Eight Lethbridge community members and organizations were recognized during the first Reconciliation Awards.
The inaugural event was hosted by the City of Lethbridge and the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee on Monday, September 25, at Lethbridge City Hall. The recipients of this year’s awards were recognized for helping their community “on a meaningful path to Reconciliation” by helping build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and groups.
The Indigenous Services team at Lethbridge College received the Kiitsi’ Nooh’ Piin” Naana” (We See You) award in recognition of the team’s work and impact on the city. The Young Adult Award was presented to Kellita Day Chief, who was recognized for her leadership in her volunteer work. This includes creating short films surrounding the Niisitapii Way hosting an annual Orange Shirt Skate Jam in recognition of National Truth and Reconciliation Day every year on September 30. Day Chief says she has a deep connection to the work she does.
“Volunteering to some may be considered to be free work with no paper reward, but there is a much more valuable and long-lasting reward. The reward of fulfilling your soul while helping those in your community that are in need. I am committed to connect with people of all backgrounds and bringing them together to heal.”
Heidi Davis, Inniipoiakii (Buffalo Talking Woman), an addiction and mental health outreach recreation therapist at Alberta Health Services, was recognized with the Community Leader award. Davis explains her life changed eight years ago when she started working with the community elders.
“This award is so special to me since the connections with the Blackfoot community are essential in the work we do as an outreach team. I don’t take the love and embrace I have received lightly. I hold every story, every relationship, every ceremony with love and reverence.”
Other recognitions handed out throughout the evening included the Education, Indigenous Leadership, Corporation or Private Sector, and Not-for-Profit Organization awards, which were given to the Interfaith Food Bank.
Mayor Blaine Higgen says the evening shared the dedication those in the Lethbridge community have to lasting equality in the city.
“It is an opportunity to celebrate how hard these folks are working and the difference they’re making in our community, for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents.”
The award evening is part of the city’s Reconciliation Week events.