Governor General to honour 12 Aboriginal youths with the Aboriginal Role Model Awards

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October 12, 2006

OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will present 12 Aboriginal youths from across Canada with the National Aboriginal Role Model Awards during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, on Monday, October 16, 2006, at 10:30 a.m. The Awards consist of a small crystal sculpture.

Each year, the National Aboriginal Role Model Program celebrates the accomplishments of 12 Aboriginal role models aged 13 to 30 from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. The role models are nominated by their peers and are selected for their achievements, leadership and innovation. Throughout the year, the role models visit First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to share their stories with other Aboriginal youths.

Since the beginning of her mandate, the Governor General has made it a priority to give a voice to the voiceless and has engaged in a dialogue with Canadian youth. As part of this dialogue, she has participated in many events with young people from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. In October 2005, she accompanied Aboriginal youths and veterans on a spiritual journey to France to visit a number of commemorative sites related to World War I and World War II. In June 2006, she also spent National Aboriginal Day with First Nations people, including youths, in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories.

Media are welcome to cover the ceremony. Those wishing to interview recipients at the end of the ceremony are kindly asked to call the Rideau Hall Press Office before October 16.

The list of Aboriginal role models for 2006-2007 follows. Their citations can be found below.

For more information on the National Aboriginal Role Model Program, please visit .

2006-2007 Role Models

  • Alexander Angnaluak from Cold Lake First Nation, Alberta
  • Alisa Blake from Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories
  • Shane Byrne from Natuashish, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Alberta Eashappie-Prettyshield from Carry the Kettle First Nation, Saskatchewan
  • Chelsea Lavallée from St. Ambroise, Manitoba
  • Terry Lyall from Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Daniel McKennitt from Edmonton, Alberta
  • Aisa Pirti from Akulivik, Quebec
  • Megan Pizzo-Lyall from Taloyoak, Nunavut
  • Derek Sanderson from Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Christine Smith from Wabowden, Manitoba
  • Caitlin Tolley from Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg, Quebec


Media information
Marilyne Guèvremont
Rideau Hall Press Office

National Aboriginal Role Model Program
Mark Buell
613-237-9462, ext. 228 or 1-877-602-4445, ext. 228

Citations: The National Aboriginal Role Model Awards

Alexander Angnaluak:

Alexander, 13, is of Inuit and First Nations descent and is currently living in Cold Lake First Nation, Alberta. He is involved in a variety of sports including volleyball, basketball, track and field and downhill skiing. He especially enjoys
science classes and recently won first place at the Treaty Six Science Fair. Alexander’s goal is to go to post- secondary school for environmental sciences.

Alisa Blake:

Alisa is a 28-year-old from Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories. She is of mixed ancestry including Gwich’in, Inuvialuit and Métis. Her inspiration is her 10-year-old son, Austin. In 2005, Alisa received the Aviation Career Development Bursary and completed her first solo flight in November 2005. Alisa is currently enrolled in the Professional Pilot Program with Sky Wings Aviation Academy Ltd. in Red Deer, Alberta. She plans to return to her
community and become a pilot for the local airline.

Shane Byrne:

Shane, 21, is from the Innu community of Natuashish, Newfoundland and Labrador. He is currently the Recreation Assistant and coaches the local soccer team in his spare time. He has been involved in numerous sports and earned
medals in judo, volleyball and table tennis. He is eager to share his culture and Innu-aimun language with other young people. His future goal is to compete on Canada’s National Men’s Volleyball Team.

Alberta Eashappie-Prettyshield:

Alberta is Assiniboine from Carry the Kettle First Nation, Saskatchewan. She can speak Nakoda. At 19 years old, she is a jingle dress dancer and was named as Senior Princess of Carry the Kettle Pow Wow. She is also an aspiring actress and has appeared in such television shows as “Moccasin Flats” and “Corner Gas.” Her future aspiration is to become a teacher or marine biologist.

Chelsea Lavallée:

Chelsea is a 15-year-old Métis from St. Ambroise, Manitoba. She has been involved with the St. Ambroise Youth Steppers Square Dance Program since 2003 performing at many local and provincial events. She has maintained
honour roll standings in her school studies since 2001. Earlier this year, she received the National Métis Youth Role Model Award in the “Young Métis Leaders” category. Chelsea would like to become a veterinarian.

Terry Lyall:

Terry, 30, is an Inuk originally from the community of Nain, Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and Labrador. Terry has always been involved in his community. He volunteered with the fire department, recreation department, Citizens on
Patrol program and Big Brothers Big Sisters. In 1999, he graduated from the RCMP Training Academy and is currently an RCMP constable and a member of the Musical Ride. He has worked in several Labrador communities. Terry lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Daniel McKennitt:

Daniel, 23, is from the Ojibway community of Sandy Bay First Nation, Manitoba. He currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he recently obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alberta. He is currently
enrolled in the University of Alberta’s Department of Medicine, where he is studying to become a physician. Daniel has worked for many organizations including as a youth advisor for the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth
Centre with the Department of Heritage.

Aisa Pirti:

Aisa is a 19-year-old Inuk from Akulivik, Nunavik, in northern Quebec. He lives an active and healthy lifestyle. He has been involved with the Canadian Junior Rangers, learning traditional ways of surviving on the land. Aisa has received 30 medals and five trophies for Inuit games in regional and circumpolar competitions, such as the Eastern Arctic Summer Games and the Arctic Winter Games. Aisa speaks three languages: Inuktitut, English and French. He is currently attending post-secondary school in Montreal.

Megan Pizzo-Lyall:

Megan is a 18-year-old Inuk from Taloyoak, Nunavut. She has volunteered on many youth committees and now holds a position as vice-president on the National Inuit Youth Council. Megan has also competed at the Arctic Winter Games for speed skating and on the women’s hockey team as assistant captain. She also coached a girls’ soccer team that won the 2005-06 regional competition. Megan is currently attending the Nunavut Sivuniksavut program in Ottawa.

Derek Sanderson:

Derek is a Métis from Winnipeg, Manitoba. At 17, he has found a way to balance his school work, a job and his participation on different sports teams. He was recently selected to play as the starting tight-end for his high school
football team, the Kildonan Eastside Eagles. He also enjoys playing on baseball and hockey teams. Derek has maintained an 80 per cent average in his school studies since 2004.

Christine Smith:

Christine is a 19-year-old Métis from Wabowden, Manitoba who graduated from high school this past spring. In 2005, she received her Emergency Medical Responders License for the local paramedics. She is an Emergency Services
Intern Attendant, recruiting youth into the ambulance service. Since Christine was nine years old, she has dreamed of becoming a regular member of the RCMP. This fall, she will be an auxiliary member of the RCMP, volunteering her time to accompany regular members on patrol.

Caitlin Tolley:

Caitlin, 15, is Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi First Nation, Quebec. She received the Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth bursary for her academic achievements, where she maintained an 82 per cent average for three years. She is currently a Secondary IV student at Kitigan Zibi School. Caitlin is involved in bantam hockey and a rock and roll band called “The House Band.” She speaks fluent Algonquin and is a jingle dress dancer.