2014 Minaake Awards

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Leadership Award

1201890Tera Beaulieu is of Métis ancestry and resides in Toronto. She is currently completing her Doctor of Philosophy in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Toronto and is a recipient of a 2011 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Tera’s program of research examines the supports and challenges of Métis traditional knowledge in addressing the life transition needs (mental health, education and employment) of urban Métis homeless peoples. Tera has also worked with the Youth Outreach Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for the past six years as a Counselor. She has delivered over 250 presentations to youth, parents, and professionals and has been the lead Counselor for a community-based partnership with an Aboriginal agency in Toronto focused on providing clinical services to Aboriginal youth. Tera has also acted as a Facilitator of the Infinite Reach: a Métis Student Solidarity Network (Métis Nation of Ontario) at the University of Toronto for the past three years. In 2013, she was a senior facilitator for the March Break Camp for Métis high school students across the province. In addition, she holds the position of Women’s Representative with the Toronto and York Region Métis Council. Tera is passionately committed to serving the Aboriginal community of Toronto and is a proud Métis scholar, clinician, and community member.


Advocacy and Human Rights Award

6321661Dr. Anita Benoit is an Aboriginal woman from New Brunswick, raised just 15 minutes away from the Mi’kmaq community of Esgenoopetitj First Nation. She completed her undergraduate degrees at Mount Allison University and the Université de Moncton, both in New Brunswick, her Master’s degree at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, and her PhD in microbiology and immunology at the University of Ottawa. Anita moved to Toronto in 2011 and received a postdoctoral fellowship to conduct her research at Women’s College Research Institute. Now in her third year, she is focusing her postdoctoral research on stress experienced by Aboriginal women and its relation to increased HIV risk. Anita is also studying techniques and developing programs that Aboriginal women can use to reduce stress. In addition, she is completing a Master’s in health services research at the University of Toronto to gain statistical analysis and qualitative skills to enhance her research. Anita is dedicated to discovery and knowledge creation through research aimed to improve the lives of Aboriginal women in Canada. Her research also explores the top health concerns of Aboriginal women, including those living with HIV, and culturally appropriate healing approaches that women want, need and rightfully deserve.


The Good Path Award

1016098Eva Scott is originally from Fort Albany First Nations. She is currently working as a Community Outreach Worker in Sistering’s Peer Support Program, where she has been working since 2010. Eva spent many years on the streets of Toronto and struggled with addictions. She sought support and recovery through the Meeting Place. After going through treatment, she soon became a Peer Worker at Queen West Community Health Centre in their Aboriginal Diabetes Program, Four Winds. Since starting at Sistering, Eva has introduced Healing Circles in the drop-in with elder Wanda Whitebird, and provides support and referrals to women in crisis. She shares her story of personal recovery with the women she works with and has made several presentations about her work and her journey. Her presentations have spanned from the Toronto Community Addiction Team, the Meeting Place, and the All of Our Sisters Conference in London, Ontario, to International Women’s Day at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. She has also leant her voice to many advocacy efforts on behalf of homeless persons in Toronto. Eva is extremely committed to her work and to helping others that are still struggling with issues of homelessness and addictions.


LGBT2S/Two-Spirited Award

6526629Fallon Andy is a two-spirited, Anishnawbe kwe originally from Couchiching First Nation, Ontario. She relocated to Toronto in September 2011 to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Visual Arts program at York University. Since arriving in Toronto, she has consistently proven herself to be a community-oriented leader within the on-campus Aboriginal community and within the Aboriginal communities of Toronto. Fallon has been an active member of the Aboriginal Students’ Association at York and the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services. She assists in the success of various campus events by contributing her filming and artistic skills. In the summer of 2012, Fallon participated in the Native Youth Sexual Health Network’s “Taking Action” project. In January 2013, Fallon filmed the Round Dance for the Idle No More event on-campus. In October 2013, she was commissioned to paint a Thunderbird mural for Aboriginal Students’ Association at York. In August 2013, Fallon was selected by the Fine Arts department to participate in an artist-in-residency program in St. Petersburg, Russia. Fallon is a member of Tities Wicinimintowak, Bluejays Dancing Together, a 2-Spirit Skillshare that meets to support the two-spirit community in Toronto.


