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Aboriginal Employees Award of Honour

The Aboriginal Employees Award of Honour recognizes accomplishments of Yukon government Aboriginal public servants who provide outstanding service or contributions to the Yukon government, fellow employees or ​to the Yukon public.​​ ​

2017 recipients and nominees


Shirley Dawson

Shirley Dawson currently works in the Executive Council Office but is being recognized for her work in Energy, Mines and Resources where she worked as a First Nation Liaison Officer. Much of Shirley's work in this role involved working with First Nation governments where Shirley played a key role in mentoring and assisting other Branch staff to ensure that all interactions were respectful and productive. Shirley is also proud of her roots and was very open to sharing her culture and knowledge with her co-workers. She took it upon herself to organize a lunch time beading group for her colleagues in EMR that were interested in learning more about First Nations culture. The group became a comfortable place for people to learn about a variety of topics, many related to reconciliation. Their beading culminated into a heart beading initiative in support of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Shirley's guidance and gentle direction with her colleagues has helped to accelerate and advance engagement and open communications with First Nations in a very positive and meaningful way.

Jayla Rousseau-Thomas

Jayla Rousseau-Thomas is a member of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation on her father's side and Cree/Metis on her mother's side. Jayla works as a Prevention Consultant with Alcohol and Drug Services where her nominator describes her as a leader, a teacher, a healer and an outstanding public servant. Jayla works to contribute to cultural health and safety as well as diversity and inclusion for both clients and staff. A colleague says, "Jayla's gone out of her way to create a safe place for ceremonial smudging for both clients and staff in a respectful and traditional way. She helped to set up contracts for culturally relevant programming that residents of all cultural backgrounds are participating in and learning from. This is a valuable part of our program and a particularly memorable one for our clients." Colleagues have also mentioned how Jayla incorporated emotional and cultural health into her consistent support of others in the service. She has an enthusiasm for incorporating all Yukoners into cultural events she takes personal time to teach traditional crafts such as beading and mitten making. One colleague summed up Jayla by saying, "Her leadership in this area helps is all think more about how to be culturally inclusive in different ways."

Elaine Moses

Elaine Moses started working for Yukon government in 1980 as a housekeeper at the Mayo Hospital where she works today. Over the past few years the Mayo Health Centre has undergone a lot of organizational change and Elaine has been the one constant staple that has remained. She has a wealth of knowledge about the health centre, the community and Nacho Nyak Dün traditions and culture that she is always willing to share. Elaine has the ability to mentor new staff in a gentle way. It doesn't matter if you are a nurse, clerk, EMS, property management or a supervisor, Elaine will speak up and provide valuable information on challenging situations. She is a support to nearly everyone that walks through the door. She has the ability to pull someone aside and help ease them with whatever situation they may be experiencing. She has been described as a guiding light that helps to bridge the knowledge gaps between health center staff and Nacho Nyak Dün traditions and culture. She's the glue that keeps the health centre together.

Jay Greenaway (posthumous award)

Jay Greenaway first started with YG in 2006 when he was hired as a "First Voices Communications Support Technician" with the Executive Council Office. In 2008, he began working in the Public Service Commission, as a Senior Planner for the Representative Public Service Plan and was very quickly promoted to a Senior Consultant in the Policy and Planning Branch. In this position he sat along-side the Public Service Commissioner while successfully negotiating the new Final Agreement Representative Public Service Plan (FA-RPSP) with eight self-governing Yukon First Nations. He also led a working group which oversaw implementation efforts and was successful in getting the participation of all 11 self-governing First Nations. He kept Yukon First Nations informed by providing in person updates to Chief and Councils. In 2011, he was transferred to Corporate Human Resources and Diversity Services where he continued his work as a Senior Representative Public Service Consultant. Then in May 2014, he became the Manager of Diversity Services, where his work began at a higher level regarding implementation and awareness of YG's diversity and representative public service commitments. In 2015, Jay was recognized for his leadership, passion and dedication when he was selected as one of four Yukoners to participate in the Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference. Jay's career within YG, epitomizes the very award that he helped create, the Aboriginal Employee Award of Honour (AEAH). His presence will continue to be felt in the legacy that he left through his work and the many wonderful memories that we have of his humour and larger than life character.


