National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Renamed Indspire; Leader Receives Diamond Jubilee Award

National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation is renamed Indspire to reflect a renewed focus on educating aboriginal youth, and Roberta Jamieson receives a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Governor General David Johnston

The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) has been renamed to reflect its new motto, “Indigenous education, Canada’s future,” the group announced just after its leader, Roberta Jamieson, received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Indspire is not just a new name but also represents its new, expanded scope, the foundation said in a February 24 announcement.

“The new identity signals a new day for indigenous education in Canada,” Indspire nee NAAF said in a media release announcing the name change. “The new name combines key notions of indigenous and inspiration to highlight Indspire’s mandate. Gaining widespread acceptance from indigenous organizations across Canada and the world, the term indigenous means ‘of the land’ and is literally expressive of Canada’s original peoples.”

The name brings more attention to a scope of activity that has always been there, namely its dual functions of inspiring youth by fostering educational opportunities and highlighting the accomplishments of aboriginals who have excelled in various areas of life.

“As the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, we were well known for our work in recognizing indigenous role models and achievement,” said Jamieson, who stays on as president and CEO of Indspire as well as executive producer of the Indspire Awards, formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. “Yet achievement is difficult without a quality education. This compelled us to play a more active role in improving and even transforming Indigenous education from the very onset of learning.”

The annual awards and gala, which this year was held on February 7, “remains a cornerstone” of Indspire’s activities, the release said. So does scholarship distribution, for which it is also known, having doled out more than $42.7 million to 11,500 First Nations, Inuit and Métis students since 1985.

New to the picture is the Indspire Institute, a major element of the organization’s honed focus. It’s a virtual, online hub for sharing and creating best practices and programs in education for indigenous youth from K–12, Indspire said, acting as an umbrella for existing programs as it looks to develop programming in communities around the country.

Jamieson was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary of accession to the throne, which occurred on the day of her father’s death on February 6, 1952. Jamieson was recognized for “her leadership as President and CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and expertise in non-adversarial methods of conflict resolution,” the office of Governor General David Johnston said in a media release on February 6.

Sixty medals in total were bestowed on that day, including one to Clement Chartier, head of the Métis National Council, and Mary Simon, his Inuit counterpart, head of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the political advocacy arm of indigenous northerners. In all, 60,000 medals will be given out during the year.

The coronation itself will be celebrated from June 2 through 5. Members of the British monarchy are visiting all countries tied to the Crown over the course of this year. Most recently, Prince Harry kicked up his heels in Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil. It was his first state trip representing the monarchy officially, Fox News reported.