2020 Minister’s Culture and Heritage Circle Award Recipients Celebrated

News Releases

Yellowknife — June 2, 2021

Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson, is pleased to announce the names of the recipients inducted into the 2020 Minister’s Culture and Heritage Circle on March 2, 2021.

Recipients are recognized and respected in their communities for leadership, participation and significant contributions to the arts, culture and heritage. By category, the recipients for the 2020 Minister’s Culture and Heritage Circle are:

Youth: Kaysea Fountain, Fort Resolution
Kaysea has emerged as a cultural role model to her peers and a true champion of her ancestral language – Dëne Sųłıné Yatıé (Chipewyan).

Individual: Myrna Pokiak, Yellowknife
Myrna shares her formal and land-based education with her community. She promotes her culture through developing cultural awareness programs, and recently was asked to design a celebratory coin marking 150 years since the NWT joined Canada.

Elder: Rosalind Mercredi, Yellowknife

Rosalind has been a catalyst for many art events, including in 2020 the Iceolation Art Shows to allow people to enjoy the arts even during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Group: Collège Nordique Francophone, Yellowknife

Collège Nordique Francophone has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the North to build awareness among northerners about the importance of protecting, preserving and celebrating the north’s unique cultures and ways of life.

Indigenous Languages: Angelina Fabien, Fort Resolution
Angelina is recognized for this award for her considerable efforts to revive her ancestral language - Chipewyan.

Minister’s Choice: Lawrence Nayally, Wrigley

Lawrence has shared his love of language, culture, identity and storytelling through volunteer and advocacy work as well as his career in radio broadcasting. Over the years, Lawrence has treated listeners to insights into his Dene life, heritage and language. He regularly offers pronunciation guides, including definitions of Dene Zhatie words that encourage the revitalization of language.


This year, in light of COVID-19 and the current public health measures in place, we are honouring all of our award winners virtually.


“The individuals we celebrate today have demonstrated tremendous leadership and efforts in strengthening the arts, cultures, heritage, and languages of the Northwest Territories. I would like to thank all of this year’s inductees for their valued contributions to culture, heritage and the arts in the NWT.

- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Quick facts

  • The Minister’s Culture and Heritage Circle (MCHC) helps build awareness among all northerners about the importance of promoting, protecting, preserving and celebrating the unique cultures, heritage and ways of life in the Northwest Territories.
  • Created in 2011, yearly nominations are received from across the territory to acknowledge organizations and individuals who have contributed to the Northwest Territories’ arts, culture and heritage community.
  • Supporting the preservation of traditional skills and practices and respecting the cultures and heritages of all northerners are priorities of the GNWT Culture and Heritage Strategic Framework.

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