Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

·2 min read

Several Indigenous Canadians have been awarded the country’s highest civilian honours in the latest round of appointments.

On Nov. 27, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette announced 114 new appointments to the Order of Canada.

Indigenous appointees include Tom Jackson and Doreen Spence of Calgary, Alta., Thomas King of Guelph, Ont., Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Sask. and Harvey Andrew McCue (Waubageshig) of Ottawa, Ont.

There are three levels —Companion, Officer and Member —within the Order of Canada recognizing a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degrees, especially in service to Canada or humanity at large, noted the Office of the Governor-General.

Jackson was born on the One Arrow Reserve near the South Saskatchewan River northeast of Saskatoon, Sask. He has led a prolific career as an actor and singer, and over the years, has supported underprivileged Canadians through his philanthropic initiatives. Previously an officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, Jackson has been promoted, companion.

King has also been promoted within the Order of Canada from officer to companion. He self-identifies as being of Cherokee and Greek ancestry and is one of North America’s most acclaimed literary figures.

Spence, a well-respected Cree elder advocating for peace and Indigenous people’s human rights, has been appointed officer.

Bear and McCue have both been appointed members.

Numerous economic and social development opportunities have resulted under Bear’s leadership as chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation near Saskatoon, Sask.

McCue is being recognized for his contributions to the “health and well-being of Indigenous youth in Canada and his influential leadership education.”

The Order of Canada was created in 1967.

Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia —an iconic snowflake of six points— at a future ceremony.

Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune