Celebration of Nations Honours exceptional indigenous leaders and allies

Artistic Director, Michele-Elise Burnett; Mayor Walter Sendzik; Gary Parker; Santee Smith; Larry McDermott; Artistic Producer, Tim Johnson. Photo courtesy of Mark Zelinski

First Ontario Performing Arts Centre press release – The third annual Celebration of Nations was a rich artistic and intellectual gathering that welcomed more than 3500 community members and visitors over the weekend.

With many highlights of the 40+ events that took place between 6 – 8 September, the Celebration of Nations artistic team introduced awards to recognize the outstanding achievements of six individuals who have continued to trailblaze paths of truth and reconciliation.

“In the third year of Celebration of Nations, we chose to honour some very special people whose participation in our programs and sustained commitment to truth and reconciliation have helped to establish this event as nationally recognized Indigenous arts and intellectual gathering,” said Artistic Producer Tim Johnson.

The awards were shared on Friday, Sept. 6/2019, in a community reception in Robertson Theatre, and included:

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PERFORMING ARTS

  • Santee Smith (Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL ARTS

  • Sam Thomas (Lower Cayuga Band of the Iroquois Nation)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INTELLECTUAL ADVANCEMENT

  • Susan Aglukark (Inuit)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

  • Gary Parker (Tonawanda Seneca Nation)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN EMPATHIC TRADITIONS

  • Larry McDermott (Algonquin)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR THE TWO ROW ALLIANCE

  • Walter Sendzik (Mayor of the City of St. Catharines)