Canada’s New Indigenous Leaders stamps revealed
By Molly Goad
Canada Post unveiled designs for its second set of Indigenous Leaders stamps in a series of events the week of June 11.
The series began in 2022 and pays tribute to the lives and legacies of Indigenous leaders. The 2023 stamps will be issued June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, and will feature Nellie Cournoyea, George Manuel and Thelma Chalifoux. The set of three will be available online from Canada Post and in postal outlets across Canada on the issue date.
Canada Post unveiled the stamp designs in three separate events on June 11, June 12 and June 13.
Canada Post revealed the Nellie Cournoyea stamp on the evening of June 11 at a community event in Ulukhaktok in the Northwest Territories.
Cournoyea was born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, in 1940 and later became an advocate for her people, the Inuvialuit of Canada’s western Arctic. She is of mixed heritage; her father was a Norwegian immigrant and her mother was an Inuvialuit woman from Herschel Island, Yukon.
The many achievements Cournoyea is known for include being the first Indigenous woman to head a provincial or territorial government in Canada as premier of the Northwest Territories from 1991 to 1995.
Additionally, she helped negotiate the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, which included a land settlement of more than 55,000 square miles.
Now in her 80s, Cournoyea is chair of the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board and vice-chair of the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation.
Canada Post unveiled the George Manuel stamp June 12 at an event in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Manuel (1921‑1989), a member of the Neskonlith Indian Band of the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia, was an author, political strategist and champion of Indigenous peoples. He was born Feb. 17, 1921, on the Neskonlith Reserve near Chase, British Columbia, according to Canada Post.
Dedicated to uniting Indigenous peoples around the world, Manual organized the Constitution Express, a movement that brought supporters from the west to Ottawa, Ontario, and to the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1980, and to Europe in 1981 to lobby for the inclusion of Indigenous rights in the Canadian Constitution.
Manuel served as national chief of what is now the Assembly of First Nations from 1970 to 1976, and as the first president of both the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
In addition, Manuel was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The stamp design is a reinterpretation of a black-and-white image taken of Manuel in the 1970s.
The Canada Post release said, “The multi-coloured designs, illustrated by Secwepemc artist Tania Willard, represent the ‘shining light’ of Manuel’s message for international Indigenous rights, while the deep red ochre evokes the pictographs and other markings found on Secwepemc lands.”
At a June 13 event in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada Post unveiled the third and final stamp in the series honoring activist Thelma Chalifoux.
Born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1929, Chalifoux “was known for her kind heart and boundless energy,” Canada Post said.
She possessed the courage to leave her abusive husband and fought to regain custody of her children. Eventually, she went back to school and became a fieldworker with what is now the Metis Nation of Alberta.
Later, Chalifoux co-founded the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre in Alberta, which provides a range of programs and services to urban Indigenous people. Furthermore, Chalifoux ran the community’s first safe house for women fleeing domestic violence.
Her other roles include land claims negotiator, where she was involved in discussions in the early 1980s as part of a Metis delegation to Ottawa that helped to get First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples recognized as separate and distinct nations.
Chalifoux became the first Indigenous woman appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1997, where she helped create programs for Indigenous peoples in the areas of housing, education and social assistance.
Chalifoux died on Sept. 22, 2017, at the age of 88.
The stamp features a photo of Chalifoux from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. The background includes detail from a painting by Metis artist Christi Belcourt and represents Chalifoux’s love of flowers.
Souvenir sheet and Technical details
Andrew Perro designed the Nellie Cournoyea and George Manuel stamps, and Lime Design designed the Thelma Chalifoux stamp.
In place of the denomination, each stamp has a “P” inside a symbolic maple leaf, indicating that it pays the permanent rate (currently 92¢).
Lowe-Martin printed the stamps in three booklets of six: Canada Post ordering number 414225111 for Nellie Cournoyea, 414226111 for George Manuel, and 414227111 for Thelma Chalifoux. The quantity printed was 100,000 of each booklet.
The three stamps also are available in a single souvenir sheet (404227145), designed by Perro and Lime Design. Lowe-Martin printed 60,000 souvenir sheets.
Canada Post produced 6,000 first-day covers for each stamp, canceled in the birthplace of the honoree. The product numbers are 414225131 for the Nellie Cournoyea FDC, 414226131 for George Manuel, and 414227131 for Thelma Chalifoux. The cancels show an Arctic fox, a beadwork flower and a flower from the stamp design, respectively.
Canada Post stamps and related items are available online. Stamps and FDCs are available by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.
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