2014 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Broadcasting)
For over 40 years, First Nation artist Tom Jackson has used his talents as a film and television actor, singer songwriter and producer not only to build an award-winning career, but to effect social change and help people in need. His annual The Huron Carole
and Singing for Supper
Christmas benefit concerts have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and food services for food banks across the country, and he has organized major fundraisers for charities and disaster relief efforts at home and abroad. As well, through his Dreamcatcher tour, he performed a series of concerts and facilitated stress management workshops in troubled communities impacted by suicide.
Born on the One Arrow Reserve in 1948 to an English father and Cree mother, Mr. Jackson carries the legacy of his parents’ selfless manner of keeping the door open for anyone who might need a meal or a conversation. While living on the streets of Winnipeg, his personal search for identity led to bonds with those outcast and marginalized. His voice became his way off the streets—figuratively and literally—and in to radio stations, television studios, film sets and theatres.
His television roles include, in children’s programming, Billy Two Feathers on Shining Time Station
and Hector Longhouse in Longhouse Tales
(the latter he created); guest appearances on Sesame Street
, Star Trek
: The Next Generation
, Street Legal
, Law and Order: Criminal Intent
, and Little Mosque on the Prairie
; and most memorably, his Gemini-nominated lead role as Chief Peter Kenidi on the hit series North of 60
. Film credits include Pride of Lions
, Mee-Shee the Water Giant
, Grizzly Falls
, Medicine River
, and The Diviners
(two Gemini nominations). As a singer songwriter he has recorded 15 albums.
Mr. Jackson has produced and hosted numerous live and televised fundraisers to help victims of natural disasters, most recently Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the devastating wildfire in Slave Lake, and flooding in Manitoba and Alberta.
Tom Jackson is an Officer of the Order of Canada (2000). Other distinctions include Humanitarian Awards from the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA), JUNOs, and Geminis; two Queen’s Jubilee Medals; Alberta and Saskatchewan Centennial Medals; and nine honorary degrees. He served as Chancellor of Trent University from 2009–2013.