Naomi Sayers (age 30+ category) of Ottawa, ON is a law school student and legal advocate for Indigenous women. She regularly writes at www.kwetoday.com and has written for national and local publications. “Kwe”, denoting woman in Anishinaabemowin, is a symbol for her identity as a fierce Indigenous feminist. Everyday Political Citizen juror Andrew McIntyre said: “Naomi’s personal story is inspiring. I have no doubt that her advocacy is empowering the many communities she is a part of by challenging stigmas and ensuring dignity for all Canadians. I believe that Naomi has much to teach Canada about becoming a more inclusive, understanding country.” With her public legal education initiative, Between the Lines, Naomi ensures her community has tools to resist injustice.
Ruth Kaviok (age 18-29 category) of Arviat, NU knows climate change makes the wildlife and people of Arviat vulnerable. Blending traditional Inuit knowledge with the scientific study of climate, she promotes a cross-cultural understanding of environmental issues. Her unique approach uses experiential learning and storytelling to make sustainability and environmentalism come alive to Inuit and non-Inuit communities alike. “Ruth’s contributions to her community and Indigenous youth issues reminds us to look beyond our own experiences and embrace the knowledge of those who were here before us,” said Everyday Political Citizen juror Barry Peters.
Kakeka Thundersky (under 18 category) of Winnipeg, MB was inspired to begin volunteering in her neighbourhood after the passing of her mother, a lifelong grassroots activist, earlier this year. She is recognized for her commitment to volunteering with numerous charities in the neighbourhood and her motivation to shine a light on the good in her community. “Out of tragedy Kakeka chose to try and improve the lives of those around her. To take action like this, to become a leader among your peers when—even at the best of times— it is so easy to retreat into your own world, is something I greatly admire,” said Rick Mercer, Everyday Political Citizen juror.
The three runners-up this year are Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (age 30+ category) of Iqaluit, NU for making documentaries to tell the stories of activism in Nunavut; Caleb Turner (age 18-29 category) of Moose Cree First Nation for his work to improving the lives of youth in his community; and Emma Mogus (under 18 category) of Oakville, ON for delivering 150,000 books through Books with No Bounds.
The Everyday Political Citizen project would be impossible without contributions from generous sponsors. Funding helps us run our website, create promotional materials, convene events around everyday political citizenship and build the community of Canadians who are passionate about positive politics.
We would like to thank RBC Foundation for their donation, sponsors Bennett Jones and Price Waterhouse Cooper and the in-kind support of The Tyee, iPolitics, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Civic Action.