Recognition Awards

Each year, the Ontario Native Women's Association (ONWA) recognizes women whose work and contributions to the Indigenous community have made an impact upon the quality of life of Indigenous women and their families. Award recipients are nominated by their peers and are based on the listed criteria. Awards will be presented at ONWA's Annual General Assembly (October 22-24, 2021).

Alice Souliere Bursary Award

($1,000 Award)

In 1993, ONWA established the Alice Souliere Bursary Award to commemorate Alice's contribution to the Association. This bursary was established to encourage individuals to pursue First Language Studies. The recipient should have demonstrated either the personal pursuit of language development or have assisted in community projects that promote language development.

NOTE: This award is open to all Indigenous women (18 years or more) in Ontario, who meet the criteria of this award. 


2021 Winner: Marjolaine Lapointe

Marjolaine is an Anishinaabe educator, Deer clan, from Ardoch First Nation. She is revolutionary in our Indigenous department at Kawartha Pine Ridge District Secondary School. She supports teachers with Anishinaabemowin language programs, and is passionate about Trauma-Informed Practice, Infusing Indigenous knowledge, culture, perspectives, and history into the curriculum (K-12), Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy, and Restorative Practice and Justice.


She sits on the board at Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services, a place for Indigenous women to receive healing and support in Peterborough, recognizing the importance of language for Indigenous women.

Marjolaine also put forth to the Robertson Program in 2019 "The Importance of Indigenous Educational Leadership in Advancing Student Success in Mathematics". She also is in active participation with the Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, fostering cultural connections through workshops and classes for the Anishnaabemowin language.

Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell Award

($1,000 Award)

The Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell Award was established to honour and celebrate the contributions and impacts this woman made to the Indigenous community, the Canadian Justice System and Canada as a whole. It was through her courageous battle against the discriminatory nature of the Indian Act that today Indigenous women can proudly claim their rightful identity.

Each year the Ontario Native Women's Association is pleased to present this prestigious award in recognition of one of our founding members to an Indigenous woman who best displays the qualities and depth of commitment towards the Indigenous Women's Movement.

NOTE: This award is open to all Indigenous women (18 years or more) in Ontario, who meet the criteria of this award.


2021 Winner: Alana Morrison

Detective Sergeant Alana Morrison with the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service has been a woman leading change in the Northern Ontario justice system for almost 20 years, with a focus on supporting survivors of abuse (domestic, sexual, child, etc).


Alana is Anishnawbe-kwe from Northern Ontario. She became a police officer in the NAN territory, working in many communities over the last 19+ years, and often working alone without another officer present. Many females who survive abuse and live in NAN communities have commented that seeing a female officer locally gives them courage to report their abuse and know that it will be taken seriously, and Alana is a big reason that trust has formed between Indigenous females and NAPS officers over the years.


Alana eventually was promoted to Detective and worked in that role for many years, investigating domestic abuse, child abuse, homicides, sexual abuse, and human trafficking cases. At times she led the detective unit as the Detective Sergeant, until 2020 when she created the Survivor Assistance Support Program (SASP). SASP was D/Sgt. Morrison's initiative to address the inadequate immediate supports available to survivors of abuse (predominately female) within the NAN communities, who too often don't have access to the same resources and supports available to survivors of abuse within the NAN communities.

Dorothy Wynne Achievement Award

($1,000 Award)

The Dorothy Wynne Award and bursary was established to honour and celebrate the life and contributions of Dorothy Wynne who was instrumental in building the foundation that would become ONWA. As an admired trailblazer for Indigenous women, Dorothy forged paths forward at the grass roots level that changed and empowered the lives of many Indigenous women and families.  This award is presented to a local member of the Association nominated by her peers for her endeavors and contributions to her community, having an impact upon the quality of life of Indigenous Women and their families. 

NOTE: This award is open only to ONWA membership. 


2021 Winner: Lurleen Ashkewe

Lurleen has worked tirelessly for and with Orillia Native Women's Group since early 2015. Her commitment and dedication is astounding.

Lurleen has been involved in Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) and Community Action Program for Children (CAPC) for the past few years. Despite the challenges of continuing her many programs because of COVID, Lurleen has still been able to connect with clients and members and offer help and support wherever it is needed.


Lurleen has the respect of all! Her dedication to the families who come to the Orillia Native Women's Association for support is appreciated by everybody. Every one of the members know Lurleen by name, as she has always been there for them and is somebody they know they can count on.

Everybody who has ever known Lurleen loves Lurleen.

Indigenous Woman of the Year Award

($1,000 Award)

This award is presented annually to an Indigenous Woman who has served her people compassionately in all areas of community service, and, demonstrated skill and dedication to the Provincial movement of the Ontario Native Women's Association.

NOTE: This award is open to all Indigenous women (18 years or more) in Ontario, who meet the criteria of this award. 


2021 Winner: Dawn Lavell-Harvard

Dr Dawn Lavell-Harvard has been the president of the Ontario Native Women’s Association since 2003. She is a proud member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, the first Aboriginal Trudeau Scholar, and has worked to advance the rights of Aboriginal women as the President f the Ontario Native Women’s Association since she was first elected in 2003.

Dawn is a full-time mother of three girls. Following in the footsteps of her mother Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, a noted advocate for Indigenous women’s rights, Dawn has been working toward the empowerment of Indigenous women and their families ever since joining the Board of the Ontario Native Women Association as a youth director back in 1994.


After serving as Vice-president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada for three years, Dawn was elected National President at the 41st Annual General Assembly, July 11, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec. After fulfilling her promise to see the MMIWG Inquiry initiated, in October 2016, Dawn left her role as National Leader and took on the role of Director at the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard has shown her compassion for serving Indigenous women in community through leadership as the ONWA President for the past 18 years and continues to work towards Indigenous women's rights. 

Celebrating 50 Years Award

($1,000 Award)

The ONWA “Celebrating 50 years” Award acknowledges the outstanding achievements of an Indigenous woman who contributes to the Indigenous women’s leadership and equality movement.

NOTE: This award is open to all Indigenous women (18 years or more) in Ontario, who meet the criteria of this award. 


2021 Winner: Marlene Pierre

Marlene Pierre is one of the founders and past Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women's Association and for the past 55 years has dedicated herself to improving the lives of Indigenous women and families in Thunder Bay, across Ontario and Canada. She has received many honours for her community service including recognition from her 
home community of Fort William First Nation, the Order of Ontario, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, and a Doctor of Letters from Lakehead University. While she has not been active in ONWA in recent decades, it is fitting that for ONWA's 50th anniversary she be recognized for the major role she had in its development, her ongoing work as a community advocate for Anishinaabe families and now as an Elder in her 70's. 


Marlene has contributed in so many ways to improving the lives of Indigenous women and families in Thunder Bay, the province, and Canada.


In her own words: "And now we look back and we see all those things that did that ... We believe very strongly that it is us, the women, that are going to make the changes in our communities."