The 2018 ACE Aboriginal Education Awards Banquet
Nominations for the 2018 ACE Education Awards are now open!
We are looking for recipients for the 2018 ACE Education Awards, being held on February 16, 2018 at the Best Western Plus Winnipeg Airport Hotel, 1715 Wellington Avenue.
If you know someone who is making an impact in promoting Aboriginal perspectives
in the classroom and community, NOMINATE them.
We have eight categories:
If you know someone who is making an impact in promoting Aboriginal perspectives
in the classroom and community, NOMINATE them.
We have eight categories:
- Trailblazer/Lifetime Achievement
- Language Education
- Cultural/Spiritual Education
- Honouring Our Allies
- Research/Curriculum Development
- Young Leaders ($500 Bursary)
- Leadership Sustaining Our Ways ($1000 Bursary)
We recognized amazing recipients for the 2017 A.C.E. Education Awards.
Check out the 2017 Recipients and read about their accomplishments below:
A.C.E. Education Award Recipients 2017
Category: Young Leaders
Julie Desrochers is a Métis education student, born and raised in Winnipeg. She has always been interested in her cultural background. As a result, Julie has become very involved in her Métis and francophone community. She has worked for the Saint Boniface Museum as an interpreter, as well as Riel House National Historic Site of Canada as Coordinator. Through her work, Julie has come to understand the history of Manitoba and the people who live here. And it is through her training and development of curriculum-based programs that she has had the opportunity to share her knowledge and skills with youth.
As stated by colleagues, Julie’s engagement and enthusiasm for sharing her culture has gone far beyond her work. She has taken on the role of community artist and mentor as she continues to teach the art of beadwork, sash weaving, Jigging and other components of her Métis culture.
Julie is also involved with other cultural ambassador activities, through shows and performances with the Ensemble folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge, a jigging folk ensemble based out of St. Boniface. She has also been actively involved as a volunteer and youth ambassador for the Franco-Manitoban pavilion during Folklorama.
Julie is a French Métis ambassador and educator of the highest quality. Her cheerful disposition, her willingness to help and her love and passion for her culture has made her an asset and positive role model for her French Métis community.
Hayden LaRiviere is a young Métis man, born and raised in Winnipeg. Over the past several years he has had many personal challenges and obstacles to overcome. A few years ago Hayden decided to return to school where he completed his High School diploma with honours at the Seven Oaks Adult Learning Centre. Although it is difficult, he manages to balance full-time school, work and family.
It was a teacher who suggested that he choose a career education due to his supportive and caring nature. Hayden then learned about the CATEP program and then the certificate program at the Urban Circle. He is currently enrolled in the Educational Assistant Program at the Urban Circle Training Centre, with hopes of continuing and becoming a teacher one day.
Hayden’s teachers have witnessed firsthand his willingness and openous to challenges and new experiences. He is learning about traditional ways of life, teachings and ceremony, which he would like to pass onto his children. According to one of his instructors, Hayden is a very creative and genuine individual. It is his passion for learning and his determination that will help him achieve his dreams of becoming a teacher. And it is his humility and compassion for others that will make him not just a good teacher but a great teacher.
Category: Leadership Sustaining Our Ways
Kimberly James is an Anishinaabe teacher from the Roseau River First Nation, now residing and working in Winnipeg. She is a married mother of three grown children as well as a grandmother to a beautiful granddaughter. In October of this year, Kim and her partner, Kevin celebrated 30 years together.
Kim graduated from the Community Based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (CATEP) at the University of Winnipeg in 2010 with a B.A., and B.Ed. She recently received her post baccalaureate in Education and is currently working on her Masters at the University of Saskatchewan in Indigenous Land-based education.
Kim has a strong passion for inclusive education and creating opportunities for the students she works with. She is currently sits on the Amber Trails Indigenous Education Group and is a strong advocate for the children in care, reconnecting them to their Indigenous culture through smudging and pow wow club.
Kim is a firm believer in inclusive education and has rooted her beliefs in respecting humanity. She sees the beauty in everyone she comes into contact with. She believes in treating everyone with respect even if their views are not the same as hers. Kim is a positive role model who has never forgotten her roots as an Anishinaabe Woman. She continues to make her grandmother, mother, and father smile in the Spirit World!
Category: Honouring Our Allies
As long as she can remember, Darci has been drawn to Indigenous worldviews and culture, which stems from her love of the natural world, her insight and her need to combat racism. Her teaching career has exposed her to a multitude of unique and interesting experiences that have taken her across the globe. She has taught in First Nations communities in British Colombia, Ontario, and in Mexico, before settling in Winnipeg.
