
of many and left a legacy of extraordinary lives lived. This year's
- Cape Dorset carver Ohito Ashoona;
- Fort Liard leader and entrepreneur Harry Deneron;
- North West coast artist and carver Freda Diesing;
- Winnipeg based VP of The North West Company Leonard
- Alberta based energy expert Roy Fox;
- Former Concordia University, Dean of Arts and Sciences,
Dr. Gail Guthrie Valaskakis;
- Alberta artist and painter, and this year's lifetime
achievement award recipient, Alex Janvier;
- Retired Inuit broadcaster Jonah Kelly;
- Nova Scotia elder and lecturer Noel Knockwood;
- Land claims negotiator and Métis leader George
- Canadian track and field giant, and business consultant
- Kahnawake Grand Chief Joe Norton;
- Winnipeg family physician and educator Dr. Gilles
- Inuk hockey star and this year's youth recipient Jordin
National Aboriginal Achievement Awards were created in 1994 by John
Kim Bell to recognize outstanding career achievements by Aboriginal
professionals of First Nations, Métis and Inuit ancestry.
Since the awards began 126 achievers have been recognized.
"The awards generate tremendous pride across Canada and
express the tremendous talent and skill which resides in the Aboriginal
community. The awards are Canada's most positive and significant
effort to dispel stereotypes and promote greater harmony between
Aboriginal people and all Canadians," said John Kim Bell, the
Founder, President and Executive Producer of the awards.
The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards are a project of
the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, a nationally registered
charity established in 1985 by John Kim Bell. The Foundation has
provided $12 million in scholarships to Aboriginal students enrolled
in universities and colleges across the country where they are enrolled
to further their education.