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Eight Saskatchewan Order of Merit honourees for 2022

An investment ceremony will be held in September.
SOM 2022 Recipients
The Saskatchewan Order of Merit is the province’s highest honour.

REGINA — Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty announced the eight newest recipients of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.

These individuals will be invested at a ceremony in September.

"This group of recipients has shown an extraordinary commitment to making the province of Saskatchewan a better place for everyone," Mirasty said. "I congratulate each of these exceptional individuals and I thank them for the positive impact they have made on our province and its people."

The 2022 recipients are:

  • Wayne Brownlee, Saskatoon
  • Carol GoldenEagle, Regina Beach
  • Trevor Herriot, Regina
  • John Hopkins, Regina (posthumous)
  • Shirley Isbister, Saskatoon
  • Harry Lafond, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation
  • Dr. Alan Rosenberg, Saskatoon
  • Marilyn Whitehead, Saskatoon

This year's recipients of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit will join the 258 individuals who have previously been invested.

The Saskatchewan Order of Merit was established in 1985 to recognize excellence and achievement from outstanding Saskatchewan citizens. They have made significant contributions in areas such as art, agriculture, business and industry, community leadership, public service, research and volunteer service. The Saskatchewan Order of Merit is recognized in the Canadian Honours System.

For more information about the Saskatchewan Order of Merit or to nominate someone, visit

Saskatchewan Order of Merit 2022 Recipients

Wayne Brownlee

Brownlee’s contribution to Saskatchewan's well-being began early in his career and continues with his commitment to community and philanthropic efforts. He was instrumental in both the growth of PotashCorp through several acquisitions and the defense against the PotashCorp hostile takeover attempt, owing to his relationships with investors and all levels of government.

In his community endeavours he has shown a thoughtfulness not often seen in corporate executives. Through his involvement with Wanuskewin Heritage Park's Thundering Ahead campaign and Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation's Early Learning Equal Start campaign, Brownlee unapologetically believes it is a moral obligation to acknowledge the challenges faced by Indigenous people and other marginalized members of society. Brownlee has not only committed historical philanthropic gifts to these organizations but commits his time and energy. Other organizations he has impacted include: the Friendship Inn, Salvation Army, Saskatoon Food Bank, Edwards School of Business, Saskatoon Community Foundation, Canadian War Museum and Biggar Revitalization Project. Wayne is a recipient of the USask Lifetime Achievement Award.

Carol GoldenEagle

Carol GoldenEagle is a writer, storyteller, singer, drummer, and visual artist. Before pursuing writing, GoldenEagle worked as a journalist for more than 30 years at Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), CBC and CTV. She received several awards including Best Anchor by the Manitoba Film and Television Industry, and Best Documentary and Live Reporting from the Native Media Awards. In 2007, Carol was awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her excellence in radio and television reporting.

In 2008, she chose to focus full-time on her writing. Her novel, Bearskin Diary, won a National Literary Award in 2017, and the French translation, Peau D’ours, also won a Saskatchewan Book Award in 2019. Another novel, The Narrows of Fear, won a Saskatchewan Book Award in 2021.

Currently she sits on the board of directors for the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, based in Regina Beach. She does similar work with the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society, an arts organization based in Regina. Her work includes providing artistic opportunities, particularly for the northern region of Saskatchewan.

GoldenEagle focuses on developing mentorship programs for Indigenous youth interested in a literary career. She also mentors emerging Indigenous adult writers, through programs co-ordinated by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild. In 2021, Carol was named as Saskatchewan’s ninth Poet Laureate.

Trevor Herriot

One of Saskatchewan’s most distinctive and distinguished literary voices, Trevor Herriot, has been referred to as “the preeminent prairie naturalist of his generation.” He has reached thousands of listeners and shared his love for the natural world through his CBC radio show “Bird Line.” Herriot is a champion for strong protection of last remaining tracts of native prairie habitats in Western Canada that provide home to numerous species at risk. He is a founding co-chair of the Prairie Advocacy Group, Public Pastures-Public Interest and has become known as one of the strongest voices for conservation in the West.

His outstanding writing skills have earned him many provincial and national awards and honours. His books have twice been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction and he has received the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence, the Writers Trust of Canada, Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, a Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award, and six Saskatchewan Book Awards. His essays and articles have appeared in Canadian Geographic, Brick, Border Crossings, The Globe & Mail, and The Narwhal. He has been featured in several documentaries, including “Grasslands: A Hidden Wilderness,” on CBC’s The Nature of Things.

In addition to his writing activities, Trevor has served as Writer-in-Residence at the Roderick Haig-Brown House on Vancouver Island and at the Regina Public Library. He has spoken across Canada delivering more than 85 lectures, keynote addresses and talks on various cultural and environmental topics.

John Hopkins (posthumous)

Having overcome a battle with addiction early in life, John Hopkins went on to complete university and become a champion of business, mental health, and reconciliation in Regina.

Hopkins started as a summer student at Regina Downtown Business Improvement District in 1995. He rose through the ranks and became the chief executive officer of Regina & District Chamber of Commerce. In this role, John worked with governments of all political stripes and provided reasoned and compassionate advocacy for the issues of the day. He participated on numerous boards and committees such as the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, Saskatchewan Assessment Management Association Commercial Advisory Committee, and the City of Regina Transit Advisory Board. John was a founding member of the Regina Trades and Skills Centre and spent many years as its chair. He was also a past president of the Canadian Chamber Executives of Canada.

