CCAB is proud to announce the 2021 recipients of the following awards:

2021 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur

Erica Daniels

Erica Daniels is Cree/Ojibway from Peguis First Nation. She began her journey through Just TV, a multimedia program for at-risk youth in the inner city of Winnipeg. Today, she is an award-winning director and producer and, at just 29 years old, owner of her own media company Kejic Productions.

Elder Dave Courchene Jr. named her company Kejic, meaning The Sky in Anishinabemowin, symbolizing that there are no limits to our dreams and what we can achieve. 

Erica won the first-ever Indigenous Film Award presented at the 2019 Indigenous Music Awards. Her latest film, Run As One – The Journey of the Front Runners, won two Golden Sheaf Awards and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and the Banff World Media Festival Award. 

A passionate storyteller, Erica is dedicated to sharing her community’s stories with the hopes of paving a way for other Indigenous women and young Indigenous storytellers to help close the gap for Indigenous representation in the media industry.

Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement

John Bernard

2021 Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement Award

Discovering his love of computer technology early on, Mr. Bernard became one of the first Indigenous people in Canada to obtain a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineering certificate. 

He served as vice president and senior partner of Systems Interface, a multimillion-dollar informatics services company, where he was responsible for moving the company into the IT infrastructure business and increasing revenue by 50%. The company later partnered with Sierra Systems Consultants Inc. 

Mr. Bernard's most significant achievement was the establishment of his company Donna Cona.  

Founded in 1996, the Indigenous informatics firm continues to provide successful opportunities for Indigenous people in the high-tech industry. Mr. Bernard and his technical team were responsible for developing the technical architecture for the newly formed government of Nunavut. The project resulted in the first satellite-based infrastructure in the country and one of the few in the world. 

In 2007, he realized his vision of returning to his home community, Madawaska Maliseet First Nation in New Brunswick, and started multiple ventures including Madawaska Entertainment Center and Grey Rock Casino and the Grey Rock Motorsports. His companies employ the largest number of band members in the region. 

A champion of economic reconciliation across Canada, Mr. Bernard founded the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business Association, which was key to educating the federal government, the largest purchaser of goods and services in the country, of the need to procure directly from Indigenous businesses.

A fierce proponent of Indigenous education, he started the John Bernard scholarship in 1999 at Trent University open to Indigenous students studying technology and continues to provide assistance and guidance to this day.