Aboriginal Youth Awards
with permission from
Wicihitowin Foundation, Regina Aboriginal Professional Association (RAPA), Sask-Tel Aboriginal Employees Network and Sask-Tel Pioneers hosted the First Annual Aboriginal Youth Awards of Excellence in Regina, April 14. Six awards were given honoring youth throughout the province.
Winners are: Welland Ratt, 13 years old, of Nemebien River and member of the LaRonge First Nation, Cultural Award; Rachel Jane Jobb, 15 years old, of Southend Sask. and member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Community Award; Carmen Lewis, 17 years old, of Saskatoon amd member of the Island Lake First Nation, Education Award; Chico Peepeetch, 14 years old, of Saskatoon and member of the Yellow Quill First Nation, Sports Award; Standing Buffalo Junior Girls Volleyball Team, ages ranging from 13 to 15, Recreation Award; Christopher Ross, 17 years old of Saskatoon and member of the Red Earth First Nations, Innovator Award.
The purpose of the First Annual Aboriginal Youth Awards of Excellence is to recognize the important contribution aboriginal youth provide to society and to reinforce positive messages to those most in need. Organizers feel the current lack of recognition aboriginal youth receive will continue to produce negative consequences and therefore change is necessary. A part from the multitude of obstacles such as lack of facilities, lack of resources and family support in some cases, First Nations and Metis youth continue to pursue their goals and establish standards for their peers.
Each month, The Indigenous Times is pleased to profile one of these youths and this month's profile is of Chico Peepeetch, Aboriginal Youth Sports Award winner.
Chico Peepeetch just graduated from Grade 9 at E D Feehan High School and holds an international black belt in the ancient Philippine martial art of Sikaran. He explains that the martial art is something like karate or kung fu, but a more balanced hand and foot fighting technique. After three and a half years in the sport he is a master of the way of life which teaches humility, gentleness, respect, good sportsmanship and patience.
His incomparable skill in Sikaran has earned him awards in many tournaments and the top in his field representing Canada at a world tournament. Last winter, he beat all comers in his age and belt class in Manila, Philippines at the 40th anniversary international tournament. There were 20 contestants from eight other countries in the full-contact sparing where he won First Place and also won Second Place in weapons. There were about 200 contestants who had earned spots on their national teams in the competition. His mother Diane and father Mervin also attended the event and Chico's sponsors included the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), the Yellow Quill Band and the South East Treaty #4 Tribal Council.
Chico is dedicated to his sport putting in at least two hours per day at practice after a full day at school. Twice a week he receives instruction from 5th degree black belt Vic Serrer. He hopes to build up interest in his sport by giving more demonstrations, especially on reserves and Aboriginal schools in Saskatchewan.
Chico's advice to other youth is simple, "Don't give up"...no matter what your goal..."If you give up you make yourself lose."
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