AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo Congratulates Viola Robinson and Shirley Bear on Receiving the Order of Canada

OTTAWA, Nov. 4, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo issued the following statement today congratulating Viola Robinson and Shirley Bear on their appointments as an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Canada respectively:

"Viola Robinson is a tireless advocate for the Mi'kmaq people of Nova Scotia and the advancement of Aboriginal and Treaty rights in Canada. Throughout her career she has been at the forefront of many groundbreaking initiatives, including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and development of the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process, and will be remembered in history for her role in changing the political landscape for First Nations in Canada. She is a role model and an inspiring example of the success that can be achieved when one sets their sights on bringing about positive change.

"Shirley Bear is a remarkable artist, cultural activist and proud member of the Tobique First Nation. Indigenous artists play an integral role in shaping our communities and societies. Through her work, Shirley has commemorated important political and critical developments during her lifetime that will serve to inspire and educate future generations.

"On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, we congratulate Viola and Shirley on these prestigious awards."

Viola Robinson is the Senior Mi'kmaq Advisor for the Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn, Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative. She was the founder of the Native Council of Nova Scotia and served as president of the Native Council of Canada. She was one of seven commissioners with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Ms. Robinson received the Order of Nova Scotia in 2009.

Shirley Bear is a multimedia artist, writer, traditional First Nation herbalist and Elder. The 2002 recipient of the New Brunswick Arts Board's Excellence in the Arts Award, she studied art in New Brunswick, New Hampshire, Boston, and Vancouver. She has worked extensively as a lecturer, performer, activist and curator including serving as Cultural Advisor to the British Columbia Institute of Technology, First Nations Education Advisor at Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, and Resident Elder for First Nations House of Learning at UBC. She has exhibited internationally and her work has been purchased by collections across Canada. Her writing has been included in several anthologies.

Established in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.


For further information:

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext. 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or e-mail

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext. 382 or cell: 613-292-0857 or e-mail

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