A Winnipeg woman has been named a 2013 recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.
Nahanni Fontaine, a special advisor on aboriginal women’s issues for the province, was named to the honour for her work to advance recognition of, and action on, the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal girls and women.
She is one of five recipients from across the country, named this week by Dr. Kellie Leitch, the federal minister responsible for the status of women.
The award honours the Famous Five, the five Canadian women, including Nellie McClung, who fought for women’s equality and won the right for women to be legally recognized as persons in Canada in 1929. In addition to the annual Governor General Awards, that victory is celebrated every year as Persons Day during Women’s History month.
Governor General David Johnston will present the 34th annual awards at his official residence Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Tuesday Oct. 29.
Fontaine, an Objiway woman from Sagkeeng First Nation, is respected across Canada for advocating action on missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls, the announcement said.
"Ms. Fontaine campaigns tirelessly to bring to light the stories of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. For two decades she has attended every rally, vigil and funeral... and built up relationships between families, government and policing agencies. She is extremely effective at the grassroots level, supporting women with housing, employment, clothing, food, transportation, baby supplies, etc," the announcement said.
Fontaine organized a national aboriginal women’s summit in 2013 and spearheaded several campaigns including four Wiping Away the Tears gatherings for families of the women.