(ANNews) – On December 19, 2021, Governor General of Canada Mary Simon – the first Indigenous Governor General in the country’s history – announced 135 appointments to the Order of Canada.

The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest civilian honours. The members are said to “take to heart” the motto “they want a better country”.

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

Simon said the honorees represent Canadians who “are shining examples of the commitment and outstanding contributions that Canadians have made to the well-being of communities across the country.”

The nominations range from people such as Life of Pi author Yann Martel, originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for his contributions to literature; to researcher Carl-Eric Aubin for having “built bridges between the fields of engineering and musculoskeletal medicine by creating innovative diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools”.

Many prolific Aboriginal people have also been honored in the nominations.

The legendary Murray Sinclair – an Obijway judge from St. Andrews, Manitoba, who served in the Canadian Senate and served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada from 2009 to 2015 – has been named a “companion”.

“For her commitment to representing Indigenous legal issues and for her dedication to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

Aboriginal playwright and novelist Tomson Highway, best known for his plays Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskkasing, was also inducted into the Order of Canada “for his sustained and distinguished contribution to Canadian theater and culture as a one of our leading playwrights and novelists”.

Many Indigenous women are also celebrated by the country, as Deborah Chastis, who was the first First Nations woman to serve as Canadian Ambassador, received an appointment. She has worked in several countries during her career, such as China, Vietnam and Guatemala.

She is recognized “for her leadership as the first First Nations woman to serve as an Ambassador for Canada and for her advocacy of human rights around the world.”

Another Indigenous woman to be inducted into the order is Dr. Lillian Eva Quan Dyck, a former senator from Saskatchewan, who was named “for her contributions to human rights and social justice, and for her powerful advocacy for First Nations and racial minorities in Canada. ”

Dyck said of the nomination, “It feels like the culmination of all those years of hard work and frustration. You know, a little joy, but a lot of frustration.

“Honestly, I just cried. And I feel quite emotional now. It was such a shock, a surprise, a delicious surprise. But it really sets you back. I think it’s a tremendous recognition.

“I will be so happy to receive an award from her as an Inuk woman and also as an incredible pioneer. So for me, it was so meaningful because it fits a part of who I am to have a relationship with another Indigenous woman,” she said.

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