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Gord Downie, indigenous activist Sylvia Maracle to receive Order of Canada on Monday

The Canadian Press   Jun-15-2017

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde (left) is embraced by Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie after he was presented with a hat during a ceremony honouring Downie at the AFN Special Chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Que., on December 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld


OTTAWA — Gord Downie and indigenous activist Sylvia Maracle will be appointed to the Order of Canada on Monday, while Downie's Tragically Hip bandmates will also receive one of the country's highest civilian honours at a later date.

Maracle will be named an officer of the Order of Canada and Downie will be named a member.

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They are among 30 recipients to be honoured for leadership in supporting indigenous issues, including NHL player Jordin Tootoo, who will receive a meritorious service medal in the civil division.

Maracle, a Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and executive director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, is known as a passionate advocate for urban indigenous peoples and women's issues.

Downie, who announced last year that he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, has become a strong advocate for indigenous people and issues.

His recent solo album and graphic novel "Secret Path" tells the story of an indigenous boy, Chanie Wenjack, who died while trying to escape a residential school.

The Hip's members — Downie, Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair — are being honoured for their contributions to Canadian music and support for social and environmental causes.

An officer of the Order of Canada is recognized for national service or achievement, while a member of the Order of Canada is honoured for contributions at the local or regional level or in a special field of activity.

Other recipients to be feted on Monday include Metis author Jacqueline Guest, whose children's and young adult books showcase indigenous culture. She was announced as a member of the Order of Canada in January.

Cree activist, producer and actress Tina Keeper and Royal Winnipeg Ballet artistic director Andre Lewis will also each receive a meritorious service medal for producing the acclaimed ballet "Going Home Star — Truth and Reconciliation."

The story depicts the painful history of residential schools and was envisioned by late Cree elder and activist Mary Richard, who will receive a posthumous meritorious service medal.


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