Another year celebrating outstanding Indigenous youth
- Andréa Ledding | June 26, 2017
Youth and proud families gathered at the 19th annual SaskTel Indigenous Youth Awards of Excellence to celebrate the achievements of students, athletes and leaders from across Saskatchewan. Supported by the Wicihitowin Foundation, it is a living legacy to Indigenous veterans by honouring and nurturing Indigenous youth for the challenge of responsibility and leadership. Wicihitowin is Cree for “helping each other.”
Kennedy Kewistep received the Community Service award, with Calista Moser also being nominated. BlueJay Linklater received the Culture award, accompanied by fellow nominees Logan Cook, Chaston Dustyhorn, Makaela Pelletier-Higheagle, Daylan Perillat, and Ariel Poitras. BlueJay has been active with his culture since he was very young, and is the Elder-raised grandson of Walter and Mariea Linklater.
Chelsea Cooke was recipient of the Education award, in a field of almost 20 exceptional nominees. An honour roll student in Gravelbourg, she hopes to obtain a pharmacy degree.
Aiyanna Glenister received the Fine/Performing Arts award for her extensive performances on the stage as well as her other well-rounded activities including music. The field included 16 other deserving nominees.
Emma Dewald recieved the Innovation Award, flanked by Royce Brittain and Mark Moccasin-Wolverine.
Lockhart Jahnke was the recipient of the Leadership award, accompanied by Brayden Caron, Brooke Kayseas, Tanisha McCallum-Morin, Le-On Ochuschayoo, and Taylor Vandaler. Lockhart is a Centennial Collegiate student who is very involved in mentorship and volunteering.
The Spirit award went to Joshua Bear - fellow nominees included Stephan Littlepine, Kryssa Mike-Nateweyes, Tearlin Night, Lillian Scott, Jordan Watcheson, and Taiya Whiteford.
Camryn Scarfe won Sports/Recreation Female, while Landon Sasakamoose won Sports/Recreation Male. Both categories included numerous other exceptional nominees.
Deserae Goodhand won the Technology/Science award, flanked by Jordan Hunter Knife, Destiny Isbister-Fremont, Jenice Lewis, Kain Settee, and Katie Turner.
Brayden Storm won Outstanding Achievement Male, with nominees Alexander Lafreniere, Byron Okemau, and Joseph Ratt.
Sidney Shacter won Outstanding Achievement Female, with nominees Amelia Boissoneau, Jessica Fisher, Maia Houle, Kayleigh Starblanket, and Emily Van De Velde.
“It was incredible. I’m so honoured to be able to be a part of this, and to be able to be here this night,” said Sidney Shacter, saying she loved being a part of the Grand Entry. She loved meeting the other youth at the event, describing them as talented, kind, and inspiring. She has been working at giving back to the community with her own experiences as a home-educated youth who is now involved in the public schools.
One of her favourite initiatives has been teaching math and science class mentorship for younger female students. “Studies show by age 15, most girls tend to start dropping out of math classes and becoming less interested in them, and so it helps to get them interested at a young age.”
Shacter is also a graduate of media school in the Saskatoon Public Schools, and really enjoyed the community she found there. She has gone on to partner with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, creating a two-day workshop on film-making and reconciliation.
“The biggest and foremost thing is the interior work, before the exterior work. If you aren’t content and you don’t love yourself, you can’t expect love back...I make sure I am healthy and safe and do self-care before I load a lot of traditional achievement onto my plate, because you need that foundation to draw on, because if you are empty you don’t have anything to give,” added Shacter. “So, take care of yourself, take care of your friends, and build your community because your community is your most valuable resource.”