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New stamp recognizes Métis artist and environmentalist Christi Belcourt

The Indigenous Leaders series, launched in 2022, highlights the contributions of modern-day First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders who dedicated their lives to preserving their culture and improving the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

The 2024 issue pays tribute to three remarkable women:

• Christi Belcourt, Métis visual artist and environmentalist

• Elisapie, award-winning singer-songwriter, actor, director, producer and activist

• Josephine Mandamin, Anishinaabe Elder and world-renowned water-rights activist

From Canada Post:

“OTTAWA – At an event today in Ottawa, Canada Post celebrated a new stamp recognizing Métis visual artist and environmentalist, Christi Belcourt.

Known for her intricate paintings that emulate Métis floral beadwork, Belcourt uses her talent to celebrate nature, honour her ancestors, advocate for the protection of land and water, and support Indigenous knowledge, culture and language.

This stamp is one of three Indigenous Leaders stamps that were released on June 21. The set is the third in Canada Post’s multi-year Indigenous Leaders series.

Belcourt’s life and legacy

Born in Scarborough, Ontario in 1966, and raised in Ottawa, Belcourt is a descendant of the Métis community of Manitow Sâkahikan (Lac Ste. Anne) in Alberta. She works in a variety of media but is best known for her large floral paintings, which draw inspiration from traditional Métis floral beadwork and pay homage to her Métis heritage and the natural world.

Belcourt’s work has been featured in exhibitions across North America and is found in the permanent collections of major Canadian galleries, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Gabriel Dumont Institute. In honour of residential school Survivors and their descendants, Belcourt designed a stained-glass window called Giniigaaniimenaaning (Looking Ahead), which was installed at the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

The power of Belcourt’s art lies in both its beauty and message. Among her most poignant works is Walking With Our Sisters, a memorial installation of more than 2,000 pairs of beaded moccasin tops honouring the lives of missing or murdered Indigenous women, Two-Spirit people and children. As co-founder of the community-based Onaman Collective, she volunteers her time to create resources and space for land-based Indigenous practices, including language revitalization.

Belcourt’s many awards include a Jim Brady Memorial Medal of Excellence (2023), an Artist Award from the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts (Ontario, 2016), a Governor General’s Innovation Award (2016), the 2014 Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award and an Aboriginal Leadership Award, a category of the Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards (2014). She also received two honorary doctorate degrees from Algoma University and Wilfrid Laurier University, both in 2023.

About the stamp

Cancelled in Ottawa (where Belcourt was raised), this stamp features an illustration of Belcourt that was created by her. The background shows detail from her painting, Reverence for Life.

The cancellation image is a line drawing inspired by Belcourt’s painting style.

About the Indigenous Leaders stamp series

Launched in 2022, the multi-year Indigenous Leaders series celebrates First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders who dedicated their lives to preserving their culture and improving the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

This year, Canada Post issued three stamps on National Indigenous Peoples Day in honour of Indigenous leaders Elisapie, Josephine Mandamin and Christi Belcourt. Two other stamp events were held this month:

  • On Thursday, June 13, the stamp honouring Elisapie was unveiled at an event in Montréal.
  • On Tuesday, June 18, the stamp commemorating Josephine Mandamin was unveiled at an event in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The new stamps and collectibles are available at canadapost.ca and postal outlets across Canada.

For links to images of the stamps and other products:

Photo credits: Canada Post