2008 National Aboriginal Role Models Announced

    OTTAWA, June 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Aboriginal Health
Organization (NAHO) is proud to celebrate the announcement of 12 new national
Aboriginal role models for 2008-2009. Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada will present the award to the
12 role models on June 21, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. at Rideau Hall in Ottawa,
    The role models will also be celebrated at the Summer Solstice Aboriginal
Arts Festival in honour of National Aboriginal Day at Victoria Island,
(Ottawa) Ontario. They will be re-announced at 6:00 p.m. on the Main Stage.
    "Each of the Aboriginal Role Models being honoured today has a story of
success," says Dr. Paulette C. Tremblay, CEO of NAHO. "The National Aboriginal
Role Model Program supported by Health Canada will provide these 12 role
models with the opportunity to share their accomplishments and inspire First
Nations, Inuit and Métis youth to pursue the life journey of their dreams."
    The role models-all Aboriginal youth between the ages of 13 and 30 - are
being recognized for their achievements and leadership.

    The National Aboriginal Role Models for 2008-2009 are:

    - John Carriere from Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.
    - Robert Animikii Horton from Rainy River First Nations, Ontario.
    - Inez Jasper from Chilliwack, British Columbia.
    - Jenna Kilabuk, Pangnirtung, Nunavut.
    - Kyle Kuptana from Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
    - Channing Lavallée from St. Ambroise, Manitoba.
    - Katelyn Matthew from Chase, British Columbia.
    - Ry Moran from Victoria, British Columbia.
    - Candace Polson, from Timiskaming First Nation, Quebec.
    - Shaneen Robinson from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, Manitoba.
    - Heather Watts from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario.
    - Jennifer Williams from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and

    Supporting the National Aboriginal Role Model Program (NARMP) is National
Spokesperson James Makokis from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alberta.
    "First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth are choosing to lead healthy, active
lives and succeeding in all areas, including the arts, humanities, commerce,
politics, sports, science and technology," said James Makokis, the National
Spokesperson for the NARMP. "Role models are authentic individuals who are
true to their identities. They give others the courage to push beyond their
own potential, opening the door to new possibilities."
    The NAHO CEO, Dr. Paulette C. Tremblay and the 12 Aboriginal Role Models
will be available to answer questions after the award ceremony at Rideau Hall
and from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival
in honour of National Aboriginal Day at Victoria Island, (Ottawa) Ontario.

    The National Aboriginal Health Organization is an Aboriginal-designed and
-controlled body that works to influence and advance the health and well-being
of Aboriginal Peoples through knowledge-based strategies.

    National Aboriginal Role Model Program materials include:

    - Biographical information of the National Spokesperson and 12 role
    - Posters and trading cards of the National Spokesperson and 12 role


                                LEAD YOUR WAY!

                     2008 National Aboriginal Role Models

    The National Aboriginal Role Model Program celebrates the accomplishments
of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis youth aged 13 to 30.

     Lead Your Way! inspires Aboriginal youth to strive to reach their goals.

    Each year, 12 Aboriginal role models are nominated by their peers. They
are selected for their achievements, leadership, and innovation. Throughout
the year, the role models will attend celebrations, school functions,
workshops, and conferences to share their stories with other Aboriginal youth.
    Lead Your Way! is hosted by the National Aboriginal Health Organization
and funded by Health Canada.

    The National Aboriginal Role Model Program aims to:

    - Promote healthy lifestyles and self-esteem among Aboriginal Peoples.
    - Strengthen Aboriginal identity.
    - Create positive public images of Aboriginal Peoples.
    - Facilitate availability of Aboriginal Role Models to Aboriginal youth
      and communities.
    - Influence behaviours and attitudes of Aboriginal youth toward healthy
    - Foster Aboriginal-inspired leadership.

    Our first National Spokesperson was Jordon Tootoo. In 2004, he helped
launch the program and encouraged Aboriginal youth to nominate their role
models from their communities.
    This year, we are excited to have James Makokis as our National
Spokesperson who will help promote the program.
    Posters and trading cards of the 12 role models will be sent to
Aboriginal schools across Canada. The role models will visit Aboriginal
communities throughout the year, where they will attend community celebrations
and visit schools to talk about their experiences.
    The National Spokesperson for the program was selected by an advisory
committee and will hold the position for two years. The spokesperson will
attend conferences to promote the program to communities and Aboriginal youth.
The spokesperson's poster will be sent across Canada with the role model

For further information:

For further information: Colleen Patterson, Communications Officer,
(613) 237-9462 ext. 559, Toll Free: 1-877-602-4445 ext. 559, Cell: (613)
863-9001, cpatterson@naho.ca; www.naho.ca/rolemodel

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