Fleming College graduate and Anishinaabe professional and entrepreneur Steve DeRoy is one of seven recipients of the 2022 Premier’s Awards.
Launched in 1992 and administered by Colleges Ontario, the advocacy voice for the province’s 24 colleges, the Premier’s Awards recognize past and recent graduates from Ontario colleges who have made outstanding social and economic contributions in their fields and in the community.
A total of 126 graduates were nominated for this year’s seven award categories, with DeRoy receiving the award in the technology category.
A 1998 graduate from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – Cartographic Specialist at Fleming’s Frost Campus in Lindsay, DeRoy is the co-founder and director of the Firelight Group, which provides community-based research and technical support to Indigenous peoples.
In 2014, he founded the Indigenous Mapping Collective — an annual workshop that aims to build a global community of Indigenous mappers who tell their own stories of place and space — with technology partners Google, Esri Canada, Mapbox, NASA, and the Canadian Space Agency.
The Indigenous Mapping Collective has since trained more than 2,500 Indigenous community mappers on emerging geospatial tools, becoming the largest global Indigenous geospatial network. More than 3,000 Indigenous communities in Canada have been added to Google Maps and Google Earth thanks to DeRoy’s work.
“Fleming College prepared me with the tools to engage in storytelling through maps and geographic information systems technologies, to stay curious, and find creative solutions to tough problems,” DeRoy says in a media release. “These foundational skills continue to be applied in my daily work as we build a global community of Indigenous mappers.”
DeRoy received his Premier’s Award at a gala event on Monday (November 28) at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
“We are so proud of Steve and all of his achievements,” says Fleming College president Maureen Adamson. “His work has helped thousands of Indigenous people mark their place and space in this world, on their terms. We are proud of Steve’s accomplishments and look forward to the next phase of his journey.”
The other receipients of the 2022 Premier’s Awards are Jennifer Green from Conestoga College (apprenticeship), Jason Rasevych from Confederation College (business), Shereen Ashman from Centennial College (community services), Murray Brewster from Niagara College (creative arts and design), Mark Cameron from Humber College (health services), and Erica Williams from Niagara College (recent graduates).