CIBC proudly sponsors awards that recognize talent and career achievements in
Canada's Aboriginal community

Lead corporate sponsor of annual National Aboriginal Achievement Awards for 17th consecutive year

TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - CIBC (CM: TSX;NYSE) is proud to continue its lead sponsorship of tonight's annual National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. The 17th annual awards carry on the tradition of recognizing outstanding career achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in diverse occupations, including one award given to a lifetime achievement recipient and one for an outstanding youth achiever. In addition to acknowledging many of the Aboriginal community's brightest talents, the awards aim to build self esteem and pride and provide valuable role models for Aboriginal youth.

This year's celebration for the 14 recipients of the 2010 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards is taking place tonight at Regina's Conexus Arts Centre and will be broadcast on Global Television on Saturday, May 1, 2010, in all time zones as well as on APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) at various times across the country.

The gala will be hosted by actor, singer and playwright Andrea Menard (The Velvet Devil, Rabbit Fall) alongside actor, dancer and choreographer Raoul Trujillo (True Blood, Apocalypto). The evening will feature performances by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Crystal Shawanda, Elisapie Isaac, Leemai Lafontaine, Red Bull, Wanuskewin International Dance Troupe, Michael Greyeyes and an appearance by Lorne Cardinal.

"CIBC's leadership in promoting the achievement of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples is truly inspiring," said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation which conducts the awards and produces the gala event. "We are delighted that CIBC, our founding corporate sponsor, is celebrating with us once again."

"We are pleased to play a part in celebrating Aboriginal achievement," said Gerry McCaughey, CIBC's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Through their excellence in their respective fields, this year's recipients have set an important example and should be admired for their hard work, sacrifice, determination and commitment."

This year's award recipients include:

    
    William Commanda, OC - Lifetime Achievement Award
    Skawenniio Barnes - Outstanding Youth Award
    Kananginak Pootoogook - Arts
    Ellen Melcosky - Business & Commerce
    Tom Crane Bear - Culture, Heritage & Spirituality
    Dr. Raoul McKay - Education
    Danny Beaton - Environment & Natural Resources
    Madeleine Keteskwew Dion Stout, BN, MA, Ph.D (Hon.) - Health
    Donald E. Worme, QC, IPC - Law & Justice
    Kenneth Atsenhaienton Deer - Media & Communications
    Hon. Eric William Robinson - Politics
    Edith Cloutier - Public Service
    Monica Pinette - Sports
    Doug Henry - Technology & Trades
    

The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) is a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds to deliver programs that provide the tools necessary for Aboriginal peoples, especially youth to achieve their potential. To date the Foundation through its Education Program has awarded more than $37-million in scholarships and bursaries to more than 9,800 First Nations, Inuit and Métis recipients nationwide. NAAF's key initiatives include: The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards (NAAA) a national annual broadcast celebrating 14 achievers in a multitude of career areas including a special youth award and an award for lifetime achievement; Taking Pulse joins NAAF with industry to present career options in specific growth sectors through a series of short documentaries and supporting curriculum materials with the aim of recruiting First Nations, Inuit & Métis youth; and Blueprint for the Future (BFF) a series of one-day career fairs that motivate and inspire First Nations, Inuit and Métis high school students with valuable resources and information on career opportunities. Over 30,000 students have attended these exciting youth oriented events to date nationwide.

CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. With a strategic focus on youth, education and health, and employee commitment to causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way, we are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the country. In 2009, $26.8 million was contributed through the CIBC group of companies to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada, supporting a wide variety of national, regional and local organizations. To learn more, visit www.communitymatters.cibc.com.

SOURCE CIBC

For further information: For further information: Doug Maybee, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, CIBC, Tel: (416) 980-7458, doug.maybee@cibc.com or Jamie Monastyrski, Director of Communications and Media, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Tel: (416) 926-0775 ext. 238, jmonastyrski@naaf.ca


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