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Pioneering NHL player among several Indigenous Order of Canada inductees

by Simona Chiose

The new members of the Order of Canada this year include Fred Sasakamoose, a pioneering Indigenous player in the NHL. Read <a href=Marty Klinkenberg’s profile of him from 2016.” sizes=”(min-width: 960px) calc(960px - 320px), (min-width: 768px) calc(100vw - 60px), calc(100vw - 20px)” srcset=” 1100w, 940w, 620w, 780w, 460w” data-id=”33409352” itemprop=”url”>

The new members of the Order of Canada this year include Fred Sasakamoose, a pioneering Indigenous player in the NHL. To learn more about his remarkable story, read Marty Klinkenberg’s profile of him from 2016.

Fred Sasakamoose walked onto the ice at Rogers Place to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night more than six decades after he was on the team, but this time, he was not playing.

The first Indian player for an NHL team – "your white man called me Indian 100 or 200 years ago; I don't mind that, I like it the way it is," he says – Mr. Sasakamoose is one of this year's 124 appointees to the Order of Canada. A special ceremony before the puck dropped for the Oilers-Blackhawks game in Edmonton celebrated the honour to the former player.

This year, more than a dozen people, most of them First Nations or Inuit, are being inducted into the Order of Canada for contributions to Indigenous culture or politics. The award, some of the recipients said, makes them even more determined to press all levels of government to respect the rightss of First Nations.

"What is reconciliation?" asked Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, based in Port Alberni, B.C. Ms. Sayers, a critic of B.C. Hydro's Site C project, is receiving the award for championing sustainable development.

"We need to focus on the things that are important to us and that is land, water, resources. And a lot of the reconciliation talk coming out of Ottawa is not focusing on that," she said.

Problems such as drugs in native communities are keeping the next generation from overcoming the past, Mr. Sasakamoose said. Since his professional hockey days ended, he has devoted his career to helping kids in his community and counsels young people with addictions. He lives in Sandy Lake, Sask., close to where he was born, and travelled to Edmonton this week.

Before learning of the award, Mr. Sasakamoose had been talking to the Oilers about how to get tickets to bring 30 of his young charges to a game.

That will happen on Feb. 1. Children and teens need to dream, whether it's aiming for the juniors, the NHL or the Olympic podium, he said.

Mr. Sasakamoose played for the Blackhawks in the 1953-54 season, recruited from the Moose Jaw Canucks, which he joined after developing hockey skills as a child at Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, where he was born. Later, he played for the hockey team at his residential school, a time in his life he has described as deeply painful.

The NHL was "an impossible dream," he said in an interview on Thursday.

"I did not think I would make it to junior hockey, never mind the National Hockey League. The junior was tougher: There were 30 white kids and one Indian."

In Nunavut, Louie Kamookak, another of this year's Order of Canada honorees, is also working to help the next generation. He is the Inuit oral historian who helped researchers discover the wreck of Sir John Franklin's ship Erebus.

That knowledge was based on 30 years of listening to and recording the stories of elders and piecing them together with the geography of the land and earlier recorded histories of what may have happened to the doomed expedition.

For the past three summers, he has shared his methods with some of the students with whom he works as a special education teacher year round. They travelled to sites mentioned in oral histories and explored how they have changed over time. "We went out for 10 to 12 days. That's one way of bringing learning about, going out in the field," he said.

Mr. Kamookak hopes the stories he first heard from his great-grandmother will be kept alive by younger people.

"A lot of the elders I talked to had 40 years living out on the land, and the last 20 or 30 years living in a community. I feel honoured to have met those people."

Cultural and social survival requires continuing to fight for recognition of First Nations' right to control development on traditional territory, Ms. Sayers said.

Ms. Sayers is a former chief of the Hupacasath First Nation and its chief negotiator for 16 years. Given how critical she has been of the process of treaty negotiations between British Columbia and First Nations, Ms. Sayers was not sure what to make of being recognized by Canada.

"There were mixed emotions," she said. "It's certainly an honour. It's something I [can] accept and use for recognition to help advance issues, Indigenous women especially," she said.

