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Indigenous Leaders: Turning silver into gold –

Christine John an inspiration, leading Reconciliation Action Plan at OPG

You could learn a lot about Christine John by this one fact. That of all the awards, recognitions, and accomplishments she’s had in her career, the recognition that means the most to her is an eagle feather an Elder gave her during a private moment. He was the firekeeper watching over the Sacred Fire during a National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in her adopted community of Saugeen First Nation.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to put some tobacco on the fire,’” John said. “As I approached, he said he wanted to give me something. I thought it was papers or something (for work). But when he turned around, he had an eagle feather in his hand. He said, ‘I want to present this to you… You’ve been here a number of years and you’ve brought so much positivity and healing and help to our community.’”

It is perhaps difficult for a non-Indigenous person to understand the gravity and importance of that gift. John compared it to a Medal of Honour. It is recognition that her work and achievements are making a difference in many different ways.

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