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Home News Prince Albert residents from all walks of life honoured at Platinum Jubilee Medal ceremony

Prince Albert residents from all walks of life honoured at Platinum Jubilee Medal ceremony

Prince Albert residents from all walks of life honoured at Platinum Jubilee Medal ceremony
The youngest person to receive at Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, 11-year-old Laryn Constant (centre, poses for a photo with PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte (right) and former FSIN Chif and Prince Albert city councillor Lawrence Joseph (left) following Friday’s ceremony at the Ches Leach Lounge. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Laryn Constant wasn’t sure what she was getting herself into when she first heard about the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, but she’s not complaining.

At 11-years-old, Constant was the youngest of the more than 100 medal winners who were honoured at The Ches Leach Lounge on Friday. Initially, Constant said she didn’t realize the significance of the award, but that quickly changed Friday afternoon.

“’I’m like, ‘oh, that’s cool, a medal,’” she said with a laugh when asked about hearing the news. “Then I just realized how big that was.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking, because I was the youngest one,” she added. “I was a bit nervous, but once I got it, all the nervousness went away.”

Constant received the Platinum Jubilee Medal for her efforts towards reconciliation. As a dancer with both Dakota and Cree heritage, she’s began using learning traditional dances and songs and ceremonies, and teaching them to others. That includes singing in the Dakota language, and even leading the odd ceremony.

“She’s excels,” said her mother, Candice Constant. “She’s always learning, and wanting to learn more.”

Laryn said it’s important to teach traditional dances and songs alive as a way to revive Indigenous culture.

“I think we’ve got to spread it,” she said. “It went away and nobody was talking about it. It’s just wrong to do that.”

While Laryn developed an appreciation and respect for the award, her mother Candice was proud right from the start.

“It was definitely overwhelming,” she said when asked about seeing Laryn receive her medal. “I’m so proud of her and everything she does.”

Canadian diplomat with Prince Albert ties honoured posthumously

Two former Prince Albert residents were honoured posthumously on Friday: Neils Thomsen, a former farmer who had extensive involvement with the SPCA, local 4H clubs, and a number of cattle associations, and former Canadian diplomat Deborah Chatsis.

Deborah’s sister, Verla, was on hand to receive the Platinum Jubilee Medal on her sister’s behalf Friday. She said it was a proud moment, but also a bittersweet one.

“I was proud of her, but at the same time, I wish she could have been here to receive it herself,” Verla said following the ceremony.

“I know my sister’s been honoured with a lot of accolades … but it was really good to know that the province honoured her. She was a very humble person I will say. A lot of what she did, we didn’t find out, actually, until she passed away.”

Verla Chatsis (left) poses for a photo with her husband, Dr. Randy Friesen (right), following Friday’s ceremony at the Ches Leach Lounge. — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Deborah grew up in Prince Albert’s west flat, and graduated from St. Mary High School. She later attended the University of Saskatchewan, and then Harvard as a Fulbright scholar.

She served as Canada’s ambassador to Vietnam and Guatemala, as well as the High Commissioner to Belize. She passed away in June at the age of 60.

Verla said her sister was very humble about her accomplishments, and would likely be very proud to see so many Prince Albert residents honoured at Friday’s ceremony.

“For her, the most important thing is just seeing all the other people in the community who are honoured and recognized,” Verla explained. “We know Isabelle Impey. We know Lawrence and Preiscilla Joseph. I think she would have been really, really proud to be acknowledged as part of the community of Prince Albert that has done a lot either for this City, or in her case, throughout the world.”

Deborah Chatsis wasn’t the only family member receiving a medal on Friday. Verla’s husband, Dr. Randy Friesen, was also recognized for his service to the medical field.

“I’m very proud of him,” Verla said. “He’s not only an excellent husband, but an excellent physician.

“I’m really proud to be a part of Prince Albert. There’s a lot of people who give to the community, and it was just really good to see that.”