Indspire Awards

April 18, 2024

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Before I begin, let me thank Claudette Commanda for delivering such beautiful opening words. I would like to echo her in acknowledging that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. Thank you for welcoming us to this land with open arms.

And thank you … all of you … for being here to celebrate the exceptional contributions of Indigenous peoples across Canada. And congratulations to all the recipients we are honouring this evening at the Indspire Awards.

For 30 years, the Indspire Awards have been celebrating the incredible talent and innovation that exists within Indigenous communities. In business, the arts, culture, language, justice, public service, education and health, Indspire is highlighting the contributions of those who have made significant impacts.

Tonight, we celebrate First Nations, Inuit and Métis—both young honorees and those with a lifetime of achievements—who are creating a better future for us all.

Tonight, we tell their stories. Stories of resilience, dedication and excellence. Stories that define them and that shape our country.

I am eager to learn their stories and to share them with Canadians. And it’s important that we do so. It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate Indigenous success. Through their stories, we inspire others to dream big and achieve greatness. And to embody ajuinnata.

As some of you know, ajuinnata is an important concept to Inuit. It means to persevere, to never give up, no matter how difficult the cause may be.

I see the spirit of ajuinnata in every one of these recipients, who are working towards the betterment of our communities. Their success reminds us of how far we have come on the road to reconciliation.

Reconciliation is a way of seeing and a way of living life. It is about being intentional in how we interact with one another—how we show respect. Reconciliation is a shared responsibility between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

I see the potential of reconciliation in so many things, in both small gestures and large public acts. Reconciliation will thrive if we nurture it, in our workplaces and our homes. It will thrive if it is taught in our schools and our public offices.

And it will thrive when we recognize Indigenous excellence, as we are doing tonight.

To all of the recipients, I want to say how proud I am of all that you have done.

I appreciate all you have done and continue to do for Indigenous peoples and for Canada.

Once again, congratulations on all that you have achieved.

Thank you.