Indspire’s 2022 recipients of its Guiding the Journey Educator Awards

The recipients of Indspire’s 2022 Guiding the Journey: Educator Awards were presented at the 2022 National Gathering for Indigenous Education in Winnipeg last November.


The Gathering is the largest national event of its kind, where educators and partners come together each year to share their voices and work to improve the educational outcomes of K-12 First Nations, Inuit and Métis students.

Allison Norman Atlookan received the Partner in Indigenous Education award at Indspire’s 2022 Guiding the Journey Educator Awards. Submitted photo

“The Guiding the Journey: Educator Awards recognize Indigenous educators, one Indigenous organization, and one non-Indigenous educator who have made valuable contributions to community-based education and who honour the principles of Indigenous knowledge,” said an Indspire press release.


Indspire thanks its presenting corporate sponsors, Suncor Energy Foundation and Suncor Energy Inc., for their support of the Guiding the Journey Awards and the National Gathering for Indigenous Education.


“The process of enacting reconciliation through education is the work of many hands,” said Mike DeGagné, Indspire president and CEO. “We are proud to celebrate and honour these educators who are doing this essential work each day, supporting their students and communities through their leadership, innovative practice, and dedication to community.”


Award recipients received a complimentary ticket to the 2022 National Gathering for Indigenous Education, an award, and a gift of $1,000 to be used towards classroom needs. They also received an all-expense-paid trip to the awards ceremony in Winnipeg.


The 2022 Guiding the Journey Award recipients are:


Community Service

Brittany Pennell

Halifax Regional Centre for Education

Nova Scotia


Innovative Practice

Marika Schalla

Niji Mahkwa



Culture, Language and Traditions

Myrna Ducharme

Kelsey Community School




Sherri Denysuik

Seven Oaks School Division



Role Model

Naiome Eegeesiak

Nunavut National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program



Partner in Indigenous Education

Allison Norman Atlookan

John C. Yesno Education Centre




Boyle Street Education Centre

Edmonton, AB


Representing Ontario, Allison Norman Atlookan received the Partner in Indigenous Education award. For the past six years, Allison has been living and working in the community of Eabametoong First Nation as a classroom teacher, and most recently as the head of the Special Education Department at the school.


During her time there, Allison loved finding ways to build meaningful relationships with her students, their families and the community as she continued to learn and grow as an educator.


Allison not only has her Special Education Specialist certification but has completed numerous courses and workshops on literacy and literacy instruction. Her proudest accomplishments at the school were helping to support the youth and grow the JCY Rez Girls 64 Wolves Hockey Team Program.


Allison’s background before teaching in Fort Hope was very eclectic. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Toronto and graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Education. She also enrolled in the Teach for Canada Program in 2016. After the Teach for Canada program at Lakehead University taught by Indigenous leaders, experienced northern educators, elders and many other experts in the field, she knew this was the work she was passionate about.


Allison can’t wait to continue to travel north to support her second home of Eabametoong as well as the communities of Fort Albany and Attawapiskat in her new role as the Psychological Services Co-ordinator in the Indigenous Mental Wellness Division of Dalton Associates.


For full bios on each of the recipients, visit

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