Thunder Bay·Audio

Garnet Angeconeb, Sioux Lookout, Ont., cultural bridge-builder, receives Order of Canada

A respected First Nations leader in northwestern Ontario was finally presented with the insignia for the Order of Canada, Monday.

Ontario's Lieutenant Governor will be in Sioux Lookout to present Garnet Angeconeb with the insignia

Garnet Angeconeb's journey has been one of strength, and determination to build a better society. In 2012 he became a member of the Order of Canada, but he wasn't able to attend the ceremony, because of difficulties with mobility. (
He's a well-known community leader, and cultural bridge-builder in Sioux Lookout. Garnet Angeconeb is being presented with the insignia for the Order of Canada.

A respected First Nations leader in northwestern Ontario was finally presented with the insignia for the Order of Canada, on Monday.

Garnet Angeconeb is a residential school survivor who has dedicated many years of his life to building better race relations. He became a member of the Order of Canada in 2012, but was unable to attend the ceremony because he was ill.

Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, was expected to be in Sioux Lookout, Ont., at the Centennial Centre on Monday,  to present Angeconeb with the honour on behalf of the Governor General of Canada.

Angeconeb told CBC News in Thunder Bay he is honoured and humbled by the recognition.

"It actually is a validation of the work that has been done by so many people in terms of building bridges cross-culturally,"  said Angeconeb.

"It means a great deal. It really, really does," he said. 

Angeconeb is from Lac Seul First Nation in northwestern Ontario, but was sent to Pelican Falls Residential School, near Sioux Lookout, as a young boy. He has been a  journalist and a municipal councillor. He is also a founding member of the Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee, in the town about 400 km northwest of Thunder Bay.

Angeconeb said he sees improvement in race relations in his community, but much more remains to be done to move towards reconciliation.

"I really think that things are changing for the better. I have to remind people however that we still have challenges, we still have a lot of work to do," he said.

"But, nevertheless, we keep chipping away one day at a time to create that better world that we all seek and strive for," said Angeconeb. 

Angeconeb is also the recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.