Shirley Cheechoo, Moose Factory’s celebrated film director, can now count a 2008 National Aboriginal Achievement Award among her accomplishments. The award recognizes Cheechoo’s life-long commitment to the arts.

As an actor, writer, director and producer, Cheechoo has won top honours for her work at many film festivals, including San Francisco’s American Indian Film Festival, the Santa Fe Film Festival, the Montreal First People’s Festival and Luminaria.

She is also the founder of the De ba Jeh Mu Jig Theatre Company, a touring theatre group which performs in Ojibwe, and she has taught youth drama workshops throughout Ontario.

Cheechoo credits her mother, a medicine woman and storyteller, as inspiring her to tell her own stories through film and theatre.

Recently, Cheechoo has founded the Weengushk Film Institute, a film school designed to provide the support necessary for fledgling Native filmmakers to get off the ground.

Cheechoo is among the 14 achievers who will be presented awards at the ceremony to take place in Toronto, March 7, 2008.

Other recipients at the 15th annual event include the recently deceased Ojibway painter Norval Morrisseau, former NHL scoring star Reggie Leach and Innu activist Elizabeth Penashue.

The star-studded awards ceremony will be televised on both the Global and APTN television networks. Check your local listings for dates and times.