Hopkins was a strong and genuine advocate for Indigenous economic reconciliation. He was an organizer for the Smudge Walk, and sat on the boards of Cowessess Ventures, Little Child Holdings and Reconciliation Regina.

One of Hopkins’ passions was his role as singer and guitarist with The Garage Band. The band's primary focus has been fundraising; raising $1.4 million for the Allan Blair Cancer Centre as well as more than $100,000 for mental health initiatives.

Shirley Isbister, S.V.M.

As a leader and advocate for Métis and First Nation people in Saskatoon, Shirley Isbister has worked tirelessly to provide food, shelte, and security to those in need for over two decades.

As president of the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI), Shirley has had an immeasurable impact on her community. Under her leadership, CUMFI has launched various housing initiatives which focused on providing a welcoming family environment to children in crisis, and safe and affordable housing to families and elders. She has also helped to secure funding for the Saskatoon Health Bus; a non-judgmental mobile treatment clinic in Saskatoon's core neighborhoods which serves an average of 6500 patients per year.

When Isbister started, CUMFI’s annual budget was $100,000. Now it has an annual operating budget of almost $10 million and employs 190 individuals. Isbister ensures that no one who comes to CUMFI for help is turned away.

Isbister is also an advocate for the community she represents in other ways. She is a member of the Saskatoon Police Service Indigenous Women's Advisory Circle, which works to improve policies and actions concerning police-related issues that touch the lives of Indigenous women. Shirley was selected to be a member of this committee due to her trusted voice as a community leader within Saskatoon. Under Isbister’s leadership during the pandemic, more than 90,000 lunches were served, and 4500 hampers delivered to people in need.

Harry Lafond

Harry Lafond is an Indigenous leader who has used diplomacy, consensus-building and friendship to work towards reconciliation. Lafond has spent his life creating pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to build trust, see strength in each other, and transform relationships.

Lafond served as chief of the Muskeg Lake First Nation for 10 years. During that time, he was instrumental in negotiating and establishing an urban reserve in Saskatoon — the first ever in Canada. He also developed a custom election code, strengthening his community’s Indigenous laws and practises. Harry also served as councillor on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation council for 15 years. He held the position of executive director in the Office of The Treaty Commissioner serving with Treaty Commissioners Bill McKnight and George Lafond and used the opportunity to advance reconciliation through his teachings.

Academics are important to Lafond, having taught primary school, high school, and post-secondary courses. He successfully lobbied for a new school for the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. He has held the position of Indigenous Education Scholar at St. Thomas More College (University of Saskatchewan). As both a Cree leader and a Catholic deacon, Harry is serving on the Saskatoon Roman Catholic Diocese’s Council on Truth and Reconciliation and is an advisor to the Bishop of the Prince Albert Roman Catholic Diocese.

Dr. Alan Rosenberg

Dr. Alan Rosenberg is a world-renowned pediatric rheumatology clinician, an innovative researcher, and an inspiring award-winning professor. Since 1981, he has been the director of the University of Saskatchewan's Pediatric Rheumatic Disease Research Laboratory and has led the pediatric rheumatology clinical program in the province. During his time at the University, he also served as the head of the Department of Pediatrics. Rosenberg’s commitment to improving specialized care for children with arthritis and related rheumatic diseases and leadership in research has shaped pediatric rheumatology care in Saskatchewan and across the country.

Rosenberg is a co-founder of the Children's Health Foundation of Saskatchewan, which paved the way for the realization of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. His work and national leadership have made Saskatoon and the children's hospital a leading Canadian centre of excellence in child health and research.

Rosenberg also founded the Children's Health Research Trust Fund, which supports research on child health, with the goal of facilitating the highest standards of scientific research. He was the inaugural chair of the Canadian Pediatric Rheumatology Association and contributes to activities of the Arthritis Society and Lupus Saskatchewan. Recognizing the value of collaboration, he promotes and facilitates partnerships locally, nationally and internationally, to improve child health, advance research and inspire the next generation of care providers and scientists.

Marilyn Whitehead

For over 50 years, Marilyn Whitehead has been an influential music teacher, choral director, accompanist and adjudicator in Saskatoon. Graduates of her piano and voice studio have gone on to have successful careers as opera singers, Broadway artists and actors. They are people who make a difference within their community and have leadership roles within their l professional careers such as teachers, nurses, doctors, broadcasters, lawyers, and accountants. Her students say Whitehead inspires a love of music, positive competition and a strong sense of self.

In 1972, Whitehead founded one of Canada’s best-known choirs, the Saskatoon Fireside Singers. Whitehead has served as artistic director since its inception. Under her leadership, the Fireside Singers have grown from a small performance choir to staging full Broadway productions. The Fireside Singers’ annual Christmas Memories performances have evolved from small events at local churches to two sold-out evenings at one of Saskatoon’s largest venues.

Whitehead is a past president of the Saskatoon Registered Music Teachers Association and an active member of the Saskatoon Music Festival Association. She received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 2002 for her contribution to the arts in Saskatoon. She also received the Saskatchewan Choral Federation Pro Musica award in 2012.