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In recognition of his many contributions to the development of Indian people over the years, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians this June held a testimonial dinner to honour John Ursan.
Mr. Ursan works in Regina as a consultant and program developer with the F.S.I. and has been instrumental in the Federation's growth over the past several years.
"Rather than waiting until he had died before we honoured him, the way the white people do, we decided we would hold the testimonial now when he still had the youth and health that he could enjoy it," - said Chief David Ahenakew of the F.S.I.
The testimonial dinner was held at the Prince Albert Indian Student Residence and was preceded by a delicious steak dinner. The tributes that followed were profuse in praise of Mr. Ursan and the work he has done for Indian people.
The speakers who stood up to recount Mr. Ursan's many accomplishments included Chief Ahenakew, Chief Soloman Sanderson of James Smith, F.S.I. Communications Director Cliff Starr, and Student Residence Administrator Jim Roberts.
Also heaping praise on Mr. Ursan were Chief Harold Kingfisher of Sturgeon Lake and Chris Uppel from the Department of Indian Affairs.
A variety, of presentations were made to Mr. Ursan and he went home that night with a beautifully beaded moosehide jacket, a new set of golf clubs, a set of original paintings by an Indian artist and a hand carved totem pole, among many other gifts.
Mr. Ursan's wife Violet* was not forgotten in the proceedings and a presentation of a bouquet of roses was made to her in recognition of the way in which she has supported her husband over the years.
Prior to joining the Federation, Mr. Ursan had been employed by the provincial Indian and Metis department and since joining the Federation he has handled a number of responsibilities, including the setting up and directing of the Community Development Program.
* The original article mistakenly listed Mr. Ursan's wife as Vivian. We have corrected this error at a family member's request, February 2, 2005.