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Governor General presents the Governor General's Northern Medal to Sheila Watt-Cloutier

September 22, 2005

OTTAWA––Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, presented this morning the first Governor General's Northern Medal to Sheila Watt-Cloutier in a ceremony that took place at Rideau Hall.

The Governor General's Northern Medal will be awarded annually to a citizen whose actions and achievements have contributed to the evolution and constant reaffirmation of the Canadian North as part of our national identity.

The following text is the official citation for Ms. Watt-Cloutier:

Sheila Watt-Cloutier
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Born in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Sheila Watt-Cloutier has been an eloquent spokesperson for the North and an advocate for Inuit rights, not only across Canada but also internationally.  As Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), she has brought attention to the problems of global warming and its particular impact on the Arctic.  During her early years at ICC, Ms. Watt-Cloutier led a coalition of northern Indigenous Peoples that persuaded partners to conclude a global agreement, signed in Stockholm in 2001, to ban the generation and use of environmental pollutants that contaminate the Arctic food chain.  Her passion and dedication have put a human face on the challenges that the Arctic and its people confront every day.  Her ongoing contributions have earned her international recognition, including the Sophie Prize from the Oslo-based Sophie Foundation in 2005, and are a testament to her leadership and commitment to, in Ms. Watt-Cloutier's own words, "protect the Arctic and save the planet".

For additional information on the medal, visit our web site at: http://www.gg.ca/media/info/fs-01_e.asp

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Updated: 2005-10-03
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