Celebrating those who inspire

Hundreds packed Plaza 88 for the Métis Inspiration Gala Friday. Submitted photo.

The local Métis community celebrated everyday inspiration Friday.

Plaza 88 was packed as the Métis Western Region 2 held its second annual Métis inspirational gala, honouring 25 different people in the community.

The event was attended by several dignitaries, including the mayor, police chief and deputy chief, Lt. Gov. Russel Mirasty, provincial Métis council members and presidents and Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper.

“It was so wonderful,” said Sherry McLennan, regional director for western region two.

It was very inspiring.”

The event was launched last year as a way to recognize members of the Métis community who achieve in all sorts of ways, from work to music to volunteerism.

“I noticed a lot of Métis people are working front-line jobs and working in the community and they never get recognized,” McLennan said.

‘They go to work every day doing the things they have to do for people, like police protecting our city, nurses looking after all of the people who are sick. I thought, what better way than to have food and music and a gathering of our Métis people to honour these people and give them the recognition they deserve in the community.”

Each honouree was given a Métis sash, a flag and a certificate

“It’s to say, ‘we know you’re out there, we know you’re working every day helping people and we just want to recognize you and say thank you,’” McLennan said.

Most of the recipients had no idea they were there to receive an award.

McLennan said recipients included 95-year-old Blanche Pott, who travelled from Shell Lake.

“She was so happy,” McLennan said.

“Grant Kimbley (the winner of the musician award) — being a Métis musician and being on the road, away from his family, taking him on different treks on his career, and we don’t always know with northern roads, you can get caught in snowstorms. He was very humble and appreciative of his award.”

McLennan also shouted out Cody Demerais, who opened his new business on Central Ave. on Friday. Demerais was the winner of the youth award. His speech following his award moved McLennan.

“Cody Demerais, our Métis youth who just opened up his business, being an inspiration, he spoke and talked about his struggles … and how you can turn your life around,” she said.

“He is a total inspiration to us.”

Bailee Brewster won the other youth award.

“She’s been on the dean’s list for two years,” McLennan said.

Overall, McLennan said the night of celebration was a success.

“We had some laughs. That’s what the Métis do. It’s about food, family and fellowships. Plaza 88 was full to the rafters, there was dancing, and jigging and old-time dancing — and a lot of friendship.

“It was a very positive environment.”

Recipients:

Addictions – Chasity Vermette

Adversity – Joni Nicholas

Chuckwagons – Alex Fiddler

Culture – Barb Morin

Early Learning – Victoria Docking

Education – Shelley Smith

Elder – Julie Pitzel

Justice – Troy Dumont

Entertainer – Donny Parenteau

Governance – Troy Parenteau

Health – Linda Cyr

Housing – Ralph Pilon

Human Services – Crystal Epp

Hunting and Gathering – Terry Newell

Métis Business – Bevs Seafood

Michif Language – Sophie McDougall

Musician – Grant Kimbley

Pioneer Award – Blanche Pott

Leadership – Ronnie Gunville

Youth Sport – Tanner Fetch

Youth Sport – Nicholas Basaraba

Veterans – Alice Samuel

Volunteer – Opal Harris

Women – Doris McDougall

Youth Boy – Cody Demerais

Youth Girl – Bailee Brewster

Métis Organization – NCC

Women in Trades – Tracy Morrisette