Canada Post begins unveiling stamps ‘immortalizing’ Indigenous leaders


Three figures from recent history will be honored by having their portraits depicted on stamps that will be sold by Canada Post later this month.

A Canada Post press release said the stamps, which will be available on June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day – feature Harry Daniels, Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and Jose Kusugak in recognition of their commitment and for their contributions to the Métis, First Nations and Inuit communities they served.

The stamp depicting Daniels, who died in 2004, was unveiled in Regina on Monday.

Cheryl Storkson, Daniels’ widow, spoke to CBC Radio morning edition before the ceremony.

“It just blew my mind, almost 18 years later. It was just wonderful to have it recognized,” she said.

Storkson said Daniels was a “driven” man who was passionate about what he did, especially when it came to politics and fighting for Indigenous rights.

A Métis man from Saskatchewan, his legal battle, Daniels v. Canada, would lead to the recognition of Métis and non-status First Nations people as “Indians” under Canada’s constitution in 2016.

In 1999, prominent Métis leader Harry Daniels launched the landmark case which was settled by the Supreme Court in 2016. Daniels died in 2004. (Métis Council of Prince Edward Island)

This decision meant that all governments in Canada owed Métis and non-status First Nations a fiduciary responsibility and were required to consult with them on a collective basis.

In the early 1980s, Daniels also fought successfully for recognition of Métis and non-status First Nations under Section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada.

“I was so, completely, over the moon knowing he belongs in that stamp,” Storkson said.

“It’s just a wonderful, wonderful feeling.”

More leaders to recognize

Two other indigenous leaders will appear on stamps issued on June 21.

Jose Kusugak, an Inuit politician from Repulse Bay, Nunavut, will be the focus of a stamp unveiling Tuesday night in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Kusugak, an advocate for Inuit rights, language and culture, died in 2011.

He was president of the Kivalliq Inuit Association, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. when that organization led the implementation of the land claim that led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999.

The second Indigenous person from Saskatchewan to be honored this year is Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier of the Okanese First Nation.

The unveiling of his stamp will take place in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan on Wednesday morning.

Day Walker-Pelletier, the oldest chief in Canada, worked as an elected official in Okanese, located about 90 kilometers east of Regina, for almost 40 years.

First elected in the early 1980s at the age of 26, she previously told CBC News that she initially hoped to serve her community for four years. She retired in the summer of 2020.

A former president of the then Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, her efforts at home revolved around reuniting Indigenous families with their foster children. She helped the Okanese First Nation define and draft its own legislation regarding child and family services.

Day Walker-Pelletier was honored with the Order of Canada in 2018, Canada’s highest civilian honour, given to those who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities.

“Immortalizing” Indigenous Leaders

Canada Post’s general manager of prairie operations, Ben McCutcheon, attended Monday’s event honoring Daniels.

“I see a postage stamp as more than just a stamp, it immortalizes these leaders and tells their story,” he said.

“It’s more than just an image.”

Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier, the former chief of the Okanese First Nation, will be honored with a similar stamp Wednesday in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. (Courtesy of Treaty 4 News)

Choosing who goes on the stamps takes years, he said, and is decided by a committee. He said Storkson and Indigenous leaders who shared stories about Daniels were among those consulted during his selection.

McCutcheon said the stamps issued June 21 are part of a series from Canada Post commemorating Indigenous leaders and events related to Indigenous history.


Comments are closed.