Indigenous employees recognized for public service excellence

Pat Joe receives the 2022 Indigenous Employees Award of Honour from Premier Sandy Silver. Photo by Mark Kelly

Today, Premier Sandy Silver presented the 2022 Indigenous Employees Award of Honour to Pat Joe of the Department of Education for her outstanding leadership and high standard of public service.

The other award nominees this year were Greg Blackjack from the Department of Community Services; Ruby Grant from the Department of Education; Kayla Anderson from the Executive Council Office; Candace Parsons, Cleo Smith and Janet Van Bibber from the Department of Health and Social Services; Arthur McIvor and Koree-Lee Ensor from the Department of Highways and Public Works; Rebecca Anderson and William Thibodeau from the Department of Justice; and Alainnah Cavasin from the Department of Tourism and Culture.

In addition to the Indigenous Employees Award of Honour, Premier Silver presented the Naats Tláa Award to Norma Davignon, who recently retired from the Department of Justice after 33 years of service. This special award is presented to a long-standing public servant who has made a significant contribution throughout their career in the Yukon public service.

It gives me immense pleasure to recognize these remarkable and dedicated employees for the 13th annual Indigenous Employees Award of Honour. Congratulations to Pat Joe, Norma Davignon and all the nominees for the exceptional work they do in the Government of Yukon. Indigenous employees are a vital part of the Yukon public service. Their individual achievements, talents, and dedication are inspiring and contribute to the quality of the Yukon government.

Premier Sandy Silver

These awards acknowledge and celebrate Indigenous employees in the Government of Yukon’s public service who have distinguished themselves through their excellence and commitment. Congratulations to Pat Joe and Norma Davignon for their well-deserved honours. We welcome the opportunity to recognize the many contributions and celebrate the culture and heritage of Indigenous employees within our public service. The Government of Yukon was recently recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2023, which really reflects the dedication and commitment of our employees to improving the lives of all Yukoners.

Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission John Streicker

Quick facts 
  • The Indigenous Employees Award of Honour is an initiative that was first created out of the Government of Yukon’s Indigenous Employees Forum.

  • The award recognizes the accomplishments of Indigenous Government of Yukon employees who provide excellent service to the public and colleagues.

  • Since the inception of the Indigenous Employees Award of Honour there have been 151 nominees, 31 recipients, five special recognition awards and one posthumous award.

  • The Indigenous Employees Forum was created in 2007 to support new Indigenous employees as they transition into the Government of Yukon.


This year’s Indigenous Employees Award of Honour recipient is:

Pat Joe  Pat is Wolf, Tagish Kwan of the Dakl’awedí Clan, Citizen of Kwanlin Dun First Nation. She’s worked for the Government of Yukon for 19 years and is currently the First Nation Curriculum Integration Teacher for the Department of Education.

Pat is the longest serving team member at the Individual Learning Centre (ILC). She started working at the school in 2007, only two years after the ILC opened its doors. The ILC is an alternative education option for students of varying cultural, social and economic backgrounds to reach their goal of graduation, lifelong learning and good citizenship.

She has become part of the fabric of the school, and she has set the culture of empathy, acceptance and respect for all staff and students alike. Pat is a constant model of exceptional teaching and practice amongst her colleagues. She embodies inclusivity in her every action and incorporates First Nation ways of knowing and doing into all subjects and with every individual that comes through our doors.

It is truly hard to capture the contributions of Pat to the Individual Learning Centre community and all people who live and thrive on her traditional territory. She is one of the most positive, energetic, joyful, compassionate, generous, connected and forgiving people you will ever meet. She bridges the worlds of First Nations and settlers with knowledge, insight, non-judgement and worldly perspective. She is one-of-a-kind person who fills the roles of teacher, Elder, mentor, grandmother, Auntie, knowledge keeper and friend at the Individual Learning Centre.

This year’s Indigenous Employees Award of Honour, for the Naats Tláa award is:

Norma Davignon  Norma is of Tahltan Indigenous ancestry. In December 2022, she retired from her role as the senior advisor to the deputy minister at the Department of Justice, after 33 years working as a public servant with the Government of Yukon.

Over the years, Norma has contributed and led a number of high-profile initiatives. Norma was involved in the Sharing Common Ground implementation through developing Yukon First Nations 101 (YFN101), a highly sought-after course offered through Yukon University. She also began the Justice Community Caucus during her time as a Community Justice Coordinator (1999–2004), bringing communities and courts together in partnership.

Norma is a smart, strategic and collaborative leader. She has always known the importance of prioritizing people and relationships. She has modelled this for others and has incorporated this collaborative, people-centred approach in all of her work.

Norma is passionate about working with communities and helping them achieve their goals. She has worked alongside multiple rights-holders, organizing conferences and learning events including a sexual assault prevention conference, a victims conference and policing conferences to review the Yukon’s police force.

Norma has received multiple awards of recognition, including an Award of Excellence from the Department of Justice in 2009, recognition for her contribution to the Yukon Corrections infrastructure project in 2012 and a Premier’s Award of Excellence in 2014 for her role on the implementation team of Sharing Common Ground.

Media contact 

Renée Francour
Cabinet Communications

Nigel Allan
Communications, Public Service Commission

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