by Clayton Hunt, Courtesy of The Coaster

John Nick Jeddore, a 24-year old resident of the Miawpukek First Nation (Conne River) was among 14 outstanding Indigenous Canadians who were recently selected as the recipients of the 2014 Indspire Awards.

The Indspire Awards, formerly called the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, have celebrated the significant contributions of Indigenous people in Canada for more than 21 years. The awards are aligned with Indspire’s mandate to provide educational support and programs for future generations to succeed.

Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons, acknowledged the recipients and hosted a reception in thir honour earlier this fall.

Jeddore said the aboriginal resources office at Memorial University nominated him for the award, but given the high calibre of past recipients, he did not expect to be among the 2014 winners.

He said, “I did not realize how influential my past work has been to the Mi’kmaw community,” Jeddore said. “I hope, through this announcement, that I have opened the doors for other young aboriginal people in the province to be proud of their history. Hopefully it will encourage other young aboriginal people to learn more about their culture and heritage.”

Jeddore said he was chosen for his award for a number of reasons.

“Among them were my work to keep the Mi’kmaw language strong among aboriginal communities with social media and online videos; my post-secondary aboriginal representation with the Canadian Federation of Students as provincial aboriginal student representative; my work as a curator on the largest exhibition in production this year at the Husky Energy Gallery; as well as being the first person from my community to be accepted into medical school,” he said.

As a guide, photographer and cultural liaison with the Mi’kmaq Discovery Centre, Jeddore aims to promote and preserve Mi’kmaw culture. He was guest curator for a large aboriginal exhibition, which opened in 2013 at The Rooms museum in St. John’s and wrote a monthly column called Traditional Voices. For the past year he has participated in Memorial’s aboriginal health initiative program to work with elders on traditional lands and learn about ceremony and medicine.

Graduating in 2012 from Memorial University with a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry, Jeddore is now in his first year of medical school.

Random-Burin St. George’s MP Judy Foote also attended the reception with Jeddore and his sister, Danielle.

“I was very excited to attend the reception with Mr. Jeddore and Danielle,” Foote said. “I am very proud that John was recognized for what he has accomplished to date. He is such an unassuming person, and is a terrific role model for all aboriginal youth in the province.”

Roberta Jamieson, president and CEO of Indspire said, “We honour the accomplishments of all the recipients of the 2014 award so that those following in their footsteps will be inspired to fulfill their own great potential. The Lifetime achievement Award celebrates the summit of achievement amongst Indigenous peoples, and by recognizing the early achievements of successful First Nation, Inuit and Metis, youth we are inspiring their peers to reach for the stars.”

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