|Previous Article||Next Article||FNPI Search||Home||Previous Year||Next Year||Year List|
Friends and family of the nominees gathered for the ceremony held at Queensbury Downs in Regina. The pride and excitement in the youths was evident on each face throughout the evening.
"Tonight we are here to honour excellence," said Myrna Barclay of SaskTel. And excellence was definitely the overriding theme of the evening. In all, organizers received a total of 42 nominations for the original five categories.
However, they felt that the calibre of the nominations was such that it warranted the addition of another category.
The evening began with Grand Entry that included Grand Chief Howard Anderson of the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans' Association and all of the nominees. Throughout the evening, each of the nominees was individually recognized and many of the dignitaries offered words of wisdom.
"Opportunity awaits those who discover that true strength lies in friendships," said Ray Gosselin of RAPA. In these words lay the key to the success of the evening. Cochairs Joan Beatty and Ruth Ahenakew-Madill established a theme of mentoring for the awards whereby the young people at the banquet shared their tables with officials, corporate sponsors and volunteers. These professionals were able to offer them insight into the career paths they were considering and the education they would need to achieve their goals.
Following entertainment by the 5th Generation, the winners of the six categories were announced. Carmen Lewis of the Island Lake First Nation took home the Education Award. This 17-year-old is consistently at the top of her class while pursuing a number of extracurricular activities including women's hockey, badminton and golf. She plans to study physiotherapy following graduation this year.
The Standing Buffalo Junior Girls Volleyball Team received the Recreation Award. These
14-year-old Chico Peepeetch of the Yellowquill First Nation was awarded the Sports Award. This grade nine student holds an international black belt in the Filipino art of Sikaran and has become almost unbeatable after only three years in the sport. In addition to his schoolwork and sport, Chico also volunteers. He has goals of establishing a school of martial arts.
The Cultural Award was presented to Welland Ratt of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. Growing up on his grandparents' trapline, Welland learned to hold his Cree language and culture very closely. He is a respected member of the community and is working to teach other students the values and traditional lifestyle of the Cree culture. He has made this learning process "cool" for his peers.
The Community Award winner was Rachel Jobb of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. This active young woman is involved in all facets of the community. She maintains a high average in school, has worked as a fundraiser for the Indigenous Games, volunteers for local events and is fluent in Cree.
The final award recipient, Christopher Ross, was chosen as the Innovator. Christopher is a published writer and has designed, published and distributed four newsletters for Aboriginal youth. In addition to writing, he has a distinguished basketball career.
All of the youth, winners and nominees, have accomplished many milestones at their young ages and can only be destined for greater achievements. In the words of Ruth Ahenakew-Madill of CESO, "You are our future leaders and from what we saw our future is bright.