A young man from Newfoundland and Labrador is being recognized with a national award for achievement in aboriginal culture.

John Jeddore, of the Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River, is one of 14 recipients across Canada — and the only person from this province — to be selected for an Indspire Award.

They are presented each year to indigenous youth and professionals who demonstrate outstanding career achievement.

Jeddore is the first Mi'kmaq from Conne River to attend medical school. He began his first year this fall at Memorial University after graduating last year with a bachelor of science degree in bio-chemistry.

He credits his mother and father for instilling a solid work ethic, and an awareness of the importance of aboriginal culture.

"I think it comes down to how my parents really taught me that if there's something that you think needs done, or if you see something that needs some work on, then you'll find the time to do it, in addition to everything else that's on your plate," said Jeddore.

Working with The Rooms

A guide, photographer and cultural liaison with the Mi'Kmaq Discovery Centre, Jeddore became a guest curator for a large aboriginal exhibition this year at the The Rooms in St. John's, and wrote a monthly column entitled Traditional Voices.

For the past year, he has participated in Memorial's aboriginal health initiative program to work with elders on traditional lands, learning about ceremony and medicines.

Jeddore is also an advocate of indigenous student rights at the national level, where he sits as an aboriginal representative on the Canadian Federation of Students' Newfoundland and Labrador executive.

He says he was told he was singled out for several reasons.

"Everything from working at the national level with the federation of students, to language preservation through social media and on-line videos, to also being the first person from my reserve to be accepted into medical school."

Jeddore and the other 13 recipients were acknowledged in the House of Common last week with a standing ovation and formal reception.

They will be honoured during the 21st annual Indspire Awards national gala set for March 21, 2014 at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg.