Artist Elisapee Ishulutaq of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, has been named as a member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the cultural and economic health of her community as a role model and mentor.
"I haven't done anything significant, that's what I said to myself," Ishulutaq told CBC this morning, in Inuktitut. "And then I was told it's for my artwork. I did not know what to do or say when I was told that."
Ishulutaq has submitted drawings to both the tapestry studio and the print workshop in Pangnirtung for more than 40 years, when the studio opened its doors in 1970. Ishulutaq participated in the first exhibition for the Pangnirtung Studio in 1972, at the Guild of Canadian Crafts in Montreal. Her work is also in the National Gallery of Canada. She has helped the art flourish in this small, remote community.
On Monday, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Gov. Gen. of Canada announced 90 new appointments to the Order of Canada; the award is considered one of Canada’s highest civilian honours.
A number of the appointments recognized significant contributions to the Aboriginal community.
The Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is being recognized as an officer to the Order of Canada for his reconciliation and social justice work.
He played a key role in organizing a delegation of representatives from the Assembly of First Nations and the Catholic Church in Canada, to see Pope Benedict XVI on April 29, 2009.
The recently retired sixth archbishop of Winnipeg was adopted into the Aboriginal community at a ceremony held at Winnipeg’s Thunderbird House in 2012.
Keren Rice of Toronto has been made an officer for her extensive work researching and helping to preserve Athapaskan languages. Twenty years ago she helped produce A Grammar of Slave, a Slavey language dictionary which is still widely used.
Rice also helped standardize the Dene writing system and developed teaching materials for language teachers. In 2012, she was awarded $50,000. by the Canada Council for the Arts to create an electronic version of the dictionary, and create language apps for smart phones.
Daniel Ish of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a lawyer, is named an officer to the Order of Canada for his commitment to social justice, noted is his former role as chief adjudicator of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat.
Morley Hanson of Ottawa, Ontario, has been honoured as a member to the Order of Canada for his work as coordinator of the Nunavut Sivuniksavut college program for Inuit youth. The program prepares Inuit youth for work in Nunavut and for post-secondary education.
Yvon Dumont, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is named as a member to the Order of Canada for his commitment to advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Métis Peoples.