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The evening began with a grand entry of dignitaries and a flag and honour song by the Thunderchild singers.
In recognition of years of dedicated service to our people, the N.I.B. presented gifts to the former vice-presidents of the brotherhood - Clive Linklater and the late Omer Peters. Mrs. Peters accepted the gift on behalf of the Peters family.
Alwyn Morris was the winner of this year's Tom Longboat award, presented by Wilton Littlechild. Littlechild was also awarded with an inscribed plaque in recognition of his outstanding athletic achievement and contribution to our youth in the field of sports and recreation and also his contribution to the N.I.B.
The brotherhood also recognized the members of the executive council and the council of elders by presenting each with a rawhide scroll and an attached eagle feather "to remind us of the sacredness in which we must conduct these deliberations", said Starblanket.
Clive Linklater is from the Couchiching Reserve near Fort Frances, Ontario. He received his elementary education in Ontario and his secondary education at the Lebret residential school in Saskatchewan. During this period of time, he became president of the student body and began to realize his capabilities as a leader. He then attended teachers college in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and taught for one year in that province. Clive returned to Ontario and taught at Garner College for three years. It was here that he became involved in Indian politics. In 1959, Clive again moved west to Alberta where he became actively involved as a teacher and later principal of an Indian school. During this period he was vice-president and then president of the Teachers Association of Alberta and spearheaded the fight for Indian representation on school boards. From 1964 to 1969, he became involved in community development and in 1969 joined the Indian Association of Alberta as the education consultant. In 1972 he became executive assistant to George Manuel and then executive director of the N.I.B. until 1974.
In 1974, Linklater was elected to the vice presidency of the N.I.B. and was actively involved in the fight for Indian control of Indian -education. Recently he has been responsible for a major evaluation of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program for Indian people.
Linklater is currently employed as an instructor in community organization at Algonquin College in Ottawa. He also has a consulting firm which aids Indian organizations in planning and leadership training.
In his appreciation speech, Linklater echoed Starblanket's call to assert our rights, now. "Not only is this land our land. We are this land and this land is us", said Linklater.
Omer Peters was raised on the Moraviantown Indian Reserve in Ontario. For over 15 years he served his people as chief, councillor, and administrator of the band council.
Omer was a World War II veteran serving as a flight sergeant in the Canadian Armed Forces.
He was one of the founders of the Union of Ontario Indians and held the office of president and executive director in this organization.
From 1970 to 1974, Omer served as vice-president of the National Indian Brotherhood and he will be long remembered for his genuine concern and his contribution to his people.
In 1976, the Chiefs of Ontario gave him an award in recognition of his dedicated service to his people. He also received a citation by the Department of Indian Affairs in Toronto recently in recognition of his role in our people's struggle for self-determination.
Omer Peters was chairman of the council of elders of the N.I.B. at the time of his death on May 4, 1978, when a heart attack claimed the life of this most valuable man.
The family of Omer Peters attended the dedication ceremonies during which a painting of Mr. Peters was unveiled. The painting will hang at the N.I.B. headquarters in Ottawa. The artist is Gary Millar, a 28-year-old Mohawk from the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario.
A plaque was presented to Mrs. Ethel Peters by Fred Kelly The inscription read:
"In memory of a Great Indian Leader. Our land, our peoples our lives, our rights, to these causes you dedicated your life. Mighty was the strength in leadership with which you blazed the Indian trail. Even the wind, the sky, the forests, the waters, and the animals stand still with us in respect and love for you as a father and great Indian leader. Pride, dignity, love for your brothers and sisters are your footsteps. Encouragement for the youth through athletics, guidance for all of us, belief in the elders, these things you taught. Teamwork, perseverance, and willingness to serve are lessons you exemplified for the Indian nations. Even in the darkest moments of our history, you bravely stood by and cheered us on to a better future, rekindling the fires of courage to learn to live up to the greatness of our heritage. Silently we stand and look upward to the Great Spirit. We give thanks that he has given us your family and a great Indian leader. This is presented to the Omer Peters family on the occasion of the establishment of the Omer Bradwin Peters Memorial Scholarship by the Indian people and the Chiefs of Ontario, August 1978".
The recipient of this annual award of $1000 will be the Indian youth who has demonstrated leadership excellence in athletics and academics. The winner will be recognized at each general assembly.
Alwyn Morris is a 20-year-old Iroquois from Caughnawaga Reserve in Quebec. This outstanding young athlete excels in the sport of paddling, for which he has attained world-wide recognition. He is presently classified as one of the top nine paddlers in the world. He has been provincial champion in his class since 1974, and Canadian champion since 1975. He currently holds the Canadian record for the junior one-man kayak for 500 meters. The coaches look upon Morris as one of the hopeful medal winners at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He is currently preparing for the national championships in Mexico and Europe in 1979.
Alwyn has also been successful in other sports such as wrestling, hockey, volleyball, track, and cross-country skiing. In the past year, he has competed in the open men's country ski races in British Columbia. He finished second in the 10- and 20-kilometre events.
A recent graduate from Douglas College in B.C., AIwyn plans to attend Simon Fraser university in the fall to major in history and archaeology.
Littlechild is a Cree from the Hobbema Reserve in Alberta. He won the Tom Longboat award in 1967 and 1974 and was also runner-up in 1965 and 1975. Willie has three degrees from the University of Alberta, a bachelor's and masters degree in physical education as well as a degree in law. He is currently employed as a policy analyst with the N.I.B.
Solomon Mosquito, resident of the Saskatchewan Federated College, (left) and two Alberta observers were among the persons attending the three-day annual N.I.B. assembly in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Walter LaBulois, member of the Council of Elders from Fredericton, (left) and Ernest Tootoosis of the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College discuss the plight of the Indian nations at the ninth annual gathering of the N.I.B. at the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel in Fredericton.