News release

New Wel-lukwen Award, Other Nova Scotia Human Rights Honours Presented

Four individual Nova Scotians and three groups received Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards in honour of their work creating a more equitable, inclusive and respectful province at an event in Halifax today, December 9.

The awards included a new honour, the Wel-lukwen Award, in recognition and appreciation of L’nu people whose work advances human rights, raises awareness, and brings attention to issues affecting Indigenous people in Nova Scotia.

Elder Daniel N. Paul, Sipekne’katik, received an inaugural Wel-lukwen Award in recognition of his immense contributions to building cultural awareness and understanding of L’nu’k history, traditions and community. The Grandmother Water Protectors, a grassroots group of Mi’kmaq women, also received the Wel-lukwen Award for their commitment to Netukulimk, the protection of Nova Scotia’s water, the environment and the well-being of future generations.

A group of students from Northumberland Regional High School in Alma, Pictou County, received the human rights youth award for their work to provide free, equitable access to essential items such as food, clothing and school supplies throughout their school community, a project known as The Karma Closet.

The charitable organization Stepping Stone was also recognized with an award. For more than 30 years, Stepping Stone has worked to protect and advance the rights of sex workers through advocacy, community outreach and support.

Individual awards were presented to two people:

  • journalist Michael Tutton, Halifax, received the award in recognition of his commitment to advancing dignity, equity and justice through his reporting on issues affecting persons with disabilities
  • Terena Francis, Paqtnkek, was recognized for her work to empower individuals and communities through education and advocacy on issues of importance to Mi’kmaq culture.

An award named in memory of the late Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones was presented to Carolann Wright, Beechville, in recognition of her leadership and commitment to social justice and economic prosperity for people of African descent.

Today’s ceremony was held in commemoration of the United Nations International Human Rights Day, observed annually on December 10.


Each of this year’s recipients exemplify a commitment to human rights in their individual terms. They are convenors, creators of safe spaces, amplifiers, and agents of change. Their work protects dignity and empowers others. Joseph Fraser, Director and CEO, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

This award recognizes that the practice of daily journalism is crucial to human rights because, without the story being known, society assumes the status quo is fine and doesn’t move towards just reforms, Michael Tutton, award recipient

Human rights is not just a process within an institution. It is about ensuring protection and equality at its highest level. It's about liberation and revolution. It is about changing historic repressive legislation, the holistic narrative, if you will. Carolann Wright, Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones Award recipient

Quick Facts:

  • the Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards are presented annually to recognize the important work of community organizers, grassroots advocates, activists, researchers, educators, and others who demonstrate a commitment to advancing human rights through their work
  • recipients are selected by a committee from nominations that are submitted by their peers
  • Wel-lukwen (Well-loog-wen) is a Mi’kmaw word which loosely translates to “Congratulations, you are doing extremely well. Your work does not go unrecognized.”

Additional Resources:

More information about this year’s award recipients and the inaugural Wel-lukwen Award can be found at:

The awards ceremony, which was livestreamed, can be viewed at: