Governor General to recognize 2 Fredericton residents for indigenous leadership

Two Fredericton residents are being recognized by the Governor General of Canada for their outstanding indigenous leadership.

Percy Sacobie will receive the Meritorious Service Medal, while Opolahsomuwehs Imelda Perley will be awarded a Soverign's Medal for Volunteers.

They're among 30 people being honoured by Governor General David Johnston during a special ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Monday.

Sacobie built the Take a Break Lodge, a sweat lodge on St. Mary's First Nation, to help people on their journey to recovery from mental illness and addiction.

Having experienced the benefits of the traditional sweat ceremony himself, he wanted to give the greater Fredericton community access to a safe and welcoming place to practice self-reflection, to reconnect spiritually and to recover from their ailments.

Perley, a teacher and Maliseet speaker, has committed much of her time to teaching language, storytelling and other traditions in indigenous communities.

Her efforts have fostered greater understanding and tolerance among the citizens of St. Mary's, Kingsclear and Tobique.

Gord Downie will also be named a member of the Order of Canada on Monday, while the other members of The Tragically Hip will receive one of the country's highest civilian honours at a later date.

The rock group's members – Downie, Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair – are being honoured for their contributions to Canadian music and support for social and environmental causes.

Downie announced last year that he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and has since become a strong advocate for indigenous people.

His recent solo album and graphic novel "Secret Path" tells the story of an indigenous boy, Chanie Wenjack, who died while trying to escape a residential school.

With files from The Canadian Press