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Dr. David Ahenakew, of Prince Albert, former Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, was recently presented with the insignia of Member of the Order of Canada, by Governor-General Ed Schreyer at Government House in Ottawa.
The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement in all fields of endeavour and Dr. Ahenakew was appointed as a member on December 18, 1978.
During Dr. Ahenakew's 10 year reign as Chief, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians accomplished several tasks. These include a 1972 report entitled "Indian Education in Saskatchewan", which outlined the unsatisfactory situation affecting the education of Indians in the province. Since then, there have been major improvements in the education of Saskatchewan Indians.
In 1972, the Federation established the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College. In less than four years, it collaborated with the Saskatchewan Department of Continuing Education in the establishment of the Saskatchewan Indian Community College, with Dr. Ahenakew as one of the original board members.
In 1976, The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College was established at the University of Regina. In that same year, David Ahenakew was presented with an honorary LL.D. by the University of Regina.
Dr. Ahenakew is a founding member of the National Indian Brotherhood and a member of the NIB Executive Council. He was involved with the Indian Education Legislation Committee, as well as the Indian Act Revision Committee. He also participated on a three member policy committee and task force which studied new approaches to Indian Administration. The other two members were Mr. Arthur Kruger, Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs, and Dr. Lloyd Barber, University of Regina.
He was a member of the NIB-United Nations Committee with observer status and a member of the World Indigenous Peoples Council.
Born in 1933, Dr. Ahenakew was raised on a farm on the Sandy Lake Indian Reserve. Sandy Lake is one of the four Bands in the Shellbrook Indian Agency.