The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation, and is awarded by the Governor-General twice a year.

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Barry Sherman appointed a month before his death

by Molly Hayes

Earlier this month, pharmaceutical magnate Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey, were found dead in their Toronto home. Police are investigating their deaths as suspicious. Read more here for background on what is known so far about the case.

Just one month before he and his wife were found dead in their north Toronto mansion, Barry Sherman learned that he had been appointed a Member of the prestigious Order of Canada.

The 75-year-old founder of generic pharmaceutical giant Apotex Inc. was awarded the distinction for "his entrepreneurship in the pharmaceutical industry and for his unwavering support and commitment to education and charitable causes."

Worth an estimated $5-billion, Mr. Sherman and his wife, Honey, were generous philanthropists, donating tens of millions of dollars to charity.

On Dec. 15, the pair's bodies were found hanging from a railing near their mansion's basement indoor swimming pool.

The investigation is continuing, and police have said they are treating the deaths as "suspicious."

Although the Order of Canada is not awarded posthumously, a spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General confirmed that Mr. Sherman's appointment stands because it was confirmed in November, before his death.

"Since Mr. Sherman was appointed in November, 2017, following the [Order of Canada] Advisory Council's November, 2017, meeting, he was made a member prior to his tragic death," Marie-Pierre Bélanger said.

The recipients will be presented with their insignia at Ottawa's Rideau Hall at a future date. In Mr. Sherman's case, Ms. Bélanger says, a family member or friend would be invited to accept it on his behalf.

At a memorial service for the Shermans, their son, Jonathan, described his father as a humble workaholic who had received "piles" of accolades throughout his life – but this award held particular significance for him.

"When I was a kid in elementary school, we did these book reports on great Canadians. I'd always choose someone like Wayne Gretzky or Terry Fox. I didn't know at that time that you were one of those types of people," Jonathan Sherman said of his father.

The younger Mr. Sherman said at the service that his father had shared his Order of Canada news privately with the family.

"You were always so humble, but I know how proud you were to get that news, and how excited you were to finally be recognized for what you are," he recalled.

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Read the full list

Companions of the Order of Canada

  • Thomas Cromwell of Ottawa
  • Frank C. Hawthorne of Winnipeg (this is a promotion within the Order)
  • Louis LeBel of Quebec City
  • Cornelia Hahn Oberlander of Vancouver (this is a promotion within the Order)

Officers of the Order of Canada

  • Paul W. Armstrong of Edmonton
  • Sally Armstrong of Toronto
  • Michael Anthony Church of Vancouver
  • May Cohen of Toronto
  • François Crépeau of Montreal
  • Sophie D’Amours of Quebec City
  • Elizabeth Ann Eisenhauer of Kingston
  • Brigitte Haentjens of Ottawa
  • Keith Hipel of Waterloo, Ont.
  • Carol Hopkins of Thamesville, Ont.
  • Sajeev John of Toronto
  • Robert Joseph of Alert Bay, B.C.
  • Louie Kamookak of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut
  • Raymond Laflamme of Waterloo, Ont.
  • Mary Law of Cambridge, Ont.
  • Kenneth Lum of Vancouver and Philadelphia
  • Alberto Manguel of Toronto and New York
  • Lee Maracle of Toronto
  • Émile Martel of Montreal
  • Joseph Martin of Montreal and Boston
  • Anne Martin-Matthews of Vancouver
  • Terence Hedley Matthews of Ottawa
  • Sylvain Moineau of Quebec City
  • André Parent of Quebec City
  • Rose Patten of Toronto
  • Ivan Barry Pless of Montreal (this is a promotion within the Order)
  • Brian Robertson of Toronto
  • R. Kerry Rowe of Kingston
  • Michael Sefton of Toronto
  • William Shatner of Montreal and Los Angeles
  • Molly S. Shoichet of Toronto
  • David Sinclair of Ottawa
  • Vianne Timmons of Regina
  • Denis Villeneuve of Montreal
  • Janet F. Werker of Vancouver

