What has been called a “grassroots” committee is developing a gala event honoring Indigenous individuals in the Westman region making positive contributions to their communities based on the First Nations’ Seven Sacred Teachings.
The inaugural “Honoring The Good Road Gala Event” has been scheduled for May 23 in the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba’s Dome Building. The evening will include a meal and a ceremony celebrating honorees in the seven areas covered by the Sacred Teachings; wisdom, love, respect, courage, honesty, humility and truth.
Another three awards will also be presented during the event. A youth and an Elder or Knowledge Keeper will be recognized for their work in the community based on the Seven Sacred Teachings. Also, an “Ally Honor” will be handed out to a non-Indigenous individual who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting Indigenous culture.
Nominations for the awards – which are only open for individuals; not organizations, programs or groups – are being collected until April 1. For more information about nominating someone, contact Lisa Ramsay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ramsay is chair of the 12-member committee putting the gala together. The committee also includes Janis Irvine, Lorraine Pompana, Jason Gobeil, Graham Harvey, Richard Greer, Sabrina Bornkessel, Debbie Huntinghawk, Frank Tacan, Maata Palmer, Lorraine Messing and Gail Cullen.
Ramsay has worked in the city for almost two and a half decades. During that time, she has seen Indigenous individuals work tirelessly on helping members of their community experiencing difficulties associated with historical and societal issues.
“Many give way beyond the parameters of a job. It’s a life of giving,” said Ramsay.
“We need to celebrate our values, honor the Seven Sacred Teachings that our Elders and Knowledge Keepers tell us. These good news stories need to be shared. We felt the need to model something positive to our youth. So often our children don’t get to see the full picture of who we really are as Indigenous people.”
Ramsay approached the Brandon Urban Aboriginal People’s Council and its community coordinator, Jason Gobeil, with the idea in late 2017. Planning for the event began in January of last year as committee members jumped on board.
“We wanted to create a beautiful red carpet, classy event that honors grassroots community members who work at preserving our culture, live with honor and contribute to the wellbeing of others in the community. We wanted to hold up the Seven Sacred Teaching as a guide for how we are to live,” Ramsay said. “It’s time to celebrate our persistent and unwavering dedication to our collective wellbeing.”
Although organizers hope the event will be held annually, that is still up in the air, said Ramsay, noting that the community has responded positively and provided support so far.
“Let’s see how this goes and if it is the will of the community, then yes,” she said.
Tickets to the gala and nomination packages are expected to be released soon. More information about the event is available by calling Gobeil at (204) 729-2462.
– Editor's note: Updated to correct an error regarding the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples Council's involvement in the event.