New premier’s award to honour late Kristine McLeod

The Northwest Territories government is launching a $5,000 award that will honour the late deputy grand chief of the Gwich’in Tribal Council. 

The Kristine McLeod Emerging Indigenous Leader Award will support new Indigenous leaders in the NWT as they pursue education, training, or other development opportunities. It will be awarded for the first time next year.

“Kristine was such a role model for young Indigenous women in the Northwest Territories. A bright, engaging, and kind person who connected with everyone she met regardless of their background, culture, or creed,” Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Kyikavichik said in a statement.


“We miss her. However, we are comforted by the fact that such a legacy has been created to develop the future generations of young leaders in the North.”

McLeod, 38, passed away in August following a car accident on the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway. She is remembered for her leadership and contributions to the education, employment, language, and culture of the Gwich’in people.

Recipients of the new premier’s award must be in the early stages of their career or recently elected to a leadership position within a community, territorial, federal, or Indigenous government. The award aims to recognize individuals who inspire and challenge others in a positive way, set an example, and respect and preserve Indigenous practices and communities. 


“By recognizing and supporting emerging Indigenous leaders in the NWT, we are inspiring our territory for the benefit of all residents,” finance minister Caroline Wawzonek said in a statement.

“The Kristine McLeod Emerging Indigenous Leader Award will carry on the legacy of an incredible and inspiring leader  by encouraging future leaders of the territory to continue their journeys in education and training as they contribute to their communities.”