Sipekne’katik elder among Human Rights Awards winners

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Halifax: An elder from Sipekne’katik (near Shubenacadie) was among four Nova Scotians and three groups presented with NS Human Rights Aeards at a December 9 event in Halifax.

The award honors the work of the groups and beneficiaries in creating a more equitable, inclusive and respectful province.

The awards included a new honor, the Wel-lukwen Award, in recognition and appreciation of the L’nu people whose work promotes human rights, raises awareness and draws attention to issues affecting the indigenous peoples of Nova Scotia.

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Daniel N. Paul, Sipekne’katik, received an inaugural Wel-lukwen Award in recognition of his immense contributions to creating cultural awareness and understanding of L’nuk history, traditions, and community.

The Water Grandmothers, a grassroots group of Mi’kmaq women, also received the Wel-lukwen Award for their commitment to Netukulimk, protecting Nova Scotia’s water, environment and well-being of future generations.

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A group of students from Northumberland Regional High School in Alma, Pictou County, received the Youth Human Rights Award for their work to provide free and equal access to essential items such as food, clothing and school supplies throughout their school community, a project known as The Karma Closet.

The Stepping Stone charity was also recognized with an award. For over 30 years, Stepping Stone has worked to protect and advance the rights of sex workers through advocacy, community outreach and advocacy.

Individual awards were given to two people:
— Journalist Michael Tutton, Halifax, received the award in recognition of his commitment to advancing dignity, equity and justice through his reporting on issues affecting people with disabilities
— Terena Francis, Paqtnkek, was recognized for her work to empower individuals and communities through education and advocacy on issues important to Mi’kmaq culture.

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Carolann Wright, of Beechville, received an award in memory of the late Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones, recognizing his leadership and commitment to social justice and economic prosperity for people of African descent.

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Today’s ceremony was held in commemoration of the United Nations International Human Rights Day, which is observed annually on December 10.

Quotes:
“Each of this year’s winners exemplifies a commitment to human rights on their individual terms. They are conveners, creators of safe spaces, amplifiers and agents of change. Their work protects the dignity and empowers others.”
– Joseph Fraser, Director and CEO, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

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“This award recognizes that the practice of daily journalism is crucial to human rights because, without the story being known, society assumes the status quo is fine and does not move toward just reforms.”
– Michael Tutton, award winner

“Human rights are not just a process within an institution. It is about guaranteeing protection and equality at its highest level. It is about liberation and revolution. It is about changing the historically repressive legislation, the holistic narrative, if you will.”
– Carolann Wright, Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones Award winner

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Sipekne'katik elder among Human Rights Awards winners

Fast facts:
— The Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards are presented annually to recognize the important work of community organizers, grassroots advocates, activists, researchers, educators and others who demonstrate a commitment to advancing human rights through their work.
— recipients are selected by a committee from nominations submitted by their peers
— Wel-lukwen (Well-loog-wen) is a Mi’kmaw word that loosely translates to “Congratulations, you are doing very well. Your work does not go unnoticed.

Additional Resources:
More information about this year’s award winners and the inaugural Wel-lukwen Award can be found at: https://derechoshumanos.novascotia.ca/

The awards ceremony, which was broadcast live, can be viewed at:
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NSHumanRights
– Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo4VtAvGOaJdnX3gozG6iYA

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