August Schellenberg Recipient

Dr. Shirley Cheechoo

The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence was launched in partnership with Joan Karasevich Schellenberg to honour her late husband, the legendary actor August (Augie) Schellenberg, and the spirit of his work. This award is presented to gifted Indigenous actors from across Turtle Island based on the longevity and impact of their careers, as well as their professionalism and involvement in mentorship and community work.

This award is supported by ACTRA National and individual donations.

imagineNATIVE is honoured to present the 2021 August Schellenberg Award to Dr. Shirley Cheechoo. Shirley Cheechoo (Cree) was born in Eastmain, Quebec, on the eastern shore of James Bay. Shirley is an accomplished and award-winning artist, actor, and filmmaker who has been working in the Indigenous community for over 30 years. She is the proud recipient of numerous awards both for her own work and in recognition of her profound contributions to arts practice throughout Ontario. This multi-award-winning filmmaker was the first person from a First Nation in Canada to write, produce, direct, and act in a feature-length, dramatic film, entitled Bearwalker, which had a market screening at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Shirley is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Weengushk Film Institute.

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We at imagineNATIVE acknowledge that this land located on present-day Tkaronto (Toronto) is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit.

We acknowledge the Dish With One Spoon covenant, a treaty whose spirit is one based in collective stewardship and reciprocity. We take the spirit of this covenant to the core of our operations as we bring artists and audiences from many nations across the globe together through our various initiatives and activities.

Please take a moment to think of the land you currently reside upon, wherever you may be, and  acknowledge those who went before and those yet to come.