Shannon Duke

Shannon Duke is a Nurse Specialist with the Chronic Conditions Support Program. Shannon is highly collaborative and relationship focused in her work. An example of this is the Diabetes Wellness Series that's been done in partnership with Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Shannon identified the need to better engage First Nation patients early on. She took the lead on "Indigenizing" the programs advertisements to ensure patients connected with and better understood the program. She liaised with the health centre to ensure the timing and structure of the series best met the needs of health centre clients and supported the nursing staff on clinical diabetes education to ensure program success. The program is expanding the Diabetes Wellness Series to Yukon communities in large part due to Shannon's innovation. In collaboration with Yukon College, Shannon took the initiative to set up the series to run through Yukon College Community Campuses starting in Winter 2018. This means rural Yukoners will have access to free diabetes education in their home communities.

Bob Walker

Bob Walker has served as a School Council Liaison with Yukon Education for 14 years. During this time, he has mentored hundreds of School Council members to work collaboratively between the school and community. Bob continuously crafts his unique role and tailors his practise to provide exemplary support as a central link between Yukon Education, 26 School Councils, and 2 Educational associations. Over a ten-month school year, he will drive between 10,000 to 20,000 km to attend 30 to 50 evening meetings. He strives to bring together public members who have distinct views on schooling and he always promotes working with respectful collaboration. To promote equity, Bob liaises with Yukon First Nations to ensure that the viewpoints of Guaranteed Representatives are central to the School Councils corporate perspective. Bob's guiding philosophy is to promote the best educational opportunities for all Yukon children. Evidence of Bob's efforts to make a difference for children is his work at the Rural Experiential Model which brings together over 100 rural students in one community for a week long, intensive hands on learning experience.

Trevor Ellis

Trevor Ellis is a citizen of the Selkirk First Nation and is a member of the Van Bibber family. He has been the Mining Recorder in Mayo for 15 years where he is seen as a role model within the public service. He shares his knowledge of mineral rights to managers, colleagues, his staff and mentors new mining recorders on implementing legislation. He's helped numerous clients that needed assistance dealing with Mining Land Use regulations, which recently added a duty to mitigate the impacts of exploration and mining. He helped them understand the objectives and guided them through the new process effectively and successfully. Always one to help, he has been a volunteer firefighter in Mayo for 19 years and has been the Fire Chief for the last eight. Recently, he took part in battling a fire at the Mayo gas station, a dangerous situation that lasted five hours. His nominator calls Trevor a man for all seasons and Mineral Resources version of Clark Kent.

Dan Profeit

Dan Profeit is the Superintendent of Safety and Operations with the Transportation Maintenance Branch of HPW, but he started as a labourer back in 1969 when he was 16 years old. The Branch had to get special permission from the Commissioner to hire him because of his age. A proud Yukoner, a Nacho Nyak Dün Elder, and a public servant to the core, Dan started at the ground floor and has worked in nearly every position in the Branch. Now at the end of his career, his commitment to quality work, public safety and to his co-workers stands as a shining example to those who work to keep our highways safe. In his long career, he has achieved a lot, but he is known most for his support and mentorship of his fellow colleagues. Looking back, he sees many people who came up under him who went on to have long distinguished careers including many First Nation people who he encouraged to apply with YG. He often said, “What’s better than an employee who knows the area and lives in town?" At one point, Dan was seconded to the college to help run an operator training program where he helped train nearly 100 operators. Working them 10 hours a day, they built Mountain View Drive – on time on budget.