Challenger (Youth) Award

8181486At only 18 years of age, Ocean Bell has made a lot of tracks in the urban Aboriginal community of Toronto, with an impressive resume of trail blazing work. Born and raised on Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, Ocean moved to Toronto at the age of 15, looking to shed a troubled past and reinvent herself. After relocating to Toronto, Ocean Giiwednangoonhs Kwe (North Star Woman) quickly became acquainted with the community. She began her healing journey in Toronto, and for the first time, felt safe to come out as a two-spirited young woman. Ocean is currently employed with the Central Toronto Community Health Centre as a Youth Empower Mentor, where she provides outreach and HIV/AIDS arts-based workshops. She boldly educates other young people on healthy sexuality, harm reduction and STI prevention, which many of our community members still struggle to talk about today. Ocean is also a member of the Youth Council (ENAGB) at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto where she supports the prevention and intervention of mental health and addiction challenges faced by those living in the GTA.


Culture Keeper Award

6975385Mary Fox is Pottawatomi and Ojibway, and a band member of Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve, Kaboni. She is fluent in the Ojibway language. She left home for Toronto as a youth to help financially support her large family. Mary has been a committed volunteer in the Toronto Aboriginal community for the past 50 years. Her first volunteer experience was with the Native American Club (now the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto also known as NCCT). Upon retiring, she managed the Craft Shop at the NCCT, receiving great praise and recognition for her contribution to the shop. Despite offers to demonstrate her craftwork elsewhere, she remained loyal to the NCCT Craft Shop. She has shared her cultural knowledge with many Toronto organizations and post-secondary institutions over the years, including the NCCT, Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, First Nations House at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Centennial College, and many more. Mary was also an instructor at the University of Toronto, where she taught a course focused on craft making. Her knowledge in crafts includes beading, quilting, moccasin making, birch bark, quill and leatherwork to name a few. A generous and passionate teacher, Mary is also storyteller who continues to enrich the lives of many learners and community members.


2014 Award Nominees

We would also like to recognize all of the Nominees for this year’s Minaake Awards for “walking a good path” by setting a positive example for others and contributing to the community. Congratulations on your nomination.
· Kaitlyn Adams Lewis
· Julianna Alton
· Catherine (Kerrigan) Beaver
· Denise Bolduc
· Denise Booth
· Cheryllee Bourgeois & Sara Wolfe
· Ashley Sarah Brennan
· Christina DaCosta
· Dr. Susan Dion
· Katherine Gandy
· Jennifer Gray
· Monica Hare
· Raven Murphy
*Some names have been omitted for confidentiality reasons.


2014 Minaake Awards Jury


From left to right: Rob Lackie, Alex Jacobs “Waasaanese”, Joanne Dallaire, Tracey King, Sue Lamure and Shawna Howe.

2014 Minaake Awards Contributors

Our sponsors: CIBC (title), Ryerson University, Scotiabank, DASD Contracting Inc, and Symcor.

Our Volunteers: NWRCT Staff and Board, Sara Fegelman, Ellissa Glad-Kavanagh, Cindy Hashie, Stephanie Hashie and Emma Werner.

Our 2014 Jury: Joanne Dallaire, Shawna Howe, Alex Jacobs “Waasaanese”, Rob Lackie, Tracey King, Sue Lamure

Our event photographers: That Good Way Productions (click thru for photos) & the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (click thru for photos).

Silent auction donors: Brass Vixens, Canada Basketball, Costco, Home Hardware (Cabbagetown), Hot Docs – Canadian International Documentary Festival, Miikana (Handmade jewellery with Native flair), Moriah Kostuk-Simpson – Handmade Custom jewellery, The Origin of Life, Stacey Boag Photography, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto Rock Lacrosse, T-shirt gallery, ValenciaFitness.com, and x mark instrumentals .

Chi-meegwetch to artists that featured items: Deanna Dolson, Valerie Ghostkeeper, Sandy McKinlay, Sylvaine Solomon, and Maryann Pasquach.