TORONTO – Nathalie Restoule, 17, of Dokis First Nation, is a recipient of the 2014 Lincoln M. Alexander Award for her activism in addressing issues of racism among First Nations youth.
Restoule, who also serves as the Anishinabek Nation’s female youth representative, made a commitment to her community and her work to combat racism and discrimination.
“I usually have something to say for everything, but this really leaves me speechless because I didn’t think I’d be nominated for an award for doing something that was … I didn’t think it was that big for what I was doing,” said Restoule. “But being nominated and hearing the words by teachers, [who nominated me], [what they] had to say, made me step back a second and (say) ‘Whoa – this is all my work’ … you know? It’s really just an eye-opener, and I believe this is just the beginning to what else I can do in the future.”
Restoule, a Grade 12 student at Northern Secondary School in Sturgeon Falls, is the founder of the Near North District School Board’s first Aboriginal Youth Council which works to raise awareness, address issues of racism, and provide opportunities for positive change for Aboriginal youth.
She was recently chosen to represent the community of Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation as the 2013-2014 Miss Wikwemikong. In 2013, she organized a Round Dance at her school for students and community members to raise awareness around Bill C-4 – the so-called “omnibus bill” — and the Idle No More movement.
Each year, the Lincoln M. Alexander Awards are presented to three young people in Ontario between the ages of 16 and 25, who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in promoting positive social change. Lincoln Alexander was Canada’s first black member of Parliament and served as lieutenant governor of Ontario from 1985 to 1991. He died in 2012 at the age of 90.
The award named in his honour is designed to empower the province’s youth to take on leadership roles to help eliminate racial discrimination, and supports the government’s efforts to work together as One Ontario to build a successful, vital province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and achieve their goals.