Violet Mathews

Violet Mathews is a proud member of the Carcross Tagish First Nation. She was also a member of the very first committee that established the Aboriginal Employees Forum. She is currently the Deputy Registrar, Special Projects, Land Titles Office with the Department of Justice. She's seen the Land Titles Office go through a lot of change over her years of service and most recently she has taken up the challenge of implementing a more modern electronic system. She's championed many changes to the system that has made it easier for staff to use. The thing that her colleagues admire most about her is that even after 30 years of dedicated service to the people of Yukon, which included assignments at Yukon Housing Corporation and Property Assessments, she sees the humour in life and she is always willing to teach, inspire and share her vast knowledge gained the good old fashioned way - by experience.

Nyla Klugie-Migwans

As a Cultural Heritage Training Coordinator with Tourism and Culture, Nyla Klugie-Migwans is responsible for coordinating a broad range of training and capacity development initiatives for Yukon First Nation heritage workers and other employed in the cultural and heritage sector. Since joining the team 3 and 1/2 years ago, Nyla has not only mastered her primary duties but has gone above and beyond her responsibilities, solidifying herself as the go to person for First Nation cultural advice within the department. It is due to her vast knowledge, expertise and cultural understanding that she has willingly taken on additional responsibilities and she has succeeded in everything asked of her. Capacity development is at the core of Nyla's position and her success in this area is unparalleled. Nyla's work to spearhead culturally relevant programming in partnership with the University of Victoria in Whitehorse has continued to evolve and grow under her leadership. What started as a single workshop in 2015 has turned into one or more full credit courses offered each year which allow students to work toward a certificate in Collections Management or a Diploma in Cultural Resource Management.

Pamela Adamson

Pamela Adamson has worked for Youth Justice for 29 years. She is a proud member of the Wolf Clan of the Ta'an Kwach'an Council where she was also a council member for many years. She started out as a community liaison worker at the Young Offenders Facility but has been involved in Youth Probation for the past 21 years. Her primary role has been the Extra-judicial Sanctions and Diversion Coordinator. Pam has been responsible for the Whitehorse Justice Panel that considers Extra-judicial sanctions for youth. Through supportive alternative measures, the program has successfully diverted hundreds of youth. The benefit of Pam's leadership and knowledge as the coordinator of the EJS panel cannot be overstated. She has provided stability and wisdom at the helm of the panel for the past 13 years. Pam's colleagues describe her as, "someone who always puts the clients first and always wants to set young people up for success."

Cheryl Otterbein

Cheryl is a Finance Officer working in the Corporate Services Branch of Community Services. Cheryl has demonstrated outstanding achievement through the successful completion of a large-scale project. Community Services was tasked with developing a system of communication between multiple divisions and branches to provide financial standards and consistent information. Considering the size of Community Services this was no small feat. Over a nine-month period a basic site plan was created and sections were assigned to various employees. The team worked to create clear information and provide interpretation of the Financial Administration Manual, General Administration Manual, the Contracting and Procurement Directive and other related Acts and Regulations. The goal was to create a site for any Community Services staff to find information on any basic administrative, financial or procurement related topic, complete with links to other departments and legislation. Cheryl was a significant player in the production of the SharePoint site. She brought her vast financial knowledge to the table and ensured that the content of the site was current and precise.

Florence Moses

Florence Moses is a systems administrator with the Information Management branch of the Department of Community Services. Florence has demonstrated outstanding achievement with the successful completion of a large-scale project. Florence worked with the branch over a nine-month period and was responsible for building a SharePoint Site for any Community Services employee. A site that would provide clear, relevant and reliable information on financial standards. The working group streamlined processes and created a variety of new forms with step-by-step instructions. The Finance SharePoint Site would concentrate on basic administrative functions for financial transactions, procurement, space planning, budgeting and internal procedures. Florence worked tirelessly to have the site up and running by the deadline. Several weeks prior to the launch of the site, access was provided to all administrative assistants. Her technical knowledge was a huge asset in the creation of a user friendly and intuitive site. To encourage the use of this site, Florence had a desktop link put on all Community Services employees’ desktops. This site is advertised on the Community Services weekly newsletter to communicate the constant updates with the department. In addition, Florence patiently instructed each of the team members on how to use the site.