4 northerners named to Order of Canada

Former Northwest Territories premier Nellie Cournoyea was among three from the N.W.T. and one longtime Yukoner to join the Order of Canada on Tuesday.

Former Northwest Territories premier Nellie Cournoyea was among three from the N.W.T. and one longtime Yukoner to join the Order of Canada on Tuesday.

Nellie Cournoyea, left, received the Northern Medal from Gov. Gen. Michäelle Jean in a ceremony on April 14, during Jean's visit to Inuvik. ((Sgt. Eric Jolin/Rideau Hall) )
Cournoyea, who was premier from 1991 to 1995, was named as an officer of the order for her "active involvement in promoting social and economic development for aboriginal people," as well as for her long political career, Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean announced in a release.

Prior to her time in N.W.T. politics, Cournoyea helped craft the landmark 1984 land-claim agreement between the Inuvialuit people of the western Arctic and the federal government.

Cournoyea continues to represent the Inuvialuit today, currently as chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corp. in Inuvik, N.W.T. She was acclaimed to her seventh two-year term earlier this year.

In April, Jean awarded Cournoyea with the Northern Medal, in recognition of her long career as a politician and aboriginal negotiator.

Cournoyea was appointed to the Order of Canada is as an officer, the second of three levels of honour next to companion.

Also named as an officer of the order Tuesday was Dave Joe, a member of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation in southern Yukon. Joe currently lives in Vancouver, where he runs a law firm.

Jean recognized Joe for his leadership in building stronger communities and positive relations between First Nation and non-First Nations people.

He has been credited with negotiating final land claim agreements for several Yukon First Nations.

Carmichael, Haché honoured as members

Joining Cournoyea in the Order of Canada is fellow Inuvik resident Fred Carmichael, who was recognized for his career as a Gwich'in leader, businessman and volunteer.

Most recently, Carmichael served as president of the Gwich'in Tribal Council from 2000 until his retirement earlier this year.

Since signing the Gwich'in land claim more than 15 years ago, the tribal council has worked to implement the agreement and ensure the Gwich'in have a place in the economy of the N.W.T.'s Mackenzie Delta region.

Jean named Carmichael Tuesday as a member of the Order of Canada — the order's first level and one step below officer.

Receiving the same honour is Arlene Haché of Yellowknife, for her social advocacy work through the Centre for Northern Families and other local, territorial and national associations.

The newest additions will receive their Order of Canada insignias at a Rideau Hall ceremony to be determined at a later date.

The Order of Canada, the country's highest honour, recognizes citizens for outstanding achievements or for exceptional contributions to the culture of the country.

Since it was established in 1967, the award has been presented to more than 5,500 people.