Winnipeg Free Press columnist Niigaan Sinclair is being honoured by the Manitoba Museum as a local leader who will shape the future of the province.
Sinclair, who joined the newspaper in 2018, is one of five Manitobans selected by the museum's board of governors to be celebrated at the institution's annual Tribute Gala in April, an event that will coincide with the museum's 50th anniversary.
"This year, as we celebrate our last 50 years and consider our future, the museum asked past Tribute honourees to identify leaders of tomorrow," wrote James Cohen, the board's chairman. "These people have the vision and drive to propel Manitoba's future for the next 10, 20, or even 50 years."
In his tenure as a columnist, Sinclair — an accomplished academic and an Anishinaabe who was born and raised on Treaty 1 territory — has written extensively on matters such as inequity, Indigenous rights and politics, both local and national. In 2019, he was awarded the National Newspaper Award as the country's top columnist, a prestigious honour that recognized his voice and incisive writing style.
Free Press editor Paul Samyn said the Manitoba Museum tribute recognizes Sinclair's impact on the community as a journalist and educator.
"Niigaan is a wonderful asset to the Free Press because he is able to leverage the power of our platform to make this province better by way of his ideas and insights," Samyn said. "We are delighted that Niigaan's contributions today are being recognized as ones that will build a better tomorrow for all of us."
The four other honourees have equally impressive resumés, and have made strong impacts on the city.
Abdikheir Ahmed, director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, has played a key role in the lives of thousands of newcomers, advocating for their rights and working to ensure they thrive in the city. He previously served as the executive director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba and is a recipient of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, one of the province's highest civilian honours.
Jamie Isaac, a local curator and artist, has been a key cog in the province's arts scene, curating or co-curating several shows at the Winnipeg Art Gallery featuring Indigenous artists. A member of Sagkeeng First Nation, she was a member of the Canada Council's Indigenous delegation at several international events. Her focus is on decolonization and Indigenization.
Local jewellery designer Hilary Druxman has used her handiwork to raise more than $500,000 for charity through her Good Works initiative. In over 25 years of design, her work has gained a following around the world.
Hannah Taylor, who was the recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work with the Ladybug Foundation, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty, will also be honoured. Taylor, a law student at the University of Manitoba, founded the organization when she was seven, raising millions of dollars for shelters, food banks and other causes across the country.
Past honourees include the Free Press, Babs and Gail Asper, the Chipman family and former premier Gary Doer.