Jeannette Corbiere Lavell
Jeannette Corbiere Lavell is an Ojibwe activist. Shortly after her marriage to a white man in 1970, Lavell received a letter telling her that her Indian status had been revoked. She took it to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1973. It was finally overturned in 1985. She has advocated for Indigenous women’s rights at the UN’s Human Rights Committee and Committee to End Sex Discrimination. Her quest is featured in the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.
Chief Poundmaker was a Plains Cree chief known as a peacemaker and defender of the Poundmaker Cree Nation.
In 1885, during the Métis Rebellion, his band was attacked by Canadian troops and a battle ensued. After the rebellion was suppressed, he surrendered and was convicted of treason and imprisoned. He died of illness soon after his release.
In May 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exonerated the chief and apologized to the Poundmaker Cree Nation.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, born Beverly Sainte-Marie, is an Indigenous Icon! She has won recognition, awards and honours for her music as well as her work in education and social activism throughout her career.
In 1983, Sainte-Marie became the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar and the Golden Globe for her song “Up Where We Belong” from the film An Officer and a Gentleman.
In 1997, she founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project, an educational curriculum devoted to better understanding Native Americans.
Dr. James Makokis
Dr. James Makokis is an Indigenous two-spirit person and is particularly noted for treating transgender people from Cree communities and around the world, with many patients traveling long distances to see him. Dr. Makosis operates a clinic in the Enoch Cree Nation 135, serving the Kehewin and Enoch Cree Nations, and a satellite clinic in Edmonton, Alberta, combining traditional Cree and Western medical practices.
Sheila Watt-Cloutier is one of the most outstanding advocates for the economic, social, and cultural rights of the Inuit in the Arctic. In 2007, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work in showing the impact global climate change has on human rights. Watt-Cloutier is also a recipient of the Aboriginal Achievement Award and the UN Champion of the Earth Award. She is also an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Louis “David” Riel
Louis Riel was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political leader of the Métis people. He led two resistance movements against the government of Canada and its first prime minister, John A. Macdonald.
Riel sought to defend Métis rights and identity as the Northwest Territories came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence.
Emily Pauline Johnson
Emily Pauline Johnson, also known by her Mohawk stage name Tekahionwake, was a Canadian poet, author, and performer who was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Johnson—whose poetry was published in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain—was among a generation of widely-read writers who began to define Canadian literature.
In 2002, a complete collection of her known poetry was published, entitled E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake: Collected Poems and Selected Prose.
(Tekahionwake pronounced dageh-eeon-wageh)
“I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: we can’t eat money or drink oil.”
This is what 15-year-old Autumn Peltier said to hundreds of international guests at UN headquarters in 2019.
Peltier is Anishinaabe-kwe and a member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation. She is best known as an internationally recognized water protector and has been called a “water warrior.”
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