Darci’s first experience with the healing powers of the arts was when she worked at New Directions, working with exploited teenage girls. It was also at this time in her life where Darci became serious and passionate about the importance of culture and the arts in the public school system. Over the next several years she took on a number of projects and events that included bringing Elders into the schools, hiring cultural teachers and running programs like drumming.
One of Darci’s highlights in her career has been the four years that she served as a Scabe Ikwe at the Women’s Lodge of the Sagkeeng North Shore Sun Dance. This has served as a gateway to her career as an expressive arts therapist and an advocate for Indigenous social justice. Recently, Darci founded the first institute in Manitoba to offer a certificate program entitled, Indigenous Ways of Knowing through the Arts.
Anyone who knows Darci can attest to her endless support, love and passion for the arts and Indigenous cultures and teachings; both through her teaching and through her committee work with the International Arts Therapy Association.
Brian O’Leary is in his fifteenth year as Superintendent of the Seven Oaks School Division. Brain is responsible of 11,000 plus students and 1,500 staff. Seven Oaks serves a diverse and culturally rich working class suburban area of Winnipeg. Brian is proud of that Seven Oaks values inclusive education. Under his leadership, the division has made dramatic gains in student engagement, attendance and high school graduation. Seven Oaks is a leader in Indigenous education and in promoting Equality.
Brain has served as President of the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents, site on the National Council of the Canadian Education Society; is active in the United Way of Winnipeg and teaches courses in Education at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.
Category: Trailblazer/Lifetime Achievement
KC Adams grew up in Selkirk, Manitoba with her family roots stemming from Fisher River Cree Nation and Peguis First Nation. Her artwork is in many permanent collections Nationally and Internationally and is in countless publications, articles and periodicals. KC was the set designer for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star: Truth and Reconciliation and she completed a public art sculpture for the United Way of Winnipeg called Community. KC was the creator of the ongoing public art campaign called Perception that opens the conversation about racism. Adams recently won the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Making A Mark Award.
In 2001, KC was invited to conduct a single workshop with youth for an art project with Marymound School. Her mentor Lita Fontaine made her realize that it was imperative that alongside her art practice, she continue to teach so youth could have a role model. She joined the Manitoba Arts Council’s Artist-In-The-Schools program and has been teaching children the joys of working with clay. and the Seven Grandfather teachings and how we can utilize the teachings to take care of our family, friends, community and mother earth. KC Adams believes that art is not an exclusive endeavor, it has the ability to strengthen the mind, body and soul.
Aimée Craft is an Indigenous lawyer (Anishinaabe-Métis) and Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba. She is the Director of Research at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Her expertise is in Anishinaabe and Canadian Aboriginal law. Craft's award-winning 2013 book, Breathing Life Into the Stone Fort Treaty, focuses on understanding and interpreting treaties from an Anishinaabe inaakonigewin (legal) perspective.
In her decade of legal practice at the Public Interest Law Centre, Craft has worked with many Indigenous peoples on land, resources, consultation, human rights and governance issues. She is a member of the Speaker's Bureau of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba. In 2011, she received the Indigenous Peoples and Governance Graduate Research Scholarship and in 2016 was voted one of the top 25 most influential lawyers in Canada.
Aimée is one of the lead researchers on hydro-impacted communities in Northern Manitoba and on Water sustainability and indigenous laws. Since 2013, she has lead research on Anishinaabe water law.
She is currently Chair of the Manitoba Arts Council and a board member of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation
Category: Spiritual/Cultural Education
Buffy Handel is a successful award-winning entrepreneur, artist, choreographer, designer, athlete, educator and speaker whose vision is strong in purpose. She is currently completing several books, working on the expansion of her clothing-line, dance studio and non-for profit organization, for which she acts as Executive Director, as well as other business ventures in Canada and Germany.
Buffy has always been connected to culture, dance and music, allowing her to create connections with her every day life and her international travel. She has extensive experience in modeling, acting, dancing and singing. She has also been a reporter for popular Canadian radio, TV and newspapers as well as a featured performer for Native American dance tours in the US, Europe, South America and North America.
Buffy is most proud of founding the Aboriginal School of Dance. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of individuals, who in return can become “in-motion-setters” in their own work place, community and environment. She has established methods for being reconnected and remaining close to the humane and spiritual ways of life. She has mentored thousands of youth throughout the years based on the theory of applying Aboriginal/ Native American traditions to mainstream mannerisms. Her unique and rare upbringing has given Buffy an intuition like no other.
These young adults have far exceeded expectations in becoming active role models and recognized mentors themselves. Buffy feels that they are a small part to what she knows is her life’s purpose.
Crystal was raised in the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent, Manitoba: the oldest living Métis community in the world. In her community, the Métis culture is alive and well, through the recent resurgence of music, dance, and language programs.
