John Kim Bell, Mohawk, 1952-
He is a Mohawk artist and promoter of Native culture and achievemtn. He was born on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve in Quebec and studied music since he was eight. He and was conducting Broadway musicals in New York City at the young age of 18 and was appointed Apprentice Conductor of the Toronto Symphony, making him the first Aboriginal person to ever conduct a symphony orchestra. Bell then graduated from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna and went on to serve as Apprentice Conductor to Zubin Mehta at the New York Philharmonic where he met and studied with the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein. A CBC documentary on Bell’s life in 1984 brought him to the attention of the Aboriginal community. Impassioned by the deplorable living conditions in reserves across Canada, Mr. Bell established the Canadian Native Arts Foundation to provide educational opportunities to Aboriginal youth pursuing training in the arts. Through a series of high-profile gala events, Mr. Bell has built what is now the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation,Canada’s premiere charity providing financial support to Aboriginal youth pursuing educational development in business, science, health, medicine, and the performing and visual arts. In 1988 Mr. pproduced, co-composed and directed the first-ever full scale Aboriginal dance production, In The Land Of Spirits, which premiered at the National Arts Centre. The success of the production led to its national tour in 1992 achieving favourable reviews and enough earnings to establish an endowment fund to fuel further scholarships to Aboriginal youth. In 1993, Mr. Bell established the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, an awards system celebrating career achievement in the Aboriginal community. The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards have become the largest Aboriginal cultural event in Canada and a Canadian institution. Each year, the Awards culminate in a CBC special network telecast. The Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in scholarships to students and operates Blueprint For The Future, a national series of career fairs promoting career awareness for Aboriginal youth. Bell is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has received the Order of Ontario. He has received five honorary doctorates in recognition of his work. In 1998, he was the sole recipient of the prestigious Royal Bank Award for Canadian Achievement, which carried a cash award of $250,000. Mr. Bell has served on the boards of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada, and the Canadian Health Institute for Health Research. In 2005, Mr. Bell was appointed one of five Canadian advisors to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, and has consulted with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation through his management company, Ariontha Inc. Mr. Bell is currently the President & CEO of Bell & Bernard Limited, a firm that specializes in First Nations-Corporate-Government Relations.

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