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Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum, right, and wife Sophie Happyjack Bosum outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Thursday. Chief Bosum was invested into the Order of Canada. (Submitted by Grand Council of the Crees) The grand chief of the Cree Nation, Abel Bosum, was invested into the Order of Canada at a ceremony Thursday in Ottawa.

Bosum was one of 39 people who were made either members or officers of the Order of Canada by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette at Rideau Hall.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967, and is one of the highest civilian honours recognizing people who have made significant contributions — in any field — to Canadian society.

"I don’t see this as being a personal honour. It’s a way of acknowledging all the work the Cree Nation has done," said Bosum after the investiture. I don’t see this as being a personal honour. It’s a way of acknowledging all the work the Cree Nation has done. "What we have done in the Cree Nation is attributed to all the work that has been done by past and present Cree leaders."

Bosum was elected as grand chief in 2017. Before that, he worked as a chief Quebec negotiator for the James Bay Cree Nation for many years.

He said he was fortunate to be part of the "movement of social justice" set in motion with the fight for the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

"I’m very proud to be a Cree and to be part of this movement." From residential school survivor to devoted leader

"Abel Bosum’s story is one of exceptional achievement," said a release from the Governor General’s office.

"From residential school survivor to devoted leader, this gifted negotiator has concluded historic agreements and addressed collective development, economic, health and governance issues for the Cree Nation."

In a release from the Grand Council of the Crees, Bill Namagoose, executive director of the Cree Nation Government, said Bosum has embodied the expression of the "tremendous creativity" displayed by the Cree Nation over the last 40 years.

"Abel has been an important part of this creative endeavour and we applaud his achievements and we applaud Canada for recognizing those achievements," said Namagoose.

Since 1967, some 7,000 people have been invested into the Order of Canada.

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