Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations

About the Award

The Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations is designed to recognize any Canadian who has contributed to building bridges between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian society, and whose efforts make a substantial impact across Canada and across all sectors.

Nomination deadline: May 4, 2018

Most Recent Winner

2018

Carol Anne Hilton photo

Carol Anne Hilton, MBA is the CEO and Founder of The Indigenomics Institute. Carol Anne is a recognized First Nation’s business leader with an international Masters Degree in Business Management (MBA) from the University of Hertfordshire, England. Carol Anne is of Nuu chah nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island.

Carol Anne was recently appointed as a senior advisor on the Canadian Federal Economic Growth Council. The Council advises the Federal Finance Minister Morneau on Canadian economic growth. Carol Anne was also recently appointed to the BC Economic Task Force advising the Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology

Carol Anne is currently authoring ‘Indigenomics- a Global Power Shift’ Carol Anne has led the establishment of a line of thought called #indigenomics- building and developing local Indigenous economies.

Carol Anne’s work has been recognized with a BC Aboriginal Outstanding Business Achievement Award, a Creating Wealth Award from the National Indigenous Council of Elders and Business of the Year Award from the Nuu chah nulth Economic Development Corporation.

Carol Anne currently serves as Director on the McGill University Institute of the Study of Canada and the National Canadian Community Economic Development Network and is also serving as a juror on the Smart Cities Challenge. Carol Anne is an instructor at Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development Program and a faculty lead at the Banff Center’s Indigenous Business Program where she was also a Fleck Fellow.

Past Winners

2017

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Dr. Ken S. Coates

Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public PolicyUniversity of Saskatchewan campus.  Ken was raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, and has long-standing professional and personal interests in Aboriginal rights, northern development, northern Canadian history, science, technology and society, and Japan Studies.

He received his BA (History) from UBC, MA (History) from Manitoba and PhD (History) from UBC.  Ken has had the distinct pleasure of working at universities across Canada and internationally, starting at Brandon University and continuing at the University of Victoria, and the University of Northern British Columbia (where he was the Founding Vice-President Academic).  He spent two years at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, an institution known globally for its work on Indigenous education.  Ken returned to Canada in 1997 to take a position as Dean of Arts at the University of New Brunswick at Saint John.  He then became Dean of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan, later serving as Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo.  He returned to Saskatchewan in 2012.

Ken has written extensively on Aboriginal history, Indigenous-newcomer relations and post-secondary education.  His first major work, Best Left as Indians, examined the history of the Yukon through the lens of Aboriginal-European contact.  His subsequent work includes The Marshall Decision and Aboriginal Rights in the Maritimes, Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon and shortly, a co-authored book called Treaty Peoples: Aboriginal People and the Future of Canada.  He has published more than a dozen books with his regular co-author, Dr. W.R. Morrison, and has worked with Carin Holroyd on a series of projects related to science and technology in East Asia.  Ken’s co-authored book, Campus Confidential, offered an accessible review of the accomplishments and challenges of the post-secondary system in Canada and is being followed up by a book aimed at high school students and their parents about post-graduate opportunities.

Ken is currently working on a series of books, including a reflection on the significance of the Idle No More Movement, a study of the development of the Canadian Light Source (synchrotron) at the University of Saskatchewan, the first ever history of the Circumpolar sub-Arctic, and an examination of the over-expansion of the global university system.

Ken has worked with Aboriginal peoples and organizations and with government agencies responsible for Indigenous affairs across Canada and in New Zealand and Australia.  He assisted with Aboriginally-themed documentaries produced by Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon, assisted with land claims research and participated in a variety of national and international collaborations, including serving on the Research Advisory Committee of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.  He is the Director of the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, which provides regionally-relevant research focused on northern Saskatchewan and delivers a community-based Masters program on Northern Governance and Development. He is the Director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s research project on Aboriginal Peoples and the Natural Resource economy.

Ken appears regularly on television and radio, largely in association with his work on Aboriginal issues, northern Canada and post-secondary education.  His opinion pieces have been published in newspapers and magazines across Canada.

His wife, Carin Holroyd, is an Associate Professor of Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.  He has five children and six grandchildren.  Ken also assists Carin with her charity, the Vietnam Education Society, which builds schools for communities in rural Vietnam.

2016

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Senator Murray Sinclair

Senator Sinclair is being honoured for his distinguished record of public service and work leading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada. Before becoming Chair of the TRC, Murray Sinclair had a distinguished career as a lawyer and then Justice for the Queen’s Bench of Manitoba. He also was a co-commissioner of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, which studied the impact of the criminal justice on Aboriginal peoples in Manitoba and also conducted a six year inquiry into the deaths of 12 children that resulted in a study that led to changes in pediatric heart surgery in Canada. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba and was appointed to the Senate in 2016.

2015

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Willa Black
Vice-President, Corporate Affairs – Canada, Cisco

Willa Black’s leadership on the Connected North Program has served to bridge the Aboriginal digital divide through the use of networking technology. Connected North has been instrumental in increasing healthcare and educational capacity in remote and underserved Aboriginal communities across northern Canada. The initiative was inspired by a meeting in 2011 between Black and Mary Simon, herself an Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations winner, who at the time was President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. The meeting helped to establish a clear direction for Black’s desire to create something “by Canadians and for Canadians” with Cisco’s technology at its heart

2014

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Mary Simon
O.C., O.Q.

Mary Simon has led an extraordinary career which has had Northern interests at its heart. Her achievements have been both global in scope and local in impact. Mary was Canada’s first Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, a lead negotiator for the creation of the Arctic Council and the former Canadian Ambassador to Denmark. She has worked tirelessly to promote the interests of northern communities on a wide range of issues including the environmental, social, cultural and political issues effecting the Inuit. Her accomplishments have been instrumental in building the vital partnerships and personal relationships that open the doors of business through education and participation on the national stage. She has played a vital role in building and strengthening the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians.

2013

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Phil Fontaine
O.C., O.M.

Phil Fontaine is a dedicated and highly respected figure in Canada. He has been instrumental in facilitating change and advancement for First Nations people from the time he was first elected to public office as Chief, at the young age of 28. He is a proud member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba and still plays an active role in the support of his community. Continue reading bio.

2012

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Eric P. Newell
O.C.

Eric P. Newell, O.C. set a trend for working with the Aboriginal community through his leadership of Imperial Oil and Syncrude. His leadership of Syncrude helped them to not only become a major player in the oil industry but also helped them to develop policies that reflected leading practices in corporate social responsibility; becoming one of the largest industrial employers of Aboriginal people in Canada. Newell’s personal life has also made great contributions to education and training, donating money to the University of Alberta to construct the Aboriginal Gathering Place and advocating for greater educational opportunities for Aboriginal people.

2011

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The Right Honourable Paul Martin

The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business is pleased to announce that the Right Honourable Paul Martin, the twenty-first Prime Minister of Canada (2003 – 2006), was selected as the inaugural recipient for the Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations.

Mr. Martin was selected for this enduring commitment to the prosperity of Aboriginal communities and the award’s selection committee highlighted Mr. Martin’s work since his retirement from public life.