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First batch of recipients named for Order of Yukon

Former commissioners, Indigenous elders, and land claim negotiators will be among the first recipients of the Order of Yukon.

Former commissioners, First Nations chiefs among the 10 named to territory's highest honour

Rolf Hougen, Judy Gingell and Ione Christensen are among the 2019 recipients of the Order of Yukon, the territory's highest honour. (CBC)

Former commissioners, Indigenous elders, and land claim negotiators will be among the first recipients of the Order of Yukon.

Commissioner Angélique Bernard announced the 10 inductees to the order on Friday. The awards will be presented at the commissioner's annual New Year's Levee, on Jan. 1.

The recipients are:

  • Doug Bell, former commissioner of Yukon;
  • Ione Christensen, former commissioner and Yukon senator;
  • Patricia Ellis, artist and author;
  • Judy Gingell, former commissioner and chair of the Council for Yukon Indians;
  • Percy Henry, respected elder and former Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in chief;
  • Gary Hewitt, long time Arctic Winter Games volunteer and official;
  • Rolf Hougen, businessman and philanthropist;
  • Dave Joe, lawyer and former chief land claims negotiator for the Council of Yukon First Nations;
  • Sam Johnston, former MLA and chief of the Teslin Tlingit Council; and
  • Lyall Murdoch, co-founder of the Frantic Follies.

Several of them are already members or officers of the Order of Canada, including Bell, Christensen, Gingell, Hougen and Joe. Johnston received a Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2008.

The Order of Yukon is the territory's highest honour. When it was first announced in 2016 by Premier Darrell Pasloski, Yukon was the last province or territory in Canada to create such an award.

According to the commissioner's website, it's meant to "recognize Yukoners who have demonstrated high achievement and made an outstanding contribution to society."

Nominations opened last June. Anybody can nominate somebody for the award, anytime, so long as the nominee is a Canadian citizen who "has been or still is a long-time Yukoner." 

Politicians still in office — including MPs, MLAs, mayors, town councillors, and First Nations chiefs and councillors — are not eligible.

Awards also can't be given posthumously.

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