[June 19, 2017 – Ottawa] The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), on behalf of its Board of Directors and the entire Friendship Centre Movement would like to congratulate all those who have been honoured by the His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada in recognition of their outstanding Indigenous leadership. Each of the honourees exemplifies the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples across Canada. The NAFC is particularly pleased that five of these honourees are committed and passionate Indigenous women who in addition to working tirelessly to advocate on behalf of Indigenous people serve or have served as leaders and change makers within the Friendship Centre Movement.
Sylvia B. Maracle, O.C. a social activist and Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres has been appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada;
Mary Richard, O.M. M.S.M. a longtime advocate and former Senator of the NAFC has been posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (civil division) which was accepted by her loving granddaughter Ms. Ashley Richard;
Pam Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax has been awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers;
Anita Campbell, former Executive Director of the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre in Thompson, Manitoba has been awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers; and
Odelle Pike, President of the Bay St. George Cultural Circle, one of the Friendship Centre Movement’s newest Centres located in Newfoundland has been awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
Upon hearing of the honours, NAFC President Chris Sheppard stated, “women have always held positions of leadership within Indigenous communities and that is a value that has been reflected across the Friendship Centre Movement both in the past and today.” Sheppard went on to say, “I am proud that our women leaders are being recognized in this way as such honours have the potential to pave the way and inspire the next generation of urban Indigenous women leaders in Canada.”
Recipients were honoured earlier today at a ceremony hosted at Rideau Hall by the His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, was also in attendance, along with other dignitaries and special guests.
Erin Corston, Executive Director