Canada’s First Nations people are a wonderful mosaic of peoples with a rich and ancient history. The awards are run via the Indspire charity organisation that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people across Canada to help foster long-term benefits for individuals, families and communities.
This year, award winning actor and director Jennifer Podemski will be the executive producer of the awards show, scheduled for June 22nd on APTN, Canada’s national broadcast television network for indigenous peoples. “This year, through the production of the Indspire Awards we have proven that with hard work, perseverance and collaboration, we as Indigenous people can rise above adversity and achieve our goals when we work together and support one another,” says Podemski. June is the National Indigenous History Month in Canada.
Podemski is a highly acclaimed director, producer and actor, whose work has garnered international recognition and received numerous accolades. In addition to her prior role as co-executive producer of the Indspire Awards (for which she garnered multiple Canadian Screen Award nominations), she is also the creator and producer of the paranormal documentary series The Other Side (APTN) and co-creator and producer of Future History (APTN).
With the support of its funding partners, Indspire provides financial awards, delivers programs and shares resources so that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students will achieve their highest potential. In 2019-2020, Indspire provided more than $17.8 million through 5,553 bursaries and scholarships to First Nations, Inuit and Métis students across Canada.
The 2021 Indspired Award Recipients:
Youth Recipient: Lesley Hampton
Youth Recipient: Mitchell MacDougall
Youth Recipient: Justin Langan
Business & Commerce: Rosa Walker
Culture, Heritage & Spirituality: Emily Angulalik
Public Service : Nahanni Fontaine
Sports: Dallas Soonias
Law & Justice: Val Napoleon
Education : Lorne Gladu
Arts: Drew Hayden Taylor
Health: Catherine Cook
Lifetime Achievement: Qapik Attagutsiak
In the past, the Awards have been presented during an in-person gala ceremony, but the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a change of approach. This year’s show will appear in an innovative virtual format under the creative direction of new executive producer Jennifer Podemski, who accepted the challenge of producing the show during a lockdown, taking on the role held for many years by former Indspire president and CEO Roberta Jamieson.
“Here at Indspire, we’ve consistently remained focused on our mission to recognize and celebrate Indigenous excellence throughout the challenging year we’ve collectively experienced,” said Indspire president and CEO Mike DeGagné. “It is both a pleasure and a privilege to invite viewers from all over Canada to help us celebrate the outstanding achievements of these 12 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leaders.”
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