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Nova Scotia

New Wel-lukwen Award, Other Nova Scotia Human Rights Honours Presented

Four Nova Scotia individuals and three groups received the Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards at an event in Halifax today, December 9, in honor of their work to create a more just, inclusive and respectful province.

The awards included a new honor, the Wel-lukwen Award, in recognition and appreciation of the L’nu whose work advances human rights, raises awareness and brings attention to issues affecting indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia.

Elder Daniel N. Paul, Sipekne’katik, received the first Wel-lukwen award in recognition of his immense contributions to raising cultural awareness and understanding the history, traditions, and community of the L’nu’k. The Grandmother Water Protectors, a grassroots group of Mi’kmaq women, also received the Wel-lukwen Award for their commitment to Netukulimk, the protection of Nova Scotia’s water, the environment and the welfare of future generations.

A group of students at Northumberland Regional High School in Alma, Pictou County, received the Youth Human Rights Award for their work to provide free and equal access to basic necessities such as food, clothing and school supplies throughout their school community, a project known as is The Karma Closet.

The non-profit organization Stepping Stone was also recognized. For more than 30 years, Stepping Stone has worked to protect and advance the rights of sex workers through advocacy, outreach and support.

Individual prizes were awarded to two people:

  • Journalist Michael Tutton, Halifax, received the award in recognition of his commitment to promoting dignity, equity and justice through his reporting of issues affecting people with disabilities
  • Terena Francis, Paqtnkek, was recognized for her work in empowering individuals and communities through education and advocacy on issues important to Mi’kmaq culture.

An award, named for the late Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones, was presented to Carolann Wright, Beechville, in recognition of her leadership and commitment to social justice and economic prosperity for people of African descent.

Today’s ceremony was held to commemorate the United Nations International Human Rights Day, which is observed annually on December 10th.


Each of this year’s award winners embodies their commitment to human rights in their own individual form. They are organizers, creators of safe spaces, amplifiers and agents of change. Your work protects dignity and empowers others.
Joseph Fraser, Director and CEO, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

This award recognizes that the practice of daily journalism is vital to human rights, as society, unaware of history, assumes the status quo is fine and is not just moving towards reform.
Michael Tutton, prizewinner

Human rights are not just a process within an institution. It is about ensuring protection and equality at the highest level. It’s about liberation and revolution. It’s about changing the historical repressive legislation, the holistic narrative if you will.
Carolann Wright, Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones award winner

Fast Facts:

  • The Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards are presented annually to recognize the important work of community organizers, grassroots advocates, activists, researchers, educators and others who work to advance human rights
  • Recipients are selected by a panel of nominations submitted by their peers
  • Wel-lukwen (Well-loog-wen) is a Mi’kmaw word that loosely translates to “Congratulations, you’re doing very well. Your work does not go unnoticed.”

Additional Resources:

For more information on this year’s award winners and the first Wel lukwen award, visit: https://humanrights.novascotia.ca/

The awards ceremony, which was broadcast live, can be viewed at:


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