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Governor General announces the awarding of the Northern Medal to Mr. Georges Henry Erasmus, O.C.

January 22, 2009

OTTAWA––Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced today that Georges Henry Erasmus, O.C., is the newest recipient of the Governor General's Northern Medal. Mr. Erasmus will receive the award at a ceremony at a later date.

Created in 2005, the Governor General's Northern Medal is awarded 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 Northern Medal has so far been awarded to Sheila Watt-Cloutier, O.C.; Nellie Cournoyea, O.C.; and Bertha Allen, C.M.

The following text is the official citation for Mr. Georges Erasmus:

Georges Henry Erasmus, O.C.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Georges Henry Erasmus has long been acclaimed for his work and leadership in promoting Native rights, as well as improving living standards in northern communities. Elected president of the Dene Nation in 1976, Mr. Erasmus was later elected national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, from 1985 to 1991, guiding the First Nations through turbulent times, including the Oka crisis of 1990. He was subsequently appointed as the co-chair of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In this capacity, he helped to produce what has become a benchmark report in public policy, demanding that Aboriginal persons be recognized as full contributing partners in the Canadian federation. Currently, Mr. Erasmus serves as chief negotiator for the Dehcho First Nations. He is also president of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, which serves to help individuals and communities deal with the traumatic effects of the residential schools. A passionate advocate for Aboriginal peoples, Mr. Erasmus continues to champion northern development.

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Additional information on the Northern Medal: http://www.gg.ca/honours/awards/01/index_e.asp

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Marie-Paule Thorn
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-993-2569


Updated: 2009-01-22
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