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Terry Paul has served as Membertou’s since the 1980s. (George Mortimer/CBC) A Nova Scotian from the Membertou in Cape Breton has been appointed a member of the Order of Canada.

Chief Terry Paul said he was "absolutely floored" to receive the honour the day before Canada Day.

"It’s an amazing feeling to be honoured like this," he told CBC News.

His citation praises "his unique leadership in upholding rights and for building a unique model of sustainable financial independence in the Membertou community." ‘Very proud’ to receive Order of Canada

Paul was first elected chief in 1984 and most recently won re-election in 2016. He said the award represents the work he has helped with in his community.

"It’s certainly the work of a team and the community itself. I feel I’m really representing the community of Membertou in receiving this award and I’m very, very proud to do that," he said.

Paul joins the Order of Canada as the country turns 150 years old, sparking a debate about how its history has played out for different people .

"I know that a lot of our people have issues with the way the country started, and the issues that are still left. They feel they should be dealt with," Paul said. "But at the same time, we are a part of Canada — we’re Canadian citizens for sure."He felt it was better to celebrate with other Canadians "because tomorrow, we’ll still be living together."Only 7,000 people have ever received the award.

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