July 16th, 2024

City and RLAC awards highlight contributions to reconciliation


By Theodora MacLeod - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on September 27, 2023.

Herald photo by Theodora MacLeod Charlene Bruised Head-Mountain Horse, the City's Indigenous relations advisor, welcomes guests and award nominees at the inaugural Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee awards this week in the foyer at city hall.

It was an evening of community and celebration Monday as the City of Lethbridge and the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee (RLAC) recognized community members and organizations who have made a meaningful contribution to the advancement of reconciliation.

The inaugural awards feature eight categories including two that highlight the work of young people, as well as categories for educational initiatives, not-for-profit organizations, and various leadership roles.

Recipient of the Youth Award, Rae Marie First Charger is a middle school student and multi-sport athlete who competes in fancy and jingle dress dancing at powwows, embracing the traditional ways of her culture. This year she danced at the opening ceremony of the Alberta Indigenous Games and won bronze in her age category for skateboarding. A musician, athlete, and active community member, Miss. First Charger is the first to be honoured with Youth Reconciliation award.

In attendance Monday evening was Mayor Blaine Hyggen.

“This event truly showcases the outstanding dedication shown by people in our community to build strong and lasting equality here in Sikóóhkotok (Lethbridge),” says Mayor Hyggen.

“It is an opportunity to celebrate how hard these folks are working and the difference they’re making in our community, for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents.”

Kellita Day Chief, recipient of the Young Adult award and recent high school graduate, dedicates her time to Indigenous youth and keeping young people away from drugs and alcohol through her work with Amazing Kids, SAGE clan, and Indigenous filmmakers, in addition to organizing the Indigenous Youth Skateboarding club event.

“I have always believed that volunteering in your own community from a young age teaches you many techniques, as well as experiences and opportunities,” says Day Chief.

“Being Niisitapii, I have a deep connection to my volunteer work. Volunteering to some may be considered to be free work with no paper reward, but there is a much more valuable and long-lasting reward. The reward of fulfilling your soul, while helping those in your community that are in need.”

All award honourees are recognized for their valuable contributions to reconciliation efforts and as a memento of gratitude received a locally crafted glass trophy from RLAC.

Also recognized were local artists and creatives with the event including a fashion show featuring four Indigenous designers. Also featured was stunt performer and emerging director from the Blood Tribe and Piikani Nation, Leonard Provost.

A full list of award recipients can be found on the City of Lethbridge website or at: https://www.lethbridge.ca/news/posts/reconciliation-efforts-recognized-by-community-at-inaugural-awards-evening/

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