Robert Land Academy is a school that values leadership, that stresses the importance of responsibility and accountability, and that focuses on the values of loyalty, labour, commitment, courage and honour. Our students are encouraged, and supported, in achieving their full potential by incorporating leadership, responsibility and values, along with a highly disciplined program, into their daily routine.
The boys on our campus are also encouraged to recognize leadership and strong values in members of the community outside of campus life and to appreciate the link between those values and an individual’s success, whether it is in the military, politics, education or community service.
The Academy leadership was inspired to formally recognize these character traits in community leaders which lead to the creation of the John Brant Award.
The award was named in honour of the Mohawk Grand Chief John Brant (1794-1832). Like his father Joseph Brant, John Brant demonstrated loyalty to the British, strong leadership and a great deal of integrity throughout his life. In the War of 1812, Brant led native warriors to stop an American attack at the Battle of Queenston Heights and took part in several other battles. Following the war he encouraged the creation of schools for his people and worked to secure land rights for the Six Nation. John Brant was the first Native American to sit in Upper Canada’s Parliament, until his right to hold the seat was questioned because he did not own enough land.
By naming the award after John Brant, the Academy is honouring a respected leader who demonstrated loyalty, labour, commitment, courage and honour throughout his life.
The John Brant Award is traditionally presented during The Academy’s Gala Event held each spring.
Raymond R. Skye
The image of John Brant used in the logo for Robert Land Academy’s John Brant Award was created by Iroquois Artist Raymond Skye.
Mr. Skye was born at Six Nations Grand River Territory and currently lives in Brantford, Ontario. He is self-taught and self-disciplined, expressing his appreciation for wildlife and portraiture through the media of pencil and charcoal drawings He also works in pastels, watercolour and coloured pencil.
He credits much of the inspiration for his artwork to his parents’ traditional teachings. Teachings he says help him portray his culture with the authenticity and dignity it deserves.
Mr. Skye’s art is featured in the Landscape of Nations memorial at Queenston Heights, where a statue of John Brant was created based on one of his drawings.
During the Academy’s Fall Exercise parade and ceremony at Queenston Heights, staff saw the Landscape of Nations memorial and were inspired to ask Mr. Skye if he would work with The Academy in creating a new John Brant Award logo.
Robert Land Academy is honoured that Mr. Skye shared his incredible talent and traditional teachings to create this image, which we hope illustrates the importance of John Brant to Canada and the John Brant award to The Academy.
The Honourable Rob Nicholson served his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ontario for more than 35 years as a Member of Canadian Parliament (MP), a school trustee, and a Regional Councillor. A respected MP with a stellar political career, Rob Nicholson was first elected to Parliament in 1984 and, as the longest serving MP when he retired in 2019, served under five Prime Ministers.
He has also held several high-profile positions while in Parliament, including House Leader, when he was responsible for working with Opposition parties to gain support for the government’s legislative agenda and steering legislation through parliament.
During his first term in Parliament, Nicholson served as Minister for Science and Minister responsible for Small Business. He also served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
Most recently Nicholson was appointed Shadow Minister for Public Services and Procurement.
In February of 2015 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. Previously, he served as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform. In February 2006 he was named Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada where he served until he was named Minister of National Defence in July 2013. In November 2015, Nicholson was named the Justice Critic for her Majesty’s Official Opposition.
In the 1993 election the entire caucus except for two MPs was defeated, including Nicholson. He continued his public service, however, by serving in Municipal politics. He was elected as a school trustee for the Niagara Catholic District School Board in 1994 and elected to Niagara Regional Council later that same year. He was reelected to Regional council in 2000 and 2003.
In the 2004 election Nicholson was returned to Ottawa and served as MP until he chose not to run again in the 2019 election.
Nicholson has a law degree from the University of Windsor and is a member of the Upper Canada Law Society. He is married to Arlene and has three adult children.
General (retired) Walter Natynczyk has given a lifetime of service to his country, and is a very fitting recipient of the John Brant Award.
Currently serving as Canada’s Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, General (retired) Natynczyk first joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1975. His military career, which spans nearly four decades, includes numerous operations, both internationally and at home.
In 2008 he reached the pinnacle of his military career when he was appointed Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Since his retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2012, he served as President of the Canadian Space Agency before assuming his current role in Veterans Affairs in 2014.
He has been recognized for his service with a number of medals and honours including the Commander of the Order of Military Merit, presented for outstanding meritorious service and demonstrated leadership in duties of great responsibility; the Meritorious Service Cross, which recognizes highly professional acts that are of considerable benefit to the Canadian Forces; and the Legion of Merit, a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
The John Brant Award was created to recognize leaders in the community who embody the five values of Robert Land Academy: loyalty, labour, courage, commitment and honour.
Serving in the Canadian Forces for almost 40 years; taking part in numerous operations, at home and overseas; demonstrating leadership to his fellow soldiers as Chief of Defence Staff and continuing to serve those men and women as Deputy Minister to Veterans Affairs, General Natynczyk is a true example of the values of the Academy and The John Brant Award.
MPP Dave Levac is just such a community leader. He has exemplified these values in all aspects of his life.
As an educator at St. Mary’s Catholic School Mr. Levac created an award-winning conflict resolution program for his students. His leadership at St. Mary’s provided students with the tools they needed to resolve conflict, learn integrity and develop pride in themselves and their school.
He made a commitment to his students and his community and had the courage to implement a program he believed would support that commitment.
Mr. Levac has been involved in a long list community initiatives, working hard as founder and organizer of many fundraisers and volunteering with many more organizations. As MPP he has worked just as hard for his community. His labour in and for Brant as well as his loyalty to his community are evident in the work he has undertaken throughout his life.
MPP Levac has introduced numerous Private Member’s Bills, and is responsible for several of them being passed in the Legislature to become law, that honour many segments of Ontario’s population, including students, firefighters, police officers, and the Ukrainian Community.
As a man who has served with dignity and integrity in both is career as an educator and as Member of Provincial Parliament, it is very fitting that Mr. Levac be recognized with the John Brant Award for a life and career given to public service.