The Art Manuel Awards honour the legacy of Secwepemc leader and activist Art Manuel by recognizing impactful Indigenous governance research or practices.

Art Manuel helped us understand the contemporary dynamics of colonization while also offering strategies for creative resistance. Yellowhead aims to honour his legacy with three awards totaling a value of $7000, recognizing an individual or community that expands on his life’s work and makes a significant on-the-ground contribution to Indigenous self-determination.

“There is room on this land for all of us and there must also be, after centuries of struggle, room for justice for Indigenous peoples. That is all we ask. And we will settle for nothing less.”

― Arthur Manuel, Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call

About the Awards

Three awards will be granted, a $5000 award and two $1000 awards. 

The Art Manuel Awards are currently closed. Please see our 2018 winners here

WHO: The awards recognize the work of a First Nation, Métis or Inuit person(s), group, organization, community, society, nation, movement, or band.

WHEN: Nominations were accepted from August 15, 2018 – October 1, 2018 (midnight)

CRITERIA: The recipients of the awards will show leadership in at least one of the following areas:

  • Defending Indigenous rights, land or water;
  • Advocacy for Indigenous self-determination;
  • Expansion of Indigenous jurisdiction or law in social policy, governance, or lands beyond the reserve;
  • Impactful writing or research on Indigenous political economies.

Eligible action will have taken place between September 2017 – September 2018. However, ongoing work, leadership, or the legacy of a body of work before and beyond this timeframe are within the bounds of consideration. One of the three awards will be reserved for a local (Southern Ontario) Indigenous campaign, to be determined by the jury.

NOMINATION INSTRUCTIONS: Instructions and further details about the award and nomination process can be downloaded here.

AWARD WINNERS: Award winners were notified by Yellowhead of the Jury’s decision in mid-October. Barring exceptional circumstances, Yellowhead Institute expects that  award winners will attend and speak at an event organized at Ryerson University in their honour in mid-November. Yellowhead will cover travel and related expenses. If a group wins the award, one or two representatives will be asked to attend.

Please email if you have any further questions. 


Our 2018-2019 Jury Members are all First Nation leaders and advocates. They will make their decision autonomously and adjudicate the award based on the defined criteria.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg

Renowned scholar, writer and artist; currently a distinguished visiting professor at the Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University

Doreen Manuel
Secwepemc and Ktunuxa

Owner of Running Wolf Productions; Professor at Capilano University; and sixth child of Grand Chief Dr. George Manuel and Marceline Manuel.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo
Lubicon Cree First Nation

Acclaimed environmentalist and champion of renewable energy; Advocate for justice for Indigenous women; Host of Power to the People

About Art Manuel

“I believe that under the existing colonial system in Canada, Indigenous peoples are not Canadian because of systemic impoverishment we are forced to live in because we are alienated from our traditional territories…you cannot have reconciliation under the colonial 0.2 per cent Indian reserve system…The land issue must be addressed before reconciliation can begin.”

― Arthur Manuel, The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy

Arthur Manuel, son of Marceline Paul of the Ktuanaxa Nation and George Manuel of the Secwepemc Nation, was an internationally recognized activist, leader and advocate for Aboriginal title and rights in Canada. He was known for his tireless advocacy for Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination, working selflessly in defence of Indigenous territorial authority and fiercely opposing any termination of Indigenous land rights. A residential school survivor, he shared his vision for Indigenous self-determination across the globe and was a teacher, mentor and source of knowledge for many.

Art held many esteemed positions in his lifetime including: Chief of Neskonlith Indian Band, chair of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, and co-chair of the North American and Global Indigenous Caucus at the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples. He was also a leader in the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More movement. He is the co-author of Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call and author of The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy.

Modified from “Statement from the family of Indigenous activist Arthur Manuel on his passing”; The Georgia Straight, Jan 12, 2017 

“Arthur Manuel was, without question, one of Canada’s strongest and most outspoken Indigenous Leaders in the defence of our Indigneous land and human rights. He travelled extensively throughout Canada, North America and around the world in his unwavering and relentless efforts to champion the cause of our Indigenous rights. He never took a step back. His legacy will continue to reverberate throughout our ongoing Indigenous history for many generations to come.”

Grand Chief Steward Phillip, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs

The Art Manuel Awards are generously supported in part by the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University

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