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Outstanding contributions recognized in central Alberta.


Across Canada, National Aboriginal Day was celebrated with numerous round dances in many communities that spread friendship and respect among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.


The city of Red Deer was included in this by a special gathering of 150 people that danced in honour of 16 Aboriginal community members.

The Red Deer Friendship Centre, with the help of various partners, hosted the Second Annual Turtle Awards Gala to celebrate the success of individuals who have contributed greatly to their respected communities, said program director Tanya Schur.

The nominated recipients were from the central Alberta region, spanning Leduc to Airdrie, covering areas such as Hobbema, O'Chiese, and Sunchild First Nations.

"There are a lot of Aboriginal community members in central Alberta that are making significant contributions to the community and most of it is done through volunteer hours because of the love of the community. We felt it was time to acknowledge these people and their achievements partly to honour the work that's been done but also to show how much amazing work is being done by the community members and volunteers," said Schur.

Nominations are put forth by those who feel recognition is needed, said Schur.

"The nominations committee uses an objective process through a point system to choose the nominees."

The Lifetime Achievement Award this year went to Metis Elder Cora Fedyk. Other award winners were the Red Deer Dance Troupe (Aboriginal Arts), Debbie Oostindie (Education and Training), Bruce and Allison Plain-Cutknife (Entrepreneurship), Darryl Lickers (Health), Teresa (Corky) Jonasson and Agnes Johnson (Kookum), Darcy Goodrunning (Traditional Practices), Dr. John Paul Stewart (Outstanding Contribution), Bev Weber (Service Provider), Therese Kehler (Volunteer), Cody Derocher and Natalie Michele Chiles (Youth, ages 12-24), Cheyenne Ogilvie (Youth, ages 5-11), and Douglas Bonaise (Mooshum).

Schur said the idea behind the gala, as well, was to serve as a fundraiser with proceeds going towards a new friendship healing centre in the future.

As this will continue to be an annual event, Schur hoped the venue size would increase as more nominations are made and that they will come from further away,

"We want to continue recognizing our incredible gift we bring to central Alberta and making it known," she said.

Nomination forms can be picked up at the Red Deer Aboriginal Friendship Centre or emailed and are available all year round.


Sweetgrass Writer

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Title Annotation:CALGARY
Author:Solway, Susan
Publication:Alberta Sweetgrass
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 1, 2010
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