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Calgary hosts awards (1997 National Aboriginal Awards).


The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards were created to present a positive image of Aboriginal people to themselves and to the rest of Canada.

This year, the fourth annual awards will be presented at Calgary's Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Feb. 7.

The gala ceremony will be taped by the CBC and broadcast on Feb. 13. The awards are presented to people of Indian, Inuit or Metis heritage who have made outstanding contributions in a variety of fields.

"The NAAA have quickly become an empowering and positive symbol for all of Canada's Aboriginal peoples," said John Kim Bell, founder and chair of the awards and the Canadian Native Arts Foundation. The awards "have helped build a bridge of understanding between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians by showcasing the best of who we are in the Aboriginal world."

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is the leading corporate sponsor of the event.

"It's going to be a very special event and we're all looking forward to it. We understand that John Kim puts on quite a production," said the bank spokesman Tyra Henschel.

The awards were established by Bell to pay tribute to the United Nations' International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples in 1993. The awards were first presented in Ottawa in 1994, then Vancouver in 1995 and in Winnipeg last year.

There are 14 recipients chosen by an all-Aboriginal jury in 12 occupational achievement categories, plus a lifetime achievement and a youth achievement category.

"Whether in politics, the law, medicine, academia, the arts or other fields, each member of this group has attained astounding levels of accomplishment," said Bell. "As an Aboriginal person, they make me feel proud and confident about our future. But these winners are also a credit to the larger Canadian community. They are truly achievers of which all Canadians can feel pride."

The awards gala will be hosted by award-recipient Graham Greene and will include such performers as Tantoo Cardinal, Rebecca Miller, Susan Aglukark, Gordon Tootoosis and Fara Palmer.

There have been 55 award recipients since 1993, including Elijah Harper, provincial court judges Murray Sinclair and Alfred Scow, NHL coach Ted Nolan, and Mary Two-Axe Earley, the late women's rights activist.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Williams, Kenneth
Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:Feb 1, 1997
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