Crystal met her Ojibwe husband while they were studying at the University of Winnipeg. He now teaches at Eagle’s Circle, located with Rossbrook House. Together they have been on a lifelong educational journey, with an emphasis on Indigenous Education and supporting Winnipeg School Division families.
While teaching in the classroom, Crystal volunteered hundreds of hours to cultural clubs, including: Teaching, Coaching, and Facilitating Métis Dance Clubs, Pow Wow Clubs, Fiddle Clubs, Drumming Groups, and Indigenous Culture Clubs.
Crystal is now a Support Teacher within Winnipeg School Divisions Induction and Mentorship Program. She works with new teachers, who have just received their initial Winnipeg School Division teaching contract, and helps with their mentorship relationship over the first 2 years of their teaching career.
Crystal has the opportunity to get all of the relevant Indigenous Education Initiatives to the new teachers at the beginning of their career. She believes that Indigenous Education should be intertwined throughout everything we do. It is never an add-on. Especially here in Treaty Territory #1, and The Red River Settlement, the birthplace of the Métis Nation.
Category: Aboriginal Language Education
Gloria Barker, the youngest of seven siblings grew up in Hollow Water First Nation. She feels blessed that she had the land and water to explore and her language to use and appreciated them all.
Gloria graduated with a Bachelor of Education from Brandon University, while raising eight children. She has been working in education ever since. Gloria has worked in First Nation schools throughout Manitoba and Ontario. She is currently the Ojibwe Bilingual teacher for Grade 2/3 as Riverbend School in the Seven Oaks School Division.
Gloria is a gifted singer and songwriter. She has focused on creating music in the Ojibwe language and has co-produced the “Ojibwe Children’s Songbook” and CD with her sister Wanda Barker which were released in 2001. She believes music is useful for teaching culture and language.
In addition to developing language curriculum, Gloria has developed many classroom resources and is a valued presenter. Gloria has used her knowledge, resources and passion to develop cultural and language programs and camps that show learners that there are fun and creative ways to learn language.
Gloria believes that continuous learning, positive achievements, respect and pride are integral to creating a lasting impact on language learning. Gloria is champion in revitalizing our beautiful Anishinaabemowin /Ojibwe language.
Levinia Brown was born in Dawson Inlet, outside of Whale Cove in 1947, delivered by her father.
Education was an early vocation. Levinia was the first teaching aid in Rankin Inlet. She graduated from St. Anthony Hospital in The Pas and worked as a Nursing assistant.
In 1978 she received certification as a Northwest Territories Classroom Assistant. But Levinia didn’t stop there. She was instrumental establishing an eastern board program in Iqaluit and continued on to become the first chairperson of the Keewatin Regional Education Authority.
Levinia demonstrates the true meaning of what an Elder should be. She leads by example and is a genuine role model. For more than fifty years, Levinia has led. From working as a chairperson, a deputy mayor to become the first woman mayor of Rankin Inlet, Levinia shows strength, caring, compassion and importance of relationships.
Levinia moved from municipal to Territorial politics. She was named Deputy Minister by Premier Paul Okalik in 2004. Throughout her political career, Levinia dedicated herself to promoting community capacity, health, social services and education.
Levinia served as Elder at Red River College where she continued to learn, guide, grow and develop passion in those whose paths she crossed. Staff and students were recipients of her willingness to share her culture, teachings and stories.
Levinia’s genuineness, spirit, knowledge and wisdom makes everyone who comes into her sphere, comfortable and welcomed.
Frank Tacan Sr.
Frank Tacan Sr. is a Dakota man from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. Taken from his Traditional community and sent to the Pine Creek Indian Residential School for four years. Frank has used the experience to create something positive; to become the humble healer and Knowledge Keeper he is today.
The Dakota culture and language is very important to Frank, and his wife, Deborah. Taught to him by his parents, community Elders and his mentor, the late Robert Haga from North Dakota, it is the basis on which he and his wife live their lives.
Frank currently lives in Brandon where he offers ceremonies, teachings and traditional healing methods to all members of the community. Frank also offers, day cares, educational, municipal and correctional facilities his knowledge and blessings.
Frank was very instrumental in ensuring the “Walking With Our Sisters” event held in Brandon was culturally sensitive. He, along with Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Spiritual Helpers from many other nations, was on hand, caring for our Sisters every day.
Frank and three other community members undertook the trek to Michigan to ensure the safe and respectful delivery of our sisters to their next destination. They were blessed to have been a part of the Water Ceremony conducted by Grandmother Josephine Mandamin.
Frank believes that all people regardless of their nationality can live their lives in a Traditional way and he is always prepared to guide them.