Submitted by: Greg Garratt, MNO Veterans’ Council Sgt-at-arms

MNO Veterans’ Council President Joseph Paquette (centre) receiving the
2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement
from the Honourable David C. Onley (right) at Queen’s Park.
Photo credit: Tessa Buchan.

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Veterans’ Council President Joseph Paquette has been honoured with a prestigious provincial award recognizing his more than 25 years of work preserving and teaching Métis traditions and culture.

On February 21, 2014, Paquette was presented with the 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement at Queen’s Park in Toronto. The award was presented by the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and it recognizes Paquette’s outstanding contributions to the identification, preservation, protection and promotion of Ontario’s heritage.

The honour is awarded to volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and promotion of Ontario’s heritage over a period of 25 years or more.

“Each year, volunteers play an integral role in conserving the heritage of this province. I’m pleased to recognize the achievements of these dedicated individuals who have made outstanding contributions to keeping our history alive for the benefit of future generations,” said The Honourable David C. Onley in a statement.

Paquette, who is a Métis knowledge holder and veteran, was nominated by the City of Mississauga for his work in preserving and promoting the traditions and teachings of Ontario Aboriginal ancestors. Paquette has taken a personal interest in cross-cultural education, providing programming to make participants, young and old, aware of Aboriginal historical and community traditions using traditional storytelling to connect with audiences. Committed to education, he is a wealth of knowledge and has become a trusted resource for his knowledge of Canadian history. Paquette is a passionate leader who selflessly dedicates his time to planning events, ceremonies and celebrations with partnering groups.

“Joseph has attained a marker in life that few achieve and doing so has strengthened the pride of being Métis as an individual and the Métis as a collective,” said MNO Veterans’ Council Sgt-at-arms Greg Garratt. “Being a veteran means he has kept alive many memories and traditions and participated in keeping that part of our Métis history and nation building.”

Paquette believes that this honour is recognition not just for him, but for all Métis veterans. He encourages people to see veterans as active members in their communities making a difference.

The MNO is proud to have Paquette as an active citizen and thanks him for all he has done for youth, veterans and the Métis community. Congratulations on this great achievement.