A new Indigenous leadership award has been created in memory of Kristine McLeod, who passed away unexpectedly in August of this year.
Minister of Finance Caroline Wawzonek says the award recognizes young Indigenous NWT residents who demonstrate exceptional initiative and commitment to the principles of public service within community, territorial, federal, or Indigenous government.
“The goal of this award is to recognize Indigenous individuals who personify outstanding leadership qualities,” she adds.
The Kristine McLeod Emerging Indigenous Leader Award recipient will receive a grant of $5,000 in recognition of their outstanding contributions.
Wawzonek says the grant will support the emerging leader as they continue to pursue education, training, or other opportunities that would support their development as a leader.
The award honours McLeod, who Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Kyikavichik says was such a role model for young Indigenous women in the NWT.
“She was a bright, engaging and kind person who connected with everyone she met regardless of their background, culture or creed,” he adds.
Kyikavichik says he is comforted by the fact that such a legacy has been created to develop the future generations of young leaders in the North.
Premier Caroline Cochrane says McLeod has left her mark on a generation of young women who saw a strong, Indigenous woman in an important leadership role in the territory.
“We are honoured to create this award to carry on her legacy, and to commemorate her tremendous contributions to the Gwich’in people, and the NWT,” she adds.
To be eligible to be nominated for this award, nominees should be Indigenous NWT residents who are in the early stages of their career with a community, territorial, federal, or Indigenous government.
Anyone who has been recently elected to a leadership position with a community, territorial, federal, or Indigenous government is also eligible.
Wawzonek says the award will carry on the legacy of an incredible and inspiring leader by encouraging future leaders of the territory to continue their journeys in education and training as they contribute to their communities.
The award was created by the GNWT, with the support of the Gwich’in Tribal Council and will be delivered annually by the Department of Finance beginning in 2022.