Bob Watts

Bob Watts

OHSWEKEN, Ont. — The former Program Manager for the Union of Ontario Indians, Bob Watts is one of 14 Indigenous Canadians who have been selected as the recipients of the 2014 Indspire Awards and who were acknowledged in the House of Commons Oct. 29.

The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons acknowledged the names of the award recipients after Question Period and hosted a reception in their honour immediately after.

Bob Watts is a citizen of Six Nations of the Grand River and has Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek ancestry. He worked at the Union of Ontario Indians head office on Nipissing First Nation in the 1990s.

His current activities include working with the Siting Process of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and serving as an Adjunct Professor and Fellow in the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University. Watts also works on human rights issues and assisting corporations to development partnerships with Aboriginal communities. He is a frequent speaker on Aboriginal issues and, in particular, the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

A former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, before that Watts was  the Interim Executive Director of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which will examine and make recommendations regarding the Indian Residential School era and its legacy. He was instrumental in establishing the Commission. He served as Chief of Staff to AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine, and was a member of the team which negotiated the historic Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

A former Assistant Deputy Minister for the Government of Canada, Watts is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Fellow at the Harvard Law School. He has taught, debated and lectured at a number of universities in Canada and the United States and at the Canada School of Public Service.

The 2014 Indspire Award recipients – who will be honoured Friday, March 21, 2014 in Winnipeg – are:
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: James Eetoolook, Inuit, NU

ARTS: Kent Monkman, First Nation: Cree, MB
Dr. Marie Yvonne Delorme, Métis, AB
Maggie Paul, First Nation: St. Mary’s First Nation, NB
Rita Bouvier, Métis, SK
Charlie Snowshoe, Gwich’in First Nation, NT     
Evan Adams, Sliammon First Nation, BC
Marion Meadmore, Peepeekisis First Nation, SK
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, First Nation: Penticton Indian Band, BC
Robert Watts, First Nation: Six Nations of the Grand River, ON
Mary Spencer, First Nations: Chippewas of Nawash, Ontario
John Nicholas Jeddore , Miawpukek First Nation, NL
Sarah Arngna’naaq, Inuit, NU
Christie Lavallée, Métis, MB

“Our award recipients are the outstanding leaders in their fields, having made extraordinary contributions to their communities and to Canada,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. “We honour their accomplishments so those following in their footsteps will be inspired to fulfill their own great potential. The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the summit of achievement amongst Indigenous peoples, and by recognizing the early achievements of successful First Nation, Inuit and Métis youth we are inspiring their peers to reach for the stars.”

Formerly called the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, the Indspire Awards have celebrated the significant contributions of Indigenous people in Canada for 21 years. The Awards are aligned with Indspire’s mandate to provide educational support and programs for future generations to succeed.

The Indspire Awards promote self-esteem and pride for the Indigenous community and provide outstanding role models for Indigenous youth. They recognize the success of individuals who have the discipline, drive and determination to set high standards and accomplish their goals.

The national jury for the Indspire Awards is comprised of previous recipients, who represent a range of economic sectors, fields of endeavor and regions across the country. From hundreds of nominations the jury selected 10 career achievement award recipients, three youth award recipients (First Nation, Inuit and Métis) and one lifetime achievement award. Recipients are selected through a jury process that is based on the highest merits of fairness, honesty and respect to all of the highly-deserving nominees.