Robinson Congratulates Inspirational First Nations Women
Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport Minister Eric Robinson, acting minister of Aboriginal and northern affairs, today congratulated the first recipient of the Oscar Lathlin Memorial Award and the nine outstanding women honoured this year with the title grandmother by the Aboriginal human services organization Ka Ni Kanichihk.
The awards are being handed out tonight at the Keep The Fires Burning celebration at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
The Oscar Lathlin Memorial Award was established by Ka Ni Kanichihk as a lasting tribute to the late minister of Aboriginal and northern affairs and MLA for The Pas. Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern and Affairs is contributing half of the $5,000 award and contributes funding to the Keep The Fires Burning celebration.
“It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Sherryl Blacksmith, the first recipient of the Oscar Lathlin Memorial Award,” Robinson said. “Oscar left a strong legacy of public service and was a towering role model for First Nations communities. It is fitting that Sherryl should be honoured for her years of hard work as a leader and for fostering traditional culture.”
A member of Swan Lake First Nation, Blacksmith is employed by the Correctional Service of Canada and works with inmates in Stony Mountain Institution. Blacksmith and her husband also host an annual sun dance at Spruce Woods Provincial Park and travel throughout North America sharing teachings and conducting ceremonies.
This is the eighth year that Ka Ni Kanichihk, which means ‘those who lead’ in Ininew-Cree, has honoured outstanding women for their dedication to practising and protecting traditional Aboriginal knowledge and culture.
“These women perform an invaluable service every day of the year,” Robinson said. “We all owe them a debt of gratitude. Their selfless dedication to their culture preserves this priceless heritage for future generations.”
This year’s grandmother inductees are Sarah Lena Beaulieu, Ann Callahan, Grace Daniels, Shirley Groskey, Florence Hamilton, Margaret Lavallee, Margaret (Peggy) Thomas-Hedges, Olga Campbell and Aurelia Thickfoot.