John Kim Bell was in Montreal on July 20 to announce the opening of nominations for the second National Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

Bell, a Mohawk from Kahnawake, is Canada’s first aboriginal orchestra conductor. He established the aboriginal achievement awards and the Canadian Native Arts Foundation after witnessing the poverty and social problems in other native communities across the country.

Bell started taking piano lessons at 8. At 18, he was the youngest conductor in the U.S. at the time. He conducted four symphonies across Canada last year.

The achievement awards will take place in Vancouver in March 1995. The awards cover outstanding career achievements by natives, Inuit and Metis. There are 12 categories and one lifetime-achievement award. The areas include: arts, business, commerce, education, housing, law, media, medicine, social and health services, science and sports. Nomination forms are available from the Canadian Native Arts Foundation at 514-588-3328.