Members of the Order of Canada

  • Allan Andrews of Cornwall, PEI
  • Jann Arden of Calgary
  • Mary Pat Armstrong of Toronto
  • Marilyn Baillie of Toronto
  • Réal Bérard of St. Boniface, Man.
  • Harry Bone of Winnipeg
  • Abel Bosum of Oujé-Bougoumou, Que.
  • Jacques Boucher of Saint-Lambert, Que.
  • Mark Breslin of Toronto
  • Janine Brodie of Edmonton
  • Helen Burstyn of Toronto
  • Alain Caron of Boucherville, Que.
  • Andrée Champagne of Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.
  • Léonie Couture of Montreal
  • Martha Crago of Montreal
  • David Crate of Fisher River Cree Nation, Man.
  • Elizabeth Cromwell of Shelburne, N.S.
  • Marie Yvonne Delorme of Calgary
  • Gaston Déry of Quebec City
  • Jean Pierre Desrosiers of Montreal
  • Richard Dicerni of Ottawa
  • Stephanie Dixon of Whitehorse
  • Joyce Doolittle of Calgary
  • Jocelyn Downie of Halifax
  • Gérard Duhaime of Nunavik, Que.
  • James Eetoolook of Taloyoak, Nunavut
  • Lynn Factor of Toronto
  • Thomas Erskine Feasby of Calgary
  • Saul Feldberg of Toronto
  • Geoffrey Roy Fernie of Toronto
  • Carlo Fidani of Mississauga
  • Red Fisher of Montreal
  • Peter John Fowler of London, Ont.
  • Oliver Gannon of Surrey, B.C.
  • Howard Gimbel of Calgary
  • Martin Gleave of Vancouver
  • Minnie Grey of Kuujjuaq, Que.
  • Curtis Harnett of Toronto
  • Norman E. Hébert of Westmount, Que.
  • Richard Henriquez of Vancouver
  • John W. Hilborn of Deep River, Ont.
  • Josie Hill of Winnipeg
  • Robert Hogg of Burnaby, B.C.
  • Judy Illes of Vancouver
  • Bruce Kirby of Ottawa and Rowayton, Conn.
  • Dale H. Lastman of Toronto
  • Jeannette Corbiere Lavell of Wikwemikong, Ont.
  • Joseph Lebovic of Aurora, Ont.
  • Wolf Lebovic of Aurora, Ont.
  • John Lord of Waterloo, Ont.
  • Roland François Mahé of St. Boniface, Man.
  • André Maltais of Quebec City
  • Catherine Anne Martin of Blind Bay, N.S.
  • Marie Mc Andrew of Montreal
  • Karen Rochelle Mock of Toronto
  • Raymond Murphy of Charlottetown
  • Karim Wade Nasser of Saskatoon
  • Nancy Neamtan of Montreal
  • Barbara Neis of St. John’s
  • Michel Noël of Saint-Damien, Que.
  • Harold Walter Orr of Saskatoon
  • Stephen Anderson Otto of Toronto
  • Madeleine Paquin of Montreal
  • Marcelline Picard of Pessamit, Que.
  • Kathleen Isabel Pritchard of Toronto
  • Andrew Qappik of Pangnirtung, Nunavut
  • Ahmet Fuad Sahin of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
  • Beverley Noel Salmon of Toronto
  • Frederick Sasakamoose of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Sask.
  • Judith Sayers of Port Alberni, B.C.
  • Eric Schloss of Edmonton
  • Bernard Sherman of Toronto
  • Ernest Small of Ottawa
  • Gregory Smallenberg of Vancouver
  • Claude Snow of Caraquet, N.B.
  • Douglas Stenton of Chatham, Ont.
  • Basil Leo Stewart of Summerside
  • Gordon Stobbe of Seaforth, N.S.
  • Sylvia Sweeney of Toronto
  • Jay Switzer of Toronto
  • Valerie Tryon of Ancaster, Ont.
  • Christl Verduyn of Sackville, N.B.
  • John Emmett Walsh of LaSalle, Que.
  • Barbara Jean Weihs of Toronto
  • David Werklund of Calgary
  • Calvin A. White of Flat Bay, Nfld.

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